And the 100-th is …..Sparkyjen!!! :) x

In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about…. 😉

livingfully2017.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/could-you-be-the-100-th/ 

I’m so pleased and grateful to welcome Sparkyjen https://sparkyjen.com/ as my 100th follower – as a big ‘thank you’, I’d like to write a blog post on a topic of your choosing if you wish me to. 

Thanks to each and every one of you for being a special part of my blogging journey. You brighten up my days, and I hope I can do the same for you too. 

Much love. xx

 

Could you be the 100 th ?! — Life as it happens to be

Photo from WordPress free photo library. I started this blog in May of 2017 ~ I have loved connecting with each of you, and have loved this blogging journey with my fellow travellers. I am grateful for each and every way in which you have encouraged me, whether that be by liking a post, commenting, […]

via Could you be the 100 th ?! — Life as it happens to be

Could you be the 100 th ?!

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Photo from WordPress free photo library.

I started this blog in May of 2017 ~ I have loved connecting with each of you, and have loved this blogging journey with my fellow travellers.

I am grateful for each and every way in which you have encouraged me, whether that be by liking a post, commenting, or choosing to follow my blog.

I am thankful for all of you…but as a special ‘celebration’ on our shared blogosphere, as I have 99 followers, I would like as a thank you to offer to whoever becomes my 100th follower the opportunity to choose the topic of one of my future posts.

I love writing in a way that will connect with people and hopefully encourage you, and I’d therefore like to continue this blog with a keen eye on what my readers would like to hear more about. So even if you aren’t the ‘100th’ follower, please know that you are a special presence in my blog life, and I would love to respond to any suggestions, questions, or requests for future posts that you would like me to blog about.

THANK YOU ALL!! AND LET’S CELEBRATE!!! 🙂

Much Love. xx

At Home…A Change is as Good as a Rest…

Life as it happens to be

There are some phrases or proverbs that creep into common usage, that on the surface seem fairly self-explanatory, but given a bit of thought require a little more reflection to fully understand.

To me, “A change is as good as a rest” is one such phrase. A cursory review would suggest that a change that brings about positive effects or consequences is as beneficial to one’s wellbeing, as some good old refreshing ‘time out’. Some variations of the phrase state that “A change is as good as a holiday”, suggesting that the ‘change’ in question is not as significant as leaving one’s usual surroundings but that the change can be simpler, and yet have similar benefits to ‘getting away from it all’. Conversely, some interpret the change itself in the original phrase to be just such an escape or adventure away from the everyday routines and norms of one’s life.

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At Home…A Change is as Good as a Rest…

There are some phrases or proverbs that creep into common usage, that on the surface seem fairly self-explanatory, but given a bit of thought require a little more reflection to fully understand.

To me, “A change is as good as a rest” is one such phrase. A cursory review would suggest that a change that brings about positive effects or consequences is as beneficial to one’s wellbeing, as some good old refreshing ‘time out’. Some variations of the phrase state that “A change is as good as a holiday”, suggesting that the ‘change’ in question is not as significant as leaving one’s usual surroundings but that the change can be simpler, and yet have similar benefits to ‘getting away from it all’. Conversely, some interpret the change itself in the original phrase to be just such an escape or adventure away from the everyday routines and norms of one’s life.

But what does this mean in terms of life at home? *Your life* at home. As you can guess, this post is the latest instalment in my ‘Home & Lifestyle’ series, where I am exploring decluttering and reorganising in particular, and charting my progress along the way, in the hopes to both keep myself motivated,  but also to hopefully encourage and inspire some of you if you are undertaking similar projects. 

So if you would like to recap on the journey so far, please dip into my previous posts, or click on the ‘Home & Lifestyle’ tab in my main menu to catch up on what you may have missed. 

Let me start with reminding you of my ‘before and after’ pictures of my bedroom. Well, it’s more accurate to say ‘during and after’ pics, as the first picture reveals the results of me having pulled everything out in order to sort through it all and declutter and reorganise. 

https://livingfully2017.wordpress.com/2018/02/03/welcome-to-februarys-theme-home-lifestyle-from-clutter-to-calm-lets-climb-this-mountain-together/

Now that you’ve reminded yourself of those pics, or have taken a look at that post, here are another few pictures for you to peruse while keeping in mind our initial discussion on change and rest: 

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Sometimes we get so overwhelmed if we have let our living conditions get a little ‘out of control’, such that we easily give up on the projects we once started in the hope of making a change in our lives. I know that at points I have felt overwhelmed, and have sometimes lapsed into simply managing and moving about the clutter and disarray rather than once and for all getting to the bottom of it. But this time, I mean business. And I am putting in the hard graft to really get to the bottom of it, even if it takes a bit of time. 

What I mean by this is going through everything – yes, *everything* I have, from the biggest piece of furniture to the bits of paper and paperclips randomly discarded in what has become the ‘junk room’ of my home, and sort through everything I have and either dispose of the item or store it responsibly. 

In order to succeed in creating a system, it is important to first take stock of what you have, get rid of what you don’t need (recycle, donate, and / or bin), categorise what you are keeping, and make one specific place for each ‘type’ of item. 

These small yet cumulative changes are as good as, but more likely far better than a rest, or a getting away from your life. Why? Because creating order, a calm environment and knowing where each item or at least each ‘type’ of item in your home is all adds up in the long run to ultimately add to your peace of mind, health, wellbeing and sense of calm. 

I began implementing such changes little at a time a while ago. Simple things. Like having one specific place to hang my keys meant that this has reduced the anxiety and panic of not being able to find them in the morning before I’m leaving for work, or whenever I need to go out anywhere. Having an orderly environment gives me more time to rest, and focus on the things I enjoy rather than all the things I need to get done, have lost track of, or am getting overwhelmed by. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed, by your current surroundings, or by this post, then know that these little changes all add up. I am still very much in the midst of the process of decluttering and reorganising my home, and although there is a long way to go, I am more than half way there, and feeling the benefits already. I am more relaxed and I enjoy being here. I don’t get so stressed about finding things because I know where things are. And I seldom lose my keys anymore when such a little thing could be such a great source of stress previously. 

So when you make these changes for yourself at home, know that these changes *are* as good as a rest – as they add up you will have more time to rest….at home, and enjoy the wellbeing of being somewhere that you have made gradual changes to, to be somewhere that you love to be. 

xx

*Pause for Thought*: What are the changes you are making in order to make your everyday life a little more restful? Would love to hear from you, so please feel free to share in the comments below! 🙂

Anxiety & Self-Care ….why it’s ok to say ‘No’, even when you want to say ‘Yes’…

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Image from WordPress free photo library.

It’s 2.15am. I’m in bed, but clearly, I’m not sleeping. It’s just one of those nights when I’ve been ‘triggered’ and my anxiety issues have resurfaced. Things are so much better than they used to be. I used to not be able to sleep or settle down until maybe 3 or 4am, and even then I would be fearful, stressed and sometimes struggling with nightmares. My system was in overdrive, and fight, flight or freeze was all that it knew. 

Thankfully I’ve worked so hard and have reaped some benefits from my disciplined changes along the difficult journey of recovery and self care. But I need to remind myself that it is a journey, a process, and one that others often don’t understand because things might seem ok or even good for a time, which is why it is important for me to learn to communicate and honour my own needs for wellbeing and to feel ok to say ‘no’ even when I or other people want me to, or think that I ‘should’ say ‘yes’. 

It’s not an easy thing to do. So often we put the needs of others before our own, and I have done this many a time, and in the long run we are neither helping ourselves or them. For if we burnout or break down how can we be strong for anyone else? 

I think it’s the ‘little things’ that are beginning to get to me, and to cause those stress reactions to ‘flare up’, the cortisol, the adrenaline and so forth leading to heightened anxiety, sleeplessness, worry, fear, racing thoughts trying to figure things out and  ‘keep everyone happy’. 

And maybe, just maybe, if you’re reading this, you too can relate, and are maybe even looking for some reassuring advice or guidance. And maybe you’ve come to the right place, where you can hear the thoughts of someone who has lived through and survived the horrible experiences of panic attacks, being sick at work, crying in public and feeling like my brain was exploding in its own kaleidoscopic nightmare. 

If you’ve been there and have as a result been exploring ways and means to not only manage your symptoms and conditions better, but to also build ‘self care’ into your life, or if you’re still going through what feels like the worst of it just now, then firstly, know that you are not alone, and you can be an overcomer, don’t ever give up. 

But if you have come through the worst of it, and are managing or maintaining things at the moment, then perhaps you are aware of those subtle ‘tell tale’ warning signs and ‘triggers’ that alert you to the fact that things might be getting off kilter a bit, and that you might be allowing external (and / or internal) demands to encroach upon your well being and send you down that slippery slope once again. It is important to have that self awareness, because no one else can really know what we are experiencing. And sometimes because they don’t know, we feel the need to have to please everyone, all of the time, even to the detriment of our own health. 

The people at work don’t necessarily know about other parts of my life, just as the people outside of my work aren’t aware of the stresses I might face day to day as part of a normal workplace environment. And so they may not be aware of how cumulative factors can cause their seemingly good, reasonable and perfectly acceptable request or requests to add to the subtle or not so subtle build up of stress. 

As you can see, earlier last month I was out and about – I got back into my work routine, did some photography on snowy days, went to various music events, socialised and began my ‘home projects’.  Additionally, I kept appointments with my doctor who is helping me work through managing my symptoms etc, and eventually leading up to ‘going it alone’ more with less intervention. All positive things, but not necessarily smooth sailing. 

I find blogging a good way to make sense of things and find my calm and balance in some ways. I also have found a new church that I love to go to, after a few years of not having anywhere like that. I’m still new there, but I feel more connected with God and His people, and it is a good environment to be built up spiritually and to show and receive love, and to reach out and help others. However, the process for me of getting there can be stressful. The requests to attend colleagues birthday events, to see friends and family and to keep on top of work commitments while having started my ‘decluttering project’ can begin to trigger those stresses. So I need to give myself permission to say ‘no’ sometimes. To look after myself so that I can be better at being there for others, as well as honouring God with what He has given to me, and realising that my wellbeing and self care is important. Often other people aren’t aware of what you’re experiencing, and if you let them know maybe they’d be pretty understanding and help to ease your sense of obligation when you feel that you’re beginning to struggle. I don’t know if I’ll say no, or yes, or a combination of the two, but I know that I need to consider my responses carefully, and that that’s ok. 

I hope you are doing ok, and that you remember to take care of yourself and take ‘time out’ and say ‘no’ if you need to. After all it was ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’, so maybe one less load to carry will help you to stay well and healthy and stronger in the long run. 

And now to try to get some sleep. Much love. xx

 

Calm amid Clutter: How to keep calm when decluttering and clearing out the messiest areas of your home!

 

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With spring just around the corner, many of us will be turning our thoughts towards spring cleaning, re-evaluating our homes, and seeking ways to get rid of the old as we welcome in the new, and how to make the most of our living spaces. 

I hope you’ve already joined me in my new Home & Lifestyle series based upon my theme and goals for February to declutter and ‘clean up my act’ at home 🙂 If not, you might find some inspiration from my last few posts, and may have some of your own inspiration to share with me. 

As yet, apart from the before and after pictures of one room that I have worked on, I haven’t got into the ‘nitty gritty’ of my process so far. However, I have spent a lot of today sorting, recycling, discarding and making a dent in the seemingly grand task before me. 

And I doubt that I’m the only one who has ever been in the midst of the process of decluttering and reorganising, who has felt those moments of ‘despair’ at the task taken on, especially when tackling the “stuff” that has built up over the years, stuff that we don’t even really know how it got or stayed in our homes, and yet stuff that seems to be clogging up our lives and living spaces in some way.

So for those of you who are in the same boat as me who also feel that they are close to drowning in that sea of “stuff”, and beginning to lose sight of how we’ll ever get out of this mess, here are a few words of encouragement from someone who is in that boat right now! 🙂

1. Firstly, have a vision of what you want and desire your home to be like. I have created a ‘wish list’ on Amazon that I add to with ideas of what I want my dream room (as I am working on a specific room that has become the ‘junk room’ just now, having already tackled and more or less succeeded with my main bedroom) to look like and contain. I don’t really have any real intention of purchasing any of these beautiful items at the moment, especially considering they wouldn’t be able to go anywhere until I have cleared out the space, but it is inspiring nonetheless to dream a little amid the reality of semi-chaos.  You might store inspiring pictures on your phone, or have a scrapbook or sketch book of ideas, or even blog about your home / living space dreams and goals here on Word Press for a sense of community and accountability. Or maybe you like a good old ‘vision board’ to kick start your imagination. Whatever it is, have something to aspire to in making the changes to save you from doing what I too often do by way of simply tidying up a bit, moving the mess about, or covering it up somehow!

2. Be sure to take ‘progress’ pictures, including before and after shots. I have already found this to be an encouragement as I mentioned in an earlier post when tackling a new area that seems ‘impossible’ and deflating to deal with to look back upon areas in which I have already made some progress. It really helps to think ‘well, I’ve done it before, so I can (and will) do it again’ – even if the how of getting there isn’t all too clear to you in the moment. 

3. Strategize.  Everyone has different ways of organising, and you’ll find what works best for you. However, I have found that starting with a particular room or area, getting everything out in the open so that I can’t escape it, and then categorising things into ‘like for like’ (for example bags with bags, shoes with shoes, books with books, etc) and create one particular named space to store and / or display the items of like kind that you have decided to keep (letting go is also part of the process if you have accumulated more stuff that you need or can handle, and letting someone else benefit from those items). You might like to create labels for those areas, and a storage solution or system so that they don’t just get heaped up and piled chaotically, but so that there is a place for everything and everything in its place. This really helps mentally if you are tidying a new area and see an item of a particular category and then can think ‘ Hey, I know where that goes, there’s a place for that!’, and then immediately put the item where it now belongs. I have sorted out my bedroom and created a system for it, and having done so, I have written in the back of my planner what each area of my bedroom contains so that having identified and named a system and locations of items by type, I can hopefully maintain things by knowing where there are and where they should go. 

4. This point is the one that I have been leading to, as it is so important to your sense of calm and motivation throughout the whole process. Have, create and maintain an area of your home where you are happy in your surroundings. Perhaps this could be your bedroom or living room, or if not an entire room, a ‘cosy corner’ or small space where things are ‘just so’ and where you feel calm, happy and inspired. Strive to keep this area just as you like it and clutter free, even if in all other areas of your home there is chaos. This is so important, as I am learning, due to the fact that if you are tackling large volumes of ‘stuff’, mess or items accumulated over the years, and especially if you have ‘hoarding tendencies’ (in which case, you might like to ask someone for additional support, guidance and accountability), this can be quite a daunting task and you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and / or self-critical. 

When you do find your motivation beginning to drain, and negative thoughts and emotions surfacing, go to your cosy and calm spot, whether that is a chair or a room, whatever you have been able to manage to carve out for yourself, and take some time out. Maybe you could make yourself a hot drink, watch your favourite programme, read a book, and feel just as you would desire to feel in that ‘dream home’ that you have in mind. Remind yourself of your vision, look at those inspiring visuals, encourage yourself with those before and after pictures if you have got that far and feel good about how far you have already come. Think about the strategies you have put in place and are learning about, and maybe note them down. Read articles or watch videos of other people’s ‘decluttering journeys’ and be inspired to know that there are so many tips and tools and hints to help you along the way. And take time just to breathe, relax, enjoy just being, pondering, praying and doing something entirely different that brings you enjoyment ~ for as the poem Desiderata wisely instructs us, we should enjoy our achievements as well as our plans. So amid all your hard work, remember to take a break, and find some real calm amid the chaos. You can do it!! 🙂 xx

Welcome to February’s Theme: ‘Home & Lifestyle’ :) ….From Clutter to Calm….Let’s Climb this Mountain Together!

Welcome back, friends. 

If you haven’t already read my earlier post on ‘January 2018 in Review’, you can find it here: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/2562 

So following on from that, welcome to February’s Home & Lifestyle Theme. 

I don’t know about you, but as much as I strive to keep things clean, tidy and under control in my home, things can sometimes get a bit out of hand, and that ‘temporary storing place’ becomes a semi-permanent dumping ground that establishes itself as the dreaded ‘junk room’! Seriously, how does that even happen? 😉 

I love beautiful aesthetics, I love colour, and things to be pretty and cosy. However, managing my first ever home of my own over the past five and a bit years has been a learning curve, for various reasons. If you are a regular reader, or if you have visited my blog previously, you may be aware that I have had some difficult years overcoming Post Traumatic Stress, Severe Clinical Depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder…so at times it has been a massive accomplishment for me to manage to do even the simplest of things like washing a cup or feeding myself properly. Thankfully, by the Grace of my Loving God, I have persevered, sought professional medical help and treatment for the Post Traumatic Stress, etc, and been plodding on every day to improve the quality of my life from merely surviving to beginning to experience some stability and my own little pockets of happiness and self care. 

I don’t know where you are on your journey, your experience of life, or your current living situation. Perhaps you do not have a ‘permanent’ home, maybe you live within the confines of someone else’s space, possibly you even live in a mansion, a caravan or a ‘tiny house’ purposely built for a more minimalistic lifestyle. I’m not sure, but I certainly would be intrigued and interested to hear from you in the comments.

However, whatever our situations, we all have the common experience of having to manage and maintain our little patch on the earth. And this can be a struggle at times for those of us who are gradual learners in the fine art of organisation. And yet, I’m sure all of us, even those of you who claim to simply love your organised chaos and peculiar methods of madness in maintaining your systems that may be all but undecipherable to others 😉 …I’m sure we all find a greater calm emotionally and mentally when we are in a calming environment. Perhaps more so than we should do, for, as in another previous post, ‘Enjoy Your Mess, Enjoy Your Tidy’ it is important to seek to be calm whatever state or stage we are in, and to see things through realistic, yet positive filters. 

There is something about a place of order and peace where there is a place for everything and everything is in its proper place that allows our minds to contemplate and focus on the things we enjoy, be that listening to music, reading a book, spending time with friends or family and focusing on them rather than being distracted by the clutter of stuff we need to attend to, crafting or colouring or making models, writing your blog or reading someone else’s, or whatever that thing may be. 

And despite our best efforts to relax while we know that the dishes are piled up in the sink, or when there is clutter right beside us, it is a lot more challenging to quieten down that ‘little voice’ that nags us to sort things out – so that even in our ‘down time’ where we are supposed to be relaxing, our minds are still busy being affected to some extent by our cluttered or clutter free surroundings either boosting or diminishing our moods and the things we think about ourselves, whether rightly or wrongly. 

So knowing that we are really all in this together, with so much to learn from each other, and be encouraged in our shared learning and motivation, let’s embark upon this journey. I have already made a bit of a start, and will show you before and after pictures of the room that I worked on, but will also share with you the seemingly monumental challenge of tackling the ‘junk room’ that is still very much needing attended to.  I will talk you through the steps I took, and would love to hear your feedback and learn from some of you ‘pro organisers’ out there, for goodness knows, I need the encouragement to keep going with the task I have started!! 🙂 

So for the moment, here is a glimpse into what the next post may contain. Be calm, know that you are blessed, and all the best if you are embarking upon your own home and lifestyle projects too. xx

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A Devotional Routine…

As a follower of the LORD Jesus Christ, God’s Word has been transformative in my life…I realise that there is spiritual food that I need as much, if not more so, than the food I consume every day to keep me alive….the concept of ‘daily bread’…that which feeds, nurtures and gives us strength is not applicable merely in the physical realm.

We need to nurture our souls, renew our mind-set and thinking patterns, lay down the burdens of bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, jealousy, fear, pain, loneliness, heartache to name but a few, and ‘put on’ graces of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control. None of which we can accomplish without the loving care and help of our Merciful Creator, being led and guided by His Spirit. 

And yet we can’t just sit around and wait for inspiration to take hold of us if we are unwilling to get up and to pursue these with greater focus, attentiveness and dedication. 

But, it’s difficult isn’t it? At least it can be. But sometimes little and often is the way to go, just as we feed ourselves daily, and for the sake of our health and well being should take time to digest what we have taken in, so too it is with feeding upon, meditating, ‘chewing over’ spiritual truths so that we develop even more of a healthy appetite for the things that make for wholeness and life and peace, drawing near to God to nurture our souls and learning what this life is actually about…individually….from Him.

One thing I have found to be really helpful recently is a site called ‘YouVersion’. It has so many different plans, topics, reading material, audio and video guides and helps, and tracks your progress day by day for whichever plan you choose so you can come back to it, and take in a little at a time, or more if you are so inclined…and it is I’ve found to be a very good starting point for deeper study and reflection, and establishing or continuing on with regular routines.

I have found it to be a good place to go to help me when facing the challenges of procrastination, not knowing where to start or continue onto, and if you are like minded, I hope that you take a look and find some encouragement and nurturing for your mind, heart and soul as well as your physical body, today and in the days to come, with the ultimate ‘goal’ of experiencing in greater depth, intimacy and measure the love of God in Christ Jesus our LORD. 

Love, and God bless. xx

https://www.bible.com/en-GB/reading-plans