I was pretty shocked to see this headline pop up on my news app this week… “A government minister has suggested that people struggling with the cost of living could take on more hours or move to a better-paid job.” I know, it was only the other day that I said I don’t like the news, mainly because it stresses me out, but if I cut myself off entirely I worry that I don’t know what’s going on in the world.
So anyway, I was getting ready for work and checked my phone, making sure there were no disasters I needed to prepare myself for, but instead of anything useful, I saw this remark. I’m not sure how this is supposed to be any help to the majority of the families living in the UK right now. There are literally no more hours in the day for many of us to work, and while we can all be frugal, we can’t conjure money from thin air.
The thing is, for so many of us, there’s no more we can do to help ourselves cope with the soaring bills we are facing. I feel strongly that our government should be providing support, and while I know that many of them don’t live the same lives as us, they could at least try to understand. This politician’s comment made me angry. I have no idea who she is or why she feels able to make such a sweeping statement, judging and basically implying we need to up our game, but it’s not helpful to anyone. We should be pulling together, not pointing the finger and appointing blame.
It seems while so many of us are looking out for each other and being kind, those unaffected are unable to see the reality of the average person. It’s sad to see people in positions of power so out of touch with the real world. I really hope this one person is the unlucky minority.
Take care of yourselves,
The last couple of weeks have involved a lot of sand and a lot of water, because sometimes you just need the simple things!
I’ve been writing my blog for over three years, but I realised recently that a lot of you may not know my story, so I thought I’d share with you a bit about who I am, and why I write.
I’m a normal mum, like so many of you out there with kids and responsibilities, but at the end of each day, I turned to wine to help me unwind. My drinking crept up so slowly that I didn’t see the addiction forming until it was too late and I was well and truly hooked. Being reliant on alcohol was never something I thought would apply to me, but I quickly realised, wine is just as addictive as any other drug, and drinking the way I had been meant it felt almost impossible to stop.
At the time, very few people, especially those like me, talked about alcohol addiction, and not knowing where to turn for support made me feel quite alone, which just added to my shame, and really affected my mental health. Everything I thought I knew about myself was wrong, and I didn’t know how I’d enjoy life without wine. I didn’t see the point. It took time, and several failed attempts before sobriety stuck and I began to relearn the way I thought about everything, including wine.
So I started talking… If my story can help just one other person, then it makes me feel my struggle was worthwhile. It’s been five and a half years now and while it’s been hard, I can honestly say I don’t miss the person I was when I was drinking.
If you’re interested in reading more about my journey or my guide to recovery, both my books are available from Amazon, link in bio.
I’ve been experiencing a lot of emotions of late. Firstly, there’s the constant anxiety that seems to underlie everything I do. Sometimes it’s not so bad, at other times, it’s awful. It’s all the little things; I worry I’m doing things right, that I’m okay, and that I’m doing the best I can. Couple that with the fact that I’m so busy, like many of us are, and it seems that when I finally get two minutes to myself, I either fall asleep or zone out completely. I can’t remember the last time I managed to concentrate on a TV program, or read a book. But… I’m dealing with it, and I don’t want to have a drink. I can safely say that besides the fact I’m knackered and frazzled, I’m okay, and I wouldn’t be if I was drinking wine every night to help me cope.
I think on top of my personal worries and day to day life, the news gets on top of me. I struggle because I want to know what’s going on, but equally, I find it overwhelming. I sympathise with so many situations, but it adds to my feelings of inadequacy when I can’t do anything. I’ve found I’m a bit of a control freak and I like to be able to solve every situation I can. Every time I turn the radio on I’m reminded of the war, or being told many of us will soon be choosing between food and heating, but the thing is, I can’t do anymore. None of us can. We make the best choices we can, but ultimately, we’re in the hands of the government, regardless of where we are in the world. We can insulate our houses and use less, but when many of us are working all the hours we can, it’s impossible to know what more we can do, there’s only one pot of money after all. So being reminded of everything, all the time is hard for me.
My mental health is so much better than it was a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean I’m ‘fixed’. In some ways, it’s probably more scary, because I’m anxious about being back there again. Who knew you could be anxious about being anxious? I suppose if anyone could, that would be me! Again, it isn’t a constant, just an underlying worry that I might slip and not notice. I’m so affected by things beyond my control, like what I read, or the moods of others that I’m exhausted trying to fix everything. I’m working on letting some of it go, but it’s hard. I’m sure I can’t be the only one to feel like this?
I’m attaching a link here to the brilliant Blurt website, where they’re acknowledging the struggles many of us are coping with daily and signposting places where support might be available. I hope it helps!
I think as always, my message is to be kind to yourselves. It’s easy to take on too much, and actually, we need to remember that as good as it is to help, we’re no good to anyone if we’re broken. So say no sometimes if you need to, it’s far better than letting people down further along the line, and take some time for you. It doesn’t have to cost anything. A walk in any weather can change your mindset.
Feeling proud of myself for being able to share my journey and hopefully inspire others to join me on my path.
It’s been a busy few weeks, full of family and work and just life in general. Life is certainly beginning to look a little more normal compared with the last couple of years, despite the troubles in the rest of the world. I met some friends last week, and as we walked down the coast path to the beach we chatted and we realised that every one of us, for one reason or another is feeling slightly uneasy. It’s not something we could put our fingers on, or isolate as having a particular reason, instead it’s just an underlying worry. For me, I think it’s the inability to be able to fix things. I’m a bit of a control freak, so when something is out of my control, I spin out a bit. I’ve been living with that for the past two years, as although I could follow guidelines, I couldn’t fix covid, and now instead of that, we have the threat of a war. I guess that’s why we swim.
You might call us mad, but maybe you’d be right. All I know is that it works for me, and I’m not the only one, not by far. On Thursday, the beach was beautiful. If you were to look at a photo it would have been possible to imagine it was warm, but it wasn’t, despite the winter sun. My flock and I changed, and began our decent down the beach, stopping as the cold water hit our toes. It’s those noises we make then that always make me laugh, you’d think we’d be used to it now, having swum all year and right through the winter, but the water is actually still getting colder. It’s on a bit of a delay, you see, so due to the summer heat, the water holds its temperature until about October or November before it starts to drop, and trust me, it’s still dropping. But we’re almost at the point where it’ll get warmer now. Just another couple of months…
Getting into the water is hard, despite knowing how it’ll make me feel, I still have to push myself in. We all do, and we generally move together, it’s easier in a group, reassuring each other that we’ll be okay as the cold water hits our calves and knees and then thighs. I often end up on my tiptoes, which is at odds with my movements as I walk further out, but still I carry on, until I can sink down and let the icy blanket of water envelope me.
There is nothing like it. Once you’re in, it’s like there is nothing else in the world. Partially, I suppose our bodies are shocked and go into survival mode. It’s hard to breathe, but breathe we must, so we do, swimming to keep the blood flowing and ourselves warm, and then the cold is forgotten. Peacefulness comes over us all, and a stillness takes hold of our minds. We’re at one with the waves, and the sound of that in itself is soothing.
Staying in is a problem. If you stay in too long hypothermia can set in, and it’s important to recognise that. It’s all we could do to force our bodies into the water, and now suddenly it’s the other way, and we have to force ourselves back out again. Some of us set timers and stick to it, I don’t, but I do have a habit of staying in too long, watching everyone else get out, and then end up on jelly legs as I make my way up the beach to get dressed, pulling my gloves off to make sure my fingers still work.
The feeling stays though, and not just for a few minutes. The peace I gained from the water stays all day, and flows into my week. I really notice when I haven’t been for a wild swim, there is something truly soothing about it, something you don’t get from a pool. I think being out in the elements really helps my mental health. I remember that for all my worries I’m this tiny part of a huge world, and it makes my worries slide away for a while.
Wherever you are, take care of yourself x