Self-Care is Simple!

Self-care is extremely important for your health and well-being. Too often, people wait until they are sick or under a lot of stress before they think about looking after themselves. What does self-care mean anyway?

It simply means putting your own needs first. Regularly doing things that are beneficial for your mind and body; every day if necessary!

Prevention is always better than cure and just because you feel good and life is treating you kindly, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t indulge in treating yourself to a little bit of ‘me time’ now and then. If you lead a stressful life or suffer from worry or anxiety, then self-care for you is even more important. Get into the habit of doing things for yourself every day!

For those of you who are not in the habit of putting yourself first, then it’s time you started. Look at it this way – if you don’t take care of yourself, then who is going to do it for you? It’s your responsibility to take care of your own body, mind and spirit.

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The Amazing Sycamore Tree

#ThursdayTreeLove is a photo feature on Parul Thakur’s blog and is hosted on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month.

I’m delighted to be taking part in Parul’s series because as some of you know, I am a lover of nature and I regularly take photos of trees.

This photo was taken last September in Belleek forest in Ballina Co. Mayo – actually just inside the gates of Belleek Castle

Sycamore Tree

If trees could talk (maybe they do) this is what I think the sycamore tree would say to me!

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Along The River. My Moment in Time!

It’s a crisp frosty morning and the sky is bright blue and almost flawless. The dazzling winter sun is radiating a gentle heat in a bid to thaw the frigid frost that illuminates the trees and hedges. It’s bitterly cold, yet it’s invigorating and since I’m wearing several layers of clothing, my bones are harboured from the icy chill. There is nowhere else I’d rather be right now.

I consider myself very lucky to live beside the splendid River Moy and today I feel grateful that I have the good health and energy to walk the bordering path. Today is a good day!

I meet a young woman speed walking with her head down, looking at the ground. She’s wearing headphones so when I say hello, she can’t hear me. She’s in a little world of her own and I don’t know what’s happening in her world, but I want to stop her and show her what she’s not seeing and what she’s not hearing.

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I’d like her to pause for a moment and look around at the beauty of nature. Feel the sun on her face – really feel it – inhale the fresh cool air and listen to the chirping sounds coming from little birds hiding in the hedges. No doubt hiding from the nearby well-fed hooded crow, who is trying to drown out their sweet songs with his loud croaky squawking.

The young woman is out of sight now and I walk on some more. The angry grey crow joins his clan on the other side of the river where they all sit concertedly on a wooden fence. They look ever so pretentious in comparison to the seagulls gliding gracefully across the sky.

I’m being followed. I hear quiet rustlings in the hedge directly behind me but I don’t look – I keep walking. With the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of a robin hopping from the hedge to the branch of a naked tree. I stop and slowly turn to look at him. I wonder if he’s hungry or if he just wants company. He whistles and I whistle back. He cocks his head to one side and whistles again. I walk on and he flies from bush to bush, staying close but keeping a safe distance.  He cheeps cheerfully, like a small child who has just discovered something new and exciting. Is he telling me about his moment in time? Crass grey crow returns and gentle robin disappears into the bramble.

The water is scattered with uneven ripples and it flows rapidly but peacefully in the direction of the sea. I’m standing on the river bank watching folding crests race each other towards the dam. The sun glistening on the tiny peaks of the waves has me hypnotised. Teasing me, with the illusion of curly tips of ice-cream cones. 

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As I approach the dam, the water appears to flow faster and my step quickens. There’s a seat on the high bridge overlooking the dam, where I sit to rest for a while. The water is dark and mysterious. The formidable River Moy has claimed many lives over the years. It demands respect as it roars and pounds against the walls of the dam, brawny and merciless, impressive and captivating.

Everything around me is silenced by the crashing waters below and I am grateful for the sturdy barriers that protect me from the dark depths of the river. I’m oblivious to what is happening around me. This is my little world for now and I don’t need to be anywhere else at this moment in time.

My moment in time was inspired by Orla at Fancy Paper Blog! 

We should all take our moments and cherish them when we have the opportunity! 

 

 

Reducing Your Stress Levels This Christmas!

Stress has a negative effect on the body including the immune system and Christmas is the most stressful time of year for some people. Although some stressful situations are unavoidable, others you can completely avoid. Save yourself as much stress as possible so that you can enjoy a healthy happy Christmas.

Money Money Money

Money makes the world go round and it also causes annoyance and stress for so many people. Why people need to borrow tons of money and get themselves into unnecessary debt is beyond me. I have never borrowed money for Chrismas in all my life. That’s not because I never had to worry about money. I’ll be 50 years old young at the end of December so that’s 49 Christmases I’ve survived. Yes….survived!

As a child, I didn’t need to worry about money for Christmas – my parents did that! But I don’t believe they worried themselves sick about it because it was different back then. Christmas lasted a few days not a whole month.

When I was a young working adult, all I needed was money to buy presents for my parents, one or two friends and enough to buy some nice clothes and a few nights out. I always had enough.

Then I started having children and we all know how that goes! But here’s the thing – all that concerned me was making sure the children had a happy Christmas. Sometimes I could afford nice clothes and nights out, but I also experienced the times when I barely had enough for a fancy dinner.

As the kids got older, the lists got longer and more expensive. That didn’t mean they got everything on the wish list. They got what their parents could afford and did they love us any less for it? No, of course they didn’t. Were they psychologically damaged because of it? No!

The meaning of receiving and giving presents has changed for so many. Down through the years, I’ve witnessed people turning their noses up at presents they’ve received. Wishlists have turned into ‘needs’ lists. I understand that children ask parents or Santa for particular things but that seems to be the norm now with everybody.

Part of the fun is guessing what someone might like – or it used to be anyway! It is no fun shopping for a present for someone that is so damned fussy and unappreciative. Oh….I forgot to mention the people who compare the prices.

One Christmas I witnessed a grown woman throwing a mini tantrum because she received a gift voucher! What?? Yes, Christmas has changed over the years.

This may make me sound like a bit of a ‘Bah Humbug’ but it’s quite the opposite. Because I no longer allow this present buying competitiveness to cause me unnecessary stress. Instead, I concentrate on looking after my health and making sure the people I care about are happy and well looked after. That doesn’t cost the earth.

Your Budget

Plan within your budget. Do not borrow money unless you are 100% certain that paying it back will cause you minimum stress. If you couldn’t afford to save a little each week during the run-up to Christmas then how will you manage to pay back a loan? Ask yourself; do I really need to borrow money or can I manage with what I have.

Okay, the amount of food that people buy into their homes at Christmas is beyond ridiculous. So much of it gets thrown out and most of it is absolute junk. If you’re still eating Christmas food in January it means you bought way too much. If you’re sick looking at turkey 3 days after Christmas, don’t buy such a big one this time.

Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses – or even the Kardashians! If your neighbours have hundreds or thousands to splash out at Christmas, let them. It’s their business and if you’re afraid that you will be judged on how much you spend, then STOP!! Just please stop and ask yourself; what will happen if I don’t have as much as my neighbours? I’ll tell you what will happen. Nothing! You’ll probably sleep better and anyway, you don’t really know how well off your neighbours are. They might in so much debt that they are more stressed than you are.

Don’t be afraid to admit to people that some things are not within your budget. So what if they judge you. If someone in your life buys you and your children expensive presents, it is okay to explain that you are not in a position to do the same. You can ask them to buy less expensive presents. On the other hand, some people just enjoy spending their money on friends and family members and they don’t expect a lot in return. It’s okay to allow generous people to do that. It’s when they expect luxurious gifts in return, it can cause problems for the people who are just not as well off financially as they are. Remember, there are other ways of being generous.

Positivity

Are you negative towards Christmas or bouncing around the place with joyful positivity? The way you think and feel about things plays a huge part in your experiences. The more positive thoughts you have about any event or situation, the more enjoyable it will be – and less stressful! Those who enjoy the festive season are the ones who are more positive about it. And don’t say under breath, ‘Well it’s alright for them they have.….’ What they have and don’t have has very little to do with it. They choose to like Christmas.

So, unless you are one of the unfortunate people that has a valid reason for not getting into the festive spirit, do try to create for yourself a more positive attitude towards it.

Not Always Joyful

I totally understand some people’s reasons for hating Christmas. It’s not a happy joyful season for everybody. Deaths occur around this time just like any other time of the year. This can leave years of unhappy memories for people and understandably dampens their spirit. With the right support from good friends and family, they can learn to enjoy Christmas again.

Terminally ill people don’t recover just because it’s Christmas. It can actually make it a very sad and lonely time for them and their families. Spare a thought for people in this situation and appreciate your good health and well-being.

Domestic abuse rises during this time of year. Money can become an issue, alcohol is plentiful and the slightest little imperfection can be an excuse for a full-blown row. I can’t offer advice to people in this situation. All I can say is please do get help and remove yourself if at all possible (and I think it is possible) from an abusive relationship. There is a lot of help available and don’t be embarrassed about getting it. I’m not just talking about women here – men also suffer from domestic abuse!

Family

Let’s face it, we can choose our friends but we can’t choose our family. Christmas sometimes forces us to spend time with a family member who we wouldn’t normally spend time with. It’s all well and good saying that it’s a time for being close to our loved ones and a time for joy, happiness and forgiveness, but in reality that’s easier said than done in some cases.

It takes two people to make an effort and make things work. When there’s a member of the family who causes upset and uneasiness in the room, it’s enough to spoil the whole day for everyone. You’ve spent the last few weeks trying your best to prepare for a happy stress-free Christmas and then you have to spend the day walking on eggshells.

Is there a solution to this? Can this person spend Christmas in their own home or with someone else? If someone doesn’t respect you and your home, tell them to make other arrangements. And yes, it is that simple. Don’t be a martyr!

Worried about getting everything done? Like what? Buy the presents and the food. Spring is the season after winter so you can spring clean then. You don’t need to start painting and redecorating the whole house for Christmas. You can get away with just doing your usual housework routine. Mothers who work full-time outside the home do not need the added stress of spring cleaning in December.

Make a List

Not a list of presents you’d like to receive, but a list of all the things you are grateful for this Christmas. What have you got that puts a smile on your face every day? Make a list of all the things that you DON’T need and can do without.

I am grateful

I read a lovely blog post recently by Angela Noel. She has a long list of things she’d like for Christmas. Go have a little read. I promise you’ll like it!

Wishing you a very happy stress-free Christmas!

 

Walking Lightly. Noeleen Watson’s First Book of Poems

Walking Lightly is Noeleen Watson’s first book of poems. On a journey of self-discovery, Noeleen realises her true potential as she finds she has a gift of putting words on paper that create something special. 

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