Let’s Talk BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder): Guest Post by Sarah – Life In A Break Down

I can’t work out looking back, when I changed from a normal mentally healthy child, to one who had a warped perspective of myself.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve always been this way.

BPD or to give it is full name Borderline Personality Disorder, is somewhat stigmatized by mainstream media, as of course are many other mental health issues. So, I am hoping to break down those misconceptions a little at a time.

What is BPD?

I guess simply put it is a serious mental disorder which effects the way people who suffer from it process emotions.

There are 9 criteria used to diagnose people with BPD, although the way they are experience and to what degree is different between each patient:

• Fear of abandonment.

• A series of unstable relationships.

• Unstable image of ones-self.

• Impulsive attitude around things which are unsafe to such as drinking, drugs, sex, binge eating, reckless driving etc..

• Self-harm or suicidal tendencies.

• Extreme emotional swings.

• Chronic feeling of emptiness.

• Intense anger.

• A feeling of not being in touch with reality – suspicious and paranoid.

How BPD affects me

It’s been many years since I was diagnosed originally with BPD.

Over the years, things have changed. I have learnt in ways to find a way to live with some aspects of BPD. While those around me have learnt to calm and look after me when things get bad.

I’ve never been a danger to others, like media sometimes likes to portray BPD sufferers to be. However, I can be a danger to myself.

Through my teen years and into my twenties, I tried to take my life many times. It is perhaps only by accident I am still alive.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop self-harming in some ways and my gosh the emotional swings can be so tiring.

I’ve learnt over the years though I’m not alone.

That impulse to hit my head, to stop it. Is felt by many people with BPD.

The insane fear of being abandoned, which I suspect comes from the fact I was adopted, never leaves. But I am not alone.

Sometimes I feel like I’m on a roller coaster with the ups and downs of emotions and sometimes I feel numb like there’s no emotions left. And that’s normal too.

How is BPD Treated?

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Mentalisation-Based Therapy (MBT) are most often the way people look to treat BPD.

I must admit I’ve tried many therapies over the years and the only one, for me, which worked to any extent was art therapy. I am not a talker, I write, I create, but I don’t talk. As I fear what people will think.

Therapeutic communities can often help some people as well. However, place me with people who are feeling similar and I become a bit like a bomb, ready to explode with the emotions that are swirling around.

Sadly, medication doesn’t help BPD itself, but it can sometimes be offered to help any mental health conditions that co-exist with BPD. For myself this is depression and anxiety.

What to Take from this Post

People with BPD are humans too. We just have issues with processing emotions in quite the right way. This is often linked to something traumatic that has happened in our lives.

Don’t write us off, don’t be scared to be our friend.

Author Bio: 

Sarah - Life In A Break Down

Sarah is the creator behind Life in a Break Down, UK Bloggers and Simply Saving and one half of the duo behind UK Lifestyle Hub. She suffers from a number of chronic health conditions and is often found cuddled up on the sofa with a movie and her pets. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram too! 

Young Minds: #HelloYellow and I Did It… (10k) My Way!

Last month, I wrote about doing a 10k ‘virtual’ race for the charity Young Minds. I thought I should write a quick update post (it’s a little late, but anyway) to say that I completed it!

10k Your Way Young Minds Virtual Race

I took it slow, due to my current fitness levels and a lack of sleep (thanks for that, Squiggle!) but I did walk/ run/ walk for the majority of it, so I did still put the effort in! I did most of it on my own, Squiggle having considered doing it too but decided it would be too much for her, but a friend came to join me for the last few km (partly for moral support, for her own exercise and also because I was out alone at night!) At this point I slowed right down to chat and time on the clock quickly added up. But I did it, and that is all that matters!

Selfie of Katie (Living Life Our Way) during the 10k

I would like to say a huge thanks to those who sponsored me, I appreciate it. At the moment, my fundraising page is still open, so it is not too late if you haven’t done so already! Alternatively you can donate direct to Young Minds at anytime.

#HelloYellow Campaign

Today is also Young Minds #HelloYellow campaign as part of World Mental Health Day. I started the day by making a donation to Young Minds for t-shirt sales, as promised. I am very grateful to those that bought them, thank you!

Screenshot of donation confirmation to Young Minds

You can donate securely online through their website at youngminds.org.uk/donate

Or donate via text by texting YMHY00 £5 to 70070

#HelloYellow hair tie looking up at yellow leaves

We went for a walk in nature and spotted lots of Autumn yellows. I don’t have anything yellow to wear (and try to avoid buying stuff I won’t wear often!) but I made sure I wore a yellow hair tie in support of Young Minds #HelloYellow campaign today!

#HelloYellow hair tie selfie in nature, autumn colours

Keep talking about mental health. Not just today, but everyday. Check on those around you. And remember to really listen too.

It’s ok not to be ok. You are not alone. xx

10 Ways to Naturally De-stress: Guest Post – Vanessa Bermudez

Stress is more dangerous than you may think. While stress comes in many different forms (and can even push you to do better in the workplace), it is one of the biggest threats to the healthy lifestyle you deserve to lead. The American Psychological Association states that those who face chronic stress in their daily lives are more at risk for cardiovascular diseases, arrhythmias, and even sudden death. When you start to feel a heavy weight on your shoulders, it may be time to step back, take a deep breath, and contemplate some natural ways to destress.

“Incorporating stress management activities into your daily routine, along with a healthy diet, will help your body heal much faster. Personally, I find this to be one of the most challenging aspects of good health. It’s easy to get caught up in your daily life and forget to take break. However, it is necessary if you want to experience true healing,” says Jen Broyles, certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach. If you’re feeling stressed and aren’t sure how to tackle it, consider these natural ways to find some peace of mind.

10 Ways to Naturally De-stress: Guest Post - Vanessa Bermudez

1. Take a yoga class
Yoga is an enriching, mindful practice that can help you manage the source of your anxieties. The physical poses, deep breathing, and meditation found in yoga promotes a sense of awareness of your mind, soul and body. This natural state of relaxation has the potential to relieve your mind of its stress and focus on the present moment. If you’re feeling overloaded, consider joining a local yoga class or practicing a new routine at home.

2. Make a cup of warm tea
Set the coffee aside and pick up a cup of warm tea instead. Studies have shown that your mom is right – tea really can lower your stress levels, in part to its chemical properties and benefits that tell your brain to take it easy. The study also notes, interestingly enough, that even the act of putting a kettle on the stove can reduce your stress.

3. Go on a quick stroll outside
One of the simplest, cost-effective ways to get a grip on your stress is by taking a walk outside. Walking can boost endorphins and reorganize brain neurons, allowing you to reconnect to the nature that surrounds you. With all the hustle and bustle in the digital age, it can be easy to forget what matters most, but taking a leisurely stroll around the park can remind you of the world’s natural beauty.

Woman walking along the beach

4. Take a salt bath
When you’re feeling the stress, consider an epsom salt bath. Stress reduces our body’s level of magnesium, so the magnesium in epsom salt does wonders when absorbed through the skin in a nice, warm bath. It promotes a peaceful sense of relaxation that can also help us focus better, sleep better, and feel more energized in the morning. The benefits of an epsom salt bath don’t stop at reducing your stress, but well into your daily life.

5. Visualize peaceful surroundings
The power of the mind is stronger than you think – even the National Institutes for Health “recognizes the power of guided imagery to elicit relaxation response,” according to the Huffington Post. You can practice visualization anywhere you are, at any time. Simply closing your eyes, taking deep breaths, and picturing peaceful surroundings (like a hot sandy beach in the Bahamas) can help lower your feelings of stress.

Woman meditating next to lake

6. Watch a good comedy
“Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain,” explains the Mayo Clinic. It costs nothing to laugh, but it means everything to your health! When faced with a great deal of stress, it may help to watch a comedy film – or crack a few jokes with a friend – to get some endorphins rushing.

7. Incorporate CBD oil into your routine
Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-pain remedy for many looking for alternative treatment. It’s known for its natural cannabis-derived properties that lets you enjoy all the relaxation from the plant, without the psychoactive THC. In other words, CBD oil helps you feel calm and collected without getting a high. “For many with a lifetime of experimenting with different products, CBD oil can be a new solution. We would encourage anyone trying something new to speak to a professional they trust,” says Marc Lewis, editor at Remedy Review.

8. Turn off your phone
No, seriously – turn off your phone! It can be difficult in today’s age, when the average workday extends far past 9 to 5, to turn away from the screen and call it a day. However, it’s more important than ever to disconnect from the screens before it starts to take a big toll on your stress. Consider turning off your electronics for an hour every day to feel your stress melt away.

A switched off mobile phone

9. Do some deep breathing
Your breathing can be a powerful tool when it comes to managing your own stress, so take advantage of it. Practicing some deep breathing techniques sends a message to your brain that allows for it to calm down and think about the bigger picture. There are a variety of different methods out there to try, but a personal favorite is the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise recommended by Dr. Weil, M.D.

10. Write down what you’re thankful for
We have so much to be thankful for that it can be easy to forget. In order to manage your anxieties better, try making a list of everything you are appreciative for. This practice of mindfulness can help you feel more equipped to handle life’s next big obstacle by reminding yourself of what’s truly important: your health, happiness, and ability to lead a stress-free life.

Author Bio

Vanessa Bermudez - author bio photo

Vanessa Bermudez is a contributing writer for Remedy Review and is based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the co-founder and editor of Modern Girls, a collaborative digital space featured in Girl Gaze Project and Teen Vogue.

10K… Our Way! Raising Money for Young Minds

Young Minds is a fantastic charity that means alot to me personally; they work hard to provide information and support for children and adolescents with mental health concerns, as well as their families. They also campaign to improve mental health services for young people, which is currently lacking in many areas of the country. Their work is vital for the wellbeing of our young generations.

However, I have delayed posting about my Young Minds 10k charity ‘run’ (I use that term loosely!) despite signing up weeks ago, because I had absolutely no plan as to how I would actually complete it! I am not fit enough to run 10k (yet!) and as a full-time carer, it isn’t always easy to find time to go to the gym.

Given we spend alot of time outdoors anyway, it initially seemed logical that I should be doing this outside too. But the fact is, there is a big difference between everyday walking outdoors and wandering around exploring vs actually finding time to ‘train’ for a run. Plus I find it harder to run outside longer distances, due to different surfaces; I am guessing this is pretty typical.

But that is what I love so much about Young Minds 10k Your Way. There is no ‘should’ and no restrictions; it can be carried out anytime, anywhere. It makes it far more accessible for people like myself to participate. Plus there is no set schedule and no waiting around, no crowds and no pressure. You don’t even have to tell anyone where or when you will complete it beforehand, if you don’t want to. This makes it really inclusive and accessible for anyone to take part, regardless of any challenges and potential barriers, which I really admire; it is a brilliant concept! Just run the 10k and raise some funds for a worthy cause. No frills, no fuss. Simple.

Kind of…

I still need to actually cover the 10k distance somehow though! So I have decided doing it on a treadmill at home will be most achievable. Now, I don’t actually have a treadmill at home yet. But, erm, minor details…

I’ll make it to the moon if I have to crawl…”

By this point, a third of the way through September already, I have those lyrics above from Scar Tissue by Red Hot Chili Peppers playing on a loop in my head. Granted, I am not aiming for the moon, but the crawling part seems apt about now lol! I realise 10k really might not seem like much to a seasoned runner, but I am far from any such thing…

But I don’t care. Whether I run, walk or crawl, I will (attempt to) do this! I don’t mind if it takes me an hour, 3 hours or all day. I won’t be going for speed or checking my time. My aim is simply to complete it. Eventually! 😉 If you would like to sponsor me, I would really appreciate it. I have set my target at £500, so dig deep please! Thank you.

justgiving.com/fundraising/livinglifeourway

You can join me in taking part too – it’s not too late! Sign up here throughout September.

Wish me luck – I’m going to need it!

Forest Holidays: Our Winter Retreat to Forest of Dean

Back in January we decided to book a last second escape to the Forest of Dean for a winter retreat at Forest Holidays. This was our first time visiting but it came recommended from friends who have stayed at a different location on one of their other sites. Squiggle’s anxiety was high, so we figured some extra time relaxing outdoors might be just what we all needed. It didn’t work miracles in that regard (but then again, I am pretty sure they don’t claim to either though!) but it was still a lovely holiday! Here is our review…

Title written on image of Forest Holidays cabin.

The Cabin

There are three main styles of cabin; golden oak, silver birch and copper beech. The main differences between them are that silver birch has a hot tub, and golden oak has both a log burner and a hot tub. We intentionally wanted to avoid having a log burner for personal reasons, and silver birch was fully booked, so that made it pretty easy to choose!

Despite copper beech being their cheapest (and most basic) option, we were absolutely amazed by the size of the cabin! The whole place had a wonderful air of luxury about it, whilst also feeling very homely. I loved how beautifully in keeping the decor is; very natural. I was very impressed! And everything is eco- friendly wherever possible too, which we were really glad to see.

Eco friendy kitchen kit

I was quite worried that it might be chilly in winter but the underfloor heating took care of that! If anything, it was actually abit too warm when we arrived but the thermastat was easy to use and had separate settings for each room too, so that was soon remedied. I don’t know how hot the cabins might get in a heatwave with all that glass though! But given that they seem very well designed overall, I am assuming there are measures in place to maintain optimum temperatures. We were certainly able to do that during our winter stay anyway, despite having both sunny days and snow in the time we were there! They are really cosy and it is easy to feel right at home there.

Here is my video tour of the cabin…

The Setting

The cabin we had was in the meadow so it was very open, whereas some of them are tucked away amongst the trees. Honestly, in my opinion, regardless of where your cabin is situated, you can’t go wrong.

Our view from the cabin. A meadow with cabins spread out.

The site is in a beautiful location, in the Forest of Dean, with stunning scenic walks all around. Regardless of the time of year we visited, even in Winter, we couldn’t fail to be in awe of the forest setting. Here are just a few of my pictures taken, the first onsite and the others literally a few moments walk off the main site…

Stunning forest setting of the Forest Holidays site.

Beautiful views at the Forest of Dean

Winter scenes at Forest of Dean

Forest of Dean

By the way, the sheer drop on the above photos is less breathtaking and more heartstopping when your autistic child suddenly bolts!!!! Especially if you happen to suffer from vertigo as well, like I do! So I recommend if you explore this area with a young child, or one with SEND, that you not only have nerves of steel, but a very tight grip of their hand!

We don’t have a dog personally, but the site is very dog- friendly and it would be the ideal holiday to take a dog if you are an owner. This is probably also worth noting though if you are nervous around dogs though I guess! Squiggle loved seeing all the dogs about going for walks, she was delighted!

Facilities

Forest Retreat

The Forest Retreat is the main hub where you check in and book activities, and is home to the shop and restaurant. It also has pottery activities for children.

The shop sells a lovely range of gifts, books and activities that are carefully chosen to be perfectly on theme for the nature of the holiday. It also sells a wonderful selection of food and drink; including an extensive range of cider, wine and beer, fresh produce and a range of Cook meals for easy self- catering dining options.

Forest Retreat photo strip showing selection in store.

Food

The menu has plenty to choose from, to either eat in the restaurant or take away. The food was consistently good and service was prompt.

Bike Hire

Bike hire is available onsite from £28 per break per adult or from £25 per child. It is recommended you book these in advance. We didn’t hire bikes on this occasion but Squiggle did ask about it (towards the end of the holiday!) so we would definitely consider it next time.

Cycle Hire building from the outside.

Play Area

The play area was sectioned off during our visit as they were carrying out work on it. It looked more suitable for younger children, but Squiggle would have had a quick go if it were available no doubt!

Bug Hotel

Granted not really one of the facilities per se (at least not for humans!) but I wanted to mention the bug hotel anyway. We have seen these in many places but this one is particularly well made!

Large bug hotel with information sign. Squiggle is stood next to it.

Activities

There are a range of forest ranger led activities available for various ages. Some are shorter at 90 minutes in duration, whilst one survival course is half a day. As well as daytime activities, there is also a night-time ranger adventure so you can spy on the nocturnal forest inhabitants after dark! Dogs are allowed on some of the activities but not all courses, and some have a minimum age for children, so do check details before booking. There are also a selection of activities off- site that can be booked through Forest Holidays as well.

Squiggle on the winter trail.

Squiggle wasn’t up for any of these due to her anxiety, so we opted to do their self- guided seasonal trail instead. This cost £6.95 and she got a prize at the end for completing it. This was a really engaging activity. She started off reluctant to join in but as soon as we got to the first few stops and solved the clues she was hooked! We really enjoyed it and it was definitely one of the highlights of our holiday.

Seasonal trail clue

Local Places To Visit

There are numerous walks nearby surrounded by beauty and tranquility. Aside from that, there are several local places to visit that might be of interest. Forest Holidays have some suggestions of what’s nearby. I would really love to visit Clearwell Caves and also Puzzlewood sometime in future.

We did go to Beechenhurst, mainly to go on the sculpture trail. However, Squiggle was very near tired and nearing meltdown, so we didn’t actually find any sculptures and ended up just having a quick wander instead. I would love to return when it is better timing for her though; it looked like a lovely place to spend a day and I really want to see the sculptures – from the photos they look brilliant!

One thing I will remember from our trip though was that, as we drove up into the carpark, something moving in the forest caught my eye. As I turned to look I thought at first it was dozens of rabbits scurrying into the bushes. But then I realised, whatever they were, they weren’t hopping – they were running. It was a huge group of baby wild boar!

Now I know they are very common to the area and especially at that time of year, but I had never actually seen any before. I was so excited! They were gone in a flash; no time to grab a camera or even point them out to Squiggle, but that was a personal highlight that I will always remember.

We also visited Symonds Yat briefly, on the bank of River Wye. I took a few photos, but I could have taken many more of these stunning scenic views…

River Wye

Stunning scenic view of river Wye

Symonds Yat

In Summary

We really enjoyed our stay at Forest Holidays and loved exploring Forest of Dean. We are very keen to return here sometime in the future, and also would like to try other Forest Holidays locations too. We would definitely recommend it – at any time of year!

Last but not least…

Here is a video clip I put together summarising the highlights of our holiday:

*Disclosure: I was given a discount when booking this holiday in exchange for a review post. However, as always, I have expressed my honest opinion and all thoughts are my own.

 4 Ways Camping Can Rejuvenate Your Soul

As modern people, we often do not get out into nature half as much as we should, and certainly nowhere near as often as even some of our more recent ancestors did. Instead, we remain indoors for the vast majority of our lives, whether at home, at the office, at the local cinema, or restaurant, or club.

There’s nothing wrong with the indoors, of course. Nature can often be savage and unforgiving, and electric underfloor heating is a tremendous boon in the midst of winter, when would be left fighting for our lives against the elements if we were still hunter-gatherers. Nonetheless, connecting to nature is essential, for mind, body, and soul. So here are some ways that a good camping trip – in as wild a place as possible – can rejuvenate your soul…

Title image with faded camping picture in background

It can wash away the preoccupations of daily life

Over the course of our normal 9-5 workdays and the lives that surround them, we are caught up between a near-endless number of obligations and concerns and preoccupations of various types. These obligations aren’t just all in our heads, either, although many of them are. There are real obligations placed on us by society to fill in the right form at the right times, complete our projects by particular deadlines, top up our cars, and attend parent-teacher meetings. All these preoccupations – each small in their own right – can mount and become the kind of chronic stress that leads to breakdowns and unhappiness with life in general.

Camping can wash all of that away for a time. Suddenly you are no longer “plugged into the Matrix”, but are out in nature, with your days and nights stretching before you. What do you need to do out here? Eat and sleep. Everything else is optional.

Leave your phone off and only switch it on for emergencies. Leave all your fancy gadgets at home. Go camping and let nature remind you of a more simple mode of living, and wash your soul clean of its usual preoccupations.

It can get you back in touch with the cycles of nature

Chronic insomnia is one of the major issues plaguing modern man in the developed world. The reasons aren’t too hard to fathom, either. Instead of our days following a natural rhythm, we find ourselves in an “always-on”, world. We can wake up before dawn, watch YouTube videos, organise our days on our planners, have a strong coffee, and leave for work. After working for an entire day, we return home, switch on the blinding artificial lights, and watch Netflix until the early hours.

Camping gets us back in touch with the natural cycles of nature. We rise with the sun, are active while it shines, and then get sleepy – and sleep – moments after it sets. Things seem to fit into their proper categories and positions, and our mood and health begin to improve rapidly.

A tent pitched up on a large open field overlooking the beach and ocean below

It can remind you of your connectedness to the great web of life

We buy our food from the local grocery store wrapped in plastic. We hear about environmental crises, but it doesn’t really register. It can be easy to forget, when living in the city, that we are not just detached individuals floating through the world, but are in fact connected to the great web of life all around us.

Camping reminds us of our place in the order of things. It can make us feel more whole, less alone, and more in touch with the planet we occupy. It can remind us that we are part of a greater whole and have an important role to play in the world.

It can give you space to dream

One of the most damaging consequences of being caught up in the constant flow of information and distraction that makes up modern life, is that we are so drawn into the everyday complexities of things, that we completely lose our perspective and forget, or can no longer manage, to dream the big dreams that make life truly worth living.

Getting out camping in a wild location can truly give us a different perspective on life. Now, we see our normal lives as if from a great height. We’re in a different place, somewhat outside of space and time, and we can see more clearly than we did before. From this perspective – this place outside of our normal routines – we may once again find the space to dream, to wonder, and to plan our lives from a transcendent place of hope and excitement.

A tent in the forest

*This is a collaborative post.

Strategies To Help Children Who Procrastinate

“Not now” and “later on” are common things that a household with older children or teenagers will hear. It could be relating to homework, chores, or just general helping around the house. And in many ways, it can be completely normal. Even us as parents can put off the less than desirable tasks as we have other things to do instead or don’t have the energy right then and there to do them. What is important is noticing if you or your child are an occasional delayer, or if you or they are a proper procrastinator and do so because of an underlying issue. Dealing with children that delay tasks for either reason can be a challenge, but knowing the difference and why your child does it can be even more of a challenge.

The thing is, if children are delaying these kinds of thing at home; by simply not starting them with enough time, not completing them, or not even bothering with them, it can cause them some challenges in life. It can mean lower grades, less freedom due to parental punishments, or the inability to take part in extracurricular activities.

A group of teenagers chatting happily

Some reasons why they will put doing things off could be:

• Boredom or lack of interest

• Poor time management

• Lack of self-discipline

• Lack of empathy and seeing the relevance of the task to them

• Fear of failure or anxiety

As parents, we need to identify why it might be that our children are putting off doing certain things, or just not wanting to do them at all. Do any of these reasons resonate with you? If so, then it is a good idea to intervene. Here are some ways that you can help your child to be more focused and productive…

Use Your Experiences to Share and Relate

Whether our children like it or not, we have been there and done that, so to speak, and can share some of our life experiences. You could talk about how to become a productive student and what changes you had to make when you went off to University, for example. You could share what you struggled with as you were growing up and what you learned, or strategies that helped.

Clarify Your Expectations

If your child puts things off because of anxiety or the perceived thought of failure, then make sure you are clear in what you expect of them. You are highly likely not expecting perfection; so let them know. Focus on the effort it takes to do something, rather than the end product, or the score, or grade.

Help Teach Problem Solving

Children with anxiety will be likely to make a small situation much bigger than it is, in their head. If they perceive failing at a certain task before they’ve even done it, then it could mean to them that they’ll instantly be punished or become unpopular. The scenario is not likely to happen, but the thought that it could might well be enough to put them off. Help your child to do some rational thinking about this and sometimes even talking about worse case scenarios will make them see it is not that bad. Also help problem solving skills and confidence by starting with smaller, more manageable tasks. You can also teach relaxation skills too.

If Anxiety Gets Too Much

If your child has anxiety, it is important to be understanding and support them in beating their anxiety, using approaches that help them feel able to do whatever it is they are trying to achieve. Gentle nudges out of their comfort zone without making it too overwhelming tends to be effective. If their anxiety becomes unmanageable, CBT and/ or self- help strategies can sometimes be very effective. If it gets to a point where anxiety is significantly affecting daily functioning though, please ensure you seek professional help asap.

*This is a collaborative post.

International Day of Happiness

Today, 20th March, is International Day of Happiness. This year’s theme is Share Happiness – focusing on the importance of relationships, kindness and helping each other.

I created this reminder of actions we can take to help ourselves, and others, to feel good…

International Day of Happiness infographic

This was inspired by ideas from the Action for Happiness website, which has plenty of other ideas and resources too. I printed off some of my favourites for us to display at home…

Squiggle reading our Action for Happiness, International Day of Happiness display

Action for Happiness, International Day of Happiness display

Squiggle also wrote her own message too…

International Day of Happiness message from Squiggle

International Day of Happiness message by Squiggle

What will you do today for International Day of Happiness? Leave me a comment!

An Open Letter To Anyone Who Struggled This Mothers Day

If you follow me on any of my social media channels, you will perhaps have already seen the Mothers Day post I wrote first thing yesterday morning. But incase you missed it, here it is…

Happy Mothers Day ❤

I know today is not always the happy day that it is sometimes expected to be. For alot of SEND parents, for example, it can be quite the opposite; the ‘demand’ (even if only perceived, not an actual expectation), the anxiety of ‘getting it right’, the change from the norm – all of it can lead to a difficult day for everyone.

Or maybe you are dealing with a bereavement. Or your family just isn’t around. There are so many reasons why today might be tough…

So whether there is a specific reason… or your kid simply decides that today is THE day to get out of the wrong side of bed and throw the most epic of tantrums ALL DAMN DAY… this post is for you. To all the mummas who feel sad, or frustrated, or under- appreciated right now; I am here to tell you that you rock! And it’s okay not to feel okay. Today or any other day.

May your rain lead to rainbows and may tomorrow be a brighter day! Love and strength to you all 🌈 ❤😘 xxxx

A selfie of Katie Living Life Our Way with rainbow drawings border

Alongside the post, I shared this selfie.

Why A Selfie?

I already knew, even at that time of the morning, that there would be no Mothers Day pictures to share. No cards. No presents, flowers or chocolates. No meals. No outings. No recent photos of my mum. Nothing.

(Although to be fair later in the day I did get a few cute photos of me sat on the sofa with Squiggle but I wouldn’t share those for privacy reasons anyway).

Sure, I could have used a stock image of a pretty bunch of flowers or box of chocolates but it just seemed abit inauthentic. So the picture is just to remind other mums that you aren’t alone! There is a real person behind these words, and I get how you feel. After all, I am that mum too.

Social Media Highlights

People on Facebook and other social media are often accused of only showing the highlights of their lives too though. Well yeah, sometimes that is certainly true – but so what? Way I see it, even if it was just one good moment out of the whole day, then you are blessed with that moment and why not share that with the world?! There is nothing wrong with focusing on the positives and sharing them for everyone to celebrate with you! So when you see others’ newsfeeds, please remember that people aren’t trying to make you feel bad or show off how amazing their life is – they are just the highlights!

Let’s all be cheerleaders in one another’s lives – goodness knows we certainly all need it at some time or another! As I said in my earlier message; sending love and strength to all those who need it. Together, we got this! ❤💪

(As a side note, the picture wasn’t meant to look so ‘posed’ by the way; it was taken at 3am after zero sleep (thanks to Squiggle pulling an all- nighter, yet again) and I was just trying to hide the fact I had massive bags under my eyes, haven’t done my eyebrows in forever, no make up (obviously!) and have very messy, unstyled hair. Oh, and I was sporting a scratch on my cheek from an earlier meltdown too! So I was just doing my best to erm… ‘style it out’ shall we say lol! But I mention this all now because, to be honest, I did kind of cringe when I looked back at the photo later in the day and wondered what others might think of my sleep- deprived choice! Oh well!)

Lots of love,

Katie xx

Children Are Our Future: Setting Them Up For Success

As parents, our number one goal in life is to raise happy and healthy children with a bright future. We want to know that we’re doing everything we can to do what’s best for them, and once you have a child this little person is suddenly the most important thing in your life, you value it above your own. But knowing what we need to do to make sure we’re setting our children up for success can be a struggle, after all, no one knows what the future holds. However with that being said, there are a few things we can do that will always benefit our kids in later years, regardless of the direction they go in. Here are some ideas…

Children Are Our Future: Setting Them Up For Success title with black and white image of child sat on adult's knee in a living room reading a book.

Teach Them The Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle

We’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic. The leading cause of death in the third world is heart disease, which for the most part is preventable with a healthy lifestyle. Therefore teaching our children about the importance of health and setting a good example for healthy habits is crucial. Keep processed food, sweets and junk out of the house as much as possible, and try to avoid using them as treats or rewards, as this teaches children a bad mindset towards these things.

Cook healthy and delicious meals at home- include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and other fresh raw nutricious ingredients. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration for family friendly meals, and if you’re pushed for time you could try batch cooking at weekends. That way you have access to lots of frozen, healthy meals you cooked yourself and are far less likely to buy something convenient yet unhealthy and expensive. Also, numerous studies have shown that families that eat together raise happier and more balanced children, who tend to be slimmer and healthier. So if you currently feed the children and adults in your house separately it’s worth making a change.

Exercise is also very important, kids are naturally energetic so it shouldn’t be difficult for them to get in the hour of moderate to vigorous activity they need a day. The trick is to make it fun, avoid it feeling like a chore. You could go on family hikes or bike rides together at the weekend. Or take them swimming, trampolining or to a class they enjoy, such as dance or martial arts. Even hire a bouncy castle or buy a large trampoline for your back garden and they’re sure to have hours of fun activity with very little input needed from you. Getting into these healthy habits and seeing exercise as something that’s fun and enjoyable is something that will most definitely set them up for future success.

Think About Finances

Starting out as a young adult can be difficult. It’s more of a struggle to get onto the property market now than it ever was- and it’s set to get worse. By planning for your child’s future, you can give them an advantage once they’re older. Some money towards a mortgage deposit could help them onto the property ladder which might have otherwise been impossible for them. You could either put money into a savings account, or make a smart investment such as buying some property. A studio apartment or small flat wouldn’t be too expensive, you could then put away the money you earn from it each month into savings for your child. When they’re older, they could even live in it while they get established with their career or attend a local college or university. This would save on fees for halls or renting a student house, but still give them the independence they will be craving at that age.

Keep Them Curious

Children are naturally curious about the world, and keeping this magic alive is what will give them a great capacity to learn and do well in their education. Take them to galleries and museums, go on woodland walks with fun worksheets from Pinterest where you tick off the things you see. Take them rock pool fishing and teach them about the creatures they catch, go to the farm or zoo and tell them all about the animals. Learning doesn’t have to happen in a classroom or with books, keeping kids curious and giving them a thirst for knowledge is a fantastic way to set them up later in life. With a passion to learn they’re more likely to do well in future, and a good education paves the way for gaining the skills they need to later on enjoy satisfying career that they love.

Read to your kids often, sing songs, make up stories together. Do puzzles, teach them how to bake or sew. It’s all new, fun and exciting for kids and you help them to develop passions and hobbies that can help them meet new friends and develop their skills.

Photo of a happy laughing family having a water fight with buckets of water

Encourage Them To Be Empathetic

Empathy, being able to see things from another person’s perspective and feel genuine emotions towards them seems like the most human thing in the world. However this is not a trait we are born with, those who grow up without learning how to empathise don’t show it later on, their brains do not develop in the same way. Being empathetic, sensitive and able to understand the emotions of others helps people to develop meaningful friendships and later on relationships- it helps them to become a good person.

Encourage empathy by praising empathetic behaviour, avoiding anger and encouraging kids to talk about their feelings. Being able to label your own feelings as a child is very useful, as when others speak about how they feel the child is able to understand what it means and feels like.

One option for teaching kids empathy is to take them volunteering. Feeding the homeless, helping out at a children’s hospital, volunteering at an animal shelter or at a care home can all allow them to experience different emotions of others, and learn how it feels good to help. Growing up in touch with their emotions as well as being able to perceive others will allow them to create meaningful and lasting bonds with others.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.