How I’m Planning My Day During LockDown

life

So with everything that’s going on at the moment I have been feeling more anxious. My routine for the week has changed and I’ve been finding that a bit challenging at times.

Recently I spoke on the phone to my care coordinator and we were discussing how I could create a new routine that I felt I could understand and build myself some structure as things are so unknown. Which can lead to me feeling like I don’t know where I’m coming or going.

I have also been working on creating a new routine I feel happy and comfortable with the help from my support worker. My support worker often reminds me that it doesn’t matter how big or small the things you are achieving are. As well as this she regularly reminds me that it’s all about the sense of achievement I get from doing something and not what others think. I am also trying not to be too judgemental on myself and be kinder to myself as I know I can be a bit to hard on myself at times.

Let’s get started

So to get started on setting out your day visually all you need is a notebook and a pen. I love to make mine colourful so you could use felt tips or gel pens. Or you could do this on a whiteboard and use a whiteboard marker and have this placed somewhere in your room so you can see it everyday when you wake up. Your day could look like this.

How to plan the day

1. First write the date at the top of the page or whiteboard.

2. Now list out the music, TV programme and exercised our want to do for the day.

MUSIC: My happy playlist on Spotify

EXERCISE: Walking the dog

TV PPROGRAMME: Sex Education

3. Next write down 3 things your grateful for, it can be anything!

4. Next you need to write down your MUST do list. This is different from your to do list as these are tasks you must do that day. For example clean the fish tank or send your friend a Happy Birthday message.

5. Now it’s time to think about how you want to feel for the day. For example I wanted to be calm, relaxed and happy on Sunday.

6. Now let’s write down 5 people your sending positivity thoughts and energy to for the day. It can be anyone!

7,. Lastly it’s time to write your to-do list. I like write down 5 things I need to do in the order of importance. Any tasks left to do that day I will add it to my To Do List for tomorrow.

I hope this helps you or gives you some ideas. I would love to know how your adjusting with everything right now. So please comment in the below!

Coping with anxiety during lockdown

mental health

Right now life is very strange for everyone across the world. From our daily routines changing to coping with the uncertainty and unknown. As someone who suffers from high levels of anxiety I thought I would share with you some of the things I am doing right now to help me manage my anxiety.

Social Media

Social media plays a big role in modern day society . And now more than ever you might find your using your social media platforms even more because of social distancing. As you can’t go out and socialise with your group of friends. Social media can be a great tool to use in times like these. But remember if your chat starts to turn onto talking about topics you feel uncomfortable about for example Covid- 19 tell your friends that you feel uncomfortable this is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact the conversation will problem turn into story times and they won’t even realise you’ve changed topic so don’t feel guilty saying . Remember your family and friends care about you and the last thing they won’t is to make you feel uncomfortable or anxious!

Another tip I have is make sure you are following accounts on platforms such as Instagram that you find positive, inspirational and put a big smile on your face. If you are finding any accounts you follow hard to look at remember it is ok to unfollow. The last thing anyone wants is for you to have a negative impact from their account!

The News

It’s great that we want to know more about the current situation and what’s going on around the world. However looking at the news all day can really start us to make us feel more tense and make your anxiety a lot higher . To help keep you less anxious but still know what’s going on you could restrict yourself to just turning on the news at a certain times everyday. For example 9am and 8pm . To help you do this you could turn off your news app notifications on all of your devices.

Sleep

This one might seem a bit obvious but the better night sleep I have the better I feel the next day. An alarm in the morning could really help especially when we get that temptation to have a quick lie in. This could become much greater as we don’t have to get ready for the school run or work run.

Exercise

Even though we are stuck at home their are lots of exercise classes you can do online for free and best thing is all the family can do it together!Checkout this blog post of mine for ideas of classes you could do. https://defeatingdisability.com/2020/04/14/things-to-do-in-isolation-part-1-classes-workshops/

Fresh Air

Now guidelines are saying we can now go for short walk or do other type of exercise like running for about 30 minutes. I recommend just spending so time outdoors in the fresh air. This can really help to clear your mind and make sense of all of your thoughts. As well as this the fresh air can help you feel grounded in the here and now.

Healthy Eating

Right now you maybe finding it hard to go to the shops or struggling to afford ingredients. However making sure you eat everyday is very important especially breakfast it gives you energy for the day ahead. A great place I like to look for easy, affordable and health recipes is on Pinterest. Soon I will be showing you how to make some of my favourite recipes that I have found through Pinterest.

I hope some of these ideas helped you if you are experiencing anxiety at the moment. I would love to know any tips you have too. Please pop them in the comments below!

STAY HOME & STAY SAFE💜

My Top 5 Tips For Practising Self Care On A Bad Day

mental health

We all have those days when we can feel so down, that doing things for our own self care can be at it’s hardest time ever and feel impossible . This is when it is the most important time we focus on ourselves. It’s ok to put yourself first!

Sometimes when I’m having a bad day and I know I need to spend some time just focusing on me, this is when I can find it the hardest and extremely overwhelming to think of things I enjoy doing for myself. My head goes like crazy, my thoughts and emotions are rushing around me so fast I find it hard to know what to do so I just freeze.

So I thought I would share with you some of my favourite things to do when I need to put myself first. As I know when your in the thick of it, it can be very hard to come up with things you could do that just focus on you. Without you feeling guilty because you’re put yourself first!

1. I like to listen to music to help me as I find that lyrics from a song can help me not to feel alone.The lyrics can really help me to describe and express how I am feeling. This helps me to understand my emotions . I like to make playlists so that when I feel down I can quickly get to my music on the go.

2. I like to go onto Pinterest and look at my quotes board to help me feel better. I also enjoy looking for new things to add to my boards. I like using Pinterest as it is very visual and this can help me a lot when I feel down as I don’t have to read through lots of text.

3. When I feel down it can be very hard to think of all the good things that have happened. To help me through the difficult time I like to look at my photos to remind me of some of the amazing memories I have with my family and friends. To make it easier I recommend putting your photos into albums on your phone so that you can access them on the go too.

4. Journaling can be a great way to release your thoughts and emotions onto paper. This helps me to feel less scared about any worries or concerns I may have that I didn’t even know I had before I started to write.

5. Treat yourself to a warm hot drink like a nice warm mug of hot chocolate!

My Top 5 Back To School Tips For Beating That New School Year Anxiety

mental health

It’s that time again after the summer break we’re we are buying new equipment and stationery ready for our new year of school, Sixth Form, College or maybe even University. I don’t know about you but living with anxiety can be hard to cope with when new chapters are starting. So I thought I would share with you some of my tips with coping with the new academic year when you’re feeling anxious.

Pre Nerves

If you are doing higher education at college or university chances are you probably had to go and have an interview with a tutor who teaches on the course you want to do to see if you have got a place on your wanted course. When you get an offer this can be very exciting however the day before you start you might have those ever so helpful doubting thoughts wizzing around your head like crazy. To help me to deal with these unhelpful thoughts I like to write down statements of what I am looking forward to doing or learning on the course for example going on trips or having guest speakers come in. By doing this it helps me to focus on the positives, you might want to write them on your phone or write them down in a notebook that you keep beside your bed or maybe on post it notes and put them around your house.

I would also go into your school, college or university before you start to talk about your concerns for example about your anxiety. I have found that if they know before hand they can support you in making sure you are alright and feel comfortable. I also found this useful as I was told about different departments that I could go to if I felt I wanted to go somewhere more quite or to get additional support for example I could talk to a student development officer.

When you start to pack your school bag make sure you’ve got all that you need. But to help with my anxiety I also like to add to my bag things like a stress ball or maybe even an emergency paper bag that I can use if I feel a panic attack coming on. I do this because it helps me to feel more prepared if something was to happened.

On The Day

When you arrive at your school, college or university for the first day it can sometimes hit you when you reach the entrance. This can make me feel very uncomfortable and worried. I think everyone is looking at me and talking about me. To help me with this I like to pick a letter at random and then try and find as many things as I can beginning with that letter.

My last tip would be don’t put pressure on yourself to talk to everyone or to get to know other students. What I like to do because I find it hard to talk to lots of people is give myself a target of talking to one of the other students and if I talk to more that’s great . I feel that if I put too much pressure on myself then my anxiety gets worse. So go at your own pace theirs no right or wrong answer.

I hope some of these will help you too, I would love to know some of your top tips!

The Theatre Shed Takes CapeAbility To Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019

disability

Can you see our poster?

I had an amazing time with my Shed family performing CapeAbility for the last time on this years Shed Tour. It’s been a crazy adventure full of fun and laughter. We have performed the show at local venues, Brighton Open Air Theatre and finally at this years Edinburgh Fringe.

It feels really strange knowing now that we are not performing CapeAbility again. I really enjoyed playing my character Flint who’s superpower is all about encouraging others. I loved exploring the themes of friendship throughout the production and being able to use my own experiences throughout the production as well as being able to express my feelings.

I loved performing the songs in the production. I loved the messages we were trying to show throughout the production by using lyrics, facial expressions and sign language.

I really enjoyed making the audience feel more involved in the show compared to other shows I have done with different companies.

All in all it has been incredible and I can’t wait until our next Tour in 2021!

If you would like to find out more about this amazing inclusive theatre charity please visit https://thetheatreshed.co.uk

Dear Younger Me: The Night Before Results Day

mental health

The night before results day I still remember like it was yesterday. My thoughts in my head racing around at a hundred miles an hour.

Did I put my name on the paper? Did I do the right level paper? Did I answer the right questions? Did I read the questions correctly? What if I don’t get the grades?

With all these thoughts and emotions running wild whilst I was lying in my bed. My heart began to race and I knew I was going into a panic attack. So I tried to do my visualisation techniques I had learnt in therapy.

Throughout my time at school I had never been one of the high achieving students in my year. I found writing hard not only because I found spelling tricky but also making sure my writing was going in a straight line. I did a lot of practicing with writing in my OT sessions. It took me longer to write things down than my peers. I found maths extremely difficult I saw it in a way that not many other people did, I found it so confusing.

Looking back now doing all that revision, opening the first pages of that exam paper, then thinking after the exam if I would pass or not and just hoping I would. This time in my life was so stressful I was with CAMHS and being diagnosed with anxiety and depression let alone the fact I was getting bullied at school the minute got in through the school gates.

That night lying awake in my bed just wanting to know my grades the following day. Counting down the time when I would go to school for the last time pick up an envelope and see these grades staring back at me. I believed that my results had the power to not only change my whole life but dictate it too!

However my family and close friends reminded me that I was more than just some letters on a piece of paper. All those things exams don’t test like the fact I want to help others or that my strengths were outside the school grounds like horse riding. My mum said to me we don’t just need doctors or lawyers everyone has a special skill they can offer to the world however big or small they may seem.

I know it’s terrifying and scary and you may feel like these grades will plan out your whole life. Doing all those practice tests then having to mark them to see if you would have passed an old exam paper. Your grades do not own you and do not have the power to stop you being who you are!

You’re going to be OK . Follow your heart and follow your dreams show the world who you really are because we are all worth more than some letters and numbers on a piece of paper and all have special skills to offer the world!

You’re going to be OK!

How Music Helped Me Through Bullying

mental health

For many years during my time at primary and secondary school I was bullied by lots of different groups of people. The bullying however got a lot worse when I entered second school. At secondary school it didn’t even start on the first day but on my induction day. I was so upset and scared I didn’t want to go to that school in September, I remember coming home in floods of tears just crying on the sofa.

For a while in my first couple of years at secondary school I thought the people in the group I hangout out with were my friends. Turned out I was only in their group so they could pick on me. To begin with I didn’t see it as bullying I just wanted to fit in but then it got a lot worse. They would bully me for many reasons for example being disabled, not wearing fashionable clothes and having curly hair they would throw drinks at me and in my hair at break and at at lunch.

The bullying started to escalate with older and young years bullying me too hitting and punching me. Other people in my year would laugh at me during class I got told several times to kill myself.

The bullying I was experiencing made me feel very sducidal I just wanted the pain to stop. When I tried to tell teachers what was going on they would dismiss it telling me to except it or to feel sorry for the people bullying me.

Over time I started to retreat into myself not wanting to be with anyone or socialise I spent a lot of time in my room as I felt safe in my bedroom when I went out I thought everyone was looking, talking and laughing at me.

I found it extremely difficult to express how I was feeling and what was going on to my parents. And that’s when I found out that when I listened to my music the lyrics would just speak to me and I felt that I wasn’t alone in how I felt. I found that music could express how I was feeling to the outside world as I found it super difficult to try and express my thoughts and feelings to the outside world. I found that music also helped me to keep going as a lot of the time when I came back from school I would be crying sometimes I cried myself to sleep wishing I wouldn’t wake up.

I liked listening to music as it helped me to try and make sense of all the thoughts in my head that would race around in my head at 100 miles an hour. I found it extremely difficult and confusing to try and think why people treated me the way I did for along time at school. Because I had been bullied for a long time before I started secondary school I thought of it as a new start so when I was getting bullied more and more at secondary school I started to think their was something wrong with me. And that I deserved to be treated the way I did because I started to believe I was a bad person and that everyone’s lives would be better if I wasn’t here.

Listening to music helped me a lot in not feeling alone and that maybe others felt similar to me as lots of people made me feel like I was a freak. I also found that music helped me to face the upcoming days going to school as sometimes a certain lyric made me feel empowered and that maybe I could get through the day a little bit better.

I remember at the time my favourite band JLS helped me massively, I felt I could relate to them as I found out that one of them had experienced bullying and another member of the group was a young career helping to look after his mum during his childhood. As my sister was a young career for me.

I still love listening to music now but throughout my difficult time at school music played a big part in trying to just get through one day at a time feeling that others interpreted the songs lyrics in a similar way to me! The bullying still affects me to this day as I was diagnosed with PTSD because of the bullying that happened to me.

ALFIE Adult Learning Course: My Photography Portfolio

disability

This year I did an adult learning course in Art and Photography for adults with disabilities at college.

I enjoyed doing the art but I found that I really love photography especially nature and wildlife photography. Photography helps me a lot with my mental health as it helps me to ground myself in the here and now. Another brilliant thing I have found is by taking photos of the great outdoors is it has helped improve my mood and can sometimes help me when I am feeling anxious.

Throughout the year I was able to develop my skills in photography and photo editing. So I thought I would share with you some of my top photos I have done on the course.

Autumn has arrived

A fallen leaf

Orange berries

Fruit berries

Keeping each other company

Coming into bud

Spring has come

On the lookout

Pink blossom

Blossom

Sheep

After taking this photo I used editing software to turn the photo into black and white.

From doing this course I have found that I really enjoy doing photography and I hope to do some more photography projects soon!

The Theatre Shed Takes CapeAbility To Brighton In Collaboration With Brighton Shed

disability

Last weekend I had an amazing time with my Theatre Shed family and Brighton Shed. It was our first day of The Theatre Shed going on tour. With a our production CapeAbility, which is all about each and everyone of us finding our unique super powers and showing the world that we are all CAPEABLE!

Throughout this whole production we explore super powers, friendships , mental heath and struggles in the education system.

We performed at The Brighton Open Air Theatre the day was great and we were really lucky with the lovely warm sunny weather. We did two performances of CapeAbility during the day.

I really enjoyed doing the movement pieces and having to use my imagination to help create some of the scenes of the production. I enjoyed using drums to help create tension during some parts of the show.

I loved performing at an open air theatre as I have never performed at an open air theatre I was a bit nervous to begin with but by the end of the day I didn’t want it to end.

I found that performing at an open air theatre helped me to develop my acting skills because it made me feel more aware of what was going happening on stage and how to communicate with the audience at different angles as your audience is all around you.

I really loved the day and can’t wait till our next show!

Exams & Self Care

mental health

It’s that time again for many students exam season . As we all know exams can be very stressful and challenging and this can have a negative impact on our mental health. Sometimes we feel we have a lot of pressure to do well from outsiders. You may feel that if you don’t reach your targets or your not the best in your class you will have a higher chance of failing your exams. This can be hard as we are always told in school your grades affect what jobs you will be able to do in the future and what kind of career you will be able to have.

I feel that during this very stressful period a lot of us forget about giving ourselves a break and actually remember to be kind not just to others but also to ourselves. We are told a lot about taking breaks during our revision time but I sometimes find this hard as I’m not sure when to use it.

So looking back on doing my exams from doing my GCSE’s to BTECS I thought I would share with you some self care ideas you could do in between revision and your exams.

During my revision time I can get very distracted and find it hard to remember information.

To help me with getting less distracted and help me to ground myself I like to think of a letter from the alphabet and then come up with as many objects I can see beginning with that letter in the room I am in.

Or I like to do the 5,4,3,2,1 activity. This is were you think of:

5 things you can see

4 things you can touch

3 things you can hear

2 things you can smell

1 say one of your greatest achievements out loud

Sometimes you might just want to forget about the revision and just relax. I love to listen to my favourite music or maybe watch a video by one of my favourite YouTubers or a TV program.

If I have a longer break I enjoy taking my dog out for a walk in the fresh air and grounding myself in the here and now with nature.

You could maybe do some easy baking like a chocolate fridge cake. You could get creative and do some drawing or painting. You could make yourself a board with nice things others have said to you to help boost your confidence when revising for a tricky subject.

Another thing I like to do in between revision is go on websites such as Pinterest and look at lovely inspiring quotes and funny pictures of animals .

Make sure you drink plenty of water and eat regular meals. Listen to your body it is not a race everyone has different energy levels and study levels. If you are struggling with anything tell a family member, friend or someone you trust they can support you.

Please remember all that matters is that you try your best, we are not defined by our grades, you are worth so much more never forget that!