Introducing a pet to your family home…

After more than a year of threatening to wait until Daddy is away and bringing home a cat, Olivia and I finally managed to talk Daddy into letting us get one! I think he knew I was starting to get very serious about just moving one in while he was out one day…

So, off we went to our local RSPCA centre and found ourselves a lovely pet cat.

Meet Shadow:

Shadow is a black Domestic Shorthair cat, and she only has 3 legs!

When you adopt from the RSPCA you have to have a home visit from RSPCA staff. Ours came and went quite quickly and gave us a pack of helpful information and advice when introducing a pet to your home. It included tips like:

  • Isolate your cat to one room at first
  • Make a cat friendly room with a scratching post, their food and litter tray, and somewhere they can get up high
  • Keep their diet the same as what they’ve been eating in the RSPCA centre
  • Keep them indoors for 4 weeks

When we went to collect her, she came with her blanket and toys in order to help her settle. We were also given another pack of helpful information, and the RSPCA gave us 4 weeks free pet insurance, which was one less thing to worry about!

We moved her in and she was a bit nervous at first, but she has gotten used to Olivia’s pestering now.

Olivia was so excited to have a pet cat that she would not leave her alone (and she still doesn’t 2 months later). It was important for us to get a cat that was friendly with children, and Shadow was perfect – so chilled out, and a little older as well so she wouldn’t get too excitable around Olivia. She’s 7 in human years, which I think is around 44 in cat years, but she still has a lot of life left in her!

It’s also been really helpful having friends with cats to ask advice about things. For example, did you know that cats eat grass to help their digestion? Well, I didn’t! I am planning on getting her some cat grass that we can have in pots in the house, as Shadow mostly stays indoors.

What else have you found to help your pets settle in the first few months?

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Mental Health Monday: My first CBT session…

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Good morning lovelies! A couple of weeks ago I posted about 6 forms of therapy you can use to help you with depression, and my 8 top tips on how to stay motivated.

Today, I’m tying these two together with the help of the skills I’ve learned as a result of my CBT sessions! I’ve had one proper session with feedback and so I’m on my second lot of activities to go through, and I hope that what I will share will help you to challenge negative attitudes and keep your motivation on a daily basis.

Obviously, I am not a doctor or a therapist, so if you are struggling with depression or anxiety and want to access some CBT sessions yourself, consult your GP to find out which services are available to you. I’m in North Hampshire and the one I’m using is TalkPlus, so if you’re local to me then give them a google and you can fill out their online self referral form! CBT sessions will either be group sessions or individual sessions, and being able to opt for one or the other will again depend on which service you’re accessing. I’ve managed to access individual sessions and I am finding them really helpful!

The CBT Model

In case you didn’t already know, CBT is all about recognising and understanding the relationships between your behaviour, thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. They call this the CBT model, and I’m going to attempt to draw a super helpful diagram to illustrate it for you. 
You can use this model to evaluate the relationships between what you’re feeling and thinking and how you react. I found this really helpful to do because it made me realise that it is so much easier to actually challenge the behaviour for you to make a positive change to your life than it is to challenge the negative thoughts. How often do we get stuck in downward spirals feeling stressed and unmotivated? The trick is to change the behaviour and start making that spiral go back up!
Step 1:
 
Identify the behaviour you want to challenge
Step 2:
 
Separate your thoughts, emotions and physical feelings and sensations into the other three boxes
Step 3:
 
Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve written. For me, just seeing on paper it made me stop beating myself up over nothing!

Activity Diary

Going forward, this is going to be the thing that is really crucial to helping me keep my motivation and to (hopefully) help me to recover from my depression once and for all.
You can do this for as many weeks as you like, but the idea is that for each activity you do (and this can be anything at all, I even had an afternoon nap on mine) you write down one word to describe how you feel, a percentage intensity for that emotion, and then you rate your senses of achievement, closeness to others and enjoyment on scales of 1-10.
So… an example would be;
Sunday 10-12, watched Moana, happy 80%, A(achievement ) 5, C(closeness) 3, E(enjoyment) 9.
Once you’ve filled out a week’s worth of activities, you can start to change what you do so that the activities you are doing give you a greater sense of achievement.
Step 1: 
 
Click this link for me to send you a FREE printable pdf of the weekly activity template straight to your inbox.
Step 2: 
Fill in the blanks, and start planning your time with more activities to give you greater senses of achievement, closeness to others and enjoyment!
Step 3:
 
Reap the benefits of a more fulfilled life. As I said in my post about keeping your motivation, if you tackle smaller tasks, you’ll feel the accomplishment you need to tackle bigger ones too!

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