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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Mental Health Monday: 8 ways to stay motivated!

Evening all!

I realise I’ve been slacking on the #MentalHealthMonday posts recently, but my own mental health has had to be prioritised, as has taking some time out to focus on spending time with my dear husband before he goes to Afghanistan.

One thing I’ve recognised in myself over the last couple of weeks, if not months, is that whenever your mental health takes a turn for the worse, it becomes so incredibly difficult to stay motivated. The smallest things like doing a grocery shop, writing a blogpost or doing exercise can be that much harder to do when you’re completely lacking motivation.

Here are my 8 top tips to stay motivated in spite of your mental health!

1. Plan your time

This one helps me the most, and you’ll find it particularly helpful if, like me, you’ve got a busy schedule and every minute of the day needs to be used wisely! When I was revising for my exams at school and sixth form I would use online tools to create revision timetables, and now I follow the same format by dedicating a certain amount of hours to something each week. That tends to be revision based still but I also have to balance work in the mix!

2. Use a tracker

If you haven’t seen my post about my bullet journal, check it out! I use my BuJo for everything, and I love using trackers. It’s a lovely pictorial way of logging what you actually do with your time, so that, on those days where you think “what have I even done today”, you can look back and feel less bad about yourself. You would be surprised how many habits we have that we just do without even thinking about them, good or bad! A tracker can be a great way to iron out those annoying habits you have too! Personally, I use mine to track my medication, spending and blogging usually, but the range of possibilities is endless.

3. Take regular breaks

If it’s a day where you have a lot of big tasks to get through,  and you’re finding it hard to motivate yourself to do even one of those, then taking regular breaks can really help. Know your limits and if you’re tired, take a rest! We’re only human so we need to stop trying to be superhuman all the time!

4. Have a day off

If you’re having long-term motivation issues, just take the day off. Your body and mind clearly need it, so have a you day, do whatever you want to, get some well-deserved rest and come back to it tomorrow. As long as you know it’s something you can come back to, you’ll feel better for rejuvenating and allowing your mind to repair itself so that when you do come back to whatever task you’re doing, you can feel fresh and ready to go!

5. Set a daily goal

Each day, set one goal for something that you want to achieve that day, and achieve it! It can’t be something so incredibly mundane that you feel no accomplishment when you do achieve it though, so pick something a little outside of your usual routine and just make sure that you set aside enough time in the day to get it done. Once you’ve completed it, you’ll feel your motivation to do other things coming back to you too!

6. Put your phone away

How many of us actually take time off from our phones? I’m writing this blogpost right now on my phone. It’s a terrible thing! It’s an addiction and we need to have time to be in the moment away from any distractions. When you go to bed, plug your phone in on the other side of the room, and when you wake up you’ll HAVE to get out of bed to turn your phone alarm off or just to check your messages. Try limiting your time on social media so that instead of seeing tons of people being “fake happy”, you can spend time getting your real happy back. This is also a bad habit you could track!

7. Do one thing every day that’s just for you

I think our Mummykind mums have harped on about this a lot, but self care is soooooo important! Set time aside in the day to do one thing just for you. A home aerobics or yoga dvd, a glass of wine and a good tv show, or even a peaceful half an hour to do some crafting or colouring or logging in your new BuJo! Whatever it is, make sure it’s something completely for you to give you the self care you need to stay motivated day in, day out. Drink that bloody cup of tea while it’s still hot!!!

8. Have a ‘buddy’

Always wanted to go to the gym but too anxious or nervous to go alone? Get a gym buddy! Join a class or go for a run with your fitness buddy and it will 100% motivate you to keep going. You’ll have a sense of obligation so that you don’t let your buddy down, and at the same time you’ll be fulfilling your goals too. I’m not sure how versatile this is for other tasks you may need motivating to do… for example a laundry buddy may not work unless you skype while you do it, and then I think it loses all appeal really!!!

Do you have any other tips to motivate yourself when you’re finding it hard to feel motivated? Please let us know in the comments, and get involved with #MentalHealthMonday chats on Twitter!

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Feel the burn, mummy

So, new mums, experienced mums, first timers and those who are so used to it…What are the best ways to regain your pre-pregnancy fitness?The answer: NOBODY KNOWS!

So, new mums, experienced mums, first timers and those who are so used to it…
What are the best ways to regain your pre-pregnancy fitness?
The answer: NOBODY KNOWS! But there are some targeted mum and baby sessions which I found particularly helpful. At only a couple of months post-partum, myself and the other mums from our NCT group signed up to a lovely lady’s Zen Fitness (Yoga) class local to us in Hythe, Kent.
As someone who has always loved yoga, this was amazing for me, and when I turned up I did not expect it to be quite so hard! I definitely felt the burn…
Using the baby’s weight as your weight, the class gets tougher as the weeks go by, and especially if you’ve missed a week, the next one is so much harder! I remember thinking that “oh, she’s only put on a couple of pounds since last time, it won’t make that much difference”… Well, yes. Yes it did.
The best part about Suzanna’s group was that she was so understanding about needing to take a break to feed baby, or even to stop baby rolling onto other babies… I felt really welcome at her groups, and she was fantastic at making sure everyone could handle the workouts if you were a beginner or had been a regular!
So, that’s one way of really feeling that exercise, releasing endorphins and starting to recover the wellbeing of your body and mind.
Another way is with buggyfit (or similar) groups, using pushchairs to do more cardio exercises, usually outdoors.
These groups are also fabulous. Unfortunately I was only able to try this once, as I had an incredibly busy schedule in the year after my daughter was born, but it was brilliant. With these, you’re not using baby as a weight, but more as a balance when squatting or a resistance when running.

One exercise that I found to be particularly cheeky was the reps of calf dips. With the beautiful beach backdrop, we stood on tiptoes at the edge of the pavement onto the stones and gently dipped up and down. It didn’t feel much then, but the next morning my calves were on fire!
One added bonus is that you can set these groups up yourself for free if you have a bunch of mummies wanting to go with you, or they may already be set up local to you, so check on Facebook if you’re interested!
Finally – and this one is not limited to mums/dads/parents/guardians – I just have to say how FANTASTIC the park run is! Seriously, go online (but open up a new tab and keep this one up and keep reading!) and Google where your nearest park run is <– or just use that cheeky little hyperlink I’ve stuck in there.My other half, being in the army, has been doing running for years and he is a seasoned pro, so although he leaves me far behind when I’m running with the pushchair, it’s a great, fun activity to do with the whole family. We even took my stepdaughter a couple of weeks ago and she loved it! You can race each other to make it fun, or take it at a leisurely pace, which I’ll be honest is what I have to do as it is a 5k course!

So mummies, those are my experiences of post birth fitness groups, and I hope to be sharing more in the coming weeks!
If there’s anything you want to try but want a review of first, contact us and I will be more than happy to see if I can trial one in my area!

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

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