What’s Missing?

In my previous post I spoke about the reasons I had for not blogging. I didn’t feel I needed to justify anything, it was rather just for me to unblock myself and write something. I enjoy writing and although I do not think of myself as a writer I have found it to be a beneficial outlet for my thoughts; especially those thought I previously have had trouble articulating.

I’ve been taking a look at myself and my loves this last week. I want to understand what makes me tick and drives me forward. I think that understanding myself is the most important thing I can do in times where I feel out of kilter. It helps re-focus my priorities and really look at what makes me me. I have definitely felt like something has been missing from my life. This is surprising for at the same time as I am really good at the moment generally. I am enjoying work, loving my home, and doing most of the things I love. But that is just it – ‘most’ – not everything.

I have found that they haven’t changed in essence; I still love the same things, I just don’t prioritise them like I used to and that is what causing my unease with life I think. There are things I love and do daily, such as enjoy good coffee, read, and play with my cats. There are things I do often, but not daily such as, swimming, walking, blogging, socialising. Then there are the things I do less often, which is where things have slipped out of the top priorities and that really comes down to travel and creating new experiences.

I really miss travelling. I have realised it is the one thing I have had to fully sacrifice for to help myself by changing jobs a few years ago and the associated reduction in salary. Don’t get me wrong I have been away and have explored new places, but I haven’t travelled in a 5 years. Acknowledging I miss it is the first step in to bringing it back into my life. There are places I want to go and trips I want to be part of and in order to make sure this is important to me I have to prioritise it and create ways of working towards them.

So I’ve reviewed my list and have Japan and Mt Blanc at the top and plan to do both in the next two years. Saving for something important to me is easier as it is something to look forward to. I can research and plan and do all the things associated with going travelling and get excited. I’ve not had that for 5 years and that is throwing me off kilter so I am taking action.

While I am doing all my researching and planning I am going to focus on creating daily rituals for myself. I read a Marc and Angel post today about creating rituals, rather than focusing on overall goals and it hit me hard:

“Nothing will change unless you make a daily ritual that reinforces your goal.”

This is how I want to look after my self, both mentally and physically going forward. It is all the small things that add up to the whole, so rather than thinking I need to lose weight and putting a total figure on it, I’m going to focus on making each meal what I need. It’s also how I want to make sure I am prorating the things I love by making them a ritual to savour and appreciate.

Writer’s Block

“Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years.” Wiki 2015

I realised last week I hadn’t written a new blog post since the 11th July. I did even have any posts in draft, let alone ideas of what to write about. I just lost direction for a while. I tend to stick to the same type of posts as for me it has always been sharing the things I enjoy or am working on. I felt I had nothing to say. I was shutting myself away and knew that was a bad sign for me. I know I need my alone time, but I also know if I start not wanting to do anything with other people I am heading back into a low period and I try to cut those off where I can.

I may not be medication for depression anymore, but I still need the tools I learnt through CBT and therapy. I continue to use them in times when I feel myself pulling away. So that’s what I’ve been doing this last week and it’s working.

So that is what I thought I would share to get over this writer’s block I’ve come up against.

I want to continue to focus on life’s adventures and one of those for me is keeping my mental self strong and supported. It’s okay to feel off kilter for whatever reason, but remembering it is only temporary is important.

Side note: has anyone see Inside Out yet? I loved it! Such a fantastic idea to introduce mental health to the younger generation. It stuck to the known idea of core beliefs and memories that shape who we are. What I loved those was that we can change our core memories as we grow and go through life, and therefore if there are time that are less than stellar we can move through them and create more another time. It was the perfect film for me to go see this week.

I am going to reduce the amount I blog. I want to keep it going but take the pressure off. I want to have something important to say and have a reason for sharing it. Those are the blogs I love to read, and I want my blog to be like them.

Purrfect Box

My cats are so spoilt!

As you already know they get a monthly box from a different company, but Purrfect Box got in touch with me to offer me a free box to try and could not say no – Merry & Pippin need more toys obviously!

As you can see as soon as it arrived they claimed it as theirs as they do with every box that comes into the house.

Once we open the box I was pleased to see a lovely amount of toys and treats contained within.

First up (and put straight out of the way) were the treats. I don’t know how, but my two can tell the difference between their normal food and treats straight away. I think I might try to put their food in treat bags sometime to test out their cleverness. I’ve only given them the chicken filet bites so far and they love them. I think they life softer treats more as they are on dry food all the time.   

Next up is catnip spray, which my two love. This came in a handy size and they could tell right away what is was. I sprayed a bit on their favourite areas and they were super happy.

Pippin is a fan of this next toy as he likes batting things around with his paws. Merry is not interested unless it moves and she can chase it.  These are great to throw up the stairs and watch Pippin chase and catch and miss and run back down. 

Merry was a fan of this one though as it smelt and she could lie on top of it to keep it all to herself. She like chewing it, but it is standing up to her attention quite well.

I had only recently bought them a tunnel, so this was a duplicate of a recent toy, but much shorter in length and Merry love it. She lies in with her head out one end and her butt out the other and is quite happy. Pippin like the tunnel as he can launch a surprise attack.   

The box comes with a leaflet of cat advice and descriptions of the contents of the box.

Merry and Pippin gave the box a paws up and have been enjoying the contents for the last week since it arrived and also the box itself!  

They both wanted to fit in, but it did not work.

Pippin isn’t sure what to make of the smelly bow.   

Merry in the tunnel.

Merry wondering what the balls were, but quickly lost interest when she worked out she had to move them herself.   

Merry asleep in the box after a hard day being a cat. Merry is not usually the box cat, but I think she claimed this one for herself before Pippin could get there.

Overall a fab box and if I didn’t already pay for one I would consider signing up for this. However this is more expensive than what I currently pay and in order to pay the same I would have to pay for a whole year up front which isn’t feasible. I would suggest taking a look at all the different boxes out there now and decide which is the best for you and your moggies.

Adventures in Swimming… Big Cotswold Swim 2015

It’s been events galore the last few weeks with swimming. Although I have not done a single bit of training!

This last weekend was the Big Cotswold Swim. You have the choice of doing a one mile or a two mile swim and I always chose the two mile as love doing longer distances. As you can see it was a beautiful few days around the event, which meant the water temperature was up to 22 degrees, so I haven’t been wearing  wetsuit and decided to forego it for the event itself too, which is something I’ve never done before. I know you aren’t supposed to do anything new on race day, but as I hadn’t trained and wasn’t really racing and therefore didn’t want to compare it to my time last year I decided to go for it and was so glad I did.

It was a n okay swim. I came out feeling like I could have done another lap, so I know I didn’t push hard enough for a race, but I enjoyed taking it steady and feeling the water. It was a hard swim in a way as well as the field was busy. There were about 150 for the mile and for the two mile so I didn’t get any time on my own and always had someone around me.

On the first lap I kept to the outside and found I was pushed to the edge of the lake, almost swimming into tree routes at one point. On the second lap I decided to take the inside and found I was surrounded by people all the time and somehow ended up in the middle of a group, or they were drafting me. I definitely felt a few people weren’t happy I was keeping pace with them as I was not in a wetsuit. It’s funny what you pick up on while in the water – it’s totally different from any other kind of race.

I came out dead on 60 minutes, which compared to my 58 minute wetsuit swim the year before was excellent if I do say so myself. I am so glad I decided to forego the wetsuit and think I am converted to skins swimming from now on, even if it’s only to not have to put the wetsuit on and then take it off again. I stayed cool all the way round and think if I had trained properly I would have been able to beat my time from last year. So that will be the aim for next year. I am very likely to do it again as it’s local and so easy to get to without having to wake up super early.

The last few events have been good training for my Solent adventure in September!

Weekly swEATS – 8th July 2015

This weak has been much better than previous editions of my swEATS – woohoo!

I am constantly wondering why I struggle with the food aspect of my life and do not like that I use it as a comfort or security blanket. So I have to work at keeping myself on track and other ways of emotionally supporting myself.

This week’s sweats:

  • Thursday – I chilled out at home and caught up on some reading. I was supposed to have a 121 lake session at 6:30am, but got an email at 6:45am while I was at home having my first mug of tea and realised I had totally forgotten, which is completely unlike me.
  • Friday – I had my rearranged 121 lake swim session. It was great and I practiced using some different paddles and a tempo trainer to work on my speed. I also went for a cool down swim that evening as it was humid and I don’t cope well when the temperature goes above 20! I also coached that night.
  • Saturday – the Big Cotswold Swim 2 mile. I completed this 3.2km swim without a wetsuit and it was glorious. I stayed cool and just enjoyed the swim without any pressure about time. I also went for 2 mile evening walk as just wanted to get out in the late evening sunshine and enjoy some quite movement.
  • Sunday – I was feeling a bit low all weekend so had a me-day on Sunday and chilled out. I did go coaching in the evening, so got moving.
  • Monday – Appointment central on this day. Before work I had the dentist and after work I had the chiropodist, so by the time I got home I just tidied up and had my dinner.
  • Tuesday – I went to my normal swim session and did a 2800m set. I really felt not having been training properly and had to drop a 50m on several of the 200m sets as I would have fallen way behind the lane. It doesn’t bother me, but it shows how quickly fitness can disappear.
  • Wednesday – I was not active at all. My cats weren’t well so I was at home all day stressing out, then went to a meeting in the evening and caught up with the running buddy after that.

This week’s eats:

  • Thursday – I was not organised for lunch so got a tuna baguette from work. Crab pasta for dinner again as I love this dish so much!
  • Friday – Sausage and bean casserole with pasta and was super yummy.
  • Saturday – This was snacking day. I had toast, porridge, eggs, bacon, bread. Too much really.
  • Sunday – I went round my parents for dinner so had a simple roast chicken dinner with lots of veggies
  • Monday – I started back tracking on this day. I just felt I needed to, so tracked everything and enjoyed my tuna stir-fry for dinner.
  • Tuesday – Sausage and bean casserole again as I’m using up what is in my freezer.
  • Wednesday – I had M&S chicken casserole for lunch and then enjoyed some ice cream for dinner.

As I said I am backing to tracking everything. It is the only way I can stay accountable and really delve into the reasons I am not losing weight.  I feel good about things and know it’s just about focusing on the right things for a while and re-forming some good habits to make it easier to do without thinking.

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