Writing about my emotions, even negative ones helps me improve my well-being and gives me happiness. Ultimately, combined with exercise, it means I’m more positive about life as a new mum over 40.
When mum died at 65, the day before starting my new job, it was the hardest blow I’ve ever been dealt. First came the flowers, the cards, the well-wishers. The tears flowed, then came tantrums, numbness followed by a period of weakness.
As a word person and a story-teller, I started to over-think and over-tell things. I was not focused on happiness. My blog stopped and I threw myself into work instead to take my mind off things. I channeled all the strength I could muster into that, even if I wasn’t feeling it. Work quickly became my lifeline and because I had no way of getting my emotions out, they bubbled to the surface without warning.
I should have taken time out from being a full-time working mummy. I should have taken a few weeks off with the family. Work should not have become the most important thing in my life – but it was. I took one day off for mum’s funeral and avoided my real emotions because it was a new role. I was stuck in a rut and wasn’t growing, but didn’t realise it at the time.
It all took a turn for the worst when I was handed a “Dummies Guide to Creative Writing” by someone in a position of power at a social gathering. It was the last straw. I’m not ashamed to say that I crumbled, I cried and felt like I’d been pushed off a very tall building.
It was at this point I realised I needed help. Just as I made this realisation, a book landed on my doorstep that helped change the way I was feeling. That book was I AM YOUR FRIEND by artist and writer, Billy Bacall. Creating the book helped Billie to get through an incredibly difficult time in her own life. The author, artist and designer started sketching the illustrations after the death of her husband and a battle with cancer. It helped her to get through.
A portion of the proceeds from the book go to the breast cancer charity Future Dreams. Instead of continuing to be a victim, I used Billy’s pocket-sized paperback to motivate me when I was feeling low. It helped bolster my own well-being with its inspirational imagery and words of comfort. It was as if the pages and images were really telling me to get a grip.
There’s no easy way to say it, the past year has been bloody hard. I’ve had to learn to roll with the punches. I have also begun exercising for my mental health as much as my physical health. I’m finally at a stage in my life where my brain is ONLY releasing happiness endorphins.
My exercise regime has been a real cerebral get-away from ‘stuff’ even if my Achilles’ tendons are now going through hell. While there are more civilised ways of giving my emotions a workout – nothing compares to my Les Mils Body Combat stress-busting obsession, pumped by Scooter.
I can now give a mean right hook and throw some wicked punches thanks to a bucket-load of pent up aggression. It has helped me fend off a few assassins – which is very satisfactory.
If you’re going through a tough time, my top tips for happiness are this… Absorb yourself in a good book and give it some welly at the gym! Body combat has been my weapon of choice and a win-win for me. I’ve also turned back to writing down my emotions on my blog to help others. After all, the pen is mightier than the sword.