Wellbeing Wednesday – Red hot, and a cold

Wednesdays are my ‘Wellbeing’ days, so here is what I am up to on the Wellbeing front 🙂

maxresdefaultThe Minimalists 30 day challenge is going well. The first few days, even the first couple of weeks, were relatively easy as there were quite small piles of things to get rid of. Now that I am on Day 25 it is getting increasingly difficult, but at the end of the day it IS supposed to be a challenge. If it was easy what would be the point? I’ve been keeping a list of what I’ve got rid of, and been trying to post daily updates over on Instagram, although sometimes I’m a little late. But better late than never. And so far I’ve cleared out over 300 items!!!!!!! I wont bore you with photos here, so head on over to NewYearNewHappy on Instagram if you want to see how I’m doing.

This year I am also determined to start sorting out my health and fitness, although right now I have a streaming cold caught from my youngest :-/. When I first started setting my goals for this year, I broke down each goal into manageable chunks. Rather than just say “I want to get fit and healthy” I was more specific and set myself SMART targets.
*I want to lose 52lbs this year, so that is one pound per week over the space of a year.
*I also want to be fit enough to run the Rainbow Run in Exeter again this year on 10th June for Children’s Hospice Southwest as I was unable to do it last year as my damaged achilles tendon was too painful.
*I want to be able to hold a handstand pose in yoga by the end of the year.
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I’m not one for going all out on New Years day with a crash diet and multiple New Years Resolutions that I have failed by the middle of the month. Instead I plan to go slowly but surely, making steady progress that is sustainable. To achieve my goals I have broken them down into month-by-month targets, and then as I write out each month’s planner in my diary I can build tasks in each week. Easy bitesized chunks. Here is an exert for the first couple of months. I’ve already lost some weight by just logging what I am eating and making sure I keep moving, and anything that I do makes achieving my end goal that much easier.

And as for the cold, well that’s only slowing me down a little bit. And hey, at least it’s not man flu 😉

Allison x

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My 50/50 Pot

Finances are a constant strain and worry for me at the moment. I will post a lot more in detail in future about how I do or don’t get everything to balance out but here is a quick summary. Basically my income is pretty static at just over £1100 a month. My expenditure is a bit more flexible, although it is already squeezed pretty tight, and is just a balancing figure by the time the mortgage etc is paid, and there is rarely any money left for luxuries.

However, just before Christmas a couple of things happened that made me realise that this constant teetering on the edge doesn’t work. First off my mortgage company decided to write a few days before Christmas to tell me that I was behind with my mortgage and that I needed to pay the shortfall by the end of the year. Timing was rubbish. And it was the first time that they had informed me that I was not paying the correct amount each month.
Then my boiler packed up. Yet again. Just a couple of days before Christmas and right in the middle of a particularly cold spell, with both boys home from school.
Both things combined sent me into a real spin. I wanted to just cancel Christmas, and hide under the duvet with a hot water bottle and sleep until it was all over with. But as a lone 2017-01-13-20-28-02parent that is just not an option. So I simply had to deal with it, although it was a hard lesson to learn. Thou shalt not get by by the seat of your pants………

So I am trying to build myself a bit of a buffer. I’ve come up with an idea, my “50/50 plan”. I am going to try to save £50 per month on my current expenses, but also try and make an extra £50 income per month. I am hoping that the income 2017-01-13-20-28-36will work alongside my 31 Day Minimalism Challenge, but tightening my already pretty squeezed expenditure by a further 50 pounds a month is going to be tricky
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I did start this in December, as there is no time like the present to start, but January will be my first month to see if I can actually do it. I’ve drawn up a page in this year’s planner, so that I can see it visually, and that will hopefully help me along with it when I need a push. Here is progress to date. I’m really chuffed with how well I’ve done on selling things I don’t need any more, reducing the bills is proving a little harder, so needs more thought. But 13 days in, and it looks positive.

Allison x

31 Day Minimalism Challenge

Better late than never. Wednesdays. Wednesdays are going to be my ‘Wellbeing’ days. There are so many areas of my life that affect my wellbeing, but the main two are the state of the house (mostly its chaos but also the state of disrepair), and the other is the state of me, ie how grossly overweight I am, and what a mess I feel. I do feel that if I can start to tackle these two areas slowly but surely many of the others will start to fall into place. So first up, The House……

maxresdefaultHaving previously tackled The Minimalists 30 day challenge, I thought now was as good a time as any to have another crack at the whip. January is definitely a good time to do this, as Christmas brought lots of new toys, books and goodies for everybody, and it does feel as if there is ‘stuff’ everywhere. The minimalism challenge works as follows:
On Day One you remove 1 item from the house, On Day Two you remove 2 items from the house, On Day Three, 3 items etc etc, until on Day 30 you remove a whopping 30 items from the house! The key to this is that the item has to actually be removed from the house, whether this is in the bin, donated to charity shop, sold on Ebay, whatever, as long as it has physically left your space.
So for January if I can complete this challenge that will be 496 items in total! If I can find a few extra that could be a massive 500 items moved out of the house in the space of the first month!!! Plus if I can make a little bit of money along the way, that would be awesome 🙂
To encourage me to stick at it I am keeping a list of what I am getting rid of, and will also try and post daily updates over on Instagram, with periodic reviews here. Join in with me!
Seeing as its now the 5th already, here are my Day 1-5 photos.

Show me your de-cluttering photos and ideas to inspire me and keep me going.

Allison x

New Year, New Goals

Many of us, myself most definitely included, are living in survival mode. I feel like all I do is barely keep afloat, with so much going on, and going wrong, that I often feel really overwhelmed! I have this underlying feeling that this is not what I really want to be doing with my life, but have not yet figured out what it is that I actually do want.

Over the last few weeks in the lead up to the new year I have put aside some time to figure 20161225_124600out exactly that. What am I doing? What do I want? I made a mind-map of big areas in my life that I wanted to work on. Actually when I sat down and properly really thought about it (and not allowed myself to drift off to thinking about what to cook for tea, or how I was going to manage this month’s mortgage payment, or get another cup of coffee) it actually didn’t take me very long at all. It all sort of flowed out, like it had always been there, just that I had hidden it all away somewhere.
Once I started I realised that there were some key areas, so I tried to make some specific goals for each one. My next step needs to be to make those goals as smart as possible – specific, measurable, agreed, realistic and timely. Then I can figure out the steps that I need to take in order to achieve those goals. Break it down, little-by-little. This is usually where I feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to tackle everything at once.  Instead, with the help of my trusty planner, I’m going to decide  which tasks to tackle in which month, and then try to spread them week-by-week, assigning small manageable tasks to days in my planner. Over the next few weeks, I can start making small changes, and gradually make the changes and do the work that I need to do.

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So, for example, with the house. I want to get the house sorted by the next long school holidays. So I have allocated two areas in my house to sort out each month.
Then for each month I have made a list of what needs to be tackled in each room, eg painting, sorting more storage space etc. Then as I come to write up that month’s planner, I can fit those tasks into specific days in the planner. Bite sized chunks.

Ready. Steady. Go.

So, where to start. I have been writing this blog for some time now, but for the last year or so I think I have become lost. I have lost my way in life, I have lost ‘me’, and I have definitely lost sight of what I wanted out of my blog.

A quick summary for those of you who have not followed me before or do not know me.

Hello **frantically waves and smile**. I’m Allison. I’m a lone parent (I hate the term single mum, but yes I’m one of those aswell). I have two boys who are now 11, and 4, a rescue collie who is 8ish, a beautiful black bunny who is 8 months old, and 4 fish, who are a few years old. I live in a relatively big house, which I have a pretty huge and unaffordable mortgage for. I’ve been divorced for almost 3 years now. I was married for decades before that, I kind of lost count of how many years.

I have a lot of things that I should be happy about. Yet I am not happy. In fact, I am decidedly unhappy. I dislike my life a lot of the time.header2

I hate my body, even though it has given me my amazing boys. It is blobby and gross, and there is too much of it. I used to love my hair, but it in an awful moment of upset a few years ago I hacked it off myself. Now I don’t even like my hair. I’m constantly tired, and I feel fat and frumpy and horrid.

I really hate my house with a passion, I always have done, and I never really wanted to buy it, I panicked and allowed myself to be talked into it. It had ‘a lot of potential’, said my ex. What he really meant was ‘it has a lot of potential to be a huge money pit that will never be worth what you pay to put it all right’. It has never felt like a home. I am messy and unorganised, and my house looks like a bomb has hit it, even though I blame the kids, it is really because I just don’t care about it to take care of it.

I hate that I am always broke, only just managing to keep my head above water most weeks. It wasn’t always like this, and this is a choice that I have made in order to spend time with the people who are most important in my life. My children.

I feel like a rubbish parent. I am always yelling at my children, I have smashed things in anger, I have sworn (about them and at them), I feel like I am not being a good example. I feel like I cannot provide them with all the latest gizmos that they want in this technology driven era, and am embarrassed at the way they look because we can’t afford for anybody other than me to cut their hair, or because they are in hand-me-downs that are 10 years out of fashion.On the really dark days, I will admit that I wish that I did not have them. Not that they were no longer here, oh my god no, just that they were somebody else’s responsibility and hassle. Life would be so much bloody easier if they weren’t my responsibility. But I also know that I couldn’t bare not being with them, feeling their little bodies creep into my bed in the darkness of the night sometimes because they have had a nightmare, or don’t feel very well. Or just because they want me.

Generally in life I am just not happy. I am unhappy. Really unhappy. And I don’t want to be. I want to be happy, and to lead a fulfilling life. I want to be a good mum, and bring my children up to be good young men. And that is where I started with this blog a few years ago. To help me on that search. For happiness. For ‘Me’.

To be continued…….