That time of year… Again

I haven’t posted in what seems like forever. I’ve been meaning to but life has caught up with me and things have been a bit crazy.

For years and years and years I’ve always struggled with the transition from the long, warm, sunny, lazy summer days to the cold, dark, hectic, winter ones. Don’t get me wrong, I love aspects of winter but it’s not short of challenges. Usually, around mid October, I notice a decline in my mood, energy, motivation and patience! This year has been no different, other than the fact my start point was at a lower level than previous years and the initial fall was postponed a couple weeks due to being in the lovely Greece. From speaking to friends and family it’s become apparent that I’m not the only that gets hit by this, so I imagine most of you can relate, to some extent.

Between the end of October, returning from holiday and now, things have hit an all time low at one of the times of year I need to be my strongest. I’ve lost days to tiredness and exhaustion. Watching a programme on TV has been a challenge, my concentration has been completely shot. I haven’t been able to keep up with day to day tasks (although on an unusually positive day last week I did blast through 5 rather large loads of washing so I’m done til the drawers are empty again now). Meals have been non existent, I’ve been unable to sleep due to hunger and pain and have, more frequently than I’d like, been up at 3am to make porridge or toast in order to take antiinflammatories and/or to stave off the hunger so I can get an hour or 2 (3 if im reaaaallllyyy lucky) of sleep. I’ve been a few weeks without keeping anything much down, even my safest of safe foods (fruit, yogurts, salad) were a no-go. Obviously following that my weight plummeted, my already reduced mood, motivation and energy was further reduced and doing anything more than lying on the sofa (yes, I may have survived a week on dry shampoo but that’s what it’s there for, right?) was mission impossible.

This is probably the busiest, most stressful time of the year, yet also the one time of year I could do with being as close to wonder woman level as possible. Wishful thinking, ay! I love the hustle and bustle, as draining as it is, but this year I’ve been chasing my tail and can’t quite hack the pace.

Harvey’s birthday, parties and food, my birthday, more parties and food, Christmas, a few more parties and food. Everything this time of year November to January revolves around food, drink and indulgence. I haven’t got a problem with you guys going all out. I encourage you to. The hardest part of it is, I actually love food, I love going out for meals and all the Christmas chocolates and birthday outings, hot chocolates, cakes, you name it! The worst part of it is that as much as I love and crave all the nice things, I just can’t allow myself to have them and if I do, it’s only a matter of time before the guilt becomes unbearable. Just thinking about all the food and eating and calories has got my heart racing and feeling very overwhelmed. Yet it’s a time that I want to enjoy and live in the moment but I just can’t seem to let myself. Ive been trying to tell myself not to fret, go for meals, drink the Bailey’s, eat the chocolates – the weight can be lost again, but it’s not good enough. I can’t seem to get past that mental barrier.

In an ideal world, I’d avoid all situations which required involvement of calories but that would mean missing my son’s birthday, probably my own too, Santa visits, Christmas markets, our obligatory theatre and new year rituals and the big day itself. If it was just me on my own that would be a piece of cake (no pun intended), but for a 7 year old child I’m sure he’d argue that missing out on all those things is a form of child cruelty! I wouldn’t want him to miss out. He’s already 7 so our magical, Santa years are numbered, we don’t have that many left until he realises that Santa isn’t real, going to the panto with an over excited mum is embarrassing and Christmas Eve soft play is for babies. I want more than anything in the world to be able to enjoy these outings and celebrations with him and my family and friends but my mind is running in 2 completely opposite directions. On one hand I want to throw everything I have into the celebrations, get involved, let my hair down and not give a toss about anything but the hear and now. On the other hand, I want to run as fast and as far as my slightly malfunctional legs will carry me!!!!!

On a positive end note, I had vowed that after everything Harvey has endured and put up with this year as a result of my mental health, I was going to make his birthday cakes. I wanted to push myself, for him. With the support of my friends, sitting with me and being on the end of the phone, I managed it and he was absolutely chuffed.

They (yep, there were 2 because in our house we don’t do things by halves) were no masterpieces but it made him happy and he was so grateful I’d done that for him. The excitement and gratitude gave me the biggest boost of self pride imaginable.

His birthday buffet at home went down a treat too and forward planning was the key. I put together a burger bar type set up which meant I didn’t have to make loads of little snacky bits and have them in my house and in actual fact the effort required was minimal, the oven did all the hard work.

I didn’t stop for his birthday weekend, I was on the go constantly and that was followed by a visit to Harry Potter Studios (which was so worth the days of exhaustion and leg pain that have followed).

I have massively overdone it. I’ve been out of action for 5 solid days and only actually put proper clothes on today, for the first time this week. It’s been a tough few weeks all round. I have a long list of ‘things to do before Christmas’ which only seems to be getting longer and filling me with more dread but if I’ve learned anything over the past month, it’s that happiness comes from so much more than the food and inessential things, and more from the innocent joy I can give Harvey. Remembering this in moments of irrationality and panic though, may be tougher than it seems.

Moral of the story…. Plan, plan, plan and DONT DO TOO MUCH! Accept help and embrace the little moments. I need to remember, baby steps.



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