|Walk, Walk, Walk!|
What’s your favourite sitcom?
Hello blogosphere, it’s been a long time coming. My name’s Daney and this is my first blog I’m writing today. I’m feeling good this sunny Sunday (6/9/15) and decided to be a bit plucky and make a start on finding my blogging voice covering topics which are relevant, which affect us daily, but people just don’t want to talk about.
I’ve spoken openly and honestly about suffering from depression with my close friends and family, I’ve volunteered and worked with charities who exist to help those in need get help for their mental health issues, and I’ve have been there for my close relationship circle when they’ve had a really tough, tough time.
In my first blog, I want to talk about what I’ve been through recently, and want to speak from my heart. Due to a recent, heavy, lingering bout of depression, my whole life turned upside down, I call it a ‘bout’ of depression, as I seem to go through blocks of it. I go through points where I’m *fine* and can take on the whole world, then sometimes, I feel like the world’s a heavy rucksack on my shoulders and I just want to cower away in my room away from just human beings in general. Unless you’re chocolate, you’re not getting past my door.
Okay, so my title ‘What’s your favourite sitcom?’ was a bit misleading... I’m not going to talk about sitcoms (well, not until the end!)… I’m more going to talk about an episode in my life…. Still happy to read on?.... Are you with me? Great! Follow me J
Whilst I could talk more in depth about depression, I want talk about the other side of it which affects suffers, every day suffers like you, like me who due to not being able to work or continue working have to experience. That is making the pride shattering transition from working (for me it’s been all of my teen and young adult life) to having to rely on the government through the ESA (Employment Support Allowance) (which I am now official off now, I no longer receive this 27/8/15) or Job Seekers Allowance in other cases to help get you feel well again and get back to work.
Whilst, on one hand, I’m eternally grateful that we have a system which exists to help us in a time of need, on the other hand, I’ve felt its hard bite. The heaps of forms asking probing questions, the ‘mandatory’ appointments and being spoken to as though you’re scrounging (even though I’m a tax and NI payer and never had to rely on the ‘system’ up until now!) and being expected to live on a very, very tight budget- tighter than usual!
Having experienced it/ ‘the system’ first hand, knowing what I know now, I now want to use this blog as a tool to empower you by giving you practical #daneytips on what I’ve learned and how to survive this brief transition (or some people’s cases, sadly, a longer transition) both emotionally and financially. I’ll also offer tips to cope when you’re feeling stressed, tips to help make your money go further on the tight budget you have.
ESA (Employment Support Allowance), How can I get by on it? What can I do to live? Real tips
· Get online and look up recipes before you shop (I love all recipes UK and Delicious Magazine- online of course!) and budget to suit your financial situation that week. If you need to go from Chicken to Smoked sausage for the pasta bake due to the money being tight, that’s OK. It’ll still be as tasty, I promise (look around and they’re only £1 and they can do up 3 meals if you split them correctlyJ)
· ***BAKE YOUR OWN*** I’ve been going through a wee faze of baking non-stop. If you budget properly (use own brand chocolate, check the supermarket websites or use search engines like money supermarket & find the best deal for them), you make/whip a range of tasty treats on the cheap. Always go for supermarket own brand, they’re just as good in most cases!
· Shop around. If it wasn’t for ALDI & LIDL (okay, so I wasn’t so keen on them years ago, I’ll admit!) I genuinely wouldn’t have been able to eaten so many fresh meals. If it was just a side of fresh carrots to go with my £1 chicken Kiev from Iceland!
· Visit supermarkets at night and keep an eye on reduced items. My favourite is finding reduced ‘tawties’ (wee fife reference there!) – potatoes for like 10p a bag is such help! They’re easy to store, and you can most of all, make a nice, cheap and nutritious soup!
· If something’s not right, complain. On a couple of occasions, I’ve had mince that went a bit funny, I emailed customer services and received a gesture voucher for a couple quid. This couple quid went towards baking ingredients, and in return I thanked them on social media. I only complain if I really have to though. I respect companies who put good customer service at the forefront of what they do. In other words, don’t abuse their gestures!
I’m feeling low, how can I help myself?
Emotional well-being tips
·Don’t avoid social media. Your friends are there, and although they want to share with you all the good times – (that time one of your best pals scored you free tickets for a cool festival) they also want to make sure you’re okay. What I would say is, although it’s absolutely fine in my opinion to talk about depression, and whatever you wish, I would recommend the private messenger for a lot of your chats too, it’s never nice for close friends to read big announcements/ big deep things on Facebook when you’ve not spoke/confided in them first.
· Talk to your friends. They will feel absolutely thrilled that you’re turning to them and you need them. At the same time understand that whilst you’re off work just now, they’re unfortunately not. So if they’ll text back, get back in touch when they can. Life is busy for us all.
· Walk. Walk…..and walk some more! Walking for me is so freeing. I know there are days where you have no desire to get out of bed, let alone walk, but I promise you, you feel much better, most of you feel something!.
-If you’ve walked even 5mins, congratulate yourself and if you feel tired, that’s fine. Depression is not only emotionally draining, but it makes you feel like your body is physically heavier
· Bake, Bake, Bake! Baking for me really helped redevelop my concentration. I would follow some recipes and read them in my own time with no pressure. I’d also get creative by improvising with food. For example, instead of a standard chocolate brownie, I used supermarket own brand chocolate to me triple chocolate brownie (white choc, dark choc and milk choc.. less than £1 for all three bars!!)
· Revisit your old favourites- whether this is an album you used to absolutely loved! A show you used to watch! (I’m a bit of a 90s sitcom fanatic!, anything that will make you smile. Not going to lie, revisiting sitcoms like ‘Keeping up appearances’, Sister, Sister and of course, birds of a feather old and new, makes me smile on a gloomy, not so great day.
So my first blog has now came to a close. I would like to say thanks for reading, I hope there’s some real, practical useable tips on here to help you if you are having a tough day, a tough spell financially and emotionally.
Three #daneypositives to take away:
· Congratulate yourself on every achievement, however small. This could easily be waking up an hour earlier in the morning than usual. When you’re depressed, getting up in the morning is the hard bit
· Be your own best friend. Listen to the thoughts in your head, would speak to your best friend like that? Would you tell them that they’re lazy, worthless and cant achieve anything? No! so stop being so mean to yourself.
· Have a thoughts diary and write in it before you go to bed, that way you’re literally unloading, and clearing your mind in order to help you sleep
Daney over and out for nowwww!