Depressed? Read a book!

bookpileI’m a self confessed self-help book addict, so when I read this week that self help books have been proved to lift depression and prevent it from bothering you again, I felt justified for the amount of money I spend on them. You don’t need to tell me that books are great therapy…and for me they don’t even have to be self-help!

The University of Glasgow carried out a study of 200 people who’d been diagnosed with depression, and found that the people who were given Cognitive Behavioural Therapy type books to read reported “significantly lower” levels of depression after four months than people who were doled out antidepressants.

I used to think self help type books were for losers. I think the first one I ever bought was when I was in my mid-twenties and decided I needed to do some assertiveness training. I was working for a horrible old battleaxe and thought it might help me stand up to her. Politely and calmly of course. So I read up on how to be an assertive woman and – well – I think I might have got a bit more ballsy for a bit. But I could never quite get my head around affirmations. How could talking to myself in a mirror help me stand up to the Fire Breathing Dragon I had the misfortune to be working for? I did find some solace in the fact it wasn’t just me, she was an old bat to everyone, but she especially disliked me because I kept pointing out ways to improve the way the office ran and she didn’t like that at all. Note to self: learn when it’s best to put up and shut up…some things aren’t worth the fight.

The next book I read was the all-time classic “You can heal your life” by Louise Hay. Hands up if you’ve read that one?

Some of the book was complete woo-woo to me but I took the bits I needed and I really think it helped. I was in another job, working for a manager who actually bullied me. This time it was personal and I wasn’t doing too well. I can’t say that reading Louise’s wise words changed everything, but I did find it inspirational and it helped me a lot when I was looking for different ways to deal with what my work life was throwing at me. I don’t have much luck with bosses, do I? Probably just as well I’m self employed these days.

I still love a self-help book, especially when it’s free. Which is why I love being part of Leonie Dawson’s tribe of go-getting female entrepreneurs (OK, I’m working on the entrepreneur bit) because they all have a great back catalogue of freebie e-books that you get to download from their websites for nothing but an e-mail sign up. Leonie’s own free business guide is brilliant for starters, and it’s what got me into the Goddess Circle where I met women who know their shiz when it comes to everything from holistic health and nutrition to positive thinking, Reiki to business planning.

So, tell me, what’s your favourite self help book?

Read more about the study here: Self help books relieve depression

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Croissants, snow and life planning

unicornThere really hasn’t been much else to do over the weekend other than daydream. At least that’s the excuse I’m giving for the fact that I couldn’t be bothered to do anything except a very convincing impression of a sloth. Hibernating. Looking at the snow falling outside and eating carbohydrates on the spurious excuse that it’s cold out and I need the fuel.

So I have been reading through my fabulous 2013 ‘Create your Incredible Year’ workbook, and I thought I’d share what I’d come up with so far. You can do this with me too, if you want to download the whole caboodle from the gorgeous Leonie’s website. I have definitely been procrastinating about doing the work, quite possibly because I know that if I set down goals and then don’t manage to achieve them, it’s my own fault. But does it really matter? Nah, not really. It’s a guide, an aide-memoire, not a set of rigid rules that I have to follow.

So, here’s to ‘Invoking 2013′. It’s going to be a fabulous year!

1. What do you most want to experience 2013 as?

I didn’t quite know how to answer that one. A Goddess? A unicorn? Or does she mean how do I want 2013 to be experienced? Maybe I’ll revisit that one once I’ve got to grips with the rest of the task. This will all make sense.

2. What do you want to FEEL in 2013?

Content. Secure. Excited. Energised. Happy. Vibrant. Relaxed.

2012 was a difficult year in some ways and great in others. I’d like a bit more calm in 2013 and a little less stress!

3. What do you want to give youself in 2013?

The first thing I thought of was “time”. I rarely make time just for me. I’m always working, or doing things for people, tidying, washing…I don’t often decide I’m going to have proper ‘me’ time. Over the spring and summer of 2012, the gym was my me-time, but since the weather’s been so pants I rarely go because I just don’t want to have to walk for 40 minutes on top of a workout. Especially when it’s cold and wet. It feels like a chore.

I made the effort to sit down and actually watch a DVD *I* wanted to watch the other day, and also last week I took time to give myself a 30 minute Reiki blast. I will be doing more of this!

4. This year I give myself permission to…

Chill out! Just be myself…Rest. Not fit in. Not do everything I think people want me to do. Say no. Stand up for myself.

5. This year, I promise to myself that I will…

Oh God, this one is a hard one. I think ‘take time out’ is a good one (are you sensing a theme?)

And…Be a little bit less hard on myself?

And…Trust that it’s all going to work out in the end?

And…look after myself. This body is over 40 years old, it needs some TLC. I’ve already banned chocolate, alcohol, biscuits and crisps from my diet. I’m still craving chocolate but I’m sure it will wear off…

Oh, and have more FUN!!!

 

 

 

 

A little bit of woo woo

inspiration

I’ve been mulling something over for a while now, and I think I’ve made a decision; I’m going to start offering Reiki as another service. I’ve recruited some volunteers and I plan to do some work with them and get some testimonials…and once I have them, I’ll add a separate Reiki area to my website and start charging for it. Because it’s lovely!

It’s part of my mission to be more authentic, be who I really am and not stress about what other people think of me.

I have two different sides to my personality, business-wise. I’m the Relentlessly Positive, woo-woo, Law of Attraction, positive thinking kinda girl who loves to post about anything upbeat and a bit hippy. I love this side of me, she’s fun and quite entertaining and wants to make the world a better place, one blog post at a time.

The other side of me is practical, business-headed and cares about what people think, maybe a little bit too much. Some people don’t approve of Reiki, thinking its a cult, or some weird therapy that couldn’t possibly work. For some it might be contrary to their religious beliefs (even though it’s not a religion and is perfectly compatible with believing in God, Allah, Buddha or Jedi Masters.)

Since I’ve been part of the Goddess Circle and started finding out about how other women manage to keep their heart-led businesses in harmony with their bank accounts, I’ve realised that I might be doing myself down by pretending I’m not a little bit out-there, and denying my woo-woo leanings. I’m starting to think that accepting this might actually move me forward in my life and business.

Another thing I’ve been wary of pushing too much has been my plus-size positive nature. I’ve found it hard because I haven’t always been 100% happy with my size, but also because there are certain nagging voices from my past trying to tell me that the plus size, body positive gang isn’t one I want to publicly admit to being a part of, and that I should pretend I’m on a diet. because I should be on a diet, because being fat is morally repugnant and not very nice to look at.

I know where all this has come from and the people who sowed those seeds of self doubt aren’t even in my life any more. So it’s time to embrace my woo-woo and while I’m at it, get back on board with my body positivity. It’s who I am, it’s what I do and it’s actually OK.

So I’m going to be adding Reiki, Goddess Circle and Plus Size pages to my business site, and bringing out the new look authentic and a little bit woo-woo Sarah. I hope you like her…

Getting my snow freak on!

Snowed on SarahI love snow.

There, I said it. Im 41 and a bit (OK, quite a lot) and when I see snow I get an irresistible urge to go outside and play. Sensible Sarah thinks she should stay indoors, look out of the window and write disgruntled snow-related posts on Facebook. But that’s crap, because all I really want to do is  get outdoors and damn well kick snow around.

I even get a li’l bit excited when my phone wallpaper starts snowing. If you have a Samsung Galaxy, you’ll know what that means. It’s not always accurate but those snow flakes are so darn pretty…

So, I don’t care if that makes me sound like I’m about five. I love it. I love stomping through fresh snow, and leaving big old footprints. I love kicking piles of snow. I even like getting snowflakes on my nose. When I worked in an office, I loved snow because it meant I there was no freaking way I could get into work and I got a day off. Now I work from home, I still love it…when nobody else wants to go out in it and everyone’s at home posting snowed-in statuses on Facebook, I get all the new snow to play in. Result!

So I think we should all play a little bit more. Do pointless things like kicking piles of leaves around or throwing snowballs. Go out when everyone else thinks you’re nuts and enjoy all the funny looks you get. I spent far too long worrying about what people thought of me and trying to be sensible. Today I thought to myself as I walked down the road towards the park and it started throwing the snow down again, “People are going to think I’m mad.”

….and then I did it anyway.

 

Love Bombing the Daily Mail

sunshineIf you’ve been a reader of Relentlessly Positive a while, you’ll know my love/hate relationship with the Daily Mail website. I seem to be hopelessly addicted to reading it, mainly because of the sheer ridiculousness of the comments that people write underneath the news articles. They are unfailingly miserable and negative, and as a rule, anything positive gets ‘red arrowed’ by the rest of the cynical commentators. I usually like to say something nice, but half the time my positive comments don’t get printed or if they do, they get lots of red arrows.

I’d really love to organise a ‘love-bomb’ of their comments pages. I don’t know how it would work yet, whether it would be best done on one article or a whole list of them at once, but what I have in mind is a complete barrage of positivity that’s going to take the misery guts people who usually complain and bitch and judge everyone by surprise. It would be SO funny.

So if there’s a bitchy article about a celeb, we could all go on and comment about something nice about her. I would say’ him or her’, but 99 times out of 100 it’s a woman they are pulling to pieces. If they are complaining about something or reporting on a piece of negative research, we could all comment on the bright side of it. It’s just a daft idea but what do you think? Do you reckon we could be the flag bearers of a new ‘positive trolling’ trend?

Good news story of the week!

Have-FunI love this story. Tucked away amongst all the grot in the Daily Mail, I spotted a gem of a feelgood story about a mum of two called Lisa Russell, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 34. Told by the doctors that she probably wouldn’t live longer than 18 months, because the type of cancer she had only had a 6% survival rate, she decided to live every day she had left as if it were her last, and do all the things she wanted to do with her family.

She wasn’t daft – she took the chemo, but she also married her long-term partner and took the family on trips to Bulgaria, Lanzarote and Turkey, determined that she was going to leave her kids with great memories of their mum. The family blew pretty much all of their life savings on having a damn good time and made every bit of Lisa’s remaining life count. Chloe and Georgina. Lisa’s daughters, must have had an amazing time, although it would have been tinged with a sadness at the idea of their mum not being around much longer.

Lisa even wrote letters for her daughters to read after she’d died, and was prepared for dying, even though she says she didn’t feel ill, except when she was having the chemo. She passed the 18 month deadline, but the family carried on with days out, meals with friends and enjoying themselves until April 2012. After regular three month check-ups which had all said the same “You have cancer – you’re going to die” a routine biopsy showed that the tumour had shrunk so much that they could no longer see it. Result!

Lisa said, “I can’t believe how lucky I am. I was just laughing and said to my husband, ‘Thank goodness we still have a few quid left, because I’m not dying.”

I think that’s the best story I’ve read in a long time. Just imagine, not only is she now cancer free, but she’s had the most amazing three years. It made me think – why do people wait until they get a death sentence to live every day as if it were their last? Imagine the fun you could have if you set out to make the most of EVERY day. Even Mondays. Even rainy Mondays. And even rainy Mondays, just after Christmas when you have no money to buy chocolate…

Here’s the link if you want to read the full story. (WARNING: It’s a DM story so you might have to pretend you can’t see all the other miserable stuff)

 

Interview with the lovely Keris Stainton for Inspired Magazine

Inspired Essex Magazine

We love a bit of teen fiction at Inspired (guess who read all the Twilight books when she was 37?) and one of the rising stars of the genre is the wonderful Keris Stainton. We caught up with Keris as she prepared for the launch of her latest boo on June 7.

Keris spends almost all of her time tweeting, snacking, and drinking tea, but every now and then she knuckles down and writes a book for young adults. Della Says: OMG! and Jessie Hearts NYC are out now with Emma Hearts LA coming 7 June.

1. Keris, what was it that attracted you to writing young adult fiction?

“I had an idea, completely out of the blue, about a teenager. I loved writing that book so much that I’ve never really looked back.”

2. What books or authors inspired you when you were growing up?

“I loved Enid…

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Shoulda Woulda Coulda

my-to-do-list-funny-picture-13870“Should” is one of those words that seems quite innocuous but seems to cause a lot of stress when you use it.

I’ve made a bit of a resolution for 2013 – not to go with the ‘shoulds’ so much.

I have trouble sometimes, separating my me-time from work time. It’s the downside of having the desk, sofa and TV all in one room. Sometimes things can get a little bit overlappy! I tell myself I *should* answer that work email that’s come through on my phone at 8pm, I just need to fire up the laptop and send that ever-so-important document RIGHT NOW.

I tell myself I*should* tidy up the kitchen even though I’ve literally just sat down after working non-stop and then cooking dinner.

I convince myself that I *should* work on a weekend if I’m home alone “just to get it done.”

I find myself sitting down after I’ve switched off the computer, telling myself that I *should* write a blog or I *should* go on Twitter and do some networking.

Just recently I’ve been trying to interrupt these shoulds and ask myself what I actually want to do. The shoulds don’t tend to crop up around things that I know I have to do, like deadlines and paying bills. No, they appear to nag me into doing something that isn’t strictly necessary at that moment, but that I feel as if I ought to do it to keep someone happy.  Or to live up to the ridiculously high standards I try to set myself and invariably can’t maintain!

I suspect my shoulds are one of the reasons I rebel and eat too much. I know I *should* put the chocolates down, but I don’t want to.

Anyway, 2013 will be the year I banish SHOULD. If I need to, I will, if it can wait, it will and if I don’t need to, I won’t stress over it.

Oh, but I REALLY should go and empty the dryer…

Happy Heart

A little bit of self love

Happy HeartDid you know that January was ‘Self Love Month’?

You’d never be able to tell from the TV schedules, crammed with weight loss programmes, or the magazines and newspapers full of New Year’s resolutions about how to make yourself thinner, richer, fitter, healthier…

To counteract the misery of giving things up (I have decided that January will be the month I give up alcohol, cut down on my coffee and don’t buy ANYTHING I don’t need) there’s Self Love Month. Stop giggling, I’m not talking about that kind of self love, although if it sends you to work with a smile on your face in the morning, I’m all for that, too. No, it’s all about doing something for yourself, something nice.

According to Daylle Deanna Schwartz; “Saying “No” to what you don’t want says “I love me.” Buying the better product for a few dollars more says “I love me.” Doing exercise says “I love me.” Gratitude says “I love me.” Self-forgiveness says “I love me.” Accepting your imperfect self says “I love me.” Breaking people pleasing habits says “I love me.” Walking away from people who don’t show you respect says “I love me.” Cutting yourself slack says “I love me.”

The Self Love Movement is dedicated to helping you boost your self esteem, and there’s a book (free to download at How do I love Me and a Facebook Challenge group where you can add your name and pledge to do nice things for yourself. If you’re shying away from the pure selfishness of doing lovely things just for you, think of it as an investment. If you don’t feel good about yourself, if you don’t take care of yourself, really you’re in no position to be able to support, help or take care of anyone else, are you? It starts with YOU. And in the words of a certain mildly irritating advert “You’re worth it!”

I know we’re all a bit hard up in January. But doing something nice doesn’t have to be expensive. It isn’t for me; I have a spa trip lined up for next week and all I have to do for it is write something about it afterwards for a magazine. I really can’t argue with that and the thought of a day or two of pure indulgence in a healthy way is filling me up with all kinds o’ happy thoughts.

What are you going to do that’s JUST FOR YOU?

Happy New Year

Well it’s 2013. Back in 1995 that sounded like such a long way off but here we are.

I get very soppy at New Year. It’s my time to send drunken texts telling people that I love them. Not that I really hold back that much when I’m sober.

So, I would just like to wish you all an amazingly happy 2013. I hope all of your dreams materialise, manifest and appear before you. I hope you get everything you want with a great big pink bow on. I wish for you everything you wish for yourself.

Happy New Year. And stay positive!!!