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


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!!!





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)


Are you Gorgeously Full Fat?

logo-gorgeously-full-fat-small-gif1No no no, this isn’t a diet advert. Perish the very thought. Gorgeously Full Fat is the new incarnation of the Queen Simply Be blog which I’ve been writing since 2007.

It’s also somewhere I’ll be sharing my progress with my novel ‘Viva Voluptuous’ and lots of other fun stuff for plus size people who don’t believe that life ends at size 14.

Look out for reviews of books, commentary on diets, advice and reviews of fitness classes, DVDs and apps. There’s going to be plus size fashion and beauty, and loads more.

Don’t get sucked back into Slimming World again this year, learn to be the best you possible and get happy…at any size.