Getting out of the comfort zone

Getting out of the comfort zone

It’s so easy in life to stay in your own comfort zone and not rock the boat too much. I did it for years and stayed in my bubble and let my anxiety fester into every aspect of my life, until I became so limited on what I could actually do. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has been a huge help to me and I am finally getting out, enjoying life again and having plenty of new experiences.

This time last year I was just going back to work from maternity leave and I was feeling especially vulnerable and overwhelmed at the prospect. I was still in the middle of a battle with postnatal depression and anxiety had creeped into every aspect of my life. It was exhausting to constantly being in a state of fight or flight (usually always the latter) and I was becoming increasingly limited on what I could do in my day to day life. I was becoming a recluse and my enjoyment in life was dwindling away and it was feeding my depression. It was vicious cycle and I felt like I was fighting a losing battle.

Something had to change and that change would only come about if I changed. I needed to change my though processes first and CBT was a great stepping stone. CBT taught me so much and helped me question my thought process. I started off small just at first doing the food shop and then gradually built up. I faced my fears, proved my thoughts wrong and exposed myself to a new way to see things. I made sure once my CBT sessions stopped that I continued to read my book and put what I was taught into action when I felt anxiety creeping back in. It’s not always easy, but I have now been able to witness the benefits and I now have proof in my own mind that it works.

CBT has taught me how important it is to get out my comfort zone, not just to do the normal everyday things in life, but also giving me the courage to then try new and often scary things. The scariest thing I’ve done has been blogging as I’ve always been very self-conscious and aware of other people’s opinions of me. Blogging has left me exposed and it has really put myself out there. I’m not the best at spelling, grammar and am forever worrying that what I am writing is rubbish, but with support I feel I’ve found something I love, it gives back to me, helps me grow and it also gets me to try new things. I have found a passion, something that gives me so much and I also feel I am able to give back and hopefully help others.

The last 3 months I have really built myself up and got out my comfort zone on many occasions. Once you start the feeling can become quite addictive and I am forever accepting invitations to new and scary things I couldn’t imagine myself doing a few months ago. I am no longer scared and constricted by what I can and can’t do and it’s opened up a new world for me. Since I have started getting myself out my comfort zone everything else in my life has improved, my confidence, my depression, my anxiety and my overall wellbeing. I am getting new opportunities everyday and I love the feeling of excitement my life now brings.

Except new challenges and remember that you are the only person coming between making them a reality.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and SMART goals

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and SMART goals

I tried cognitive behavioral therapy back in April last year, it was focused on my anxiety and I did find it helpful to find some coping strategies to start getting out and about. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a talking therapy that looks at the interaction between our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and behaviours. When we start challenging these thoughts we are then able to deal with the problem and help change negative thought patterns.

Last year in October I was under crisis team care for my postnatal depression and was refered to cognitive behavioral therapy and on Monday after a long wait I had my first session. This time we are focusing on my postnatal depression so I can help rationalise my negative thoughts. unfortunately I am under crisis team care again as things began to spiral again without any kind of support from November to January and I now have a second diagnosis of borderline personality disorder which I will start a therapy for afterwards called dialectical behavior therapy.

This week I have the task of questioning my thoughts which isn’t as easy as it might sound. For example when I wake up in the morning and my thought is that I don’t want to get up as I know it will be a bad day, my emotion will then be feelings of being down and depressed, which then affects my behaviour and makes me not want to get up or get dressed and my physical symptoms will be tired and tearful. I need to learn to challenge these negative thoughts so I can have more positive emotions and behaviour. It’s going to be a slow process, but I know this therapy works I just need to put the time and effort in.

Something else this week I will be starting is my S.M.A.R.T goals which stands for:

S – Specific goal

M – Measurable goal

A – Achievable goal

R – Realistic goal

T – Time bound goals

I’ve set myself a few goals I wish to achieve in the next month and I’m sure once I get the hang of it I will be able to add more to it.

My S.M.A.R.T goals so far are:

  1. Write a weekly blog post of everything I have enjoyed the previous week. I have been writing down any little small things I have enjoyed this week, a text from a friend, a lunch out etc so I can reflect and see the small positives in the week I have had.
  2. Turning my phone off at 10pm. I am so guilty to playing about with my phone up to the second I want to go to sleep and I find my brain is still running 100 miles per hour. We all now know that blue light is bad for us and stimulating our brains so by 10pm my phone turns off and I pick up a real book (not my kindle) and read for an hour. So far this has worked so well and I’ve actually been getting to sleep much earlier. As a person I require a good 8 hours sleep and without it my mental health quickly starts to deteriorate.
  3. After a couple of weeks off from the gym my next goal is to start going back to the gym for one class a week. I would like this to be two classes, but I am being realistic and not adding the pressure. If I do one class a week I will be happy. Exercise is great at making us feel better and it’s something I need to build into my weekly routine again.

Another thing I plan to start doing in the next week is to start making a goals/mood board. This was suggested by an old school friend of mine and it’s something I am keen to start once my Amazon order arrives. This will be a bright visual board that I can look to for inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

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