Free budget planner | your first step to financially surviving January & 2019!

Were you one of the many thousands that said you’re ‘not going to crazy this Christmas?’  That you weren’t going to overspend this year or get yourself into debt at the expense of Christmas?

Having that mindset is brilliant and should be certainly something you continue with year in year out however for one reason or another it doesn’t always work out like that does it.

How to financially survive January and beyond?

Free budget planner & step one to financially surviving January

Although we budget for christmas all year around we have struggled a little this year with other things that require our attention (or rather money!).  It’s not always that simple to not get into debt at christmas or being that overwelmed with the things you feel you HAVE to buy that you just don’t enjoy it.

Throughout January I’m sharing with you some guest posts from fellow personal finance bloggers who either have experienced debt themselves or have the knowledge and experience to help you deal with any extra credit cards, overdrafts or loans you’ve racked up over the festive period.

Free budget planner & step one to financially surviving January

To get you started on the right foot and in preparation for some of the amazing content you are going to be receiving, today I’ve decided to share with you my monthly budget planner.  

I share this in the hope it will help you get your head around your money as far as getting down on paper your income and expenditure and help you manage your finances a little better.

This can be used by anyone not just those that are feeling the pinch of christmas; having your figures in front of you and in black and white can also keep you out of debt or help you work your way out of debt if you are currently in debt.

A  budget planner allows you to see where you are overspending too and where most of your money is going.

 



 


Since leaving my ‘guaranteed-income-every-month’ corporate job I realised we needed to look at our spends.  

The mindset of being able to see exactly what is going in and out of your bank every month helps massively and if after everything is calculated your expenditure is higher than your income then you need to stop, think and do something about it.

If the reason for this is due to debt repayment then these up and coming debt related series of blog posts throughout the whole of January will 100%  be of use to you (another reason to sign up to our newsletter and receive your FREE budget planner is to be notified of these as and when they go live too!) 

If you have any questions or need any guidance on the budget planner just give me a shout or drop me an email  and I will be happy to help.

Thanks for reading & I’d love to hear how you get on!

Kirsty x

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Free budget planner & step one to financially surviving January

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How to maximise your annual leave in 2019!

You know I’m all for money saving, ensuring good value for money and maximising your budget but did you know you can also fully maximising annual leave for this year too?

Not for everyone mine!  This may not work if you are one of the unlucky ones that have to work Bank Holidays but for those that don’t.. you MUST check this out!

Take less annual leave but get more time off!

How to maximise your annual leave in 2019!

When is Easter 2019?

You can get yourself 16 days off work in April, by only taking 8 days. This is thanks to the Easter bank holiday!

To do this request the following days off:

  • 15th April
  • 16th April
  • 17th April 
  • 18th April 
  • 23rd April
  • 24th April
  • 25th April
  • 26th April

How to maximise your annual leave in 2019!

May Bank Holidays

Ah May, the month of warmer weather and bank holiday weekends. Book the following off and you’ll get 18 days of hols by just using 8 days of annual leave:

  • 7th May
  • 8th May 
  • 9th May
  • 10th May
  • 28th May
  • 29th May
  • 30th May
  • 31st May

August Bank holiday!

If you book these dates, you’ll get 9 days off by only using 4 days annual leave:

  • 27th August
  • 28th August 
  • 29th August
  • 30th August

December & Christmas

If you get these 5 days off (before your colleagues!) then you’ll bag 12 days worth of hols:

  • 23rd December
  • 24th December
  • 27th December
  • 30th December
  • 31st December

So there you have it… instead of stretching your budget stretch your holidays!

But get in there quick before your work colleagues do too though!

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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6 surprising benefits of shopping locally

Did you know it’s small business Saturday today?  Because of that today I’ve decided to share with you my 6 surprising benefits of shopping locally… some you may already know about but some you might never have even realised!

6 surprising benefits of shopping  locally

Buying locally uses less plastic

Not only do small local businesses tend to use less packaging to keep their prices as low as they possible but plastic is used to protect and preserve products, which can make them cheaper to transport and last longer – and so cheaper for consumers.  Local businesses don’t need to do that; most eateries bake/make fresh goods daily, greengrocers don’t package up their fresh vegetables and cafe’s reuse mugs/cups etc (just to name a few!).

Your money will go back into the local economy

Shopping locally will support your community.  Indirectly your money will be going back into the local economy when you shop and will keep local producers in business.

Create local jobs

If a business is busy & making money then chances are they will soon need to invest some of that money into staff.  These jobs will be taken by people locally.

You get better food

I don’t tend to buy much fruit from supermarkets anymore and spend £6/week on fruit and veg locally instead.  Last month I noticed my local greengrocers didn’t have any swede out on display.  I asked the lady behind the counter and she said they weren’t in season.  My first thought was ‘but Asda have them in year round’ and then it got me thinking.

Why DO Asda have them in year round and HOW do they have them in year round if they’re not actually in season?  Buying foods locally, for example from a greengrocers, will mean they stock what are actually in season; what are ripe & ready to eat.  They won’t sell produce that has been preserved for months before from mass farming tactics or vegetables that aren’t as fresh or rather have the correct amount of vitamins in them that they should because they’ve been harvested a season too early.

You get a better shopping experience

You cannot beat the personal touch of a local business owner who knows the area, knows you and knows the majority of their customers that come through the door by their first name.

6 surprising benefits of shopping  locally

Local business support local charities

There are a lot of local businesses that support specific local charities. When you spend money in their stores you too maybe encouraged to pop your change in the charity box on the counter or notice a sponsor form for Dave to get his head shaved.

So the next time you pass your nearest fruit shop, bakery or haberdashery make it your aim that the next time you need something you head straight there.

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

 

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How to manage your money as a freelancer [AD]

It’s been 3 months since I wrote my last post on my freelance journey.  It was September 2018 that I officially left my government corporate lifestyle and decided to go all in with my full time freelance virtual assistant business but how is it going? What do I love, what do I hate and most importantly how am I managing my finances.

How to manage your personal finances when freelance

I’ve been blogging for probably around 3 years however I’ve only really been making money from my blog for maybe a year.. if that! The odd bits of extra income above and beyond my regular corporate from both blogging and from offering my services as basically a virtual administrative assistant were lovely; however when you no longer have the luxury of a permanent job paying you the same amount month in month out it does make you more conscious of your money.

What is a freelancer?

If you don’t know what a freelancer is; it’s a person who works as a writer, designer, virtual assistant or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.  For example freelance copywriter would complete a piece of work, submit to a client and bill for their time and efforts, a virtual personal assistant would reply to emails or take telephone calls and again bill the client for the time spent on that specific project.

Although working freelance is a great way to earn a little bit of ‘extra’ cash when you have a bit of ‘extra’ time but it’s you can’t class it as ‘extra’ money when you’re needing that money more so than ever to live off and keep a roof over your head!

There are so many things that didn’t even enter my mind before leaving my permanent employment but the fact that it all happened very quickly was probably a good thing.  Since becoming a self employed virtual assistant and working from home I’m having to ask myself questions constantly and monitor my finances like crazy!

Surprisingly to some, the money element hasn’t necessarily been the biggest anxiety trigger I’ve come across since going freelance but perhaps that’s because I feel I’m getting use to having a variable income and if I earn more brilliant but my aim is to never earn less than I used to earn at my corporate job.

I have a spreadsheet with all my outgoings on but I no longer have a set amount coming in each month so how do I actually manage my money?

Managing my money when self employed

Since leaving school I’ve always known what I’m expected to be paid at the end of every month; I’ve paid and had contributions made by my employer towards my pensions for the past 13 years and even NINO and tax… I haven’t even thought about any of that since leaving the corporate world!

Well until I attended the UK Money Bloggers awards last week and that my friend is where my eyes were opened… wide!

There were some amazing panel discussions that covered debt repayment, emergency funds and pensions but there was just one of the many talks that really hit home with me; a topic about your financial future.

It was later that same day that I was introduced to the team at Multiply.  Multiply is a personal finance app that help particularly freelancers and self employed people with the management of personal finances and plan for the future.  Since listening to the finance experts on the panels last week and downloading the Multiply app; I’ve realised there are quite a few things that I really need to start thinking about now I’m self employed.

As I’ve already mentioned, when I was in employment my freelance business and blog had always just been ‘extra money’ and has always been reinvested one way or another into my business but now it’s my actual income and I need it to pay bills and keep a roof over our heads I look at in a whole new light.

The Multiply app allows freelancers like me to feel stable, future proof your lifestyle and still achieve your goals.

I now have what I need right in front of me to keep a track of my variable monthly income and contribute to the things I’ve previously just brushed under the carpet.

Because my income changes each month I am on a flexible plan where I just update the app with my monthly income and it automatically updates everything within my plan.

For example as you can see below it’s telling me that my priority should be to create an emergency fund. It’s something we don’t have and have never have to be fair so we really need to think about putting aside some money and saving like hell for that bugger!

An emergency fund is not just for the car breaking down or washer flooding the kitchen type emergencies (don’t get me wrong it would help massively with these too!) but it’s also there to cover a lack in wage one month perhaps; something that is extremely common as far as being a freelancer because we don’t have a consistent income.

Unfortunately my calculations from last month suggest that I can’t really afford to put anything away towards it however all being well when I update it at the end of this month, if my income has increased it will suggest an amount I put away immediately.

Again due to my income from last month I’m unfortunately unable to again put anything into my Pension.

It’s another something I need to sort out as a matter of urgency to be fair but I do still have my government one on hold so I at least have something.  I’m just no longer paying into anything … I want to also make this a priority so really need to get meal planning and save elsewhere!

I needn’t be too disheartened about not being able to pay into anything yet though – all being well due to my variable income I may be able to more in next month to make it up.  Thats the flexibility with it; if I don’t have it I don’t have it but with this app managing your money it will not leave you short or encourage you to put money somewhere leaving you with little or nothing.

 

Within the pension section of the Multiply plan there is also a pension calculator so I can see what I will get from my state pension at 67 but if I was in a position to put some away I would alter the monthly contribution of which would adjust the private fund accordingly.

Managing finances is one of the hardest things to do when you have no idea how much you are bringing home each month but Multiply really helps you to see the bigger picture and allows you to not only plan for this or next month but in the years to come too.

If you feel this post is been of use to you then please feel free to share or you know of any other freelances that may benefit then again pass it on!

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Multiply
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Stress awareness month with Toby & Roo

In April I did my first guest post (I think… if that’s what you call it!) and contributed to the lovely Harriet’s blog over at Toby and Roo for stress awareness month.

With so many other bloggers doing exactly the same thing and Harriet very kindly posting our Q&A style posts daily throughout April it’s really opened my eyes to how stress affects us all one way or another and have even picked up a few tips from how other people cope.  I wanted to share with you over here though too my answers to Harriets Q&A and if you do want to read more from other people be sure to head on over to tobyandroo.com

Stress awareness how I deal with stress

How I deal with stress (or don’t deal with it!)

Since having children she has encountered mental health issues including stress, anxiety and depression mainly caused by her role in the public sector. She regular talks across all her networks about the way she is now, after 5 years of struggle, getting the help she needs in the form of medication and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

1.) Do you suffer with stress frequently or occasionally?

Very frequently. I remember going to doctors and telling him how I was feeling wasn’t right, I was stressed, I was struggling to concentrate and was encountering some discrimination in a job role I had been in for 5 years prior purely because I had decided it was the right time in my life to have a child and I chose to go part time; doctor told me that i was feeling the way I was feeling because I was now a parent! I chose this life so pretty much put up and shut up was the impression I got from him! So I did….. for 5 whole years!! 🤦🏻‍♀️

2.) What sort of things cause you stress? Work, family, parenthood – no right or wrong answer, it can be anything.

Work! I 100% bloody love being a parent… I would have a football team if I could but unfortunately my mind overrules my heart because it’s the stuff that goes alongside being a parent; the doing things not necessarily for you but ‘what’s best for the family’ that i’m struggling with at the moment.  I can see me retiring and regretting completely how long I spent stressed and how often I woke up daily on work days with heightened anxiety but right now there not much I can do about it (but believe me I am working very hard towards it though!)

3.) Does anything in particular make stress worse for you? For example, workplace pressure or lack of understanding from friends/family that stress is a real mental health issue.

I think there’s been a few factors for the way I’m feeling at the moment; if I hadn’t encountered the discrimination when I returned to work with my first born, if my doctor had diagnosed me with what they now say probably started off at Post Natal Depression and I didn’t have to go down the flexible working appeal route AGAIN after been made to feel that ‘childcare was something I should’ve thought about before I had children’ them yes I probably wouldn’t be feeling the way I am feeling right now!

4.) Does stress have an impact on your physical health?

Yes it does; I’m on an anti-depressants at the moment and have been for a good 18 months now as it’s those that get me up in the morning. Without them, especially on work days I just would want to stay in bed!

5.) What do you do to alleviate stress?

I vlog! Some might think it’s crazy and it is timely (the editing!) but I fine it ridiculously therapeutic to talk to no one (even though I know technically I’m talking to thousands) I feel I can say what I want, when I want and be me, I don’t have to not say anything in case I come across as being negative and if I don’t have time to edit or I don’t feel like editing; I don’t edit. My audience are so understanding and they totally get if there isn’t an upload there isn’t an upload… but I am constantly in front of a camera because it makes me feel so good!

In addition to vlogging I love running too; but I have to really be in that frame of mind to go otherwise (like for the past couple of months!) I’ll not go.

6.) Do you think more needs to be done to raise awareness of what causes stress and the impact it has on us and those around us? If yes, what would you do or like to see done?

Yes 100%! I’m loving all the flexible working campaigns that are continuously helping not only employees but employers too. I would love to get on board with someone similar. Businesses, MD’s, managers etc also need to understand that people are people and not just number.

7.) Do you have any tips for anyone dealing with stress.

As I’ve already mentioned I LOVE to share with others across all my networks about things that I do; I would never say do this, that and the other because I know how difficult it is to do anything some days and I very much praise the small things but I love sharing what works for me. I’ve had so many messages from people saying thank you I am really touched that by sharing my struggles can help so many realise that small physically achievements are big mental achievements when it come to mental health issues. But if I had one tip I would say try everything… there’s something for everyone you’ve just got find what that something is for YOU!

Thanks so much for reading!

Kirsty

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Tips on Working & Balancing Your Household

Some will be reading this and thinking… ‘whaaaat?  You mean it’s actually possible to balance your household whilst working?’  I thought exactly the same when I was working in a corporate environment!  I’m fortunate now to be working from home but I still have struggles with balance.  It helps massively that I am at home more often than not and I can stick some bleach down the toilet when I go to the loo and wipe down the sink when I was my hands but if you would like 7 tips on working & balancing your household then read on!

Tips on Working & Balancing Your Household

Meal plan

We’ve all got to eat but if like me you are just creating concoctions of meals with the majority of which being freezer food I am with you!  I created a printable that you can all, as a family, list everyones favourite meals.  I call that stage 1.  How much further you want to take it is entirely up to you; stage 2 would be shopping for your list and then batch cooking where possible but even just taking that first step to elevate you having to even think about what’s for tea will help massively.



Make the mornings easier

If you don’t already be sure to get everything ready to go the night before.  Packed lunches can stay in the fridge overnight, PE bags, book bags and jackets can be hung on the front door handle ready to pick up as you leave and shoes on the mat can literally be slipped on.

Tips on Working & Balancing Your Household

Share the chores

This may not go down overly well but explain to those in your family that the more often everyone gets involved the more fun family time we ALL have.  You cannot do everything yourself.  You are a team.  Create a rota or a list of chores that need doing per day/per week and ask which one people would like to do.  They have to chose one… there’s no getting away from it!  Be sure to add on your chore list the ways you can make the mornings easier.  The kids know what they need to take to school the next day so get them to make sure they have their PE kit on the door ready to go as they walk past it to bed.

Be firm

Whilst we are making tea my children set the table, get their drinks and sometimes(!) empty the dishwasher for me… if they don’t make their drinks of set the table they don’t have a drink with tea of have anything to eat there dinner with… simple!

Tips on Working & Balancing Your Household

It’s not always easy and sometimes a challenge especially if it means them having to put the iPad or Playstation controller down for 5 minutes but they do do it every night pretty much without fail… otherwise I ‘will come in there and turn it off’! 😉



Be motivated

It’s sometimes difficult to be motivated by your loved ones who also works full time because they probably can’t be bothered to do what you can’t be bothered to do either!  I am loving all these ladies who are popping up, particularly on Instagram, helping people with their cleaning regimes and so much more.  There are some that you will not be able to relate to.  Some you may even resent (yes resent!).  There are a few out there that are sharing with you hints and tips on ways to organise your home and life but 1) don’t work 2) don’t have children and 3) live alone in a pristine house that probably requires no cleaning whatsoever!  Don’t get to disheartened just unfollow and find someone else.  I follow #TeamTOMM she is a working mum who is realistic in what parents can achieve as far as balance and organisation is concerned.  Check her out on Instagram…. www.instagram.com/the_organised_mum

Track your time

The organised mum has a 3 level cleaning routine level 1 being every day jobs, level 2 being specific tasks (limited to 30 minutes!) and level 3 Friday focus.

Tips on Working & Balancing Your Household

I don’t know about you but when I start cleaning/tidying I always end up starting on something else.  I will start to just give the living room a quite 2 minute tidy up the living room and then end up moving the sofa and mopping the floor.  I don’t need to do that… I could use that time to probably tidy every single worktop, table, sideboard in the whole downstairs.  Team TOMM is all about routine and consistency… the longer you follow the method the cleaner you’re house will be coming and it will be easier and quicker to clean.

No housework on a weekend

Now this is hard… but it’s something I try and aim for every week (and fail even working from home!) but wouldn’t it be nice to do all your housework during the week and not do a single thing (obviously apart from your level 1 every day jobs; loading the dishwasher, laundry & wiping down the bathroom.  I WILL one day achieve this though.. TeamTOMM will make sure of that I’m sure!



Everybody see’s balance different.. what works for one might not work for another but I hope even if you take just one thing away from this post it helps you to create YOUR work life balance.  Also note it doesn’t actually have to balance 50/50… aim for life satisfaction not necessarily balance because chances are it will never be 50/50.

I hope this has been of help… if you got value from this post and feel someone else might benefit from it too then feel free to share 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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Winter survival guide | overcome the winter blues

I’ve not specifically noticed that I suffer from the winter blues, also known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder), but I do know it’s harder than ever to get up to the dark mornings and evenings seems to last forever… it gets dark at 4pm! I’m interested to see how I feel this year with no work to get up for… was it work that MADE me get up and at it or will I notice my depression more this year? Here are my tips to overcome the winter blues.

Winter survival guide | overcome the winter blues

Winter blues can also be medically described as SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and effects so many people without them even realising!  It usually causing depressive states from autumn through winter with positive changes being noticed in the spring when the clocks change and the we have more light present during the day.

There are tons of tried and tested hints and tips out there that you could try should you start feeling a little low around this time of year but here are my top 5.



Last year I read (or actually listened too via Audible!) the 5 second rule by Mel Robbins. It was one of the only books I’ve read in along time and at a time I really needed it; it helped with my motivation massively! Instead of waking up to the alarm and snoozing it it tells you to just get up…. don’t let your brain think anything other than ‘get up’. I can not recommend this as a book to read before the dark mornings start creeping in.  You can grab it free with a 30 day trial of audible too!

Winter survival guide | overcome the winter blues

Get out and soak up as much as the daylight while it’s there as you can. Make it an aim to go out at lunch time even if it’s just a 15 minute walk every single day.If you can turn that into a run then brilliant!  Exercise is said to be a excellent for those suffering with SAD.

It’s also said that being conscious of your diet will help too so be sure to stock those cupboards with fruits instead of carb’s or chocolate.  If they’re not there you won’t be tempted to just sit and eat anything you can get your hands on!



Winter survival guide | overcome the winter blues

Get a hobby. Is there something you enjoy, that takes you into a world of your own and before you know it it’s 2 hours later? Find something to do that will take your mind off the depressing dark evenings. Why not start a blog!?

Take a vitamin D supplement.  Vitamin D is said to improve the feeling SAD brings so next time you’re shopping pick some up!  It’s not a prescribed medicine, it’s a vitamin and should be readily available down the medicine aisle of a supermarket.



I hope this has helped anyone who maybe needing a bit of a boost at this time of year.  If you too suffer with SAD and have any other tips to share then feel free to leave a comment down below and share with anyone you may feel would benefit from this post.

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty

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Good Money by Nathalie Spencer review | How to understand your choices & boost your financial wellbeing

I’ve never gone out to look into the scientific reasons behind how we think of money; I thought I knew why I was like I am with money (past experiences!).  But reading Good Money by Nathalie Spencer, a behavioural scientist, has truly blown my mind!  Now I’m actually really interested and have a much better idea of the science behind how I think about, use and manage my money!  Read on for my Good Money by Nathalie Spencer review and how it can help you understand your choices and boost your financial wellbeing.

Good Money by Nathalie Spencer| How to understand your choices & boost your financial wellbeing

I don’t read many books to be fair because I don’t actually like page after page of words.  I like graphics to break it up and Good Money uses a unique, visual approach to uncover the science behind how we think about, use and manage money and guides you to a wiser and more enjoyable relationship with your finances.

The book has 5 parts with a total of 20 lessons to get you thinking about;

  • Money and us
  • Money in the day to day
  • Resilience
  • Long term planning
  • Better with money

At the end of each of them there is a toolkit that help you track what you’ve learnt through each section of the book. They also include links to further reading, podcasts and videos that can give you more information on each specific category should you need it.

Do you know where you are you on the tightwad-spendthrift scale?

Nope I didn’t have a clue either but it was one of the first things I did when I came to the end of Money and Us!

I have always known I was quite sensible with money. Nathalie talks about the effects of a one off change that maybe shortlived as we become accustomed to changes in our situation. I can 100% relate to this!



I’ve wrote a post previously on the reasons we chose to stay in our current home and extend rather than move house. One of the reasons for that was that although on paper we could afford a bigger house… but could we actually afford a bigger house??

So many people see the figure of their dream house and the mortgage calculator giving them a ‘yes’ but there are so many questions that need to be answered before you commit. This book really makes you think about EVERYTHING!

I think Money in the Day to Day has to be my favourite lesson.

I don’t necessarily feel I have an issue with taking control of my finances, in fact I probably do it too much(!) but I know so many do. If you’re one that just bury’s their head in the sand when it comes to managing money then this section of the book will help you massively.

Good Money by Nathalie Spencer| How to understand your choices & boost your financial wellbeing

I also thought I was already pretty good at getting good value for money but this section really made me think about it even more… just because a tag has 50% off doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth it!

Money Matters talks about the things you probably don’t actually WANT to hear but things that a lot of people HAVE to hear!

The section on dealing with debt is so informative to read from a behavioural scientific point of view. There are things in there that I have never ever thought about and it really put things into perspective.

“Different debt repayment strategies have different benefits. Some have financial gains, others might have motivational gains.”

Then I arrived at ‘Retirement ready?’…. no I am not!

I don’t know what I have in my pension.. I’m ‘only’ 32, I know I ought to start thinking about it but I don’t particularly want to!

Retirement is distant… maybe the books scientific explanation is the real reason why I don’t want to think about it yet??

Better with money

The final section of the book talks about financial well-being & how it’s not necessarily about scrimping, scraping and sacrificing but rather how you can enjoy spending your money and encourages you to set goals.  It was this section of the book that also confirmed my thoughts on how buying myself some time and hiring a cleaner is such a good idea!!

Good Money by Nathalie Spencer| How to understand your choices & boost your financial wellbeing

Money Matters is such a easy read with plenty of graphics along the way to help you visualise what is being talked about in each lesson of the book.

There are some really inspirational quotes and it’s actually made me think more about how I’d actually enjoyed reading into the psychological side of managing your money and not only how it affects me but how it affects other people and how the things that I do could possibly help them too.

Wherever you are on the spectrum; whether you’re a ‘tightwad’ or ‘spend thrift’, whether your in debt or have money spare each month; this book is for EVERYONE and I can not recommend it enough.

If you found this post of value or feel someone else might benefit from a read then feel free to hit those share buttons further down the page.

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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Signs and symptoms of depression and my experiences

There is for sure a massive stigma for ‘being depressed’ but let me just start this off by saying it’s not something people choose to be!  Seasonal affective disorder is creeping up on many what with the dark mornings, evenings and just all round lack of enthusiasm to get out of the house because of the cold, damp, depressing weather.  Today I’m sharing with you 6 signs and symptoms of depression and things you should look out for before it’s too late.

Signs and symptoms of depression and my experiences

Signs and symptoms of depression & how they affected me

Most people cannot recognise depression in themselves and is only really noticeable to some when having treatment.  If you know someone who these symptoms, speak to them.  Don’t always expect an understanding response because again some people would do anything to NOT be labelled as depressed.  This page set up by the MIND charity is amazing for friends and family to read if they think a loved one is suffering from depression.

Loss of energy

This was one factor in my depression for sure.  Not necessarily tiredness but more the energy to do ANYTHING.  The energy was there if I needed it but my brain didn’t want me to use it.  Someone suffering with depression might hide away from friends, relatives; might think of every excuse under the sun to avoid any social interaction.  I’m still like this at times.  I just want to be left alone in my own safe bubble of a home and although it’s extremely difficult to overcome; from an outsider point of view don’t just turn up on the doorstep of someone who is feeling this way!  That is NOT the way to help someone suffering with depression.



Feelings of worthlessness

I’m one that feels this also but then to others I am the most positive person you could meet!  If you want a boost or encouragement then I am your woman but to give that to myself takes a fair bit of effort.  It’s not something that you might notice in someone because it’s easy to disguise but something you worth knowing as a sign and symptom of depression. The feelings of worthlessness could also translate into the form of cleanliness, ‘I don’t need to look after myself, shower or brush my teeth; I don’t care what people think of me’.

Sleep disruption

Not something I personally struggle from at this moment in time (because I’m so bleeding tired!)  but I have struggled with it in the past.  My anxiety was the reason I suffered with sleep disruption because I was worrying about things I had no control over.  I put a pen and paper to the side of my bed and wrote down my reasons for waking in the middle of the night.  It got it out of head and I dealt with them, if necessary, the following morning.  Sleep disruption can mean that people can’t fall asleep or when they do it’s extremely light resulting in them feeling like they’ve never fallen asleep at all!

Signs and symptoms of depression and my experiences

Weight loss or gain

Extremely relatable to my experience (the weight gain element!).  Through not having the energy or desire to get out plus comfort eating; weight gain was something although I noticed it didn’t really effect me directly as I was quite happy while eating!  It’s so easy to not notice this one I feel until it’s too late and you’re super depressed about the weight on the scales!

Loss of libedo

I think the combination of all signs and symptoms of depression adds to this; the weight gain, the feeling of worthlessness, the sleep disruption and the lack of interest in anything that would give you pleasure!  It can be difficult too because the loss of libedo is a side effect of many antidepressants that people take so it may well seem like a never ending cycle!



Suicide

Depression can kill.  There’s no two ways about it… if you’ve  recognised you’ve got all of the above yet feel theres no way out or you haven’t recognised anything at all and wonder what is wrong with you… the thoughts of death plaque 60% of depressed people.

I sought help.  It took a while and I was fortunate that I recognised my problems for myself.  I have had Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) which although was directed at my anxiety, had also section of the course aimed at depression too.  If you think someone is suffering and you don’t know where to turn then check out the link to MIND charity I mentioned above for some advice.

I also mentioned my mental health struggles specifically with regards to self care particularly in a vlog and blog a couple of weeks ago… I’ll put a link to the vlog at the very bottom of this post but you can find the blog post here on how I’m making self care a priority whilst running my own business.

If you are feeling down, depressed or that life is no longer worth living then please speak to someone.

You can:

All will suggest, recommend and refer if necessary to the relevant agencies but please make that call… don’t suffer in silence.

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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How I’m making self care a priority whilst running my own business.

I’ve previously posted on how I had left my job to start my own business.  Now I’ve left that toxic environment there is one thing I feel very strongly about… I never EVER want to feel the way my ex-employer made me feel ever again!  I’m in a position to now do what I want to do when I want to do it (pretty much!) and no matter what; I’m making self care a priority and a big part of my own business.

How I'm making self care a priority whilst running my own business.

Excercise

I want to join a gym.  The last time I had a gym membership wasn’t actually that long ago.. I joined New Year’s Eve of 2017 and lasted about 6 months!  By the time the summer holidays came around; I had no time to go and I lost the desire pretty quickly. I didn’t go back and cancelled early on this year.  I can’t say I enjoyed the gym particularly; I hate the treadmill or rather I hate seeing the numbers climb so ridiculously slowly in front of my eyes that it feels like I’ve been on it a week!  However I do love the classes. I’m not the best with my feet coordination in step but give me body combat and I am on it!

I’ve want to join a local council run leisure centre on an off peak basis (to save money!) and was really excited to see they do the Les Mills classes.

At the start of last year this was pretty much all I did at least once a week. I felt amazing after it; I felt I pushed myself every single time and although my weight didn’t alter (I need to measure myself this time around!) I felt so good !!!  Apart from that Friday morning 45 minute class I never had the time to really do anything for myself so if I can do a class a week again then I will be super proud of myself and if I know I can’t go the following week then I will do two.



I am making sure this time around that pretty much everything I do is done around MY self care.  If I’m not feeling good, my clients work won’t be as good as it can be, if I’m not feeling good my family suffer and then in turn by those two things alone; I will suffer.

Diet

I am already noticing I am eating better than I was at work because I’m a lot more focused, far from distracted by pointless things I have no control over and a lot less stressed. I used to eat to pass the time at work and it was never anything other than sugar.  Now although i’m still snacking in an evening during the day I will just have my breakfast, dinner and tea… maybe a breakfast bar mid morning but I’m no longer snacking because I’m bored!

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

I obviously have the things I learnt from my CBT at the beginning of the year that I am now in a position to put into action (instead of being told ‘yeah we can’t do that that way regardless of the state of your mental health because we’ve done it this way for years’ [pretty much!]) and I am back on with my Notes to Self journal that one of my clients very kindly sent me.  It allows me to record my exercise, my self care, gratitude and so much more!  It really helps especially because a lot of my work now is digital … sometimes you just want to pick up a pen and write your thoughts down instead of typing!



Cleaner

Ideally I would also like a cleaner… it’s not going to happen yet (although I’m very close!) but it would help me so much knowing that the household things that I can’t do because I’m working are getting done whilst I work.  Obviously if I don’t work now I don’t get paid which is not ideal and something I keep trying to explain to my husband when I’m asking for help and because I’m working at home there is no escaping from it which doesn’t help mentally when theres not a lot you can do about the rubbish around you because you are working to pay the bills!

So that’s how I’m how I’m making self care a priority whilst running my own business and why you should too!  I talked about it a little more over on the weekly vlog if you want to have a look… this is a prime example of how although you can remove yourself from an environment that isn’t helping, your mental health issues don’t just disappear overnight!

If you got value out of this post or you feel someone else may benefit then feel free to share!

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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