Motivation – Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. And the theme is – yes, you’ve guessed it – kindness.

Kindness comes in all shapes and sizes. It may be something we do or show towards others. And more often than not it can be something we forget to show to ourselves.

What does kindness mean to you? What acts have you witnessed or experienced in these last few months that have not only made you feel good about yourself, but have also made you proud to be human? Please share your comments below. I’d love to hear your stories.

Stephen King’s IT

Celebrating Stephen King’s IT this week. I first read the book back in 2017 – about eight months before the cinematic release of IT Chapter One. And what a ride it was.

I thoroughly enjoyed the short stories within the story – all those world building moments that weren’t focussed on the main characters but gave us a sense of how far and wide Pennywise’s power and presence had spread throughout Derry.

And of course, paying homage to both Tim Curry and Bill Skaarsgard’s interpretations of Pennywise. For me, Skaarsgard’s version is up there with all the horror icon greats.

What’s your favourite parts of IT? Feel free to drop a comment below.

Monday Motivation on a Tuesday 21st April 2020

This last week, this self-isolation business hit me. I found it very hard to focus on anything creative, and was in desperate need of a change of scenery. Yes, I go for a daily walk (practising social distancing, of course) and I even had a trip to the supermarket. While its a break in the day/week it’s hardly a change of scenery. I really miss going to different places, meeting new people, catching up with friends and family; and having new experiences – even if it’s just a trip to the cinema to see a film.

There are days when I can push myself and work through it. And there are days when I just ride the wave and let whatever thoughts and emotions I have run their course.

Today is a good day. The sun is shining. The skies are blue. Temperatures are forecast to be very warm here in the UK this week. I’m feeling quite positive and motivated.

The most important thing is to laugh. I’m fortunate enough to live with my partner and silliness and laughter is a part of our schtick. Which is why I’m going to leave you with a meme I’ve created myself. Something that reminds me not to take life too seriously. I hope it makes you smile. Have a great week.

Monday Motivation 6th April 2020

I first heard this quote on the series finale of Sex and the City – it’s the last thing Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) says at the end of the final episode. It’s one of those ones that has stayed with me since.

Without meaning to sound conceited, it really set me on a path to get to know myself better – a journey that began around 2011. And it’s a journey I’ll continue on until the day I die.

I used to live my live life thinking everything could be fixed – that everything around me had to change in order for me to be happy. That, and that achieving goals would fulfil me and give my life purpose.

As the years went by I found myself getting more miserable than I ever had in my entire life. I suffered anxiety and depression in my teens. At the time it was one of those subjects I didn’t know anything about; and it certainly wasn’t talked about back then. I continued to bottle it up throughout my 20s and 30s – seeking external sources as a distraction, believing I was living my life to the max. All the while I didn’t realise I wasn’t addressing the problem.

I’d read several books, watched many films, found new hobbies and interests and careers and even took part in several courses, including therapy. I can’t say all those methods have been perfect but I can say I’ve honestly learned something from each of them – some more than others. Some I’ve throughly enjoyed.

The time I spent in isolation while the rest of the world was getting on with their lives was difficult. I was depressed and anxious a lot of the time and it wasn’t an easy thing to cope with. But now I look back and can see how it was all part of the process – getting to know myself better and what made me tick. I had great days, I had bad. And whether good or bad, I learnt something new each time.

Something in my thinking was affecting the way I felt both emotionally and physically. Ultimately it came down to choices. Every thought presented me with a choice – and that included what thoughts I chose and how I identified with them.

Now I’m summarising here. Sharing a brief story of my experience. I don’t mean to downplay and oversimplify my experience or to preach or make bold claims. But now the world is on lockdown and we are all being advised to stay at home – I”m sure this is a shock to the system for hell of a lot of people. Some may not even realise that it is. But being at home all the time, whether you live alone or with others, is not always as wonderful as it sounds if you don’t have a routine or you aren’t used to managing your mental health.

I guess what I’m saying is today is a chance to start getting to know yourself a little better. If you’re feeling depressed or anxious – even just a little bit. It’s okay. You may even want to just ride the wave and let it pass – I still do. I tell myself: “Remember you are the one constant thing in your life – so you will never truly be alone if you get to know yourself. Take the time to find out who you are not and who you want to be.”

Just tiny, little steps – one day at a time.

Monday Motivation on Tuesday 31st March 2020

When I was a kid my parents used to entertain my sister and I by playing a lot of records, singing and dancing the afternoon and evenings away. This continued into my teenage years and often in my solitude when I got home from school I’d have a party-for-one. Blasting records and imagine I was giving my very own pop concert. An embarrassing confession, yes? No. The exercise and the freedom of imagination both singing and dancing gave me kept my head above water in those challenging years.

Now I’m not saying annoy your neighbours by playing loud music, but I know I’m going to spend my time at home, while I have it, doing things I love to do. The reason I’m writing and publishing this blog today is I had the impetus to continue writing a new story I started over the weekend. It gave me such a thrill to be doing it. And the after feeling of having created something left me feeling content and happy.

Looking after my mental health is as important as looking after my physical health – for me the two go hand-in-hand. And I’m not perfect. I don’t claim to be. Not every day is a sail in the water. On those days I watch a film or TV series or better still I read a book. And so what if I have a little siesta from time to time. I remind myself its okay to have those down moments and not to beat myself up over them.

Whether you live on your own or with friend or family, please look after yourselves while you are at home. And remember you are not alone.

Much love.

Mark Young

Monday Motivation 23rd March 2020

Two things that have got me through life are books and music. They’ve always been constant companions and continue to do so even as we live in these unprecedented times.

What always continues to amaze me, particularly when reading books that were written over 30 or 40 years ago (sometimes even older), is how forward thinking some writers were.

I’m currently reading the third book of James Herbert’s The Rats Trilogy Domain. A great writer will always know and write people well; and they can sometimes even provide little glimpses into the future. Although the story is set in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, this book is still relevant to our current climate. Here’s a quote from the book (first published in 1984) that made me chuckle:

Wherever you are in the world today please keep safe. Look after yourselves and each other. And read a good book.

Monday Motivation 16th March 2020

For these Monday Motivation posts I’ve chosen quotes that have helped me move forward and have had an impact on the way I think.

But there’s nothing more motivating than sunshine and clear blue sky to get me out and about and doing something I love. So I’m starting the week as I intend to go on – with a cup of coffee and getting creative.

How about you?

Monday Motivation 9th March 2020

So the first in a series of Monday motivations. My goal for today and each day this week (Monday to Friday) is to get up at 5am. The rest will follow on from there. Biggest anticipated challenge of the day: fighting the fatigue. How am I going to tackle this? Going to the gym. Making healthy eating choices. Creating and following a to-do list, making sure I include things I want to do as well as the things I need to do. And for those jobs I don’t get done today – I’m gonna roll them over to tomorrow.

Want to share you self-motivation experiences.? Why not join the conversation and drop a comment below?

Happy Monday everyone.

Mark Young