Tag Archives: humour

World Mental Health Day 2018 – it’s ok not to be ok….

 

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Research shows that 1 in 4 of us will experience some form of mental health issue in our lives.
That’s quite a scary statistic.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), health is defined as follows–
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
WHO define mental health as –
“A state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution or his or her community.”
Sometimes the stresses and strains of 21st Century life take its toll on our general mental well-being.
So, how is mental well-being viewed?
I checked the NHS website and found the following explanation-

“Sarah Stewart-Brown, professor of public health at the University of Warwick and a wellbeing expert, says: “Feeling happy is a part of mental wellbeing. But it’s far from the whole.
“Feelings of contentment, enjoyment, confidence and engagement with the world are all a part of mental wellbeing. Self-esteem and self-confidence are, too.
“So is a feeling that you can do the things you want to do. And so are good relationships, which bring joy to you and those around you.
“Of course, good mental wellbeing does not mean that you never experience feelings or situations that you find difficult,” says Professor Stewart-Brown. “But it does mean that you feel you have the resilience to cope when times are tougher than usual.”
It can help to think about “being well” as something you do, rather than something you are. The more you put in, the more you are likely to get out.
“No-one can give wellbeing to you. It’s you who has to take action,” says Professor Stewart-Brown.”

Perhaps, if you’ve experienced a time when it’s been difficult to cope, you’ve described yourself as being “stressed.” I’m sure most of us have said it and experienced it at some level.
So, where does stress fit into the jigsaw of mental health and well-being?
According to http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk stress is described as follows-
“At the most basic level, stress is our body’s response to pressures from a situation or life event. What contributes to stress can vary hugely from person to person and differs according to our social and economic circumstances, the environment we live in and our genetic makeup. Some common features of things that can make us feel stress include experiencing something new or unexpected, something that threatens your feeling of self, or feeling you have little control over a situation.
When we encounter stress, our body is stimulated to produce stress hormones that trigger a ‘flight or fight’ response and activate our immune system 2. This response helps us to respond quickly to dangerous situations.
Sometimes, this stress response can be an appropriate, or even beneficial reaction. The resulting feeling of ‘pressure’ can help us to push through situations that can be nerve-wracking or intense, like running a marathon, or giving a speech to a large crowd. We can quickly return to a resting state without any negative effects on our health if what is stressing us is short-lived 3, and many people are able to deal with a certain level of stress without any lasting effects.
However, there can be times when stress becomes excessive and too much to deal with. If our stress response is activated repeatedly, or it persists over time, the effects can result in wear and tear on the body and can cause us to feel permanently in a state of ‘fight or flight’. Rather than helping us push through, this pressure can make us feel overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Feeling this overwhelming stress for a long period of time is often called chronic, or long-term stress, and it can impact on both physical and mental health.
Stress is a response to a threat in a situation, whereas anxiety is a reaction to the stress.”
Allow me to be open and honest for a few moments here.

I’ve written before about being stressed and the effects it had on me so I am not about to repeat myself. However, I’m human (no, I am, honestly!) and, despite my best endeavours at looking after both my physical health and mental well-being, there have been times lately that have left me in a state of “fight or flight”.
I’ve no intention of revealing the details of the various factors that contributed to these feelings. This isn’t that kind of blog….at least that’s not my intention. Suffice to say, I could see the cracks beginning to open up. I began to recognise the signs and the emotions surrounding them. These were threatening not just to overwhelm me but to swallow me whole.
Like everything that’s put under enormous pressure or strain, I had a bit of a meltdown.

I imploded.

It didn’t last long, a few hours probably, although at the time it felt like forever. Those few hours were at a point in the day when I had to paint on the “Disney smile” and keep going, while inside I was in bits. (To the friends who helped pick up the pieces that afternoon, thank you. To the one friend that I broke down in front of…. sorry, but thank you for being there at the right time and place.)
As I drove home that day feeling miserable and defeated, I reflected on the events of the day and the previous few weeks and months. I dug deep and retrieved my “pot” of resilience and, to echo my friend’s philosophy, thought, “Fuck it, life’s too short. Life’s too short to take all this shit so seriously. It’s not worth letting it have such an effect on me.”Fortunately, the “pot” of resilience wasn’t empty.
I  banished “flight” and reconnected with “fight” (not literally, you’ll be relieved to hear. I’m not a violent person.)
But how to subtly show the world that life was too short to take things so seriously? How to carry a reminder with me not to let things impact me to my physical and mental detriment? The answer was simple…….

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So, if you happened to see me that day or meet me on some future day when I need a reminder, I’ve not lost the plot. In fact, I’ll have actually found it again.

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Who Says Book Promo Has To Be Serious?….

The days in the run up to, and the first few days after, the “birth” of a Book Baby are intense and stressful.

There’s the panic around… “What if no one buys it?” “What if no one turns up to the book launch?” “What if no one likes it?”

There’s the anxiety around receiving feedback…. “What of someone tells me its ugly?” “What if no one rates it?” “What if book reviewers slate it?”

I don’t have nerves of steel, as anyone who knows me will testify to. I fret and worry over every tiny thing in life. My Princess Paranoia head is never far away.

Over the past few years, I have learned that when it comes to receiving feedback on your creative exploits, you need to develop a thick hide and the mindset to not take it personally. Easier said than done…. Book Baby mamas are fiercely protective of their Book Baby young.

At the end of the day, this is YOUR Book Baby that is taking its first tentative steps in the world. Hundreds of hours of your time have been invested in it. In my case, my alpha and beta reads have also invested countless hours proofreading and feeding back to me (something I am eternally grateful to these wonderful people for.)

However, things can’t be taken too seriously. After all, writing should be enjoyable and there’s no harm in having a bit of fun with it all too

a bit of fun collage

 

 

If you’ve not been introduced to Book Baby 4 aka Ellen yet, you can find her here:

Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

Amazon.co.uk link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

 

 

And Why’s He Still There, Mummy?…….

This story technically starts back on 18th March after I returned from my trip to Birmingham. Stupidly, I commented to my Moana-loving Girl Child that I’d seen a toy Hei Hei (the dopey chicken from the film) reduced in the Disney Store in the Bull Ring shopping centre. With a petted lip she asked why Hei Hei was still there. Calmly, I explained in my best mummy voice that Hei Hei wouldn’t have fitted in my overnight bag.

hei hei

She sulked….

 

Move forward in time to last Saturday. The Big Green Gummi Bear and I were preparing to leave for an overnight trip to Manchester and were saying our goodbyes to Girl Child and her Dotty Gran in Tesco’s café. Girl Child tried to pick her blue fluffy bunny up by the ear and the poor creature’s ear came off in her hand. Her wee face crumpled. She loves that blue fluffy bunny! I did wonder for a split second if she was about to cry. The Big Green Gummi bear swiftly snatched the ear from her little hand, declared it to be his “lucky bunny ear” for his race (yes, I know that it should be lucky rabbit’s foot) and stuffed it into his jacket pocket.

 

A couple of hours later and many miles down the motorway, we stopped at a service station in the Lake District for lunch. As is my want, we had a wander through the shop before getting back in the car. In the toy section, we found a display of over priced and overly fluffy toy chickens and birds and critters. The Big Green Gummi Bear quickly pulled the bunny ear from his pocket and posed it on top of one of pink fluffy chicken things, suggesting I take a photo and send it to Girl Child. I did.

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Her response a while later was “Hope you bought that.”

When I replied that we hadn’t, her immediate disappointment was expressed.

It was Hei Hei all over again….

The mummy in me knew we had to find one of those pink fluffy birds on the return journey or I’d never hear the end of this, especially so soon after not buying Hei Hei!

 On the way back north on Sunday afternoon we delayed our potty stop/coffee stop by 22 miles to reach the service station on the M6 where we hoped we stood the best chance of sourcing a pink fluffy chicken.

At Tebay services, we were in luck. They had one. He was duly purchased and carried unceremoniously by the legs out to the car. (Turns out it’s a female ostrich and not a chicken)

And so Not Hei Hei came to stay.

 

When we arrived home a couple of hours later, Girl Child was thrilled to meet Not Hei Hei and promptly sat at the dinner table with him beside her.

The blue fluffy bunny ear, which turned out to be quite a lucky bunny ear as the The Big Green Gummi Bear survived his marathon debut and ran a time he is content with, was returned to our baby girl.

With her big blue eyes wide and pleading, she asked me to fix her bunny.

So, for the first time in many years, I have just performed toy surgery and re-attached her blue bunny’s long floppy ear.

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Cue one happy Girl Child….. one 18year old happy Girl Child!

 

 

And the moral of this story is…. Never lose sight of your inner child 😉

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The Not So Humble Polo Mint….RnFnR

To any of you who follow my regular musings here, you won’t be surprised to learn that I escaped last week to attend a couple of live shows.

(You can read about who I was seeing and what I got up to here –  https://the525toglasgow.wordpress.com )

To any of you who have ever attended a gig with me, what I’m about to write about won’t be unfamiliar to you.

Previously I’ve written about the various things that attend every show with me. There’s my Kipling “gig” bag complete with Cherry, the furry monkey. She’s heard SO much good music over the years!There are my beloved purple tie dye Converse that have served me faithfully. I must admit that they have seen better days and are now reserved for gigs when the weather outside is dry.

There’s one other item though that has been to every show with me.

No, it’s not my phone nor my camera.

It’s the Rock ‘n’ Roll Polo mints!

Polo Mints

A long time ago when I was preparing to take my son to one of his first shows I expressed a little anxiety over it to my mother. Her response, and I paraphrase, “If you’ve got a packet of Polo mints with you, you can do anything.”

It made me laugh and it put the anxieties into context.

Her unwavering faith in the powers of the humble Polo mint date back many years to an occasion when, while visiting Fort William, my dad took her a “walk” up Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Scotland. Plenty of hillwalkers take rucksacks, survival kits and emergency supplies. My mother took a small bottle of water and a packet of Polo mints!

Ever since, my “gig” bag has had a supply of Polo mints  stashed in the small front pocket.

OK, I can hear your sniggers from here but hear me out.

The Polo mint really is, as the Americans would say, a Lifesaver.

lifesaver

These small round mints are sweet enough to give you a much needed sugar boost if you energy starts to wane.

Sucking them helps to relieve thirst pangs at shows where security are lax about handing back cups of water.

The paper and foil wrapper can be easily torn back to allow you to share the mints with your friends and fellow music fan thus encouraging camaraderie in a crowd.

They quickly freshen your breath when meet and greet opportunities arise. 😉

So, let’s hear it for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Polo mint!

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(images sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

Nap time…..

If I was a cat right now, this would be me……  ha ha

Normal blog nonsense will resume next week once I’ve caught up with myself 😉

 

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The Silver Lake Series – have you read it yet?

Is your New Year’s resolution to read more books?  Need a day at the beach? Need some rock music and a hot rock star to go with it? Yes! Then check out the Silver Lake series today!

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

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Tis The Season To Write Lists

keep-calm-and-write-a-list-3

It’s rapidly approaching that time of year when lists take over……

I like to think I’m a  reasonably organised person  in my real world, my work world and in my creative world. (OK, I can be a bit OCD about my lists)

Even on an average day, my world is “post it” driven as I work my way from one reminder to the next.

My laptop frequently has several “post its” stuck to it to remind of anything from a trip to the dentist to promo event reminders associated with my book babies. (There’s 3 on there as I type)

However,  as the festive season approaches all too rapidly, longer lists start to over take the small square “post its”.

There’s:

gift lists

festive food lists

Christmas card and calendar lists

 

You get the picture!

There,there’s the 2018 Gig List to be added to the 2018 Calendar on 1 January. (It’s unlucky to hang the next year’s calendar before the year has begun so the dates need to wait on my list till then)

22 Feb – Brian Fallon

1Apr – Greta Van Fleet

16 Apr- The White Buffalo

This list is likely to grow considerably…….. 😉

Earlier today, I paused to take stock of the “Creative To Do” list for this week:

1- write more  of book baby 4

2- promote the Silver Lake series ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coral-McCallum/e/B00VYU1SZ6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4?qid=1510864732&sr=8-4 )

3- promote my Good Reads giveaway – its running till 3 Dec.(https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/261202-bonded-souls )

4- type up book baby 4 – target to reach 15k words

5- write and post blog

6- prep interview for blog (watch this space!)

I’ll not embarrass myself by confessing to how few have been ticked off……

Then, there’s a second, until now, unwritten list…. “The Waiting To Be Written” list:

1- book baby 4 ( ok, it’s nearly there!)

2- book 4 in the Silver Lake series ( write 2018/publish 2019)

3- next part to Silently Watching short story series ( I have half a plan for this!)

4- next part to The Soul Searcher short story series( eh….no clue what’s going to happen next)

5-next part to the Still As A Statue short story series ( maybe a bit of a clue where this one will end…)

6-next part of The Imp – remember him? (I do know where I am going with it…honest!)

EEEEKK!

Maybe I should start with a wish list…

Dear Santa

I’ve been a really good girl this year (well, most of the time). Can I please have a Time Turner like Hermione’s from Harry Potter so I can conjure up enough hours in every day to get through my To Do list.

Hope you like the milk and mince pie.

Love   Coral x

 

(Image sourced from Google- credits to the owner)