Two weeks ago I sprained my ankle. I was exercising at home and for no obvious reason, maybe I wasn't fully paying attention, maybe I was being a little gung-ho, I went over on my ankle and fell to the ground. As I fell I heard a loud snapping sound, turning my stomach and convincing me it was broken. I shouted, a lot and loudly. Then I tentatively undid my trainer, eased my foot out and removed my sock. I watched, with fascination as my ankle doubled in size before my eyes.I was in pain and I was angry. This was...

Before you can love anyone else. Before you can care for anyone else. In fact if you want to be any use to anyone long term:You have to love you first.I used to think loving myself was selfish. I thought prioritising my needs was self-indulgent. Surely it was better to sacrifice what I wanted to make others happy?I was a classic people pleaser, believing I would be loved and accepted only if I behaved and performed as others' wanted me to. So I morphed and changed according to who I was with. I tried to keep a lid on any...

In the morning when you wake the dread is already on your shoulder. You feel the panic rising and swallow hard to stop it. It all feels too much.  You pull up your big girl pants and give yourself the pep-talk you have well-rehearsed about just getting on, just doing it, not quitting, not stopping.Throughout the day you struggle to make decisions. You find yourself rushing from one thing to another, worrying about what won't get done. Your breath catches in your chest. You feel you are always dropping the ball. The other shoe is about to fall. You are...

I find change hard. I like familiarity and routine. I like tradition and rituals. These are the things that help me to orient myself in the world. To make sense of life's unpredictable moments.But if we know one thing we know change is the only constant. The only thing we can be sure will follow us.Sometimes life changes and we have no choice but to accept it even though it is devastating; we experience tragedy and have to learn to live with it.We lose a loved one, a friend moves away, we are ill, our job role changes, we experience...

Recently I asked my email list* what they were struggling with.I don't have all the answers but I want to know my readers better and write about the things that are on their hearts.I was overwhelmed by the response and felt so privileged that so many took the time to share their stories with me.There were a few themes that emerged, common threads between the responses. So often we think the things that make us feel ashamed or scared separate us from everyone else, when actually it is these struggles that unite us. If only we knew how like each other...

I prefix this post by saying: The church is made up of humans who are flawed and messed up, and get lots of things wrong. And despite everything, on Sundays you will find me in church. Because even though this family is dysfunctional, it is home.Like everyone else, we Christians love success.We love the sheen of it and the triumphant music. We love the way it smells and makes us feel. We love to wave our golden ticket, while we are GETTING IT RIGHT AND TELLING YOU ABOUT IT. We want to be heroes in our neighbourhood; helping the sick and...

This morning I took two minutes to sit quietly in my chair before I started work.I close my eyes. I pay attention.A relentlessly joyful bird sings outside the window. The wind whispers down the chimney. The builders in the next street use a piece of equipment that makes a dull grinding noise and the traffic further afield brings a bass note to the song.My glasses rest on my nose. My hands are in my lap, fingers interlaced, one thumb on top of the other. The skin is warm and slightly dry. I scan my body looking for tension and remember...

On Monday I attended a workshop in London. The event was run by child psychiatrist Dr Sarah Vohra who (on top of her day job in the NHS) speaks and has written a book about mental health in children and young people. The event focused on dealing with anxiety, our own and our children's. I have used some of the content she shared at the event to inform this blog post. If you want to know more about Dr Sarah you can find her on Instagram here, and can pre-order her book here (our next month. I can't wait to...

Anxiety doesn't have a hold over me like it used to but it is still something I have to manage. Every now and then I experience weeks when anxiety hovers around, when the low-level buzz of it is ever-present. This can be because I have been too busy or not sleeping well, or because there is unexpected stress in my life. It can also be because I haven't been looking after myself very well and self-care has been neglected. It can be for no obvious reason at all.On these weeks I employ all the tactics I know to try and...