I love Christmas. I love the food and being together. I love decorating the house and buying gifts. I love the opportunity to celebrate.But.There is a 'But'.All the expectations around what Christmas could or should be can make me anxious.Until a few years ago as December approached I would find myself starting to worry. Would everyone have a good time? Had I remembered everyone's presents? Did the house look festive enough?Pressure and stress built up as the list of non-negotiable (as I saw it at the time) events filled my diary. I would panic about the most bizarre things: would...

An unexpected diagnosis. During my third session with my therapist she told me she thought I was suffering with Post-Natal Depression. Aside from the shock, the shame and the fear of what this might mean, I was also confused. I thought women with post-natal depression struggled to bond with or feel love for their baby. This was not the case for me.Also this was my third child, I loved him as I loved my daughters - unequivocally and from the get-go - if I was depressed now, was I depressed then?(me and my gorgeous boy. 2010)The answer to this un-asked question...

Today I am delighted to introduce to you my friend Phil. Phil has agreed to share his experiences of dealing with anxiety as a middle-aged (his words!) man; how it was for him and what he did about it. Phil is fantastic, I know you'll enjoy what he has to say. I am very grateful to be able to share his perspective here:I’ve never been too concerned about my physical health.I cycle to work, clocking up about 40 miles per week, and apart from my vasectomy have never had more than a day off in 25 years of gainful employment. I’m...

It is New Year's Day.We are in Auckland, New Zealand and have stumbled across an international tennis tournament. The tournament is not under the radar, but we do not follow the annual tennis schedule so, to us, it feels like a gift. The luxury of no other plans allows us to stroll down, wait in line, buy tickets and take our seats to watch some of the world's best female tennis players. Such joy.As we wait for play to begin my mind wanders through the possibilities the coming year holds. I am relaxed, happy, looking forward. It occurs to me;...

Many people I know choose a 'word for the year'.A word they hope to orient their year around. A word they hope when they look back at the end of the year they will find has been the cornerstone, the theme underpinning all they have done.I have a word for this year. It has crept up on me. I think it came back from holiday with me in my suitcase.This year is a big year for me. My goals are bigger, my hopes higher.On 1st January I wrote (on Instagram):"I am looking forward to this new year. I feel excited,...

I was out and about somewhere this week, I forget where, and I could hear a toddler whining.The child wasn't very upset, but were obviously struggling to get their point across, to let the parent who was with them know exactly what they wanted. I then heard the Mum who was with this little boy, who must have been about two and a half, say a phrase I have said myself many times. She said,"Use your words."She wanted her son to stop his whining and tell her what it was that was upsetting him, or what it was he wanted....

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...

You have permission to make a changeI am giving it to you.Not that you need me to.You were already allowed.If something is not how you want it to be, if you are not getting what you need, if something else would make you happier, you are allowed to change it. You are allowed to try something else. You are allowed to quit, or have a go, or say no this time even though you have always said yes.You have permission to make a change.Life is big and busy and full and it can feel easier to stick with the status...