Staying Healthy

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Well, after such a great holiday where I was exercising every day I have crashed back to my sedentary life. I am putting on weight and have been during the last lockdown. The combination of weather and dark skies meant I struggled to exercise as much as I needed and with the cold weather comfort eating I have piled on the pounds and really need to get rid of it. I thought my job was bad for me as I sat around in an office desk most of the day but at least I did get some movement, being at home has reduced my activity levels to non existent. I enjoyed my holiday and I got out and about enjoying the exercise but I also noticed how much additional weight I am carrying and I so need to LOSE IT!

I am a woman of a certain age which means I am now going through the menopause which is wreaking havoc on my body and mind. I started getting symptoms a few years ago and part of the reason I left my last job was because I couldn’t function due to the brain fog, anxiety and fatigue due to insomnia. ( I have read a number of articles on women leaving the workplace because of menopause. I was hoping not to be one of them but have joined the statistics now. There was no help available at my last place. Their view was get on with the job or leave. – They had no new projects and they didn’t want to pay me any redundancy, so leaving did them a favour. – Cynical I know ! )

The brain fog meant I was struggling to think sometimes and was being bullied and generally derided for not being ‘on the ball’. If I forgot something I was seen as incompetent. The workplace was unforgiving and I had panic attacks brought on by my anxiety which was reducing my threshold levels so things I could do with my eyes shut became major anxiety generating events. God – I felt so stupid and thought I was going mad. I couldn’t cope with the negativity and panic attacks and when the project finished I decided to leave and have some ‘Me time’. I have worked continuously for over 25 years so a break was well overdue. I have found that the brain fog has actually started to get worse, I had a really bad day while on holiday where I just couldn’t think at all. I was just responding with “I don’t know” all the time as my brain was just frazzled, I just couldn’t think straight.

Insomnia

The insomnia did start to ease once I left my job and I was hoping that I would recover enough that I could consider getting a new job. But – during the last few months the insomnia has come back with added intensity. I have been trying to sleep but do not want to resort to medication as that is not good over the long term. I wondered how I would be while on holiday as I wanted to use that as a control and see if the lockdown was a major cause – I still had sleepless nights but due to the exercise I was managing to sleep a few more hours than before. A step in the right direction, so how to I improve it even more?

I looked for something to help me. I have started a sleep course. I am using sleepio and have a free sign up, it is used by the NHS and was created in the US, it is a CBT self-help course which lasts 6 weeks, it can be access for free via some UK GPs. I managed to get a free link.

Sleepio.com

Free signup link here : Use the code : G69JAN

I am hoping this will help me get back to a decent level of sleep and help me on the road to recovery. I didn’t know this but lack of sleep / poor sleep can also make you put on weight so as well as trying to increase my exercise levels to reduce weight I also need to improve the quality of my sleep. I am only a week into the course so no idea if this will help or not, time will tell.

Fitness

I also need to improve my fitness. I want to be able to cycle more and look at some longer cycle rides and possible do some cycle touring in the UK as a way of travelling while COVID restricts holiday options. Now the weather has improved I need to get into a fitness routine and crank up the exercise to try and get rid of the excess weight and feel better about myself. I have never been so overweight or so down. I need to find ways of motivating myself and improving my outlook. My self confidence is at an all time low. I guess I am having post-holiday blues. I need to get myself into a better mindset and be more positive and regain my self confidence and self esteem. I have started some yoga and kettlebell sessions using YouTube channels to get some variety in my sessions and get into a routine. It is giving me some focus as I try to work out what to do next. I feel like a write-off but need to give myself a kick and motivate.

Monthly Update – May 21

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

May has been a bit of a wash out generally. I have not been able to do as much exercise as I would like. I have felt somewhat down with the limited activity but have had the motivation of my up coming holiday to cast some brighter light on the days.

Financially, my net worth has taken a bit of a hit from the markets and I ended the month down 1% on last month. I have been preparing for my holiday though, I had to move my holiday from last year and the new date has arrived and I ended the month on holiday in Scotland.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as the lockdown is only just easing. The normal hotel stops on the way up were possible. I had to download 2 different apps to track & trace in Scotland. The weather also improved during the holiday, so I ended up being able to have what felt like a normal holiday. Other than checking in and out and sitting in sectioned off seating, as per COVID rules, I had a great time. It felt so long overdue and I enjoyed every minute and every activity as though it was my last. Being able to see another part of the country was great, I felt my batteries recharge and my whole demeanour changed and I smiled more than I have for a while. I hired a bike and cycled nearly 200 miles and soaked up the great weather and the wildlife. I could cycle so close to wild animals (deer, squirrels, rabbits, hares and even weasels) without them fleeing so quickly. Some great sights and with the sunshine and warm weather it felt like a really good restorative break. Something I was hoping to do last year to shake off the ‘toxins’ of my last job.

Income

On the income front, some more share dividends were paid this month to add to my funds. Not much but better than nothing. I also sold down some of my old employer shares, I have used this year’s CGT to sell down and I will pop that money into my ISA as part of this year’s allowance.

I have been trying to earn more money online but the volume of users has now grown so much the site has been crashing. There appears to be some good jobs being published at a fixed time every day. This means everyone logs in to work it and its resulting in the site crashing. I think there are users using bots to poll and grab the work too which means it is almost a DDOS attack, the site crashes and no one can do anything until the jobs have gone. I have had poor earnings as a result so I have given up working and am taking a break for a few weeks either side my holiday. I changed my payment supplier and have already seen a better return from exchange rates and I will just have to monitor the work options as it is looking like I will have to find another way of earning money. I have been looking at jobs but nothing really appeals. Again, the jobs are full time, long hours and expected to be in the office as soon as this is possible.

My NS&I savings have renewed, I didn’t get much interest and it will just get worse over the next few years but I will hang onto them as a diversification. I will review my other accounts and see if I can move things around to gain better interest where ever I can. My passive income is dropping and I am trying to find ways of increasing it and make my money grow without losing capital.

Tax Year

I have received my tax paperwork for last year from my accountant so I will fill that in and see what tax I have to pay. I have my online income to declare but I haven’t earned enough to trigger any tax or NI payments so if I want to accrue any credits towards my state pension I will have to pay a top up contribution.

Month End

As a positive end to the month I have returned from my holiday. I was a bit concerned on what I would find on holiday but it was better than expected. It has been good for my mental health and I so needed to have something ‘normal’ to do. I found out from the holiday neighbours that the owner of the self-catering place I was staying in has sold up. I had wondered if the lockdown and lack of income last year has encouraged them to sell up and get out of the holiday let market. I also found out that there had been a fire in the place I was staying and I was the first visitor since the repairs were completed.

On the journey up I had never seen so many motorhomes and caravans. The towns I visited were packed so I had to look for quieter locations and enjoyed the cycling and walking in the countryside away from the crowds. The locals were saying how they were glad of the tourists and others were saying how accommodation costs had risen two or three-fold and they knew people who were raising prices to recoup their losses from last year. Some of the cafes/shops I normally visit had gone bust and others were struggling to survive. There was lots of positivity though and with the sunshine it was great to sit outside and chat to people, at a social distance! The B&B places that would normally be fully booked had vacancy signs up and limited occupancy. They are missing the foreign tourists who would be travelling around, stopping off in different places every so many days and filling the rooms.

Now I am back home and the weather is better I will try to stay positive and active and look at ways I can live without a job as I am really feeling down with the work situation. My anxiety levels have been bad with regard to working and I am not wanting to go back to the rat race and the toxic environment I was experiencing. Until COVID is over I cannot see opportunities arising which enable me to move into a better environment. Why take on someone you have to train when there are plenty of people out there who can do the job and qualified from day one. I need to seriously rethink my life path.