Tag Archives: Personal

If I Could Go Back In Time to Prep for Covid-19 😷😷😷

Now I’ve always looked at ‘preppers’ with a confused curiosity, but oh how silly that seems now! I can’t help but think about all the things I’d have done differently had I even the slightest idea that anything like this could effect the health and wellbeing of the world and it’s economy.

So I figured what better way to explore this train of thought than with a time-travelling blog post from the future… or, present? Whatever.

I’m not gonna go so far as to suggest that I’ll put all these changes in place for the future, but there’s no downside to some of them. In the Corona-less future some of this may seem a little kooky, but I feel we’ve all had to learn some hard lessons about the fragility of our economical systems, and how far simple viruses can spread throughout the modern world. Their effects can be terrible, as I’m sure we’re all now aware!

A Year of Safety Money

The first and most applicable of all my ideas would be to save a whole year’s worth of money. I mean bills, finances, credit cards, food bill, a little extra to treat the kids. Not as much as you’d be used to living on, but enough to stay afloat stress free.

I’ve had a couple ideas about how this would be possible for the future, if and when we ever go back to normal! And let’s be real here, it’s a staple we all should strive to achieve if we can. The easiest possible route I can see to this outcome, is to split income by 50% and live off half the money if possible. The remaining half is put away safe, and just like that, we’ve saved a year’s worth of survival money in a year!

We’d have to cut back on a fair amount of spending, but I think a lot of people could get somewhere close to this 50/50 split if the right adjustments were made.

If it’s completely impossible to do that, simply calculate the bare necessities for a year, and do your best to put x-amount of money up until you get there. Be strict, make cut-backs, and get to it ASAP. Done!

Long Life Food & Toiletries Store

Ideally, I’d have loved to have had the opportunity to not leave the house at all throughout this whole fiasco, for the overall safety of myself, my children, and my family. That would have been perfectly achievable if we had a long term supply of toilet roll, hygiene products, canned fish, meats, fruit and veg, pasta, rice, long life milk, herbs, and all the rest of it.

I’ve been known to smirk at this particular ‘prepping’ tactic in the past, but now I’m pretty sold by it. And let’s be honest, there aren’t many downsides to it. Besides, who’s laughing now?

In any case, if afforded the opportunity, I’d have definitely started building a store of these items, and cycling through them regularly. There’s no issue with having all this stuff, using it, and replenishing with fresher dates regularly.

Who knows, I may even adopt this lifestyle in the future? It’s a cheap and efficient way of living after all!

Have Less Debt

This is perhaps not as important as the first two, but it would be nice to not have so much debt, and as a result not have to have so much saved in the ‘one year survival’ fund. Not to mention wayyyyy less phone calls to make about payment holidays!

Moving forward, I’ll be focusing heavily on getting my credit cards paid and cut to pieces, and instead only enter into interest free, fixed-date agreements at most!

It’d be nice to have an emergency card available for times like these, but if the first couple steps were in place, it’d not be necessary at all! Win/win!

A Basic Vegetable Garden?

A vegetable garden like this wouldn’t take much to throw together!

I keep thinking about how nice it’d be to pull fresh vegetables and herbs out of my own garden day by day. It’d certainly offer a little sanity into the world of frozen and canned veg, and offer an extra bit of fun and activity into the day… especially with the kids!

I’m not talking turning my garden into the village farm shop, with chickens running around and an eternally pregnant cow, but a couple raised veggie patches and a couple window-ledge herb pots would offer a little extra interest and satisfaction with dinner!

I think that’d just about do it! Most everything else is accounted for. I have a decent enough gym setup between my weights, powercage, and the body I was born with, and I have my little lovelies to keep me entertained whether they’re stropping, playing games, or chilling in front of the TV. I’ve got enough books to last several lifetimes and wouldn’t have it any other way!

What would you do if you could go back in time before all this? Love or hate my time-travelling tips? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Before you go, if you enjoy little musings like these, a couple of the following post might take your fancy!

Don’t Call It A Comeback!

Let’s refrain from all notion of making a comeback, or some grand return to the blogosphere, and instead just jump right back into it. Deal?

I haven’t written in a long while, (outside of the realms of social media, anyway), and a large part of that is due to how much work I had to do on this site before feeling comfortable moving forward. I tend to get bogged down in small problems that stack up behind large problems that need solving, and before I have any chance to stop it or catchup with it all, I succumb to the temptation to hide away, pop down the Winchester, and wait for it to all blow over.

But there is no longer a Winchester. It’s been closed for the foreseeable, and with it, my hiding place is no more. Over the past couple weeks I’ve cleared up most, if not all, of the issues I faced here on WordPress, and have had lots of time to think about the direction I want to head in. That gives me a solid, but flexible, plan. A clear, concise notion of what I want to achieve by building my once precious website and community!

Above all, though, I don’t want to overwhelm myself with a list of set-in-stone commitments and grandiose expectations of what happens next. My physical business is responsible for the health, wealth, and wellbeing of my family, and my various coaching elements are extremely important to me on a purpose basis. I love to write fiction and I sometimes like to sketch. I enjoy wasting hours at a time singing to old swing songs and can easily lose myself in a Netflix series. I, as an individual, am very broad in my likes and temptations.

And so herein lies the answer to my biggest, stillness-inducing question about this website. What do I want to project? What do I want to produce? What do I want to put out in front of the world, to equate to some level of success and an expression of my creative side? And that elusive answer, after six months of worry, and putting off, and ‘I’ll figure it out tomorrow’s,’ is embarrassingly simple. ME. Plain, erratic, social, sometimes boring, othertimes awesome, me.

The writer. The thinker. The talker. The drinker. The overall and total wanker: Me.

So here I am. Back, active, and ready to mingle. Of course I’ll be writing fiction for the blog here as I always have, but I expect it’ll be fewer, and farther between. I want to set up a Patreon and various things like that to attach my fiction commitments to. But for now, and most importantly, I want to write, and with it build relationships with the varied, awesome, and interesting people right here on wordpress and beyond.

If you’re interested in doing the same, hit that follow button and leave a comment. I’m excited to get back into it all 🙂

It’s Been A While… Dealing With Depression & Plans For The Future

Hello WordPress! Like the title suggests, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here, and I figured I owe you an explanation. But before that, while it seems like a lifetime ago, I hope you all had a lovely christmas and new year!

So what’s been going on? Well, over the new year half of the family business has been handed to myself and my brother, so there’s that. On top of all the lifestyle adjustments and responsibility shifts involved with that, I’ve been hit with wave after wave of illness. Colds, infections, and the real kicker, seasonal depression. I’d say it started to move in just before christmas, and by early Jan, had unpacked all it’s boxes and settled in for a while. I haven’t quite evicted the unwanted tenant yet, but let’s say that the paperwork has been filed and a few gears have been set in motion.

As a longterm sufferer of depression, here’s my QuickStart guide to regaining control when things get bad.

  1. Take your time. The world will wait while you figure things out. There’s absolutely no need to rush or feel pressure to fulfill anything. It’s important that you recognise this as soon as possible, because it’s one of the most stunting mindsets to get ahold of you. Figure out what you need to do, and put some steps in place without trying to do it all.
  2. Straighten out your priorities. I am the number one guy to tell you to focus on delayed outcomes and longterm goals, but taking some time to figure out what is vital to you now, and ensuring you put that to the top of your list, is a must. During times of depression, your energy is zapped real low. Do what you need to to survive, and rest a lot. It will seriously help. You’ll start to move up that priority list as soon as you have more energy to do so.
  3. Walk. Sounds simple right? Because it is. Just get out and walk. Fresh air, low intensity cardio, and time to be free with all your thoughts. We were designed to move around outside. Please try it, you will enjoy it, and as time goes on will be one of the most helpful aspects to your overall wellbeing. Want to supercharge your walk? Sign up for a free trial of audible, get your first full audio book, and listen to it on your walk. Not only will you have all the benefits of walking, but you’ll also be learning something new or being transported off into fictional worlds while you go. You won’t be disappointed!
  4. Start Mindfulness Meditation. If somebody told you that you could perform just 10-15 minutes of an activity that takes virtually no effort, completely backed by science and hundreds of studies across the whole world, to completely change your life and improve your health, would you do it? Of course you would! So stop ignoring meditation. With so many benefits to so little time, you’re not gonna lose anything to try it, so grab an app like Headspace and make it a habit.

That’s pretty much it. Of course there are effective medications out there to help sufferers, of both the ‘swallow this chemical’ and ‘talk to this professional’ variety, alongside a plethora of self-help methods like increasing confidence and working out. But let’s be honest, how hard is self development when all you want to do is sleep? It’s best to take your time and work on a few things until the fog lifts, and then put things in place when you can see through the fog. Never delay professional medical treatment with mental health issues. Read about my experience here: Where Self-Help Becomes Self Sabotage.

Well that’s what’s been going on, so let’s move onto what happens now that I’m back in action.

We’re Sorta Becoming A Book Blog!

206D21D4-9CA4-4A8F-AAFD-4FD847527753During my downtime, I confronted two key facts in my life. Number one is that I have too many books cluttering up three different bookshelves, and number two is that I don’t read nearly enough. I decided that I need to read a book a week, and stop buying more until I’ve put a serious dent in what I already have.

So I’ll be reading a book a week, and I’ll be reviewing those books and posting a link to them every Sunday. There’ll be a healthy variety of thriller, horror, fantasy, literary, and classic novels. Basically anything and everything. I like books and am not all that picky. And to tackle the clutter problem, once I’ve read each book I’ll be sending it out to someone at random who has subscribed to my email list and follows me on facebook. So for your chance to get books sent to you for absolutely nothing, quickly drop a like at my Facebook page and subscribe to my email list here.

Flash Fiction, Novellas, and Webseries

If you’re here because you enjoy my little micro-stories, don’t panic! I’ll still be writing one or two a week to keep my skills sharp and my mind quiet, alongside working on longer works and publication submissions in the background!

I have an ongoing collaboration with blogger HannahMaggie, who sadly has taken the brunt of my inactivity over the last couple of months. If she doesn’t hate me (I’m soooo sorryyyyyy) I’m gonna jump back into that and we’ll hopefully bring it to you soon, and as the months go on, all sorts of exciting projects and collaborations for you to sink your teeth into.

So that’s about it. I’m all out of words. I’m back and I’m in business, and can’t wait to share everything I’m working on with you. If you haven’t checked out my catalogue of flash fiction yet, do that now!

Rest assured, I’ll be back soon with a review of my first official read, ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.’ Spoiler alert, it was an amazing read!

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!


Where Self-Help Becomes Self Sabotage

By the time I ended up at the doctors for help, I was in a hole so deep I don’t think I ever could’ve climbed out. My family all but dragged me kicking and screaming, desperately clinging to my ignorant refusal to accept the word into my life and onto my medical file. I had self-helped to the point of self sabotage over the course of God knows how many years, and everyone but me could see that it wasn’t getting any better. I was on a downward slope, and while I managed to cling on to a few tree stumps and reeds on the way down, it wasn’t enough to stop the eventual death waiting for me at the foot of the mountain.

Depression. *thunder crash.* The word itself comes with its own darkness, except it’s not darkness, really. It’s more like a vacuum. Anyone who’s been there knows what I’m talking about. Depression doesn’t suppress the light in your life, it sucks all trace of light out of a room, leaving total blackness where it dared to encroach on it’s territory.

From the point that you become medicated, you also become a target for equal parts sympathy and misunderstanding.

“Yeah it’s hard, ain’t it? But you’ve got so much to live for haven’t you? Snap out of it you silly sod.”

Before we continue, I want to first point out that I was very rarely ‘sad.’ Depression is not sadness. It’s not ‘oh no I dropped my last cookie and now I’ll be hungry all afternoon.’ It’s not walking around all day plotting your own suicide, either. It’s more of a misalignment of thoughts and purpose. A ‘what’s the point?’ in everything you do.

You can go through your day and experience amazing things. You can laugh with your friends, smile with your family, tuck your kids in bed and kiss your wife, but still when alone time comes, the darkness hits.

Whats the point? You’re worthless. You’re useless. You’ll never not feel like this. You’ll never be anything more than what you are. You’re born, you pay bills, you die, that’s it. They’re better off without you. You’re better off without you.

The voice of depression is quiet and convincing. It’s sneaky. It will creep into everything you do and infect your inner thoughts, gaining in strength each time you give it permission. Of course, permission doesn’t come consciously or willingly. It’s voice comes smooth as silk to start with, convincing, cunning, chipping away at your psyche bit by bit.

Before long, we recognise that we are depressed, but not before going through all the motions first. We’re not depressed, we’re realistic, right? And we’ll be okay, we just need some rest and a teeny bit of alone time to breath. We’re just stressed and in a bad mood right now, it’ll pass. These are the first lies we tell ourselves. The first outward signs that something is wrong. Here we have two choices. Accept it and get help immediately, or get online and see how to improve alone. Of course, we always choose the latter.

Overnight we become self-help gurus and life coaches. We become psychologists and raging advocates for fitness, health, and positive energy. We write out an intense ‘Turn My Life Around’ routine, filled to the brim with workouts, meditation, yoga, strict sleep/wake times, green tea, meals prepped in advance, hollywood level hygiene, volunteering, and all the rest of it. Everything on this list has a positive effect on humans, whether depressed or not, and we dedicate ourselves to doing all of it every day for the best chance in eradicating the parasite that has taken up residence inside our minds. But it’s quite a lot of new stuff, so we’ll start tomorrow. Clean slate.

Actually, I got a pretty rough night sleep last night, and 5am is not the time to be going for a run when I didn’t drop off ’til 1:30. You know, now its Wednesday, so I may as well start next monday.

Perhaps by monday morning you do in fact feel ready to start this regimen. You get up bright and early after a good night sleep, and you feel like you’ve become a multi-millionaire lifestyle blogger overnight. You get your run in, your workout, the perfect breakfast, and go on to live the best, most productive day you’ve had in a long time. And maybe you maintain this with varying levels of success, for a couple of weeks.

Then the thoughts start to come again, and before you recognise they’ve been working on you the whole time, they’re convincing. Depression was just biding it’s time, letting you have your way for a while. But you know you’re never gonna get better. You know you’re never gonna improve. And it’s not like you’re ever gonna be in great shape like those instagram models, so what’s the point in all this working out?

Of course, this track takes us nowhere but back to bed. Try as we might, there’s no arguing with the silver-tongued voice of the black demon once he’s dug his claws in to our minds. There is only one true weapon we can take up against him once he’s seized control: medication.

Self-help, and all the positive lifestyle changes mentioned above, are excellent additions to anybody’s life. But it’s also a dangerous trap we can all too easily fall into. Medical attention should come first, HAS to come first, before trying to self-help our way to healthy minds. It’s impossible to implement all the changes we want to make at once. It’s impossible to repair our chemical imbalances, our deep-rooted negative mindsets, with positive action alone. Insistence on trying is merely self-denial, and often only results in a yo-yo effect where the highs and lows get a little lower each time, slowly chipping away at our character.

If you take anything away from today’s post, let it be the courage to seek medical attention right away. You don’t need to suffer anymore, and you certainly don’t need to give up, or put on hold, any part of your life to be properly medicated. After a couple of weeks, when your serotonin inhibiters kick in and you’re enhancing your life through positive action and a newfound energy, you’ll thank yourself. Trust me.

Drop your thoughts and experiences with depression in the comments, and share this post with your friends and loved ones to help raise awareness in an issue that effects 1 in 6 of us. No one should suffer any longer than they need to.

Find out how to slowly and healthily use self-help to improve your mental health in the next article in this series: 3 easy techniques to help deal with depression.

Tip The Author

If you’ve made it this far then I thank you for your attention span! If you enjoy my content, help me make a living by leaving a tip. Every pound goes toward creating more fiction, reading more books to review, and creating artwork, sketches, tutorials, and lifestyle posts for you to enjoy. I appreciate any and all help! A little really does go a long way!