Similar to last year, 2017 has been another mixed bag year for me. It seems they all are these days to be honest and that’s okay; life is full of ups and downs and if the last five years of experiencing and then blogging about Anxiety & Depression has taught me anything it’s the importance of appreciating every good moment that comes our way.
Despite the heartbreak of not being able to have another baby and the mental health recurrence I subsequently experienced during the beginning of 2017, we did also have some incredible times this year. And when I look back over the last 12 months I feel really calm and happy, despite how I thought things were going back in March (a fact which I hope may help to show anyone currently struggling with their mental health that you must never give up hope).
Personal highlights from this year include:
We’ve actually been to Dorset twice this year, once just the three of us to Weymouth and then later with my family too. It is such a beautiful part of the country and the only place I’d consider living outside of my beloved Essex. Find out more about the best family-friendly places to visit here.
I thought I’d miss not going abroad this year but between Dorset and our first experience of Center Parcs our holiday game was strong in 2017. Looking forward to going back to Elveden again in June. Read my sceptic’s guide to Center Parcs here.
Caterpillar starting school
As the summer drew to a close I began to get a bit anxious about the big change our family would be facing when my son began full time school this September. It’s turned out to be wonderful – he is getting on beautifully and I’ve happily settled into school mum life (i.e. having more time to myself!).
Our first Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Course
We hosted our first ever course for healthcare professionals last month and the feedback was phenomenal. Find out more about it here. We’re looking forward to hosting another course next Summer. Please visit our course Facebook page and sign up to the mailing list if this is something applicable to you.
Attending the Mind Media Awards
This was such an emotional and inspiring night and I’m incredibly grateful to have been invited to attend.
Our Perinatal Mental Health Photo Challenge
Sarah at Lotus Petal Family Support and and I could not have been more pleased with how the challenge went last month. We were really touched by how many people posted and engaged, including sharing their personal stories and some beautiful photos and quotes. Can’t wait to do it again next year. Feel free to hop over to Instagram and search using #PMHPhoto2017 to take a look at the great stories people shared.
Starting Facebook Live
One of my goals for this year was to utilise video to reach more parents suffering from Anxiety and, to this end, I launched my weekly Facebook Live series Anxiety Toolkit Live back in August. Although that first video was terrifying I now love doing them and have had some amazing, touching feedback from those watching. Once the Anxiety series is finished early next year I plan a new series about parenting with mental health difficulties so make sure you follow my Facebook page for that.
In terms of the blog, here’s just a few of my favourite posts from this year:
- Favourite Mental Health Post: What Is Perinatal OCD?
- Favourite Emotional Wellbeing Post: Five Inexpensive Self-Care Ideas
- Favourite Parenting Post: Champagne & Tissues
- Favourite Caterpillar Post: Four
- Favourite Brand Post: Seven Housework Tips For Lazy, Busy Mums
- Favourite Product Review: Orchard Toys Cheeky Monkeys
- Favourite Book Review: The Little Book of Lykke
- Best Family Moment: Top Five Things To Do At Legoland
- Best Recipe: Peanut Butter & Nutella Cupcakes
And here are the three most popular posts from 2017:
Ten Ridiculous Things I Said Before Kids – once again this post tops my stats list, I’m so touched that this one seems to be standing the test of time and people seem to really enjoy my musings on this topic.
Intrusive Thoughts: Horror Movies In My Mind – another older post but one of the most important since so many people are afraid to talk about OCD and the frightening intrusive thoughts that can often accompany it.
Five Tips For Talking About Mental Health – this was a new post this year and a topic I feel really strongly about so I was really pleased to see it do well in my stats too.
Posts I’d love more people to read
- Playing The Parenting Trump Card
- The Mixed Up Identity Of Modern Mums
- The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When Suffering From An Anxiety Disorder
Goals for next year
- Write a book! A postnatal depression memoir & self-help guide
- Get more active on Pinterest
- Launch a You Tube channel with the incredible Lotus Petal Family Support and start a second Facebook Live series
- Create two mini e-books – Anxiety Management & Self-Care
- Work with some more awesome family brands
Finally, I want to thank every single person who has read, commented or shared anything I’ve written this year, especially those who have commented or sent me messages to say that my posts or videos have helped them in some way – that means the world to me and is the reason I do this. And of course a big thank you to all my “real life” family and friends for holding me up through another bad patch and for showing this blog lots of love and support.
I look forward to whatever adventures and opportunities 2018 has in store. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year xxx