Okay so, I really struggle getting up on time in the morning, tragically so actually.

I go to sleep too late, I lie on my phone for hours and I snooze my alarm without even realising. My mental health is definitely one of the driving forces behind my sleep troubles and my not so subtle addiction to... well anything.

I dream all day about when I'm going to finally get to sleep.

I dream of finishing work and snuggling up in bed with buffy the vampire slayer and my dinner.

But that does not get me to sleep.

I realised that my comfy night routine probably wasn't as good as I thought it was!

I'd get home from work, shower, dinner, bed and a movie, or a good book.

Unfortunately, there are problems with both of those, one film turns to two, one episode turns to one season and then I cant sleep!

Reading a book before bed I find pretty painful also, I just cant put it down... what do you mean she cant go to the ball? Where did her slipper go? Questions need answers... and I have an awful lot of questions.

Not so many answers.

So to really try and make myself fall asleep, I had a look on Spotify and tried listening to rain noises... did not work, made me wake myself up more by giggling if I'm honest.

I tried a kids film and a night herbal tea.. slight improvement but I always anna see the ending so not really practical as a 'shut eye system'.

I had hypnotherapy for a few months and I definitely felt an improvement in my self esteem so I had a look if there were any hypnosis based night-time story's online I could use.. lo and behold the internet has EVERYTHING.

So now my routine is tv off, and a Spotify hypnosis podcast, it really works guys.

I really listen to just 15 minutes and I'm gone.

The thing with making yourself fall asleep is you actually have to really want to do it. I actually think I enjoyed not being able to sleep, kind of like how people glorify being sad or depressed.

It's a comfortable state of discomfort.

I enjoyed moaning about it, I enjoyed the rushed and hazy morning's because I didn't love myself enough to spend time on my appearance or my breakfast.

The only way I managed to fall asleep was by not telling myself to do it?

I take in a deep breath, and exhale. I repeat that 5 times feeling my shoulders rise with every breath.

Then you know the feeling, your eyes are shut.. but they're not black you have to push and I mean push the thoughts out of your head, you can't think about sleeping, just watch the darkness take over.

Then morning arrives.

But anyway, I'm still learning and I'm confident enough in saying that my sleep routine is never going to be perfect and it will always change.

I work nights normally, but due to the lockdown I am now working days.

My shifts will change right back to nights in the next few weeks and the joys of sleeping under a lunchtime sun will soon be back upon me.

When I'm eventually a mum one day I can't expect a consistent sleep pattern nor to be stuck in my own ways, so... in a roundabout way I'm glad I am a social butterfly in the sleep(less) variety.

One of the thing's that made a proper sleep routine hard was my dread for the morning. I hated my job, I hated myself, I didn't feel worthy of a good day, or even an okay one.

I'd drag myself out of bed 5 minutes before I was due to leave, do my teeth and maybe get dressed (I went to work in PJ's an awful lot) I even did my hair whilst I was walking to work, most days not even using a brush.

When I was trying to sleep before, I let all the intrusive thoughts attach onto my brain and I'd give them a helping hand, letting them make me want to crawl out of my own skin.

One bad passing thought could turn into 4 hours of self loathing about situations that happened literally 10 years ago. I have more bad story's in my noggin than a primary school writing competition so, to say a running commentary about every mistake I've ever made right before bed was unhelpful? is an understatement.

I haven't done anything drastic to change my routine really aside from the podcast before bed, but a lot has improved.

I've started eating healthier, not eating a few hours before I go bed (normally I'd inhale a share bag of whatever crisps they sold at the shop as a light 'in bed' snack) and I'm also limiting my fizzy drinks...the hardest task... I fail every day, slight addiction to cheap energy drinks.

I think the most significant change has come from the way I speak about myself... to myself. My mum was never happy with herself, ever.

It was incredibly toxic for me because I grew up watching her, my mum, my role model and best friend speak about herself so awfully in front of us.

I learned this behaviour subconsciously, her hatred for herself, seeped into the way I looked at myself.

I always got told I was her double, so hearing her huff in the mirror or call herself ugly and fat everyday just felt like an attack on me also. I adapted her way of thinking, her outlook on life and It consumed me without even realising from such a young age.

I use to just stare in the mirror looking right past my self, I still do now on occasion.

If I drop something... I'm an idiot, I'm worthless, I'm stupid and I shouldn't bother.

If I didn't hear something somebody said... I'm an idiot, I'm worthless, I'm stupid and I shouldn't bother...

you get the point?

But now!!!

I turn those negative thoughts into positives, cliché I know! But it works.

I'm not an idiot; I just made a mistake, people do that every day.

I'm not stupid; I'm growing older and wiser every day.

I write in my journal every night before bed, any tasks for the next day, a positive message to read later on in the week, or issues and worries I have in that moment I can quickly jot down to clear my mind.

Even if I don't analyse it there and then, which I normally do in little bullet points... just getting it out of my head helps.

I take my journal everywhere really because I could be sat on the bus or watching the sunset and my brain automatically thinks of my journal.

Its like a brain away from home.

I go back in my journal also regularly and write under the notes I've taken, what eventually happened, what I learnt from the situation, any feedback for future Emily and her next momentary lapse of sanity.

That really helps me as I talk to myself so often it actually hurts.

Even I ignore myself sometimes.

By replying to myself in my journal It's like a wiser version of me, reassuring myself for future reference.

I also congratulate myself where its due and that feels amazing, especially as recently I've started to notice I do it more and more.

But, it's okay beginning to train your brain to swap negative thoughts to positive thoughts, sounds so simple but I've struggled since I was 9. Stuck in a subconscious fight, constantly evolving and punishing myself for it afterwards.

The next step was finding a way to implement it into my every day life, in a fun and productive way. I didn't do much when I got home after work. I constantly had jobs I wanted to do, needed to do, and others I just definitely did not want to do.

But needs must.

So everyday I pick 2 tasks out of a jar - sounds fun, right?

Today my first task was 'No phone all day at work' - I started writing this today because I couldn't use my phone, so seems like a positive improvement so far.

The second was to write a list... I love lists but there's always a pesky catch, this one was '30 things I love about myself' - Slightly harder to even think of never mind write down.

But I did it!

It only took around 25 minutes and I'm sure it won't win me any awards but I did it, I've had a very positive and productive day, more than I have had in at least 6 months.

My hairs curled, I had an ice coffee before work (think they're my only life line right now though) and I love my self a little more every day.

I may only be able to do a 12 hour shift, cook 2 meals a day and complete 2 trivial tasks, but I'm proud.

I make my bed every morning, and I spend more time watching the moon than I spent wishing I was anybody else, so in my book... that's a win. (and this is my book)

Lots of love,

E.Shippam x