Brand New, Swanky & Shiny!

Hello all! 

My site has recently been given a brand new, swanky, upgrade. 

So head on over to: 

www.joscelinejoy.com

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I’m sorry I haven’t been around lately, but I have been sailing the seas for 5 months, working for the worlds most popular cruise company with their teens and kids!

BUT I am now super excited to be back, be writing, AND planning to embark on my MSc in Health Psychology.

So be sure to stick around, sign up to my newsletter and follow along on the new site!

www.joscelinejoy.com

Stay happy and healthy peeps ❤

Aims and Values

About the Blog

Decreasing stigma surrounding Mental Health
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Providing advice and practical tools for those suffering with, or in recovery from mental health issues
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Challenging your behaviours and perspectives in order to develop self awareness about the habits and beliefs you hold
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Challenging the ways in which modern day contemporary culture is shaping our beliefs, behaviours and self-beliefs
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A Non-Diet Approach to recovery from eating disorders and rebuilding body confidence
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Spreading a message of hope through the stories of myself and others, who have combated set-backs and rebuilt their lives
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Encouraging selfless acts and an outward focus, so that you continue to grow in self-confidence 


Why this so relevant to all of us

No one is 100% resilient, and we all need a better grasp on the reality of these issues.

Every one of us will come u against stress and pressures, in our daily lives. Be it relational, work, social or health related stress these all begin to accumulate and wear and tear at our general wellbeing. At its worst it can prevent us from being able to function at our best, impacting our productivity and quality of life.

We end up in a position of monotonous daily surviving instead of continuous growth and thriving.
However, we tend to neglect our mental health and wellbeing, believing it either to be unimportant, or held back by beliefs that we are “weak” or “incompetent” if we have set-backs. Not helped by the negative stigma and lack of understanding around such topics.

We are not passively experiencing our surroundings but constantly being shaped, as well as shaping, them.

We need to be aware how both our behaviours and environment interact to impact our health, as well as understand how poor mental and/or physical health can build barriers to recovery.

From the behavioural to the nuerophysiological, everything you do shapes you, therefore I believe we all have the amazing capacity to heal and “rewire” the way we think and behave to enhance our wellbeing.

Luckily such topics are becoming more openly spoken about, and people are realising that we are not built to continuously push our bodies, and that taking time to check in with our mental, physical and emotional health, is actually more beneficial for our productivity, for building healthy relationships and leading happier lives! 


I hope you enjoy browsing this site and the variety of blogs and articles provided.
Stay in contact with me by following my Instagram @josceline_joy or alternatively by dropping me a message using the contact page.  

 

Planting seeds of hope in Romania

In August 2013 I got a fantastic opportunity to go out to Romania with a group of volunteers signed up with Life2Romania – all sharing a passion and enthusiasm for children’s work.

My experience there was unlike any before. My eyes were opened to a whole new way of life, a bunch of fantastic children, and a language and culture I had never come across.

In this blog post I share my experience with Life2Romania, and give you and insight into a real passion of mine – children’s charity work.


Who are they and how did I get involved?

“Life to Romania Fund exists to promote indigenous Christian children and youth work in Romania by sending UK volunteers to run Summer holiday clubs and by training and supporting youth leaders in Romania”.

At the time I was a Sunday School Teacher for my local Church which I had grown up in. My co-worker who had been with Life2Romania last year just kept telling me about her time out there, how she was eager to go back and (without blowing my own trumpet or anything) how perfect I’d be for the role out there.

So, it was an easy decision. We both signed up, and so began the planning and fundraising for our trip abroad! With the help of many wonderful volunteers, friends and family we ran a massive second hand sale selling of everything from books to dolls houses, crockery and CDs. Oh, and of course no fundraising is complete without a cake sale as well.


August 2013: Takeoffs and Landings

An early start, and finally we were off. The journey was long, with a stop over at Munich, before finally touching down in Timisoara at 1.30pm. The temperature was a roasting 38°, and my mind, and body, lethargic and disorientated from the early start in England.

Before we got to our base in Pojoga we spent two nights in the Carpathian Mountains – the most picturesque mountains I have ever seen.

We swam in the valleys, went walking in the mountains, did salsa dancing in the evening, had BBQ’s under the stars, and explored the Romanian Ruins.

It was awesome. All this was able to happen even though the people we stayed with spoke no English and we spoke broken basics of Romanian. However, it was as if the language barrier did not exist.

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However this idyllic and relaxed environment was the complete opposite from what the next day would present to me in Pricaz and Pojoga.


Pricaz 

The contrast in lifestyle from those living in the city to those just a few hours outside in Pricaz was extreme. The big open roads were replaced with dusty, dirt tracks, and the children outside playing wearing nothing but ripped clothing, and wild dogs hunting through the bins for scraps to eat.

Diary Entry; Saturday 10th August:

One thing that broke my heart was seeing one of the younger boys push a small girl to the floor, probably no older than 6, and start spitting on her. Becky rushed over to pick her up and Judy* and me joined later; Judy* put a smile back on the girls face by bouncing her around on her hip.

 

We spent the evening watching the ‘Singing Fountains of Deva’ that were mesmerisingly beautiful, before loading ourselves back in the car to reach our final destination where we would be setting up our holiday club: Pojoga.


Pojoga

When we first arrived in Pojoga I remember firstly being relieved this place existed. Before leaving England I had tried pin-pointing it on Google Maps but it is such a small rural area that nothing appeared … a little disheartening when it’s your first time travelling without your family.

Our accommodation was beautifully simple. We stayed on a farm with a very hospitable couple. The toilet; an outhouse in the farmyard with one large wooden hole I feared I may fall down in the night. To get there was an obstacle course through animals, and more than once I’d be sitting there, doing my business, and become aware of chickens accumulating around the door and the shadow of a large pig plodding past.

I enjoyed life on the farm – the fresh milk and produce was dished up at every meal time and warmly welcomed before the long days spent in the heat with the children. The water was pulled up from a well, and we would sit outside in the courtyard in the sunshine eating together.

Since this was my first summer away where I’d considered myself “recovered” from my anorexia, I did struggle with the diet – there was a lot of food and the diet was very high fat and my stomach found it hard at times to digest the rich flavours, only on once occasions did it make me sick and that was probably not helped by the long hours spent in the heat.

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It wouldn’t be kids work without some challenges… 

When we were told we would have to start from scratch setting up the holiday club, we didn’t take that as literally as maybe we should’ve! The first problem we faced was not having the village hall to run it in, and instead we were given a rather dilapidated house to transform in an evening into a child friendly holiday club – Health and Safety would’ve had a hear attack.

The club ran in the mornings; I started the day with a fun ‘morning aerobics’ to get the children dancing, and then this was followed by story’s, arts and crafts, songs and a memory verse to learn.

The age ranges were from toddlers to pre-teens. The language barrier difficult – but the children were SO enthusiastic about communicating, with gestures and learning some English and we learnt some Romanian too! I was even able to draw on some Makaton sign language I had previously picked up in my work with non-verbal children at various play-schemes back home.

Due to the weather being so hot we would break at lunchtime, and spend the afternoon resting out of the sun, and usually having a nap before preparing for our afternoon session which ran in the cooler evenings. In these we did sports, balloon crafts, and face painting with them outside on the green by the farm house.

The children never wanted to go home and were always early the next day, eager to start again. This was amazing to see, and as the week progressed the numbers attending grew and grew.

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Diary Entry; Friday 16th August

On the last day one of the boys made me a heart balloon and his little sister a beaded necklace she’d made. He took my arm and said “Joss you are coming to my house now”. As we were leaving the children kept coming up for hugs and to be picked up and spun around.

It was awesome seeing how much we’d impacted these kids in just one week.

My time running the club was incredible – It warmed my heart to see how happy the families and children were. Their constant laughter and light despite the conditions of the town and their health; many had black gums from no dental care, and dirty or ripped clothing. They came full of energy and eagerness to play, be involved in games and make new friends.

In the weeks that passed afterwards I heard the club was continued by some local volunteers who we’d helped to train whilst there, and I often think back to the times spent in that community and the future prospects of those children today.


Last Stop: Timisoara

To end the trip we spent some time being tourists in the city of Timisoara. We did a lot sightseeing, visiting the very ornate Catholic Orthodox Cathedrals, looking around the city and walking by the river Bega. In the evening we got pedalos out on the river and drifted alongside the stunning views of the city lighting up – thoughts of the children back in Pojoga floating round my mind, it felt so serial that both places were so close by, yet so opposing to each other.

By the time we were packing to go home I felt ready to leave. It was a very busy, full on and emotionally draining trip.


What I took away…

The whole experience was just awesome. From the people I met, the activities I ran in Pojoga, and the sites I saw.

It opened my eyes to the amount of need there is around the world, but also the amount of good that can be done just in the smallest acts in the smallest amount of time; like running a weeks holiday club.

You could see the seeds of hope and joy planted in these children’s lives, which I hope to this day continue to grow.

For anyone looking to do charity work abroad, or even in the UK (there is a lot of need on our own doorstep) I would thoroughly recommend it!

Four reasons I think you should give it a go: 

  1. You will develop so many transferable skills – teamwork, planning, organisation, communication (across language barriers).
  2. Meet the most amazing people – be it team members or those in the communities you work in.
  3. You will be challenged, and grow the more as you take your eyes of yourself and see the potential you have to positively impact those around you.
  4. A chance to travel and experience a new culture, learn a new language and see new beautiful sites.

I would love to hear about your own experiences, charity work or upcoming events and how you’re preparing for them, so do get in touch and share the seeds of hope you’re planting too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough Mudder 2015: In aid of Mind

Well, it’s Sunday September the 27th and I’ve been snuggled in my trackies, rugby on, with a large cup of tea for most of the day. All I can think about is where I was this time yesterday: The Matterly Bowl, London South, Tough Mudder.

beginingrunI don’t know if any amount of training could’ve prepared me for enduring a 11.5 mile hill run, being plummeted into freezing cold murky water (with ice on one occasion), swinging from monkey bars, jumping off ledges, scrambling under barbed wire and down dark trenches, through thick thigh climb2high mud (I don’t know how I didn’t lose my trainers) and clambering over many wooden walls. But Laura and I did it! And in doing so have raised an incredible £1100 in aid of Mind.

Saying that I’ve pushed my body beyond its limits is an understatement; I surprised myself with my stamina and managed to run the whole thing (obviously you do stop at the obstacles and the water stations). I would like to mention that before this event the only runrunrunrunning I’d done was on a treadmill…definitely took a running dive straight into the deep end.

On route they had interspersed water and snack stations. We were both very pleased since are start time meant that we hadn’t had lunch and were running on our breakfast energy – which was a substantial bowl of protein porridge, but we were definitely in need of all the fuel we could get. Especially as the intense shock of the freezing water depletes muscle strength immensely!

In the run up for this challenge I have dedicated a lot of time to doing weights (I’m a big body pump fan!), aiming to increase my upper body strength and gain a more fit and athletic physique. I aimed to work out 4-5 times a week, including two HIIT (high interval training sessions) hill run/sprints. Early gym starts, a toughmudderintrainingcupboard stashed up on My Protein products, and eating about 4 meals a day. Eating has been essential with gaining muscle mass and I could not have done this if my eating disorder was still present! It has been such a fantastic experience being able to do this without the intrusive anorexic thoughts of calorie burning and weight loss sneaking into the back of my mind, and I have loved every minute of the training.

As Laura and I stood at the start line, with the pledge of comradeship done, and four months of training behind us, I have never felt so anxious – but at the same time rcrybaby2eady to blitz this! We definitely had different mentalities towards a lot of the obstacles, Laura being more cautious, and sensibly so when your about to crawl into a tunnel of tear gas or jump from a 5ft ledge on to unstable ground, and me with an all singing all dancing attitude likely to end in severe injury. Luckily the worst injury was a slightly pulled back muscle, bruise on the elbow and a broken nail. However, I am now suffering now with a nasty fluey cold and I think this is probably due to how cold I was at the end of the run and accidentally swallowing some stagnant water!!

The best feeling, other than running through that finish line and knowing that we had completed it, was the first time I saw my dad at the side. Due to the length of the course (12 miles) spectators  were limited to specific routes enabling them to see certain obstacles and parts of the runbolt, but not the whole course. I had lost hope of seeing my dad since we had started before he had arrived and were now a good two hours into the run. I told myself “you’ll see him at the finish line” and proceeded to encourage myself to keep going. Just as we were running on from one of the check points I looked up to hgogirlsear “there’s my baby girl” being shouted out and a camera phone held high in the air. A smile, that would envy even the Cheshire cat’s, spread across my face, and it was like a new buzz of energy was released in me. My dad used to run marathons back in his prime, and I wanted to show to him just how tough his ‘baby girl’ really was.


My Top 2 Favourite Obstacles of The Race

My favourite obstacle was the ‘King of the Swingers’ where you jump off a scaffolding ledge, grabbing hold of a metal bar gojoss copyin attempt to swing and hit a bell, and launching yourself into deep, muddy water. Signs posted stating “strong swimmers only” were planted around the vicinity, and just previously to our arrival there an ambulance had taken one lady away on a stretcher who had unfortunately had another person launched on to her.
It is exhilarating, thrilling and down right dirty when you accidentally swallow that filthy, brown, water -but it was refreshing to wash off the mud that had began to dry in thick patches all over my skin.By the time we’d reached this obstacle we’d already ran 9-10 miles and were fatiguing; with muscles aching and shivering from the setting sun, there were times where I had to run on from Laura just to keep my body heat up.

My second favourite, ‘The Muddy Mile’; a mile of thick, waist high mud, double high entrance and exit mounds, with mudder2vertical mud masses interspersed between the pools of mud to clamber over and slide down into more waist high gloop. Being a bit of a tomboy the thought of climbing and sliding around in thick mud was actually pretty fun! What wasn’t fun was then running afterwards, covered in an extra few pounds of mud weight! But did that stop us?! Not a chance!


lauraandiThe Final Ascent

As we queued for Everest the sun was setting behind the rolling hills, and many people were shivering. We were at the penultimate hurdle, but I was beginning to falter. I was so cold and my feet sodden, arms scratched and muscles torn and sore. But there I was, face-to-face with a quarter pipe covered in slippery mud, with a rope that looked suspect to having no grip left – and it didn’t. People were jumping and jogging on the spot to keep body heat up and there were moments where I felt as though I was going to be sick. As I used the last inch of my leg power I launched myself up, grabbing on to two of my fellow mudders hands that had stationed themselves above the ramp ready to pull others over.

We’d made it.

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It Was All Thanks To You!

I cannot begin to say how thankful I am to each and every one of you who sponsored Laura and I. The money raised is overwhelming, and as I ran through the finish line tears pricked the back of my eyes – partly from pain and tiredness, and then from sheer amazement that both Laura and I had completed and survived this challenge which a year or two ago would have been incomprehensible. That cider we were given on completion tasted so sweet!Finished


Final Reflections

Limitations only exist if you let them.

The tough mudder is definitely a mental challenge as well as physical one, and as I was running the last mile I felt the strongest I’d ever felt.

The best thing was that there were people there from every walk of life; some at the peak of their fitness, others who were not. All shapes, ages, and sizes.

This challenge has proved to me that when I set my mind to something I see it through to the end and don’t allow any limitations to drag me down. Whatever your ‘tough challenge’ may be, may this be proof to you that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

dumbo-timothy

“Don’t just fly, soar.” – Dumbo