Personal experiences · Self care

Promises not resolutions

I want to thank each and every one of you for being here’

2020…

What can I say about you? You’ve been unexpected to say the very least. 

You have been my worst enemy BUT you’re the year in which I have gained myself back.

You have stripped away some of the things I enjoy the most BUT made me find joy in the smallest places.

You have caused me down and anxious times BUT have created some cherished memories.

I have seen posts on social media stating that 2020 was the year that we were given to slow down, reflect and work on ourselves; I don’t feel entirely comfortable with this as for some people lockdown has not been full of cosy nights and Netflix. ‘Stay at home, stay safe’ is sadly not a reality for many and as the saying goes, we may be in the same storm BUT we are NOT in the same boat, so it is important to remember and respect that.

This year I have; missed out on celebrating my 30th, longed for travel and holidays, drifted away from people that I was previously close to, not been able to see friends as often as I would like and mourned my previously taken for granted freedom to do what I want, when I want. However, I have also; practiced self care more than ever, learned to love myself and be proud of the person I am, met my boyfriend that I’m so grateful for, started my Instagram account and blog and learned who and what is important to me.

I was already on my journey of recovery from depression since last year when I reached my lowest point and finally accepted that I needed support. The pandemic was not the catalyst for my self-growth, and it has made the road harder in some ways, yet easier in others. On the days when I have struggled since March, I needed connection and my usual routine which lockdown did not allow for. However, it also provided me with the opportunity to write again and focus on how to influence my actions and handle my emotions and feelings more than ever. 

Do I feel thankful for lockdown? The answer is no, as I would love nothing more than my normal life back BUT I can see some goodness amongst the bad.

It can be so hard to see light within darkness; when we experience hardships, the last thing we need to hear is ‘everything happens for a reason’ but once the dust settles, it can help to reflect on these times and if we can, see them as learning experiences. Life hands us times that are cruel and unfair but as we make it through, they shape us and often teach us valuable lessons. I watched a TED talk recently on resilience and it blew me away; the speaker talks about everyday tools that we can adopt to make it through the tough times and one thing she spoke about was asking ourselves, ‘will this harm or help me?’ It stuck with me as at points during this year it could be so easy and justified to stay overwhelmed by the negatives but our response to these situations will either help us or make us feel worse. That’s why being mindful and in control of our behaviour is so important as the power to make it through our struggles lies within us. Yes, it is important to ask for help if we need it, but I have also learned that I must take the time to nurture and look after myself in order to grow and adapt. 

I don’t want to list all the things that have helped me this year or every lesson I have learned as all of us are on our unique journey but I want to share with you some takeaways that I will undoubtedly hold onto as 2020 draws to a close:

Loving ourselves should be at the top of our to-do list

All struggles are valid and we don’t need to justify our pain, just as we wouldn’t measure our happiness

You can’t find true happiness externally until you work on the internal

Not everyone will like or appreciate us and that’s more than okay

Good things can unexpectedly fall apart but more often than not, better things will replace them

Do you have any lessons that you want to share from this year? What have you done or practiced that you want to carry into the new year?

I’m making a promise to myself to:

Continue to write as it’s therapeutic for me

Spend money on experiences more than things

Focus on my health, both physical and mental

Do some things for the first time

I don’t want to call these resolutions as how many times do we say that we will do X, Y and Z only to find that within a couple of months, our good intentions have fallen by the wayside? In the past I have felt self-imposed pressure to stick to the unrealistic goals that I set myself and it’s exhausting; I  therefore want to make these promises to myself instead as I deserve to prioritise things that will benefit my wellbeing and make me happy (and so do you!) Have you got any promises you want to make to yourself? If so, I’d love to hear in the comments below!

I want to thank each and every one of you for being here on my blog/Instagram account; this online community has honestly been one of the best things to come out of this year and has reinforced the power of connection and shared experiences. I don’t want to get all cheesy and cliched, but I want this to be your reminder (and mine) that we did fucking amazing this year and we deserve all the good things that are coming our way.

See you in 2021. Big love. 

Personal experiences · Self care

Showing myself some love!

‘Sometimes we give ourselves a hard time for not being the person we once were but, in my opinion, we need to celebrate the person we are now and what we’ve been through to get to this point.’

How often do we think about the three little words in relation to ourselves? I can say ‘I love you’ to those close to me at the drop of a hat, but for a long time I wasn’t aware that loving myself was necessary. It’s not something we are taught, and it can at times be discouraged as society often places emphasis on our flaws and the importance of not looking ‘too confident’ or immodest. 

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Personal experiences · Self care

Dealing with Depression

‘There is and always will be light seeping through the cracks, we just have to work on our ability to see it’

I’m currently living my life amid a global pandemic, yet I’m in a much better place mentally than I was this time last year, which is both scary and liberating all at once.

Before October 2019, I couldn’t bring myself to admit that I had been suffering from depression on and off for 5 years, due to varying factors such as unresolved childhood trauma, bereavement and anxiety rising over certain aspects of my life. I’m not going to go into the whole story of what led to the final tipping point, during which I had to take a period of time off work, admit to myself, my GP and those close to me that I was struggling with depression and get the support I needed. However, I’m here to share some things that I wish I had accepted and believed sooner so that I could have embarked on my recovery quicker than I did. 

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Dating · Personal experiences · Self care

Swiping right for myself

‘Your relationship status is not a sign of your worth’

Over the last few years I have used dating apps on and off, and to be completely honest, it wouldn’t be my preference; I met my first serious boyfriend in a bookshop while I was an English Literature student so swiping right based on a few photos isn’t quite as romantic! Yet, this is how it is, especially in a global pandemic, when we are encouraged not to approach people and social distancing has become the (hopefully very temporary) norm. 

On my Instagram recently I spoke about how hurtful ghosting can be and therefore promised that I would delve a bit deeper into the topic of how to look after your mental health and wellbeing while dating. As someone who has suffered from anxiety and depression AND has dated a lot, I wanted to share some tips on how to do this, that I have learned along the way.

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Personal experiences

Who am I?

‘I have a greater sense of self, and therefore I am the most accepting of who I am, that I have ever been’

When I think about who I am, many words and personas come to mind, but what lies beneath these labels we give ourselves or are, at times, given? Looking back on my life, I have sometimes wanted to be someone else or have portrayed myself as being a certain way to fit in. However, now I know myself more than ever before and to be honest, it has been and still can be a difficult journey. I’ve had to accept the good, bad and everything between about the person I am, and it has therefore made me reflect on how important it is to do so, so that I can live my life as authentically as possible. 

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Personal experiences · Self care

What does it really mean to achieve?

‘I am so much more than external factors, such as my job and relationship status’

A chance encounter with someone this week got me thinking about how we view when we are winning at life and what achievement really means. From our very beginnings, we are praised when we accomplish things, which is great as naturally we want that ‘well done’ when we’ve passed our maths test or that congratulatory meal when we graduate. However, at times in my life, the achievement that I wanted SO much did not bring me the joy that I had expected it would. I longed to be where I was but when I got there, it felt good momentarily and I just moved onto thinking ‘NEXT?!’

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Reframing thoughts · Self care

Let’s call them lessons, not regrets…

‘I am now less focused on things that, ultimately I could only change if I was a time traveller’

I have this fear that if an afterlife exists, I’ll be played back all of the shit, embarrassing, bad and selfish things I’ve done in my life! I know this is unrealistic and of course this is a jokey thought, but in all seriousness, it’s taken me a long time to let go of some of the regrets that I have about the past. I’m getting better at this, through working on my mindset and taking care of myself, and I am now less focused on the things that ultimately, I could only change if I was a time traveller!

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Personal experiences

Saying Goodbye to my 30th Birthday Anxieties

‘I think the term is a quarter-life crisis, but whatever it was, I felt it…bad.’

Since I was 25, I have struggled with getting older; at this time, a series of upsetting experiences occurred, and my mental health subsequently took a downwards spiral. These events intertwined have contributed to my lack of acceptance about something I can’t control; I think the term is a ‘quarter-life crisis’ but whatever it was, I felt it…bad.

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