Over the past few days I’ve felt a little flat, a bit ‘meh’ and just not my normal self. I think it’s a combination of things that have all just got on top of me.
Every time I switch on the news or pick up a newspaper a little piece of my heart breaks. I’ve seen all these quotes about 2016 being the year many of us will want to forget due to that fact that everything seems to have gone totally crazy, from politics to terrorism, everything seems so unstable and unfathomable.
I’ve also been neglecting my health recently. I’ve had quite a few boozy nights out, been ripping open packets of sweets as a comfort blanket and felt too tired to cook a proper meal in the evenings. I’ve also had really sore neck and shoulder pains from hunching over my desk to meet my next book deadline and when you’re in pain it’s hard to act like everything is ok.
When my relationship ended I had weeks of feeling low. I felt helpless that even after everything I tried to do to pick myself up, I’d still get this crushing weight of a grey cloud pushing me back down again. I didn’t realise back then that all the steps I was taking were moving me forward, I guess I’d expected a quick fix but self-love doesn’t just happen overnight – especially if you’ve been through something traumatic. Your heart needs time to heal.
The way I’m feeling currently is nowhere near as low as I felt back then but looking after your mental health is something everyone should be aware of. I’ve always believed that if you want things to change then they have to come from you. No-one is going to do it for you as everyone has their own shit going on. So pull up those sassy pants and Bring. It. On!
You can’t control the negativity going on in the world or in others, but you can make choices for yourself. You can choose to look after number one and aim to be a positive, kind and loving individual. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that our problems are the fault of another person. Nope. Your problems are made worse by the fact you blame others and focus on this hatred rather than on letting it go and moving on. I know this is easier said than done, but who said this was going to be easy?
I’m such a worrier and always over-thinking things to the point that it makes me exhausted! Why waste time, effort and energy stressing over the things you don’t even know will come true? Why do the same over the things that have already happened and can’t be changed? All you can do is accept the past and enjoy the now as you’ll never have this time again.
Your mum was right when she said that fresh air does you the world of good. I have been on doggy sitting duties last weekend and for the next week or so I’ve got my mum’s dog to watch. Taking them for walks and just hanging out with animals never fails to cheer me up.
Whether you pamper yourself with a hot bubble bath, a DIY facial or paint your nails, sometimes the small self-care things make a BIG difference to your mood. Read a good book (I’ve heard the Lonely Hearts Travel Club series is quite good…), call your mum, go for a coffee with friends, hang out with Ben & Jerry and get in your pjs to watch your fave film or dive into a box-set on Netflix and don’t feel guilty about any of it.
We all have bad days and no-one is 100% happy all the time – even if it looks like it from the outside (especially through the filtered world of social media). It helps to let others know how you’re feeling, to raise a hand and just give a heads up that all is not as peachy in your world as it has been. Obviously if you’ve been feeling like this for a while then please do go and see a doctor. You are a fighter but you don’t have to fight alone.
Ease Off On The Pressure
Realise you can’t do it ALL and that it’s ok if you take your perfectionism down a notch or two. Stop trying to be a superhero – what you have achieved is incredible. Take it day by day and one step at a time then, before you know it, you’ll look back and understand that it all added up in moving you forward even if it didn’t feel like it at the time.
Keep a gratitude diary either on your phone or in a gorgeous notebook (you know how much I love my stationary!) where you jot down what’s made you happy today. A fab tip is when you’re brushing your teeth think of one thing you’re grateful for and one thing you love about yourself. N’aww!
I went for a walk to these beautiful gardens (following the advice above!) where I saw a sign in Japanese but didn’t have a clue what it meant. A follower on Snapchat sent me a message explaining it literally meant Japanese Garden which put a smile on my face that they’d taken the time to tell me that. Going on social media can sometimes bring you further down as you play the comparison game but it can also be a great way of complimenting others. Send a tweet to someone you admire, share a cool blog post or photo, comment on a strangers Instagram feed, tell someone why you love following them, as it can make a huge difference to someone’s day, takes you a minute and makes you feel good too!
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
You wouldn’t speak to anyone else the way you mentally bully yourself. If you fill your head with negative thoughts and constantly put yourself down or compare yourself to others then how do you expect your mind to treat you back?
Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, exercise … all these things help you to feel centered, get those endorphins going and put your mind in the present.
Remember that there is only one of you and that you are bloody awesome. Love yourself as much as you want to be loved and know that it will all work out alright.
Have I missed anything off this list? What ways of self-love do you find work for you?