Be kind to yourself: you’re doing a great job

Hi there friends!

I’m not really sure where this post will end up going, so please bear with me. May is #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth and I think it’s important to put the spotlight on MH. It’s not a taboo subject. It’s not something that should be silenced. It’s something that should be talked about. We all endure and cope differently and each and every experience is valid. The more we talk about this, the better it will be for everyone.

Every week this month I’m going to post another little mental health type post. You don’t have to read it if that’s not your thing, but if it is I’d love to know your thoughts on whatever it is I’ve posted about. The posts each week may be what I do when I’m feeling like I’m spiralling, some books I might recommend or anything. I’d love your suggestions on what you’d like to see me talk about. 

One of the posts will be centred around body positivity – why it’s important, what it means to me, how we can be more body positive etc. This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 will take place from Monday 13 to Sunday 19 May 2019 and the theme for 2019 is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.

Today I’m going to just spend a few words talking about perception. How we perceive others and how that can in fact be SO INCREDIBLY different to how we perceive ourselves.

Something I do is asking people to describe me, keeping their positive words (in my phone, my bujo, my brain) for when I don’t have any for myself. Now some people may think ‘well that’s awfully self-centred of you’, but sometimes you need someone else’s words of positivity when you have none yourself.

If you ask people to describe me in a word, you will more than likely get the following words:

  • funny
  • loud
  • bubbly
  • confident
  • friendly
  • affectionate

And I think those are words that I would use to describe me from time to time. There’s also a whole chunk of words, which aren’t as positive, that I would use to describe myself. I am, at times, my VERY OWN WORST CRITIC.

It’s SO EASY to fall into a hole of “you’ve not done this, you’ve not done that, that could have been better, you’re not this, you’re not that, that person is doing this and you’re not”. It’s so easy. It’s so easy to listen to the negative things that people have said about you, rather than the equal amount of positive things. It’s so easy to only think negative things about yourself, rather than tell yourself positive things.

I’m particularly bad at being kind to myself some times. And some times I need reminders that I am enough. I am kind. I am friendly. I am funny. I am good at my job. These reminders need to come from me. It’s lovely when other people tell me them, but it doesn’t make as big a difference until I start to believe them.

I’m a BIG LOVER of quotes (and mood boards as readers of this blog will attest to), so I’ve put together a moodboard of quotes that have hit a chord with me as I’ve been scrolling recently. We all deal with our mental health struggles in different ways, and each and every voice is valid – for me, these help to show me that I’m not alone. They help me to see that OTHER people have felt the way I feel. 

MH month

Thanks for stopping by today. If you ever need to talk, or just want a hug (virtual, or real), my inbox/twitter is always open.

Love, Steph xx

Let’s get real for a minute…

Last week was a tough one. I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t BAD particularly. I was just exhausted. I’ve been on the go for a while now with no weekends off in the middle. It was a long work week too. I’m super grateful that I get all these amazing opportunities, but they take their toll eventually… and this week was evidently when they started to take their toll.

I knew that it was going to be a tiring week, so what I decided to do was to write a blog post, little by little, day by day, thinking about the things that make me smile, make me feel better or make me feel calm. What came of it is this blog post. It gave me something to think about at night when I was just exhausted. Some of the days I wrote a lot of words, some of the days I wrote two or three and that was OK. Some days I wrote words on a morning, some days I wrote at lunchtime as I sat at the table in the staff room, some days I wrote at the computer or in bed. But every day I managed to find something that was positive.

 The things that make me happiest:

  • Texts from friends;
  • Drag Race – in particular the Snatch Game episodes;
  • Laughing with my children;
  • Reading blog posts;
  • Listening to the same songs 100s of times;
  • Being in bed early;
  • My brother;
  • Reading books – whether it’s 10 pages or 50;
  • My mam;
  • Knowing I’m doing something I want to do for the rest of forever;
  • Parents Evening – might be exhausting, but so lush to talk to parents and the kids;
  • Knowing other people are equally exhausted;
  • Looking forward to the holidays;
  • People saying lovely things about me;
  • My kids not being scared to be honest with me;
  • Oreos;
  • Waking up after a great night’s sleep;
  • Just ignoring texts occasionally;
  • Having friends who understand that you’re not really ignoring you, but you just need space;
  • Watching SimplyNailogical videos on Youtube;
  • Pictures of cats;
  • Making time to just look after myself;
  • Allowing myself to have a cry;
  • Putting on my pyjamas;
  • Book post;
  • Post from friends;
  • Quilliams for breakfast;
  • Sunshine!!!!

I think it’s so important that we find time to look after ourselves. I’m not always great at it. Do you have any tips for how to get better, especially when I’m grumpy and exhausted? What are your favourite self care things to do?

S x

But you’re so happy all the time…

People often ask me, “how are you so positive all the time?”

Well, most of the time I am. There are times I’m not, but I just don’t show it. Maybe I should; maybe I need to show when I’m not having a good day. The people I trust know when I’m not having a good day. Today, I thought I’d share some of the not so positive. I’m human after all.

You don’t need to read on, if this isn’t your cup of tea, but if you do… be gentle. This is the first post of this type that I’ve shared here.

I worry about the smallest of things.
Sometimes my skin isn’t thick enough.
I care too much about what people think about me.
I stress over the little things.
It takes the tiniest of comments to make me doubt myself.
Some days I dwell on off-hand/negative comments too much.
Not sleeping enough is bad for my mood.
Spending too much time with others isn’t great for me.
Spending too much time alone makes me feel lonely.
Sometimes I don’t try things because I don’t want to fail.
I’m not great with rejection, so I don’t put myself out there.
I feel a lot of things.
I definitely don’t believe in myself enough some days.
I know I’m good at my job, but expressing that isn’t something I do in fear of being called cocky.
I’m not quite able to accept compliments at times cause I don’t always believe them.
I like myself 90% of the time.
I’m a perpetual over thinker.
I have more to say than I actually say.
I analyse everything.
I’m really hard on myself, but not others.
I expect a lot of myself.
Some say I’m a perfectionist.
My weight bothers me a lot at times, other times not so much.
I beat myself up over the smallest of things.
I get cross with myself.
Being single is not great for me some days.
I get sad at times.
I’m not great at looking after myself at times.

It’s things like these that make my grateful posts, the happy pages in my bullet journal, my friends and family so important to me. Sometimes these things can get to be A LOT. 

S x

Q&A

Hello! 

I put a call out a few weeks ago on Twitter to say I was going to do a Q&A, and today I am answering the questions I received! If you have a question, leave it in the comments and I will answer it!

Favourite chocolate? (@GoldenBooksGirl)
My favourite chocolate is probably white chocolate, although I’m not going to lie Guylian shells are the absolute best chocolates in the world.

Why are you so awesome though? (@charlotteswhere)
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA as if. But thank you! I do try!

Most feelsworthy book? (@olivia_gacka)
The books recently which have made me cry most were Countless – Karen Gregory, Paper Butterflies – Lisa Heathfield and Me Before You – Jojo Moyes. However, if we’re talking like FEELS… The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury made me feel THINGS. (Get on The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy guys!)

Favourite ice cream flavour? (@GoldenBooksGirl)
I love mint choc chip ice cream, or raspberry ripple! I don’t eat ice cream that often though!

What was your favourite book as a child and have you reread it as an adult? (@charlotteswhere)
Matilda, obv. I also loved Charlotte’s Web and The Secret Garden. I have since read all 3 as an adult and will keep reading them for as long as I can read. I have much love for those books!

Favourite genre? (@olivia_gacka)
Oh man. Magic. Anything with magic in is GOOD WITH ME. I love a bit of Fantasy too. I will be all over those books, no lies.

First book I ever read? (@GoldenBooksGirl)
I genuinely have no idea! The first book I read which had a massive impact on me however was Charlotte’s Web. That books is incredible. And Matilda obviously!

If I had to live in a bookish world, which would it be and why? (@olivia_gacka)
Oh god. They all have their ups and downs. Like would I choose to live in Harry Potter? NO. Dementors would terrify me. I think I would go with living with Matilda and Miss Honey, so I could help to overthrow Miss Trunchbull, or some magical land.

First character I had a crush on. Last one to do so (@notsotweets)
Oh gosh, I don’t think I remember the FIRST character I had a crush on. However, more recently I have a massive crush on Jin from Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands trilogy. He is a babe. So crush worthy.

Name one thing on your bucket list, and tell us why its there (@2020hines_sight)
I don’t know that I actually have a bucket list? Maybe I should make one! Having my own classroom is definitely on there though. Teaching has been the thing I have ALWAYS wanted to do. (I know, I know. You probably wanted something way more exciting like skydiving or abseiling…)

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or tweet me and I’ll answer them! I may do another blog post like this one day, if I get any more questions in! 

S x

What makes me happy?

Hi, this post is going to be a little different from things I normally post. It’s not going to be a book review, or about school particularly, more about me. Something a bit more personal. If this isn’t something you’re into then please feel free to stop reading now, but if you want to keep reading then please do. I don’t get personal here often and don’t worry it’s not going to be too deep, just a little peek into my world. 

 

You’re still here? Excellent. Hello lovely reader, it’s a pleasure to have you here! Without further ado here we go…

Some of you may not know this about me but I worry about EVERYTHING. I think everything over. I overthink all of the things. I analyse everything. I lie in bed and worry about everything. MY brain can’t switch itself off. I know this is common, I know people worry so I don’t think I’m any different or special at all. I just know that in the past few years I have definitely learned ways in which I can make these worries, these spells of overthinking a little less, well, bearable. 

What do I worry about? Failure. It makes me worry so much. I have been known NOT to do something because I’m so scared that I’ll fail. (Part of me thinks that’s why it took me so long to get into teaching, but I’m on the road to it now!) Lateness. Gives me such nervousness. The thought of being late just now puts such butterflies in my stomach. No sir. Not for me. Being on time is being late for me. I like to be 5-10 mins early at least. My friends and family all know this about me and accept it. Changing plans/spontaneous planning. I’m not impulsive at all, I can’t bear a change of plans last minute. I like plans and I like to know what I’m doing before the event and I like to know how it’s going to play out way in advance. I am a planner. Unexpected changes of plan do not sit well with me. Freak me out. If you say we’re going here for lunch and last minute change plans I’ll accept it but internally I will be freaking the freak out. Saying/doing the wrong thing. So here’s the thing, I am definitely a people pleaser but I’m also an adult. I am not going to feed you a load of tripe. I will tell you the truth. But it gives me holy internal hell when I think I’ve done the wrong thing or said the wrong thing. I’ve always been rubbish at saying no, in fears of disapproval, so I am definitely learning how to say no. I am just much happier with life running smoothly thanks.

Like I say I know I’m not the only person who suffers with these kinds of thoughts and nor am I someone is overtaken by my thoughts, but they are still there. And it’s important that I found things that help when I’m in these kinds of states.

So what helps?

Friends – I have this group of incredible pocket friends who just are my everything. They are here when I’m happy, sad, confused, irate, rambling… and they always know just what to say (generally it’s about books or tea, because they know me well). Everyone should have pocket friends they can rely on when they are needed most. Recently I needed time and they just accepted it and they messaged me to check I was OK. I don’t know how I got so lucky to deserve them. (I have a blog post coming up dedicated to them). Go find yourself some friends, be it in real life or pocket friends, who you know you can rely on at all times.

Getting out of the house – its SO MUCH EASIER to stay in the house, in bed, hidden away with Netflix on. Don’t get me wrong, I do this sometimes. But I get cabin fever quickly. Even if I go for a walk, it helps, getting out of the house. My favourite place to go is the seaside. There’s something incredibly medicinal about the seaside. I’m all for the powers of the sea. Get out of the house, walk to the bottom of your street, look at flowers or something.

Family – I’ve already talked about friends and I am very lucky in that I have an incredible family as well as an incredible bunch of friends. I have a huge family. I have come to learn that I’m allowed to lean on my family when I am feeling rubbish. They’ll let me rant, they’ll invite me round to just exist together, they’ll take me to the seaside. My brother has always been one of my best friends and I’m lucky that he still is. He might live 100s of miles away but he will always listen to me and he’s my biggest fan. I’m lucky that I have my gorgeous twiglets in my life. I love them more than life itself. Text your mam, your brother/sister, ask to go round to someone’s house. 

Books – go figure, books are in my list. Now you can guarantee that I will have a book on me at all times. There’s generally a book (or my kindle) in my bag at all times. If I don’t have a book, I don’t feel complete. I don’t have fail safe books that I read when I’m feeling certain things but I do believe in the power books. They’re so full of journeys, strength, wisdom… it’s hard not to love books. Pick up a book, read a poem, get lost in someone else’s journey and you might just find yourself.

These are the things which help me. I’m not saying they’ll help everyone but they help me. There’s other things too which help – working (bizarre choice I know but my job is something which gives me a great deal of happiness), watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race (love it, if I could be as fierce as half of these drag queens!), listening to music (what I listen to depends on my mood), singing in the shower (generally a power ballad or something from a musical!) among other things! 

I think one of the most important things to do though is not be afraid to tell people that you’re feeling the way you do. Silence only breeds silence. Talk to people. They’ll support you and if they don’t then they’re not worth having around. 

Thank you for reading, sorry I rambled so much! I would love to know what things you do when you’re feeling a bit mismatched. Let me know in the comments or on twitter, I am always here for a chat! 

S x