The Vital Self – Care You Might Forget

When scrolling through social media, you might be under the impression that #selfcare is all about expensive bath products, face masks and a bit of relaxation. Something kind of superficial that you do for yourself when you’re having a tough day.

And although these are wonderful acts of kindness that you should definitely treat yourself to as and when you can, the whole idea of self care has kind of been overshadowed by it’s superficial sister.

I too have often forgotten how to perform this quite frankly vital act upon myself in desperate times. Those times when I feel like it’ll take more than something that smells good from LUSH to sort out my brain or body.

So as a reminder to both myself and anyone else out there who might be struggling, here’s a few of the important things you should consider to do to take care of yourself:

Book and actually go to health appointments

When was the last time you saw your doctor, your dentist, your counsellor, your sexual health nurse…?

With the constant pressure to be busy at all times it can be a scarily long length of time before you realise that you haven’t been checked out. Especially in times of stress or bad mental health it is so important to see professional medical people, yet these are often the times where we struggle to find a spare moment to book an appointment let alone actually follow it through and go.

Do yourself a favour now and book in to see whoever you need to see, and when the time comes, actually go to that appointment. You can make the time. Your body and brain will thank you for it.

Make sure you’re drinking and eating

As someone who is, quite frankly, obsessed with food the idea of forgetting to eat seems a bit alien to me. But when things are busy and stressful, it can be hard to find the time or even the energy to check that we’re taking care of our most basic needs.

Food and water provide us with the necessary fuel to go about our lives. I’m talking literal energy here. If you’re not taking the time to top yourself up it’s going to be so much more difficult to tackle those to-dos, so ensure that you’re eating and drinking regularly. Listen to your body – when your tummy rumbles, or you feel a bit of a headache coming on those are signs that you desperately need to stop and refuel.

Trying to get enough sleep/rest

Sleep is something that I often struggle with these days and I’m only just beginning to understand how much that impacts my day to day life. If I haven’t have enough sleep or a good quality sleep the night before, I am a monster. Honestly. I become irritable and emotional and find it so difficult to even get on with the simplest of things, such as looking after myself.

Trying to get around 7 – 8 hours of sleep at night is important, but also try to ensure that you’re getting a good quality sleep too. Quality and quantity are equals in this game.

Open a window, change your bedding, keep the lights off, meditate; take some time before you head off to bed to make your space as comfortable as possible to encourage a good quality rest.

Taking medication (if and when needed)

If your on regular medication, then there is obviously a very important reason for that. Yet despite how important it is to take medication on a regular basis, it so often falls under our radar when we get busy.

Set some reminders on your phone or computer, write post it notes and stick them on your desk or mirror – have reminders in places that you see constantly to ensure that you don’t miss taking what you need.

Cleaning (yourself and environment)

During my time at university, I developed the habit of cleaning when I became stressed or overwhelmed. My environment effects me greatly and so if my room is a mess, then it’s almost guaranteed that I’m a mess too.

There is something so calming about cleaning and tidying, I find, that can instantly change my mood. When you’re feeling overwhelmed with life, a messy room or an unclean body isn’t going to help you feel any better.

Take some time to lightly clean your room, your desk, your kitchen – wherever you feel particularly stressed and are in regularly – and then clean yourself. This is where you can crack open the bath bombs and lotions, if you fancy. But just getting a regular shower will make you feel more at peace. Show your body and soul respect.

Communicating with other human IRL

We all spend too much time on the internet. I feel like that’s just a fact at this point. And when you’re online, on social media, you feel like you’re connecting with other people because isn’t that the whole point of those apps in the first place?

But it’s so important to actually see and speak to another person face-to -face at regular points. Sure social media is great, but I find that I often feel lonely after scrolling through feeds and reading about other people’s lives.

If there’s no one around you who’s available immediately, simply going to your local shop and interacting with the cashier will boost your mood. Real life, human interaction is so important and it’s something we actually crave. Don’t push yourself away too far.

Saving/earning money for financial and mental security 

Growing up in a working class family has guaranteed that money has always been a huge concern for me.  Even now I earn my own money and, thankfully, don’t have many commitments at the moment, I still find myself becoming anxious over the thought of not having enough money.

Saving is something I am definitely trying to learn myself, but simply knowing that I have a little sum put aside ‘just in case’ takes a huge weight from my shoulders. Even though money is a huge issue for a lot of people, a small, simple solution is often forgotten in all the stress.

If you are in a position to earn money, then trying to put away even the smallest amount regularly will provide long term relief.


What self care tips do you find to be the most important?

Take care of yourself.

Speak soon,

Rachael

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Why You Should Mix Up Your Mentors | Successful Self – Care

In this age of social media and constant connection 24/7, it’s not difficult to find a mentor for yourself.

mentor (noun)

an experienced or trusted adviser

Regardless of what field you’re interested in, or what particular element of life you’re struggling with right now, chances are there’s someone out there that you can look up to. Someone who can inspire, motivate and encourage you to start that business; go to the gym or even remodel your home.

However, with every positive comes a negative. Because we now have so much access to other people’s attitudes and routines, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Of course it’s wonderful being able to get an insight into your ideal life and how to get there. But if you’re only ever seeing the same one path to success what happens if it doesn’t apply to you?

THE SCIENCE

The way we view role models is through a process called vicarious reinforcement. Studies show that we model our behaviour on the actions we see get rewarded. For example, children may replicate their classmate saying ‘thank you’ after dinner once they have seen the rewards (ie. praise from the teacher or parent).

This is a process we are continuously working with. However, in adulthood it may seem more subtle – you might not even notice you’re doing it. This is where role models come from. We often idolise successful people and want to follow their actions in order to also receive the same rewards. Hence why self – help is such a popular genre!

Blogs like mine, YouTube channels, learning programmes – they all work based on this innate process of seeking rewards.

The trouble with this vicarious reinforcement is if you see the same kind of actions being rewarded time and time again, it can lead you to believe that there is only one way to succeed. And due to the nature of social media and trends, this is something that happens all the time.

Of course, for some cases there is only one direct path to rewards. For example, if you want to become a doctor then it is pretty essential that you study relevant subjects, get specific degrees and qualifications in order to become successful (this is your reward). In these cases, there is no issue in following mentors that are all on the same path, as you are likely to do being the exact same.

However for the rest of us, particularly those of who are in creative work, it just doesn’t work like that.

THE ISSUE

Despite what you may see online, there is not one path to success regardless of whether you want to be a writer, a YouTuber, a journalist, a photographer and so on. If you’re like me and you follow the same style of people online then you might believe that things like meditating, getting up at 5am, yoga and bullet journals are the only way you will be successful and ‘live your best life’.

Although taking advice from people who are doing what you want to be doing is extremely beneficial, always take it with a pinch of salt. You can try everything they advise you to do and still might not get any further. There is no need to feel ashamed about this; we all work differently and we all have different lives that we need to take care of, so it’s ridiculous to assume that we can all be successful in the same way.

This is why variety is so important.


HOW TO MIX UP YOUR MENTORS
  • Try to find people in your ‘real life’ (as in offline) that are successful or are living a life that you see to be wonderful. See how they got there, see what they have. Chances are if you know them then you will understand that they are not perfect and they are unlikely to hide this fact.
  • Don’t just focus on the field you want to go into, because the paths to these rewards may be similar. Try to see a range of successes from various different careers or fields to show yourself that there is never simply one way (ie. a mother, self – employed blogger, manager at work or a friend studying a different course)
  • Limit your time spent on social media in order to avoid falling into comparison. Use social media to get inspired and motivated, but then put your phone down and use these tools to crack on with what you want to be doing.

Mixing up your mentors can be wonderfully beneficial and may lead to you being more productive. Who is your number one role model right now?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

So You Haven’t Had The Best Start | New Year Pep Talk

We’re over a week into 2018 already and from what I’ve seen across my social media, it’s been a bit of strange one for people.

Some people out there are proper getting into their new years resolutions; they are making wonderfully positive changes to their lives and are totally smashing it. On the flip side some of us are struggling; we’re out of a routine or we’re not feeling our best and our new year hasn’t really got off to a great start.

I am definitely in the latter category of these groups and you know what – that’s totally fine! I’ve not been too well over the past week or so which is forcing me to take things slowly and I’m actually feeling really grateful for it.

As you know, this year was the first one where I did not make a single resolution and I’m finding it to be a wonderfully liberating experience. I have taken away the unnecessary pressure we normally put on ourselves to make this year the best yet and to change everything about myself. Instead, I’m taking 2018 at my own pace. And I think you should do the same.

Maybe this week has been a bit of a difficult one for you. Maybe you’ve had to go back to work or your studies and are just feeling a bit underwhelmed with it all. Regardless of what’s going on with you, try to focus on the positive side.

So you’re not getting stuck into your passion projects like you wanted to, or you haven’t been able to go the gym yet or make a decent meal. You have eleven more months to kick 2018’s arse – stop putting so much pressure on yourself!

I’m taking my illness and my slow start to 2018 as a blessing. It’s given me some time to really think about what I want from this year, as well as allowing me to put a focus on self – care. Although this slow pace was somewhat accidental, it’s reminding me how important patience can be and how much I need to implement it in all areas of my life.

I wish you all the best with the new year and I hope that it brings everything you want. Just remember to be kind to yourself and allow yourself all the time you need.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

Why I’m Not Making Any Resolutions This Year | 2018

Every new year I get caught up in the excitement and hype of a fresh start. I vow to myself that this year will be different and I will become a totally new person. I set a list of new years resolutions that I hope will get me to that place and head on forwards with a bout of motivation.

… That is until about January 3rd when I realise that old habits die hard and fall back into my normal routine. And I know I’m not the only one who does this.

January has always been a bit of a strange month for me, and I’m sure many others. After all the excitement and celebration of Christmas, January just feels a bit underwhelming and I’ve got it into my head that it’s the worst month ever.

Now I am beginning to understand the power of your thoughts and mindset – how the things you think effect your physical being – I know how crappy this mentality is. Every year I start off on the wrong foot and end up making things worse for myself.

I’ve decided that 2018 isn’t going to be like that. I’m going to make sure I get off to a good start by entering it with zero expectations.

FREE YOURSELF FROM YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Now hear me out, cause I know this all sounds a bit grumpy. But I realised that every year I set myself up to be a failure.

I give myself these goals that, although I really do want to try, I know I will never fully accomplish. I enter each new year expecting myself to change completely and find myself disappointed to see that my habits haven’t dissolved immediately.

I understand the importance of setting goals and basically trying to better yourself, and I’m all for it – honest! However, I’ve made the decision that for 2018 I am going to free myself from my expectations.

Of course I will continue to face this new year with the excitement and motivation that I always do, but I’m just taking the pressure off. This past year has been a strange one for me. Although I have done some really cool things and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself and my progress, one of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away from it all is that I put too much pressure on myself.

I still have goals and aspirations; there’s still countless things I want to try in 2018; but I’m just not forcing myself to do any of it. My mental health has took a bit of a kicking over the past couple of years, so I recognise that I will not always be on top of my game. Having goals that are left unaccomplished makes me feel worse, so why would I do that to myself?

THE ALTERNATIVE

Although I don’t want to set solid resolutions for myself in 2018, I do still want to get on with things. So instead, to keep me steady, I have come up with a couple of words that I really want to focus on over the next year.

It’s been an idea I’ve seen floating around several blogs for a while now and I really like it. Take a couple of words, or phrases, that summarise the mindset, lifestyle or career that you want to achieve and focus on manifesting them as much as possible.

This is the first new year I’ll be entering where I am free from any education commitments. I do have my part time job, but for the first time in my life I have all this time to get on with what I want to do. And I’m for sure going to make the most of it by making sure I’m in the best head space possible.


Are you setting any new years resolutions? How do you get on with them?

I wish you all the best for the new year!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Lessons Learnt From 2017 | Festive Thoughts #1

This past year has been a mad one, don’t you think? I know how cliche it is to say this but it has honestly gone so fast – I don’t think I can even process the fact that 2017 is soon to be over!

To be totally honest with you, this year has been full of extreme highs and lows. And although it’s been a strange thing to go through, 2017 has provided me with so many learning curves and lessons to take along to the new year.

So what better way to celebrate the fact we’ve made it through another year, then to share what this one has taught me?

SELF – CARE IS HARD SOMETIMES

Contrary to what Instagram will tell you, self – care isn’t always face masks and Lush products. Of course it can be this, but there is so much more to looking after yourself then the luxury stuff and I think that’s hit me hard this year.

Sometimes, self – care can mean letting go of old friends who are no longer serving you or make you feel good, or sometimes we can lose friends when we put ourselves first. Both are painful and difficult situations to go through but are so worth it in the long run.

2017 taught me that I need to get serious about my self – care and I need to put myself first, or else I can’t be there for anyone else.

YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT, GODDAMMIT!

On a similar note, this past year has taught me that I need to practice what I preach when it comes to mental health and looking after yourself.

I am often very public about caring for mental health and I am the first to encourage my loved ones to take care of themselves. But for the longest time I didn’t take my own mental state seriously – and how that’s come to bite me on the arse this year!

2017 taught me that, regardless of how you’ve been in the past, you do have a mental health and it is something that needs to be taken seriously. Take care of yourself, be honest and seek help if you need it. We all struggle sometimes.

HARD TIMES = GROWTH, BUT OH HOW IT SUCKS!

Can you tell that this has been a little bit of a difficult year for me? 🙂 But as I said in the beginning, I’m actually feeling quite grateful for it all, as it’s allowed me to grow and learn so much.

Because this year has been so full of extreme highs and lows, I’ve learnt that you only really grow during difficult times. It’s those times that allow you to really get deep with yourself. You’ll learn how you cope, what triggers you, what makes you feel good and so on. But even though I know how beneficial these hard times can be, it doesn’t stop them sucking and it doesn’t stop the negative impact is has on me in the current moment.

2017 taught me how to cope better with hard times, how to lift myself back up and the signs to look for when things start going downhill again.

SOMETIMES YOU NEED THE DULL MOMENTS IN LIFE

Like I keep saying, there’s been some extreme highs and lows this year. One of which was my graduation in July, which was definitely a high! I had worked so hard for so long to get to that moment and although it was wonderful, and I still can’t believe I have a degree in a subject I love, life suddenly got in the way again.

I felt so underwhelmed for such a long time. After all that hard work, effort and fun I was now back at home, working in retail and, along with a bunch of other obstacles, I’ve found myself feeling like a failure for the past six months or so.

But being out of education and being away from creative/productive work has allowed me to relax and get a grip on my life again. University was a wonderful experience for me, but it also came with it’s difficulties and I now understand that I’ve needed some time away just to live. To get back in touch with myself, so to speak.

2017 taught me that there is value to every season of life. Comparison certainly is the thief of joy and just because your journey differs from those around you (or online!) doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. Take things at your own pace and stop being so hard on yourself.


So there we have it! This has been a bit of a personal post and basically a summary of my 2017. How was yours?

Happy holidays!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

Three Albums For When The World Gets Too Much

Things have been so weird and unsettled in the world for a long time now. It feels like everyday seems to bring about more horrendous news and, to put it bluntly, the world just seems so scary sometimes.

When we’ve got our own issues to deal with as well, there’s no wonder so many of us are experiencing overwhelm. And although there often isn’t a lot we can do about the state of the world (with immediate effects anyway) we can take care of ourselves.

If things seems a bit much for you right now, and you’re tired of seeing bad news, day in and day out, then maybe you need to just take some time away and escape for a little bit.

Music is a wonderful form of escape and it’s really helped me out a lot in the past. Now, as things are feeling pretty difficult, I’m finding myself leaning towards it once again and it’s really working wonders.

When the world’s gone to shit, I want to listen to something that will, of course, uplift me but that isn’t blind to the more difficult areas as well. These three albums that I’m going to recommend are all very much based on the current state of the world, with comments on politics, leaders and nasty views – yet they still remain so positive.

I turn to these songs when I need reminding that I’m not alone in my issues. They all inspire me and remind me that sometimes being united, even if it is by crappy things, is the best way to get through it all.

BEAUTIFUL TRAUMA: P!NK 

Stand Out Tracks: Barbies, Beautiful Trauma 

Pink is my absolute favourite artist and it’s her music that has, without a doubt, influenced me the most over the years. She’s a wonderfully outspoken, honest and generally just a cool human being who I love so frigging much.

Her newest album is all about the weird and wonderful goings on in the world right now. Dealing with traumatic relationships, feeling lost and a general sense of disappointment, I can guarantee that you will be able to relate to at least one track and (hopefully!) feel less alone.

WILD WORLD: BASTILLE

Stand Out Tracks: The Currents, Snakes

Around about this time last year I was lucky enough to see Bastille on their tour for this album, and I honestly think that experience changed my life in some way. I was going through a pretty rough patch then (maybe it’s a winter thing?) and this album helped me get through that.

Released just after Trump’s win at the election, Wild World is aptly titled. Once again it’s another album full of feeling unsatisfied and disappointed with the modern world, yet somehow it manages to make me feel so good. It’s brilliant to know that you’re not the only one feeling this way!

WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL: THE KILLERS 

Stand Out Tracks: Rut, Have All The Songs Been Written?

If you know me in anyway, then you might have some understanding of how deep my love for The Killers is. I feel like I’ve just used this entire post to fangirl, but honestly I love all three albums and artists so much! The Killers are my favourite band of all time and I just get so excited by what they make.

Like the other two albums mentioned, Wonderful Wonderful touches on the strange modern world we are currently living in – but this one has a heavy focus on mental health issues. Regardless of whether you suffer with an actual mental health condition, everyone is forced to face issues at some point in their life and I think this album will really help you process that.

Elton John


How do you escape? Who’s your favourite artist?

If you’re also struggling with things at the moment, trust me I feel for you! I’m sending as many positive and calming vibes your way as I can. I wish you all the best.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

 

Five Signs To Dump A Friend | Toxic Friendship Masterclass

If you’ve stumbled across this little blog before, you might have noticed that I am majorly into self-care, self-development and all of that wonderful stuff. I mean we spend more time with ourselves then anyone else so we might as well make sure we’re in a good place, right?

However, as much as we can rely on ourselves for a lot of things, there are also some people we like to hold close. Friendships can be such a life-altering thing, for both the better and the worse. Of course the intention is to connect with people who enhance our lives, but sometimes along the way we end up picking up people who may do the complete opposite.

We’ve probably all been in a situation like this and it can be so draining! If you’re anything like me, then your friendships have probably taken a long time to create so you may feel hesitant to dump someone.

As well as this, there’s also a ridiculous idea that because we’ve spent a lot of years with someone, or have shared some good memories or whatever, that we need to stick with these people forever. But I think it’s just as important to consider the fact that things might be not working anymore and that it’s time to move on.

If you’re not sure whether it’s that time for you, here are five signs a friendship is toxic and is therefore unnecessary:

IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THEM

Now we all love to talk about ourselves. It’s just a simple fact of human nature. But a sure-fire way of discovering if a friendship is toxic is if it’s always about the other person. They never ask how you’re doing, or what you’ve been up to. They basically don’t ask anything at all, unless it’s to benefit themselves. They will unashamedly turn every conversation onto them and make sure that their’s is the only voice to be heard.

THERE’S A LOT OF TAKING, BUT NO GIVING

Friendships, like every relationship you’ll ever have, should be a two-way thing. You both should share the attention, the conversation and the responsibilities. But in a toxic relationship, it seems to always be you doing the giving. You can put your heart and soul into ensuring that this person is okay, comfortable and has everything they need without ever receiving the smallest of things back – not even gratitude. Of course, you don’t do things for your friends because you want good things back, but it should be a give/take situation and not one-sided.

THEY’RE JEALOUS / DO NOT SUPPORT

I’m sure we’ve all been in this situation. You’ve finally got that job/grade/partner that you’ve been wanting for so long; your first instinct is to share the good news with your nearest and dearest. But how they react is key to discovering their true intentions. If you’re in a friendship where the other person is never happy for you, or acts bitter about the fact you have something that they don’t, then please leave immediately.

Of course, being jealous is a totally normal reaction at times and it’s not a feeling that makes you a bad person. Friends will be jealous of each other sometimes! But it’s how that emotion impacts your connection that’s key. A toxic friend will allow the bitterness to get in the way of your relationship and may try to hinder your chances. They will not support you on your journey, like you do them, and that’s not fair.

THEY’RE ACTUALLY A BULLY

Now bullying may seem like an obvious sign that a friendship needs to end, but that’s only if you recognise that it’s going on in the first place. And take my word for it, bullying can sometimes be hard to spot! Especially now with this trend of brutal banter and name calling within groups, it can be difficult to spot where the jokes end and the meanness kicks in.

But like I’ve already mentioned, it’s about the giving and the taking. If you’re both having a laugh and taking the micky out of each other then that’s brill. However, if it feels a bit one-sided and maybe a bit too cruel then you need to consider if this is the kind of friend you want around. For example, if you’re always the butt of the joke or they attack things that are actually quite sensitive to you.

A real friend should understand where the line is, and if they decide to cross it constantly without an apology then maybe you shouldn’t be spending your time with them.

THEY’RE SUPER PESSIMISTIC

We can all get down sometimes. And with the way the world is currently, a lot of conversations we might be having with our friends aren’t going to be the happiest. But a clear sign that a friend is toxic is if they’re always pessimistic.

For them, there is never a silver lining – there is never another side to the story. They are constantly trying to bring you down and remind you of all of the bad things that have or will happen. Being a pessimist in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but constantly dragging other people down with bad views is. A true friend should try to lift you up and support you, not bring you down and make you feel bad.


I really wanted to tackle this subject for a little while now, so I’ve decided to do a mini series about it. Toxic friendships are kind of a popular topic at the moment and I’m so glad, because without this trend I wouldn’t have noticed them in my own life.

I hope this helps you in some way. And as hard as it may be to take the initial steps to dump a friend, it’s going to be so worth it in the long run. Your time is too precious and your mental health is too important to waste on people who make you feel bad.

Do you have any experience of toxic friendships? What other signs are there?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

How To Look After Yourself During Autumn/Winter

This is my absolute favourite time of the year. The dark nights and colder weather makes everyone just want to huddle up, drink hot drinks and spend a lot of time indoors and considering this is how I like to spend all of my time, there is no surprise that autumn /winter is when I’m in my element.

Having said that, this time of year is also often the worse for my mental state. It’s taken me quite a while to recognise the patterns, but it turns out that the things I love the most about this season are also the things that cause the most issues within myself.

The dark nights, although perfect for huddling indoors and getting an early night, make the days feel shorter meaning I feel like I have less time to just be. Not to mention a lack of Vitamin D and fresh air – who wants to go outside when it’s cold, dark and damp? – there’s no wonder that my mental health takes a kicking.

I love autumn/winter because it allows and encourages me to fall into the habits that make me comfortable – like staying at home, drinking too much caffeine and basically staying still for days on end – but I’m beginning to accept that it can also be problematic and I need to start taking better care of myself.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like this. Online it seems like everyone and their mothers has a love affair with this season, so we’re constantly only ever seeing the good things. And although this is fun and a nice pick-me-up, there are times when we need to get real and make self-care a priority.

So as much as I am willing to throw myself into the festivities that are happening all around us right now, I am also going to start taking some time out to look after myself. Here’s what I’ll be trying:

GETTING OUTSIDE MORE + EXERCISE

It can be so hard to get outside during this season, especially if you live in a cold environment. The damp weather and dark skies are such a deterrent to trying to enjoy the outside world. Like most people our age, I have an obsession with social media and everything online which often leads to me spending the majority of my time indoors attached to a screen. And as much fun as I have doing this, I know how beneficial taking a break and being outdoors can be.

For me, the beach is my happy place. I love nothing more than going for a walk along the coast and just being by the waves. And funnily enough, the colder climates are often my favourite time to be by the sea as it creates some dramatic scenery.

Yet I still put myself off going because it’s too cold, or I’m too tired and so on, which then results in me falling into a rut. I think we could all do with making some serious effort to get outside more in our free time. Take a walk in your local park or if you’re close enough go to the beach. Just make sure you get a few hours outside, with nature and fresh air. You’ll be so surprised with how much of a difference it actually makes.

EAT SOME VEGGIES

One of the main reasons behind my love for autumn/winter is the food. Honestly, I am such a foodie and this season, with it’s various holidays and festivities, is the best time for all that. It suddenly becomes totally acceptable to each chocolate 24/7 and now that summer’s over it seems like all that horrible shaming diet talk disappears a little.

Now believe me when I say I go to town with all that. And as much fun as that is, after days or weeks without eating some decent food or drinking enough water, both my mental and physical health takes a kicking.

The way you eat and what you choose to eat is none of my business, but I’m just putting it out there as a little reminder for us all to try to include some decent (as in vegetables) food into our meals as often as we can. It can make such a difference to how we feel and I often forget that.

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SOCIALISING (WITHOUT ALCOHOL)

With Christmas coming up, this season is often full of social gatherings and opportunities to meet up with loved ones. Unfortunately a lot of these gatherings, if you’re in circles like I am, often revolve around alcohol.

Now I’ve never discussed alcohol on this blog before, but I know that it can be a massive detriment to my mental health and I know I’m not alone in that. It can be hard this season to spend time with friends or family, without a cheeky bottle of bubbly popping up. Of course people are in the celebrating mood but if you feel overwhelmed, make an effort to meet up with friends in ways that don’t involved a drink.

Go to the cinema, see a panto or even have a really nice meal. Of course drink may be involved in some way here, but make sure that it isn’t the main attraction. Take the time to actually have conversations and catch up; ask them how they think this year’s gone for them and get all reflective. Drinking can be fun, but if you’re wanting take extra care of yourself try to avoid it.

BEING HONEST

Alongside meeting up with friends to have genuine conversations, take time this season to be honest. If you’re like me, then you hate to admit when you’re struggling or just having a bad day. I like to think I can take care of myself and I don’t need help from anyone. Which may be the case, sometimes. But I also need support sometimes too.

As we often spend more time with our friends and families this season, like I said at social gatherings or even just as we all huddle indoors for warmth, we might as well make the effort to be honest with them. Let them know how you’re feeling, ask them how they’re doing. Create a safe and open environment where you can discuss serious topics. If we’re all spending a lot of time together then we might as well be honest, right?

EMBRACING THE SEASON

And finally, although it has it’s issues, this still is a wonderful time of the year. Sometimes, no matter what’s going on, you just need to throw yourself into the festivities and embrace what’s going on in the moment. Use the joy and happiness of the upcoming holidays to distract yourself. Or simply use it as an excuse to take some time out to wrap yourself up in a blanket burrito and watch Netflix.

Of course, everything in moderation so ensure that you do get outside and talk to people but sometimes you just need an evening to yourself and now is the perfect time for it.


Do you have any self-care tips? Also, what’s your favourite season?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Dealing With A Bad Mental Health Day At Work

For the past few months my mental health hasn’t been in the best of places. With dealing with my graduation and impending ‘adult life’; starting a new job and some illnesses and issues within my family, things have gotten on top of me a bit and it’s been evident to everyone around me. Including my new colleagues.

I’m usually the kind of person who tries to keep everything under control and under wraps, but lately I just haven’t been able to hide whatever’s going on. So imagine my shock and embarrassment as I went into work yesterday (which was a better day) and was greeted with sarky comments on my improved attitude.

“Oh, so you’ve decided to talk to us today have you?” 

Now I know my colleagues weren’t commenting from a place of hatred or being deliberately mean. They were simply making a comment. And I guess I’m glad that I’m now in the kind of work environment where people notice what’s going on and will take time to ask how you’re feeling.

But that didn’t stop me feeling a bit embarrassed about my obvious bad attitude over the past few weeks and got me thinking about how I should handle it in the future.

Now I’ve spoken about self-care a few times on this blog, and I love that it is a popular topic elsewhere online. But even though it’s a topic I talk about a lot, I still struggle with it – especially when I’m going to work a lot and have to deal with my issues while still being present for my employer.

Following this conversation yesterday, and in an attempt to pick myself back up again, I’ve come up with a couple of ways to deal with a bad mental health day when you’re at work and can’t just huddle in bed like you’d want to.

FORGIVE YOURSELF 

Whatever happens today, when you’re at work, you need to forgive yourself for it. Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend or a loved one. If they came to you and said that they were having a bad mental health day and subsequently had a bad day at work, what would you do?

You certainly wouldn’t shame them or make them feel any worse. You’d (hopefully!) be kind and compassionate. So why shouldn’t you treat yourself the same way?

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USE YOUR BREAKS

Although there isn’t much you can do at work to try to make yourself feel better, as you’re too busy doing your actual job, most workplaces are entitled to a break of sorts.

It is absolutely vital on a bad mental health day that you make the most of your break. In fact I’d say it’s vital everyday, but I know how things can be. However when you’re feeling low, make sure you use your lunch break to maybe get out of your work environment – even if it’s just for a walk around the block. Use this time to have a calming cup of tea and eat something nutritious and yummy.

If you don’t get official breaks at work, ask a manager if you can take 10 or so minutes uninterrupted away from the shop floor. Bloody hell, even just take yourself to the loos and sit in there for five minutes! Just allow yourself some quiet time.

BE HONEST 

If you’re really struggling to handle work today, pull aside a trusted colleague or, better yet, speak to someone higher up and be honest with them about how you’re feeling and express what’s going on.

I understand how hard this may be, but if you’re really having a bad day letting those around you know is incredibly useful. This will help them understand why you may not be performing at your best which in turn may give you some peace of mind. Mental health is still something of a ‘new’ topic for workplaces, especially those I have experienced, but by being honest and expressing what you need together we can change attitudes and the way things are handled.

HOME TIME = TIME FOR SELF CARE

Regardless of how many breaks you manage to get throughout the day, it’s likely that you’ve not really had any time for some serious self care. Once you’re home, make sure you take looking after yourself as a priority.

If you have plans for after work and don’t feel up to them, cancel. Although there still maybe things you need to get done in the evening just take it slow. Start your self-care routine the minute you get home. Things to include could be:

  • A long hot bath
  • Several cups of tea (decaff if you’re feeling anxious!)
  • Watching your favourite TV show/Youtuber for a few hours
  • Cooking yourself a decent meal. This can be whatever you feel like you need, but if you’ve been low for a while try include some greens (note to self). If you need comfort, carbs are you’re best friend!
  • Have an early night

Check out my Emergency Self Care Checklist for more ideas

START AFRESH  

And finally, despite everything that may have happened today, tomorrow is a new one. Take this evening to look after yourself, seek some motivation and inspiration so you’re ready to tackle tomorrow.

I’m aware mental health issues don’t just go away, but I know how much of an impact your overall attitude can have on your day regardless. By taking some time out this evening to support yourself, you will hopefully feel in a better mindset to deal with tomorrow.


How do you cope with a bad day at work? I’d really like to hear your advice!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Emergency Self-Care: A Checklist

Self- care is a big topic online nowadays and although it is one of my favourite trends to have ever hit our screens (an open conversation about looking after yourself? Yes please!) it can be trivialised or even glamorised at times.

There are some times when having a Lush bath and pampering yourself just won’t do. Or maybe it will do but you need so much more too! In desperate times of need there are certain things that I’ve found can help me centre myself, relax and attempt to move forward and I thought I’d share them with you today.

Please note: if you are desperately struggling and things feel too much, please speak to a professional. There are useful links at the end. 

  • Make a cup of tea
  • Brush your teeth
  • Get up from where you are and go to a different room
  • Drink a pint of water
  • Wash your face
  • Have a body shower
  • Write it down
  • Eat something
  • Play music
  • Have a nap
  • Watch TV
  • Tell someone how you’re feeling
  • Go for a quick walk around the block
  • Have a hug with a trusted person

Whenever you feel like you need it, return to this list and see what you can do to help yourself right now.

I’m aware that some of these acts may seem a little trivial, but these are the immediate things I turn to when I’m in need and they have instant results. I know they will not cure you but they may make things a little easier, a little more bearable in the moment.

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What do you to turn to when you need self-care?

I hope this helped. If you do need further support, please check out the links below.

Speak soon,

Rachael


Materials:

(Inspiration) Emergency Self Care: Lucy Moon

What is Self-Care Anyway? (useful links in here too)

Questions to Ask Yourself When You Feel Bad:  Muchelle B

(Useful Links)

7 Cups: Free online therapy/listening service

The Samaritans: 116 123 (UK)

Mind: The Mental Health Charity