How Quitting My Job Saved My Mental Health #1| The Back Story

I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks now. It was something I thought about even before I handed my notice in, but the words have just failed me.

As I explained in one of my latest posts (read here) I recently quit my part – time, customer service job due to mental health issues. This has been the first time in my whole twenty-two years of life where my mental health has effected me so much.

I mentioned in that post that I have never previous struggled with mental health – which of course was a lie. Everyone deals with their mental health constantly, but I had never really paid major attention to it. I was trying to deal with some issues like stress and nerves while at university, but – in the same manner as I’d dealt with everything else for as long as I can remember – I managed to just push it all aside to focus on what I needed to get through at the time.

This was probably the worst thing I could have done to myself.

When I finally left university I found myself feeling very underwhelmed with what my life became. I talked about it a little on this blog (here) and with my family occasionally but, once again, didn’t really think what was happening in my brain was anything I should worry about too much.

I thought it was just a form of relief; issues like stress, crying for no reason and being irritable were just the by-products of getting through my degree, and now I could finally relax they were coming out.

“Pushing it all aside … was probably the worst thing I could have done”

Two months after my graduation I finally got to leave the fast-food job I’d held throughout my A-Levels and degree. And although I wasn’t leaving to start a new career or move up in any kind of way, I felt like this was a small step towards progress.

Things started well. This new role offered me enough time to work on my personal writing and projects, as well as allowing me to earn more money than I had before.

But then as time progressed, so did the issues within my mental health. I found myself being low all of the time and unable to enjoy things the way I used to. As you may know, I’ve always been a massive reader but I couldn’t get lost in stories the way I used to anymore. I was far to preoccupied with feeling low, unsettled and anxious.

I’ve also talked about being an introvert on this blog, so it goes without saying that I haven’t always been a social person. But then, for standards that were low even for me, I found myself avoiding talking to or seeing friends; feeling scared whenever the option to go out came up. I just wanted to be left alone more than ever and to be totally honest with you, it was scary.

I just want to take a moment now to say that I am so unbelievably lucky to have such a wonderful groups of friends and family. Even, in the end, the majority of my work colleagues were super supportive too. Mental health issues like low mood, depression and anxiety can make you feel so alone. It makes you believe that no one cares about you, but let me tell you know that it is so wrong. And I’m a little bit embarrassed that it’s took something so low to happen for me to realise how lucky I am to have such amazing, kind and supportive people around me but I guess that’s how it works. 

Anyway, I’m sure you get the picture. I was spiralling into what my doctor now describes as a “really bad case of low mood/depression” and I just couldn’t see a way out. My family, who are literally the most supportive people ever, were becoming increasingly worried about me and urged me to see a doctor.

“I was spiralling”

For some reason, I felt ashamed going to see my GP. I didn’t want to have to seek help from anyone – I thought I could do it all on my own. Now I see how ridiculous this mentality was and, if I’d gotten help sooner I might now have been as low as I was. I definitely want to write more about shame and mental health, but for now just let me assure you that you have nothing to be ashamed about and please get the help you need.

It was a long journey, to be totally honest and there were times where I thought it was all pointless. But my family kept persisting and eventually I went on the sick and then made the decision to leave my job.

I just knew I wouldn’t get any better there.

Once again, I want to make a little disclaimer that I know I am so privileged and lucky to be able to walk away from a job that was my only source of income for a while. Like I said I have a very supportive family and I am so grateful for this time to be able to heal. 


This post is turning out to be a lot longer than I anticipated, so I’m going to turn it into a series. Please come back next Monday at 4pm to see what actually happened when I left my job and how I’m taking care of myself now.

If you are struggling with your mental health right now, let me tell you that you are not alone and there are so many people who want to help. If you want to chat to me feel free to drop me a message, tweet me or dm me on Instagram.

For professional help:

Mind Mental Healthy Charity

NHS Local Services

Call Samaritans:

116 123 (UK)

116 123 (ROI)


Best wishes. Stay kind.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

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Who’s To Say You’re Boring? | A Talk About Habits, Self – Esteem and the Wonders of Social Media

I have always considered myself to be boring. For the majority of my life, I have been a (fairly) quiet, studious person who likes my own company. I enjoy reading, as you know, and staying indoors – like any stereotypical introvert would be proud to share.

As I explained in a recent post, where I come from that’s not really the stereotypical habits for someone my age. In a city like mine it’s expected that there’ll be lots of social events, drinking and generally just being pretty adventurous.

There’s been so many times that I’ve wished I was that person and on many occasions I’ve tried so hard to be her. I went through a period in my late teens of experimenting with who I was, what I liked and the friends I held close. And although I’m grateful for this time, because it’s taught me some valuable lessons, when I look back now I just see me desperately trying to be something I’m not.

Now there’s totally no shame if being a party person is your thing – you do you and all that – but today I wanted to talk about the other side of us all, the side that you’ve never really seen publicly until now.

The side that you too have maybe been trying to push aside.

BORING HABITS

boring

adjective

‘not interesting; tedious’

As I said, when I was growing up I thought I was the most boring person in the entire world. I had a close-knit but not large group of friends and, unlike seemingly everyone else, we didn’t go out together all the time. I’ve always spent a lot of time with my family, at home and I thought that was so tragic.

Flash forward to university where I started meeting new people and we swapped stories about growing up. ‘Never Have I Ever’ was a game I dreaded because I never had anything to say – I hadn’t done anything that would appear scandalous or make a good story. 

I started to resent myself and my past decisions because I wasn’t like everyone else. I thought I was boring.

LIFE IS JUST A CLASSROOM

A major issue for me is the fact I still think I’m in secondary school sometimes. I expect people to treat me the same way I was treated back then.

At school I was a geek, a nerd, a teachers’ pet – call it what you want I was one of those kids. And I always have been; it’s just my nature. If you’ve ever seen any teenage movie then you know these kids are the boring ones. The only time they become interesting is if they have a makeover and get noticed by the popular kids.

But being a geek isn’t a bad thing. In fact, as I get older I’m starting to see it as a good thing! I’m starting to see that it’s not as rare as I thought and everyone is a little bit geeky in adulthood. It’s what makes us interesting.

Being excited about something that means a lot to you should never be a shameful experience. If you love science-fiction, for example, then you should love it wholeheartedly. Let yourself be excited about that new book, movie, convention or whatever it is. There is nothing wrong with that! Let’s face it, in this current climate we need a bit of excitement and joy.

THE WONDERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA / THE CLEANING REVOLUTION

There’s a particular influencer going around at the moment who is getting everyone excited about cleaning. You know exactly who I’m talking about, and if you don’t have a cheeky Google – I’ll bet you’ll get sucked in too.

But yeah, cleaning is now a popular topic and people are genuinely getting excited by detergents, powders and scrubbers the same way, a few months ago, they’d be getting excited about a new makeup palette or a celebrity baby. And it makes my heart so happy!

Who knew, eh?

Cleaning seems like such a basic, boring thing. It’s such an old stereotype and yet here we are in 2018 getting excited about it. The same can go for books too. Have you ever seen  booktube? There’s a whole online community dedicated to reading, finding new stories, authors and generally just being excited about words – and it’s amazing!

All these quiet hobbies are taking up space online and connecting people. After years of only ever seeing the highlights of others lives, like when they’re going out for cocktails in their best dress or when they’re at some amazing event, we’re now getting to see the small everyday tasks that we all participate in.

I think that’s the absolute best thing that could ever come from social media – the communities. Literally no matter what makes you happy, there’s an online place for you! Whatever quirky, geeky, funny little hobby you adore there’s thousands of people online loving the same thing and encouraging you to join in.

So please don’t push away that part of yourself. It’s these little things that make us who we are and now we’re finally getting to a time where everyone can be involved.

From one nerd to another, keep doing you.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

My Social Media Is A Lie and I’m Proud of It

This title is a little dramatic, but this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. It’s recently come to a head with my sudden burst of love and motivation for Instagram (follow me here).

Everything I post on social media is a lie – of sorts.

Scrolling through my feed, these bright and heavily contrasted images of my days seem to portray a ‘perfect’ life. Alright, maybe not perfect but at least a constant happy and fulfilled one.

And that’s just not the case.

I like to think that I am a pretty transparent person; I’m very honest and try to be as open as possible with those around me. Yet I’ve still managed to curate these images to make it seem like I’ve got my life together and I’m having a great time.

Which is of course true at the time of capture, but I want to take this time now to say that it definitely is not me all of the time. Sometimes it’s not even most of the time. Some of those images may only capture the two seconds of the day where I was happy, or even if I was unhappy I still managed to get a nice picture of the sky or the coffee I was drinking. It doesn’t show the full picture.

Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes with everyone’s highlight reel

Image 1.jpg

Even though I don’t have many followers and I’m certainly not in a position to influence people, I still know that what I put out there could effect someone – even if that someone is myself.

Sometimes on bad days, I’ll scroll through my own feed and wonder why I’m not happy like I was four months ago, or why I haven’t gone out since last September. It’s pretty self-absorbed I know but hey, that’s just what my brain does sometimes.

I just wanted to put a little note out there to say that my social media does in no way reflect the way I am everyday. I don’t overly edit my own pictures or try to make myself something I’m not, but I do only show the very best bits and that can give off the impression that my life is somewhat ‘perfect’.

It’s aspirational. The person I am on my Instagram feed is who I’d like to be most of the time. The girl who’s happy with her face, her outfit; who’s seeing her friends often and being down the beach on a regular basis. But I also know that it’s just not possible to be that upbeat all the time, and it’s those low or boring moments that make everything else so special and worth sharing!

I love Instagram. I love taking photos and documenting my life through them; I like to cement my memories by cropping, altering and applying an C1 filter to them. And I don’t think that’s the worst hobby to have.

I just think a little bit of honesty is important now and again to remind myself and anyone else who might be reading that we’re doing fine, even if our lives don’t match up to what’s on our social media feeds.

Come see what I’m up to on a good day over on my Instagram here.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

An Open Apology To Taylor Swift (and all the other women I’ve shamed) | BECOMING BETTER

As I’m getting older I am starting to learn more about the kind of person I want to be and I’m learning how to get rid of negative attitudes I simply just don’t need anymore.

For such a long time now being a feminist has been a huge part of my identity. But despite everything I preach, I still have my issues.

The following is a realisation of those issues and the major epiphany I had, right there in the middle of Wembly Stadium as Taylor Swift freaking smashed her set on the Reputation Tour, about what it takes to really practice what you preach.

NOT A SWIFTIE

So the use of Taylor Swift may be a little bit clickbaity for this post (a girl’s gotta try get those likes some how right?) but she did inspire this whole realisation and self-growth situation regarding other women, shame and jealousy.

For a bit of background, I was one of those people who didn’t really like Swift for no particular reason. I listened to her music but would criticise her whenever she appeared in the headlines. For every breakup, makeup and latest scandal I was with the rest of the world rolling my eyes and wondering how such a ‘nice girl’ could cause so much drama, unless it was all fake.

Although Swift is such an extreme example of a shamed woman, her experiences are unfortunately shared with so many others – famous or not. Every movement, every mistake or success, is out there for us to judge.

But then, on 22nd June when I sang and screamed along with thousands of her loyal fans I got to see the other side. The side that is rarely ever publicised. Her side.

And I realised how messed up my attitude to, not only Swift had been, but towards women overall – despite my bold claims for female empowerment. In reality, I had been a part of what was pushing us all back down.

THE EPIPHANY

I know it seems kind of like I’m just using this whole post to boast about the fact that I got to see Taylor Swift in her Reputation tour (and maybe I am just a little bit) but there was something about being in that place, so full of happiness and pure love that made me realise what an arse I’d been. And trust me, when you’re surrounded by thousands of dedicated fans, that feeling goes pretty deep!

But the gig gave me a chance to see Swift simply. As just a lass who was doing her job, and doing it pretty bloody well too. And it got me thinking about how many other women I’ve shamed, ridiculed or disliked based on an idea that I’d either been given or made up myself.

I know that everyone feels as though they’re being judged, and we all get that anxiety when we feel like we don’t fit in, regardless of gender, but I feel like women (especially those in the public eye) just get a little bit more shit than normal.

“how many other women have I shamed, ridiculed or disliked based on an idea that I’d either been given or made up myself?”

Literally every. single. thing. women do is mocked or questioned in some way. From our own personal choices (don’t you think it’s selfish not to have children? how come he hasn’t put a ring on it yet?) to natural, bodily functions (periods*, body hair, size and shape) women are under scrutiny from the rest of the world.

We really don’t need to be getting shit from our sisters too.

THE FEMINIST BIT

So what is it about Taylor Swift that gets people so mad?

Well, there’s loads of excuses: the fact that she’s had a lot of partners; the fact that she’s quiet; the fact she is too nice. But the main one, when you really boil it down, is the fact that she is successful.

And like with most issues I’ve personally had with other women, it all comes down to jealousy.

We’re all so used to being pitted against each other for everything, from our relationships to our careers, it’s no wonder we fall victim to it. From day one, women are told that there isn’t enough room for them. From the fact that there are less women in higher role jobs, to the fact that women are normally seen as accessories,  we are constantly being told that we aren’t good enough.

But this whole thing with Taylor Swift and the epiphany I had while singing my heart out at that stadium was so simple I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get.

We need to make room for ourselves.

And we need to make sure that we are not shutting other women down or pushing them away just because we’re not keen on them or don’t have the same outlook as them.

The only way we’re all going to succeed is if we’re in it together.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO DO?

Next time you see a shitty article bashing women (it’ll probably be about Taylor Swift, to be fair) check yourself.

  • How does this make you feel?
  • If this was one of your friends would you shame her?
  • Would those actions be wrong if a man was doing them?
  • What does the world get out of shaming her like that?

Call out the bullshit you see, be supportive of your sisters, educate those who don’t understand.

So finally, after all that rambling:

I’m so sorry Taylor Swift, and every other woman I’ve shamed, through jealousy or a misunderstanding or simply just to fit in. I will learn from my mistakes, check myself and continue to be a support for all women. I have learnt that there is enough room for all of us, and it is down to us now to create a safe and open space for us all. 

I will be better. 


*I know that not all women have periods, just like not all period-having-people are women. But just for the sake of my argument here and just to generalise in the easiest way I can, this is what I’m going with. Please do not be offended. I see you xoxo


Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

Life After University | A YEAR On From Graduation, Here’s Where I’m At RN

I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but it has been a year since I graduated university.

One year since I was finally free from a degree that I had worked my arse off for three years. If you’re currently in the midst of your studies, I’m sure that you’ve dreamed about the situation I’m currently in. I know for a fact that it’s all I thought about while I went through sixth form and university – the bit where you actually start your real life.

Like most things, it hasn’t been an easy ride and I’m far from feeling settled. But I feel like for all it’s failures, my little journey may be of help (or at least of interest) to someone out there. I feel like your life after university, or any kind of structured routine, isn’t something that is talked about in depth. We have expectations and ideas, for sure, but we don’t get given a solid idea of what will happen once we’re free. It’s just like a hazy dreamland.

So allow me, one normal lass to another, to enlighten you.

CAREER

I know for a fact the first thing on your mind is what work am I doing now. Well, if you’re looking for a super exciting, #girlboss style story then I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere (or give me a good few years to work on it. Who knows?)

I was successful in leaving my part-time fast food job that I’d held down throughout my entire studies – which to be honest was a goal for post-uni Rachael. However, I left that job to continue working in customer service/retail, but this time with better hours and slightly better pay.

Other than that there are no signs of a ‘better’ career around the corner. To be honest with you I have no idea what I want to do anyway. After getting rejected from the handful of jobs I did apply for, I kind of lost motivation for the whole thing. Even now I feel kind of anxious even thinking about the minefield that is Indeed.com.

My current job, although it definitely has it’s many downsides, has been a positive for me overall. It’s allowed me to meet and connect with people I would never have found outside of our building and has increased my confidence so much it’s kind of insane.

And with that, I can swiftly move on the the next area of post -uni life I want to talk about.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT (IE. HOW I’M DOING)

When reflecting on my life for the past year, I was so suprised by how much I’ve changed. I found, when thinking about what I was going to write for this post, that I feel like a different person to the girl in her graduation cap and gown.

Sure, we’re both still anxious and insecure and absolutely terrified about what’s coming up in the future. But I feel more confident than her. I feel more mature than her, like I’m more able to handle situations better (even if it’s not true).

I spent my graduation day a sweaty, nervous wreck and couldn’t really enjoy any of it. I just wanted to get it over and done with – and that’s something I look back on now with a bit of regret. I should have been more excited, more proud and more up for a party 🙂


If you’re graduating this summer, or the next one or the next one, do me a favour and enjoy it.

Enjoy those moments with your friends, your classmates and your family. It’s a day for you and your hard work and you should be so proud of yourself.

University can be such a wild ride and I’m guessing that life after it is just going to be the same. I’m a bit disappointed and frequently anxious about the fact I haven’t really done anything within this year, but I guess good things come to those who wait and are ready for it.

I’ve got a lot of working on myself to do and a lot of more life to experience so I guess I shouldn’t get too hung up on finding my perfect career just yet. I’m making this post as a reminder for myself to be patient, to cut myself some slack, every now and again, and if this happens to resonate with you then I hope you take heed too.

Congratulations and best of luck reader.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Twenty Two Lessons In 22 Years | Birthday Reflections

It’s my birthday tomorrow, so how else would a wannabe blogger celebrate than writing a cliche post? I actually love these kind of posts – I wrote one for my birthday last year and found it to be a great experience. I love this positive yet reflective state I get in around this time of year and wanted to share.

Birthdays are a wonderful opportunity to up your self care, get grateful and just appreciate yourself and your journey. So without further ado, here’s what I’ve learnt:

  1. Being a pessimist is so draining.
  2. The people you work with really make the job.
  3. University can sometimes be a really difficult and lonely place to be, but no one really tells you this beforehand.
  4. Aloe Vera plants are really hard to keep alive. RIP Harry the Plant
  5. You can actually wear whatever you want. Like you can literally put on any kind of clothing you want, regardless of your size, shape and all that other shite.
  6. Your mental health really does effect your physical, and vice versa. So it’s important to constantly be taking care of yourself in both.
  7. Communication is the number one thing to making a relationship work. If you can’t be honest with or trust your partner, then you probably shouldn’t be with them.
  8. Even if you don’t see them as often as you’d like, your friends still care about you more than you’ll understand.
  9. With that being said, it’s the small things that keep a friendship going. Those little messages to check in, the silly memes you tag each other in, and so on are great reminders that say there’s someone out there who cares and is thinking about you.
  10. Being spontaneous, although it can be terrifying at first, is good for you.
  11. Your self talk is arguably one of the most important factors in how your life is ran, so make sure what you’re saying to yourself everyday is nice.
  12. You can actually be really good mates with your sibling, it often just takes a bit of growing up (and maybe for one of you to move out 🙂 )
  13. We all put far too much pressure on ourselves.Image 1Image 2
  14. Change is such a hard thing to implement into your life, even when you know what the issues are and how much better you will be without them. Patience and determination are vital here.
  15. I really do care about what other people think about me and it’s kind of ruining my life.
  16. Shaming or ridiculing people with different opinions to you is never going to bring change. The best option is being open, honest and gentle. Education is the way forward, but its definitely the harder option.
  17. Everyone is a little problematic at times – from your favourite celebrity to your mates, family and even yourself.
  18. Reading makes me so happy and is a better way to escape than social media.
  19. Other people’s relationships, as are their lives or decisions, is none of your business. Even if you think you know what’s best for them, you have to allow people the opportunity to change for themselves.
  20. No one is looking at you. No one noticed that spot you’ve got on your chin, or that bit of mascara on your eyelid. And if they did, they’re too busying worrying about what’s happening with their face to care about yours.
  21. Being in a happy, healthy relationship can be incredible for your body confidence , and confidence in general, but only if you liked yourself before. Being insecure will get in the way, no matter how many nice things they say about you.
  22. You are a good person. Stop thinking you’re not.

Featured

I’m going into my 22nd year feeling pretty satisfied with the lessons I’ve learnt and how much I’ve grown over the past few years. I have a good feeling about this year and I aim to be lighter and just enjoy it as much as possible. Now, I’m off to start some early celebrations – which, I’ll be honest, mainly consist of cake.

Sending you all the love.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

An Open Letter To Ex Friends | Self Growth

First of all let me say, that if we split in a bad way then I’m no longer mad.

I understand that at the time neither of us were in a position where our actions were as mature or as thought out as they could have been. And for that I do have some regret. From where I stand now (and hindsight is a wonderful thing!) I do wish we’d shown each other a bit more respect, but sometimes the situation takes over and there’s no time for that.

Speaking of maturity, I really want to be able to say I forgive you for what you did; for whatever choices you made or the things you said either to me or about me. For the actions that now seem unnecessary.

But here’s the thing – I’m not great with forgiveness.

Although I’m not mad anymore about what may have happened between us, I will always look back on those moments with great sadness. Sometimes I still feel hurt. And since you can still bring that effect I’m not sure if I want to forgive you right now.

Although I’m sure that time will come, eventually.

But I can be big enough to thank you for what you’ve taught me. From our actions, I now know what kind of friendships I need to avoid and which ones I should nurture. I have learnt what damaging behaviours I have tendencies to and need to lean towards those who don’t encourage this.

I should also thank you for the good times. Cause despite how it all went down, if it was a bad one, or even if you’re simply no longer in my life anymore, we had a canny few in our time. I’m grateful for the growth and the lessons we have hopefully given to each other.

And I genuinely wish you all the best.


The main reason I wanted to write this letter was for me. As is the natural way, I’ve had some friendship break downs over the years and, in an act of self growth and development, I wanted to get a few things of my chest. A bit of closure I guess.

To the friends I am lucky enough to hold dear still, thank you so much. I don’t appreciate you enough.


I urge you to put past breakups behind you and try to focus on what you have now. I feel like we all need to give ourselves that break.

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.

 

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.

 

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.