Remembering Loved Ones At Christmas | Festive Thoughts #6

Now I get that Christmas is meant to be ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ and I don’t want to take that away from anyone. But I do, and have been trying throughout this little series, want to highlight that it’s not like that for everyone.

A big thing about Christmas and this time of year in general is family. It’s the time of year where spending time with our loved ones is an essential and, although I personally think that’s a lovely thing, I understand that it’s not for everyone.

In some cases, we lose loved ones around this time of year and that takes a toll on all the festivities. Even if we don’t lose them at this time, Christmas is always a reminder of the people who we no longer have around us because of the emphasis on family time.

My family has been very unfortunate and we have lost a lot of loved ones over the years. Christmas, although it remains a happy time for us and certainly one of my favourites, is always a reminder of those people we miss.

I know it’s not the most fun thing to be discussing so close to the big day, but I think it’s important to highlight that Christmas isn’t always perfect.

I do think, regardless of what’s going on around you and who you may or may not have, that we should use the loss of our loved ones to remind us of how vital family is. Use this time of year to celebrate those you do have around you and make the most of the time you have together.

Some other things you can do to remember loved ones this Christmas is:

  • Add them to your decorations. We lost a great-aunt a few years back and she used to go all out at Christmas. We have now inherited some of her decorations (pictured) and putting them up among our own things allows us to reminisce and remember her in a wonderfully fond way.
  • Talk about it. Of course it’s hard and no one wants to be seen as a downer during this time of year, but talking about things is so important. Have a chat with your loved ones about how you’re feeling; share stories and anecdotes about your loved ones and have a laugh at all of the brilliant things they did.
  • Be understanding. Christmas can be a hard time of year for those who are missing people, and you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. Use this time to be there for your friends and family. Let them know that you are there to support them, to be a shoulder to cry on or to cheer them up if needed.

I know there wasn’t too much to this post, and I could have went more into detail with it. But being so close to Christmas and all I didn’t want things to be too heavy. I simply wanted to highlight the struggles some of us have and remind you that you’re not alone in them.

I hope you have a wonderful and happy Christmas.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

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Small Things To Do For Yourself This Christmas | Festive Thoughts #5

I know it’s so cliche, but allow me this one – can you believe that Christmas is basically here now? I certainly can’t! Where is this month (read: year) going man.

Anyway, I was so pleasantly surprised with the response to my ‘pep talk’ post. It seems like so many of us are going through the same thing during this season and I wanted to keep this conversation going.

Of course, I’m leaving it a bit late but I feel like now is the time – more than ever – to emphasise the importance of self care. We’re so close to the big day and the pressure is on. You might have so many events, traditions and commitments coming up in the next few days and although I hope you’re excited for them, I totally get that it can be overwhelming sometimes.

Allow me to remind you of some small, simple things you can do for yourself to make you feel calm and positive. Sometimes just taking a step back is all that is needed.

  • Run yourself a hot bath and use some of your favourite products
  • Make yourself your favourite meal / order your favourite takeout
  • Read several chapters of a book
  • Listen to your favourite album all the way throughout without any interuptions
  • Change your bedding for a fresh nights sleep
  • Make yourself a cup of tea (or another beverage) and actually take the time to taste and enjoy it
  • Have an early night
  • Watch your favourite Christmas movie or Christmas special
  • Simply allow yourself to be on your own for a while

And most importantly:

DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF. PUT YOURSELF FIRST.

I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing evening. Sending you all the positive and calming vibes.

Happy holidays.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts: A Gift Guide Inspo | Festive Thoughts #4

Buying Christmas presents, in my opinion, can either be a wonderful experience or the worst thing ever. There’s no in between. With the pressure of making sure the people actually like it, some money issues and the deadline, Christmas shopping can be a nightmare sometimes.

If this is how you’re feeling right now and you’re really not sure of what to buy anyone, I’ve come up with a little list of generic presents to try to help you on your way. These ideas can be tailored to suit anyone and any budget.

THE LIST

  • Pyjamas
  • Underwear / socks
  • Candles
  • Sweets / chocolate
  • Bath bombs / body products
  • Mugs
  • Hot chocolate / speciality tea
  • Stationary
  • Vouchers (Amazon, supermarkets or shopping centres for variety)
  • Headphones
  • Alcohol
  • Slippers

I’m aware that a lot of these choices may seem obvious, but I think they might help if you’re really struggling. Sometimes we get so stuck in our heads that we forget the basics and that’s what I was aiming for with this post.

I’ve tried to go for ideas that would work for anyone of mainly any age / gender, and of course you can (should!) tailor them to your loved ones as best you can.


I hope this helped you some how. Good luck with your shopping! In fact, let me know how far you’ve gotten with your gift shopping or even if you’ve started it at all.

Happy holidays and speak soon,

Rachael.

Here’s Why Christmas Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect| Festive Thoughts #3

As I’ve gotten older I’ve experienced more of a pressure, more stress, around this time of year. It actually really upsets me, because Christmas is my favourite holiday. But for the past few years or so I haven’t been able to fully enjoy it, as I am being bogged down with various pressures – all of which revolve around making Christmas ‘perfect’.

We see so many adverts, blog posts and messages about how to make this Christmas ‘the best one yet’ and, although I understand that these are serving a purpose, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed as the season goes on.

Christmas is a wonderful and fun time of the year, if it’s your kind of thing. But it can also come with a lot of commitments and expectations.

There’s expectations on how much money you should be spending; how many gifts you should give or receive; how many relatives or friends you should see and so on. The list is basically endless and the older I’ve gotten, the more expectations I seem to find.

Especially considering I am someone who is obsessed with all things social media. We all know how equally amazing and damaging these platforms can be sometimes, in terms of only seeing the highlights of other people’s lives. And, in some cases, this is just vamped up over the Christmas period.

Of course, it’s lovely to share what you’re getting up to and showing off your decorations, presents and events. I love a good Instagram post or tweet declaring what festive treats I’ve been up to! But I feel like this constant feed of ‘perfect’ images and ideas can really get in the way of your personal enjoyment – of all things, not just Christmas.

But because it only happens once a year, there is this daft pressure to make sure that your festive period is full of parties, events, family and decorations and if you’re not doing it like everyone else then surely you must be wrong.

I think we sometimes forget that life doesn’t just stop because it’s Christmas.

Unfortunately issues or things don’t just go away because a special holiday is coming up. Many of us still have work commitments, families to take care of, health issues and so on that may hinder us from going in full force with all the festive stuff.

I just wanted to write this post to remind myself and anyone else who may have stumbled across it, that Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect. Yes it can still be fun and enjoyable, but there may be some things that get in the way at times and that’s okay. You may have other commitments that need to come first, like looking after yourself. 

Maybe you can’t get involved fully with the festive spirit like you really want to and that’s okay. Here is our reminder that we might as well make most of the moments we do have, while still getting stuff done in the meantime.

Christmas can be the most wonderful time of the year, but if you’re struggling managing all the pressure and commitments, take a breather and remember; it’s just another day.

Enjoy yourself as much as you can, take a break when you get the chance and stay safe.

Happy holidays.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Five Things EVERYBODY Can Enjoy This Christmas | Festive Thoughts #2

This time of year can definitely be a hit or miss for some people. Although it can be easy to imagine that everyone in the world celebrates and loves Christmas, it’s just not true.

For some people it’s a religious thing, as I think we seem to forget that Christmas is a relgious holiday and not everyone is about that. For some people it’s a deeper, more personal issue. And for some it’s just not their cup of tea and that’s it.

But regardless of what you think about Christmas, there are some things about this whole season that I think we can all enjoy. Like…

THE FOOD

It may sound a bit daft, but I honestly think my favourite thing about this entire season is the food. As soon as winter hits, it seems like all everyone wants to do is huddle indoors and scoff chocolate. Which, if we’re being totally honest, is how I like to spend all of my time throughout the year anyway so it’s no surprise that winter is my favourite time!

Everything from the family packs of sweets to miniature party food (mini burger, anyone?) just makes my heart – and tummy- happy and I feel like all my fellow foodies can feel the same.

FAMILY TIME

Now this one is a little more specific, as I understand that not everyone has a great family life. But the fact that this whole season is about spending quality time with our loved ones, sharing, caring and all that good stuff, is amazing and something we should definitely do more throughout the year.

No matter how you feel about Christmas or who it is you have around you, taking some time out to just be together is a lovely thing to do. I am a huge family person so this one is definitely an important factor for me!

THE DECORATIONS

Again, regardless of what you actually think about Christmas or whether you even celebrate it there’s no escaping the festivities whenever you leave your house.

From the end of November fairy lights and decorations begin appearing everywhere – on the high street, in shops and even in our workplaces – and despite what you actually think about this season, I’m sure we can all admit that it makes everything look so damn pretty!

I personally love seeing the transformation in my city and my home. Somehow, adding fairly lights to things just makes them instantly look more attractive, don’t you think? And when the days are short and the nights are dark, having lots of pretty lights around to brighten things up is just so lovely.

BEING COSY (HYGGE)

On the note of things being cold and dark, winter is the perfect time to snuggle up and spend a lot of time indoors. And once again this is how I like to be all year round, so it’s wonderful that everyone joins in at Christmas!

Staying at home, wrapped in a blanket burrito is my ideal situation and in winter there often isn’t any other activity that will suffice. Even if you’re the biggest extrovert / party animal out there, you can definitely still appreciate a cosy night in.

CELEBRATING

And finally, regardless of whether you actually celebrate Christmas day specifically, now is the perfect time to get involved with celebrations anyway.

Celebrate the fact that you’ve made it through another year; celebrate all of your achievements; celebrate the people around you. Get jolly about the fact a fresh start is coming up and another chance for to you tackle all of your goals is on the horizon.


Whatever you choose to do, I hope you have a wonderful time. Stay safe and happy holidays!

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.

Current Skincare Routine: Glossier UK Review

Despite my love for all things beauty, I have never had a proper skincare routine. My skincare for the past six years or so has just included the cheapest items I could find, because my God can skincare be expensive!

However, I recently decided to properly treat myself and bought a selection of things from Glossier. Glossier is a pretty new brand, I believe, from the US that have just recently started shipping to the UK – hence why every beauty blogger you might have encountered has gone crazy for the stuff. I normally get excited by hypes, but can never join in as the brands are usually so expensive. But now I’m in a point in my life where I am receiving a regular wage and just wanted to do something nice for myself, because why not?

I was genuinely surprised by the prices of Glossier. They are by no means as cheap as I am used to, but after having a look around their beautifully designed site, I was excited. I could actually try some of these things!

What I really liked about Glossier is the fact that their whole brand is based around simplicity. If you’re also a beauty fan you might understand what I mean when I say that cosmetics can be so confusing sometimes! There’s so many lotions and potions for different things, that somehow sound the same but aren’t. I for one get very overwhelmed, which is another factor into why I’ve never branched away from my discounted products.

So imagine my joy upon discovering Glossier, who’s philosophy is to bring beauty back to simplicity. All of their products are designed to simply enhance what you already have.

Glossier

Skin first. Makeup second

THE PRODUCTS

I decided to purchase the Phase 1 set , which is a collection of their three main skincare items.

Glossier.2.jpg

  • milky jelly cleanser
  • priming moisturiser
  • balm dot com (birthday)

Apparently you save £8 when buying them all as a set, which totals at £35. Now this sounds like a lot of money, I know, for three items, but considering each one is around £18 I thought I’d give the bundle a go.

You can see the details here

Note: I need to say I was super impressed with the shipping! It was free as I’d spent more than £25 and came exactly five days after ordering (the shipping rate is 3-5 days). Brill!

THE REVIEW

For the record I have normal/combination skin. I occasionally suffer with dry patches on my cheeks, especially during this time of year, and have a slightly oily t-zone. My skin, like everyone’s I feel, is also breakout prone although I no longer suffer with acne.

These products have not broken me out, which is amazing. I am always worried when trying something new that my skin will throw a fit. But after weeks of using them regularly I have not suffered once.

The cleanser does have a slightly floral scent to it, which worried me at first, but it is incredibly gentle and leaves my skin feel hydrated and fresh. I have not tried using it solely as a makeup remover, but it can be used for this apparently. I’m not sure how it would tackle waterproof mascara and the like, but I feel like it would do a decent job at getting rid of your face makeup at least.

My favourite product by far, however, is the priming moisturiser. Now I have never really gotten on well with any moisturisers, as I find that they often leave my skin greasy and shiny. I would definitely never use one prior to applying makeup. However, the priming moisturiser in this set is designed to be a base for ‘makeup and/or life’ (which is cute as, don’t you think?) and let me tell you, I am in love with it!

Primer.jpg

It is honestly such a wonderful base and helps keep my makeup looking fresh for around three hours. For me, that is a miracle. My makeup only lasts around an hour even with a primer and setting spray. But when I used this moisturiser, I was overjoyed to see that even my highlighter and blusher still remained hours later!

THE CONCLUSION

Overall I am chuffed with my purchase from Glossier. I think they are an incredibly modern and attractive brand (I mean, take a look at that packaging!) that lives up to the hype. I think it’s because they are so simple. My skin doesn’t have to deal with too many conflicting products, which can be a problem sometimes. Basically I was genuinely so surprised with everything, from the shipping to the quality. And amazingly they are cruelty-free too!

I’d say if you fancy trying Glossier, you won’t be disappointed. Of course I’m not saying it’ll work for everyone but I am currently a very happy customer!


Will you be trying out these products?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

*Please note this post was not sponsored (duh). I paid for everything with my own, hard-earned money and all opinion are my own.

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.