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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How Cruel Is My Makeup Bag? | BASE PRODUCTS

This concept is something I have seen on several blogs or YouTube channels over the past year or so, and it’s something I really want to get involved in. In fact, full disclosure, I did try this several months back but without much commitment or conviction.

I’ve decided that this year I want to start making better decisions and trying to do things that will better either myself or my environment. As someone who cannot imagine being vegetarian / vegan at the moment, my makeup bag seemed the simplest place to make changes. Plus, it’ll come with the additional purposes of saving money and creating less waste as I won’t be able to freely buy pointless products like I’m used to.

I have used the site logicalharmony to see what status the brands are, as this is the site other creators have used and it seems to be the most reliable. Any products that are not cruelty free have been marked, and once I have used them up will not be repurchased. I aim to replace these products with cruelty free options eventually.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to my everyday face.

THE ‘EVERYDAY’ FACE
  • Glossier : Priming Moisturiser 

GREY AREA 

According to the site, this means that the brand were “unable to provide a clear statement on animal testing practices” and have not provided any clarification when asked.

Glossier are quite public about their stance on animal testing and on the back of their products claim they are cruelty free. However, this is not as simple as it seems (read more here). Because of their claims, you think they’d be more than happy to clarify their practices. Something feels a bit weird here and I’m gutted. That’s a no from me.

  • Soap & Glory : One Heck of a Blot Primer

GREY AREA

(disclaimer, I either use one or the other of the products above but thought I better check them both). The site says they have reached out to this brand but have received “unclear responses.” Apparently, this does not mean they test on animals but it also doesn’t mean they are cruelty free either.

The site claims they need more information and will therefore not be promoting Soap & Glory. Again, this feels weird. I feel betrayed. Why?! Another no from me, then.

  • L’Oreal : Infallible 24 HR Foundation 

BRANDS TO AVOID

Defined on the site as “not cruelty free… could mean they engage in animal testing themselves, through a third party, as requested by law, or use ingredients that are tested on animals”. 

To be honest, I’m not surprised. I knew this was bad.

  • Collection : Lasting Perfection Concealer 

BRANDS TO AVOID

I’m actually not surprised with this one either. Gutted of course, cause this has been a staple for the longest time, but I had a horrible feeling it was bad. Oh well.

  • Rimmel : Clear Completion Power / Stay Matte Powder 

BRANDS TO AVOID

I kind of knew that too. I’m a bad person. I’m sorry animals.

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FACE 2

  • Makeup Revolution : Pro Fix Setting Spray

GREY AREA 

This one is strange to me, as I always thought this brand was cruelty free from my prior research. No extra notes have been given on this brand, so maybe I will let it slide for now?

  • Sleek : Face Contour Kit

PENDING BRAND

According to the site, this means they are “waiting to receive response or waiting for the brand to finish the relevant documents.” This is not the same as the grey area, as they are just simply waiting. I’ll let that slide for now, but watch this space.

  • Model’s Own : Blush

PENDING BRAND

“Have reached out multiple times but have not received a response” 

This feels weird, again. It’s a no from me. Why can’t these brands just be honest?

  • Fenty Beauty : Killawatt Highlighter (Metal Moon)

GREY AREA 

“was unable to provide a clear statement on practices, FAQ page is not detailed enough to be sure of their status.” Logical Harmony have also not received any response to their clarification requests.

Very disappointed with this. Once again feels strange and I’m not buying it. Sorry, Rihanna but no thanks.

  • NYC : Smooth Skin Bronzer 

BRANDS TO AVOID

I am a very bad person. Why is this more difficult than I thought? Why is everything so cruel?


This list was turning out to be too long, so stay tuned to see EYES / LIPS and to see whether I actually have any cruelty – free products.

If you have any brand recommendations, please let me know!

Speak soon,

Rachael


Sources (all LogicalHarmony):

Cruelty Free Brand List

Brands To Avoid

Pending Brands

Grey Area Brands

 

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.

 

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.

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

 

Who Do You Want To Be?

For some reason recently I’ve been all about self-reflection and just reflecting in general.

Maybe it’s because spring is coming, and that’s all about fresh starts and new beginnings, or maybe it’s because I’m getting (scarily) near the end of my university degree so things are changing so fast for me and I have a lot of things to consider. Either way I think it’s a good thing. I’m thinking a lot about the person I’m becoming and the lessons it took to get me here.

I used to believe that you had to ‘find yourself’. That in order to discover who you really are you needed to go on some sort of quest to find the true being inside of you. Now I know that it’s more of a question of ‘creating’ yourself. Sure there are elements of your personality that are inherently you and that you may not be able to change. But overall, you get to decide who you want to be.

This can be a hard thing to understand at first as many of us are not in the position to just suddenly become this amazing person we all want to be. Some of us may not even believe that we have the capabilities to do such a giant task in the first place.

Annoyingly, learning things about yourself is something that takes time and gets easier as you grow. It’s through every experience, every mistake and every choice you make that things begin to shift in the person you are and, understandably, these things take time.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t start making a difference now, wherever you are. Every day the decisions you make, the way you interact with others and the people you have around you help shape the person you are.

‘Creating’ yourself seems like such a big task on the surface, but really it’s these little things we do every day that contribute to it.

INSPIRATION OR COMPARISON? 

It’s really easy to get caught up in other people and think “why can’t I be like that?” But here’s the thing- you can be like that. You can get inspired and work on those features that you admire so much. If you want to be more productive, then work on it. If you want to be kind, then work on it.

The key is to not get so focused on other people so that you forget about yourself. You should always be your number one. It sounds selfish and like something we’ve been told to never do, but it’s so important that you shift that focus onto yourself. Especially if you’re trying to work on who you are in the first place.

I personally want to become more positive. For most of my life I have been a ‘glass half empty’ kind of girl- which, for the record, is totally okay- but after a while it started to weigh down on me. I found that as I got older, being bored and unsatisfied with everything just wasn’t the done thing anymore despite how trendy it was at school. I found myself feeling down and unable to pick myself back up again because of how negative every reaction I had was.

Being positive is something I am still striving for now but I can say that it’s gotten easier. The hardest part is realising the problems you have inside you and recognising that you need to change. That being said, starting the change is pretty difficult too! It takes a lot of patience (something I often lack) and self-reflection. You need to take time out to focus on the way you react to things, to the way you behave and call yourself out whenever you catch yourself doing it in a negative way.

You need to make a commitment to yourself that you’ll take this time to constantly work on building your character. This isn’t a one-time deal that’ll be over with soon. It’s something we need to work on persistently and something that will continue as long as we live.

Because who we are is built on the things we do, expect for change to happen within yourself. You were never meant to be just one thing; a being that can be pigeon-holed easily. We are complicated yet wonderful people who, once we are open to the idea of change and working hard, can only get better as time goes on.

My journey towards being a more positive person is still going strong. I struggle sometimes, as we all do, but the fact that I am trying is enough. I want to be someone who is kind and approachable. Basically I want to be the kind of person I’d be friends with.

I have accepted who I was and who I am now and I’m looking forward to all the changes, all the growth and all the learning that is coming my way.

Ask yourself, what do you want to be known for? What kind of person will you be? And just how hard are you going to work to get there?


Materials (Learning From Other People):


 

*affiliate links used

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Twenty-One Things I’ve Learnt In 21 Years

This is something I’ve seen going around a lot and I think it’s lovely to hear people’s insights, see some changes and generally just try to better yourself.

Now I’m a 21 year-old I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past (as well as looking forward to the future!) and even though it might not feel like it sometimes, I’ve done so much and grown loads. Here are some key things I’ve learnt over the years that may be beneficial to you.

1. Practising pays off, even though it can be really tedious and annoying.

For me a key area I learnt this was makeup, and after many years of messing about with the stuff for fun I’m finally getting okay at it. This also applies to other, non-superficial areas too! Just keep showing up and pushing and you’ll get there.

2. No one knows what they’re doing. Literally no one.

Not even that girl who looks like she has it all together. I know this because I pretend to be her and I still haven’t got a clue. I thought that by 21 I’d have everything figured out, but every day is still a learning curve. It’s totally okay, we’ll figure it out one day- maybe.

3. Always be yourself. Do what feels right for you at all times.

Any other action or behaviour will come across awkward, weird and uncomfortable for everyone, especially you! Listen to yourself and try to not focus on what other people might think. You have to live with yourself everyday and that is something you should honour.

4. Don’t be afraid to change it up.

A lot of people go through this stage of altering their appearance, friendships and values when they’re a young teen but I think it’s something that we should constantly do. Experiment with different versions of yourself and try new things to figure out what you like. It’s how you often find that you have always been exactly how you were meant to be.

5. Being girly isn’t a weakness.

Feminism! This one took me far to long to grasp. Liking pink, wearing ‘feminine’ fashion, being interested in beauty… The list is endless. None of the things are a bad or should be thought of with guilt. You are never just one thing so why pigeon-hole yourself?

6. It’s better to not have been the popular one at school.

It gives you an opportunity to grow, change and focus on what is really important right now. School may be considered the ‘best years of your life’ by adults, but trust me it’s not. You have so much wonder to come and luckily you haven’t peaked too early!

7. It takes time to find the right contraception.

 You need to educate yourself, try things and listen to your body. The first method you try might not be your last.

8. There are no deadlines on milestones.

You’re going through life at your own pace so it’s pointless to compare what you’re doing with other people’s experiences. (See: sex, first kisses, getting drunk, education, getting married, etc.)

9. Creating a safe place for yourself is the best act of self care. 

Whether that place is outside or in your house, take time to figure out where you feel the safest and make that space exactly how you want it. This will be your sanctuary for the days when things seem to be a much and a place for you to chill out whenever necessary.

10. Just because your life and/or choices look different to other people doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

You know yourself best, so just do what’s right for you even if it’s difficult or doesn’t match up to others. You should be your number one and this takes time to understand and accept. I promise you- you’re doing fine.

11. Be grateful for your parents/guardians/friends. They do so much for you.

This can be hard to see sometimes but be grateful for those around you who care because one day they may not be around. Gratitude is a wonderful thing to practice and can change your outlook and the way you handle so many different situations.

12. Time doesn’t have to be an important factor in friendships.

You don’t have to stay friends with someone just because you always have been and alternatively you can become brilliant friends with someone you’ve just met. Time isn’t really an important factor, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Sometime you just need to go with your gut and heart to find the right people.

13. Try to save some of your money for a rainy day. Having something behind you can make the world of difference. 

Try to budget and keep bits of money back in case you ever need it. If not, it’ll come in handy for that trip you want to do or that bag you’ve wanted for ages. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

14. Don’t feel bad about feeling bad.

Whether you’re feeling bad right now, or you’re annoyed at past you, we need these times to grow and get to a better place. Everything is valid.

15. Worrying can destroy everything you care about. 

Try to switch off and get out of your head a bit because worrying and overthinking will ruin your relationships, friendships and experiences. Take a walk, open up to someone close or write it down. You need to find a way to get these things out of your head so you can be more open to the important, and present, things.

16. The internet doesn’t need to know everything you’re up to.

You don’t have to post it to prove that it happened and it doesn’t have to be an instant thing either. Don’t let sharing stuff get in the way of your experiences. It’s brilliant to share and show off what you’ve been up to, where you’ve been and who you’ve seen but remember to enjoy the moment a bit first.

17. Metal actually does explode in the microwave.

I found this out the hard way. It can also catch fire too so be careful and stay aware!

18. Learn how to be on your own.

It might become the best lesson you’ll ever learn. You need to rely on yourself totally and be your own best friend because at the end of the day, you are the only guarantee in life.

19. A good bra will change your life.

It’ll make you look and feel amazing, trust me. It might even be worth spending that little bit more money in order to feel this way. Comfort and confidence are the key to any fashion experience.

20. You can trust places like you trust people.

It can be an instant feeling when you get there; you’re definitely going to like it here. I’ve experienced this only a handful of times in my life but it’s often a great factor when making major decisions (see: choosing a university, moving away, work)

21. The loudest people often don’t have anything to shout about.

Whether they’re bragging about sex, drinking, their love life or success you never get to see what actually goes on behind closed doors so take everything with a pinch of salt. Try not to get too caught up in what other people are doing, because they’re not you and everyone experiences things differently.


Happy Birthday Me!

I’m expecting this year to be full of growth, change, joy and fear and I am so buzzing for it. Although things may get tough I’m so proud of myself for everything I’ve done to get here and I love that I’m only going to continue to learn more.

Thank you so much for reading this post. I’m so grateful for you being here. Let’s hope this blog continues for many more birthdays!


Speak soon,

Rachael.