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.

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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.

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

 

How To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

I love reading. It’s been a hobby of mine for as long as I can remember and I love nothing more than getting lost in another world built by someone’s words. It’s something I even talk about occasionally on here too.

If you’re also a lover of books then you’ll understand the upset and torment I feel when I find myself in a reading slump. It’s such an awful feeling to have suddenly lost the joy from one of your favourite pastimes and is, unfortunately, something that happens more often than I’d like.

However, fortunately for this blog, because I have experienced the reading slump regularly (n fact just pulled myself out of one recently!) I feel like I can actually be of some help to those of you who might be struggling!

Here are the ways I work to pull myself out of a draught and bring myself back to where I want to be – reading:

  • STOP READING WHAT CAUSED IT

Abandoning a book can be a difficult thing if you love reading. Trust me I get it. For some reason you feel guilty, because you know that someone somewhere spent hours, days, weeks on that book and the least you could do would be to see it through to the end.

But then I finally saw sense. What’s the point in carrying on reading something that isn’t bringing you joy? There are so many other books out there!

If you’re in a reading slump, chances are it was brought on by something you’ve been reading. That doesn’t mean to say it isn’t a good book or even something that you won’t enjoy eventually, but right now it isn’t working so you might as well stop.

Put the book away and forget about it for now- you can always return later when the time is right. Allow yourself the chance to find something better.

  • FIND A GENRE THAT SAVES YOU

Whenever I’m in a reading slump, I tend to reach for chick-lit because somehow it saves me every time. This is something I only realised recently, but those feel-good, quick reads pull me out of a draught and helps me fall back in love with books again.

Now maybe chick-lit isn’t your thing, but there’s bound to be a genre out there that you love and that you know you enjoy every time. It could be memoir, fantasy, self-help and so on. The list is endless!

Next time you find yourself in a slump, reach for something that’s in your genre of choice and see if it helps. Reading something familiar, that’s still a brand new story, is sure to help you get back on track.

  • TAKE A BREAK

Some reading slumps are so deep that nothing will pull you out in a hurry. So why not listen to yourself and stop reading for a bit?

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that, so take a break. Leave your books on the shelf and dive into another hobby for the time being. Hopefully after some time away you’ll feel fresh and inspired to begin reading once again!

  • WATCH BOOKTUBE

Booktube is the YouTube community dedicated to reading, with countless of creators making content based on their love of books. I personally think it’s a wonderful space on the internet and is one that has helped me from time to time.

When you’re in a slump have a browse through the various vloggers and bloggers out there who are dedicated to books. Their passion and pure joy for the hobby is sure to inspire you.

They’ll show you what you’ve been missing and you’ll begin to see things in a better light, all of which such get you back into reading once more.

Check out the materials at the end for my favourite booktubers who have helped me.

  • RE-READ AN OLD FAVOURITE

Similarly to finding a favourite genre, returning to a once loved book can really help you get back into the hobby again.

For me, I will always return to Jacqueline Wilson who was my favourite author growing up. Sure the books are a little young for me now, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy them any less! Returning back into these stories that meant so much to me years ago reminds me how much I actually enjoy reading and motivates me to do it more.

When you can’t seem to find anything new to grab your attention, I urge you to seek out your out favourites and try them once again.

  • TRY AUDIO BOOKS

Now, I have to be honest here and say this one isn’t something I have much experience with but I do understand how helpful it can be. Personally, audio books aren’t really my thing (yet!) but if you’re just not into reading at the moment, listening to someone read is a wonderful way to still be engaged in the hobby without doing any of the work!

You could even listen to books you’ve already read previously and see if they feel any different in this format. Audio books may also be a great opportunity for you to discover new stories that you mightn’t have even considered before, as things can be more easily understood if someone else is explaining it to you.

Either way I know audio books have been very helpful to others in the past and they may just work the same for you.

Stephen King


Do you have any tips for getting out of a reading slump? Also, what’s your favourite book?

I feel like I kind of went back into my original type of content today and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Let me know if any of these tips were helpful to you, if you fancy.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

(Favourite Booktubers)

booksandquills

cozyteareads

justkissmyfrog

Ariel Bissett 

Falling at the Second Hurdle: Motivation Tips From A Fellow Failure

As I said in my first, and currently my only other, post to this blog I have so many plans for what I want to do with this platform. But what I didn’t say was that I’m incredibly lazy and can so easily get stuck in a rut meaning that these plans would probably go to waste within five minutes. And they almost did. But finally, finally, I’m here today to say I’m on it again. I may have tripped over the second, very high and difficult, hurdle but I’m back up now and trying to get back on track (see what I did there?).

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this, “this” being maintaining motivation whether that be in your hobby, work or just general life, so I’ve took my struggles and tried to create something that can be helpful and overall just better than falling and feeling sorry for yourself.

So here are five little tips that I’ve found have helped me to keep going and what I use when I need motivation, just for you:

1. Music

Music is something that helps enhance any emotion you could possibly be feeling. Whenever I want to feel good, say if I’m getting ready for a night out, I turn to a cheesy, upbeat pop playlist. Likewise, if I feel like a good cry after a long day but it just won’t happen, I turn to the selection of songs that just hit me every time and afterwards I feel much clearer and calmer. So naturally, when I need a little motivational boost the easiest and simplest thing for me to do is turn to music. Anything upbeat, catchy with lyrics that I know and love can lift my spirits, making everything seem easier and helping me to push on through any block I have.

2. Other People

Whether it be an Instagram post of someone’s “busy morning”, success stories in a magazine or just listening to the people around me I’ve found that seeing other people being productive and simply just doing stuff, I feel more inclined and more wanting to do the same. I hate that moment when I’ll be talking to a friend, relative or colleague and they ask “so, what have you been up to?” and the only answer I have is a shrug. “Nothing, really” I’ll say. Although it doesn’t matter what people think of you and you should be free to spend your time how you want, I can’t help but feel a little embarrassed for myself in this situation and I want to avoid that as often as I can!

3. The Past

Similarly, when I look back at how I’ve spent my time throughout my life I often get a little bit… disappointed with myself. I have wasted so much time over my nineteen years on this earth and that normally hits me all at once. Often as I’m trying to sleep (thanks, brain!). Hindsight helps you see so much and with me that’s often the time I wasted on Youtube or just sitting still when I could have been writing, reading, socialising, exercising, working, learning a new language, juggling… The list seems endless when you’re looking back, but in that moment it seems like doing nothing is the only option. And that is okay, once in a while. But looking back on my wasted time encourages me to try my hardest to make the most of the time I have now.

4. The Future

As well as looking back, I also like to think about what is ahead of me. Like everyone, I have so many plans about what I want in order to achieve the ‘dream life’ but none of them are easy to come by. That thought alone is normally something that can make me want to hide back under my duvet, return to the perpetually angry thirteen year-old I still am inside and whine “what’s the point?!” But it can also have the opposite effect, if I’m able to flip my mindset. I don’t have time to waste when I think about it. There’s so many things I could be doing and working on in order to get to where I want to be in my career and overall just well-being that I always have something I can do that is more productive than watching reruns of Come Dine With Me (which you should still do by the way. In no way am I saying you should not watch Come Dine With Me, because you should. Just in moderation).

The Future also helps motivate me because as I said previously, looking back on all my wasted time is such a downer and I want to prevent that as much as I can. So by working and being productive now, I save future me the hassle of looking back and being upset. You see? Timey-whimey stuff you can do at home!

5. Pictures

…Of anything. Quotes, sunny beaches, parties, my friends and family. I’m really interested in photography and am obsessed with taking pictures of anything I can and looking back on the pictures I’ve taken myself of my friends and family, the fun and good stuff we’ve been up to helps remind me that no matter what I think I do have people out there that care about me, or at least have done in the past, and although I have spent a lot of time sitting still I have done so much and made so many memories. My phone background, something I see on a daily basis, is currently a collage of pictures of me and my nearest and dearest. I know this sounds completely random, like “wow, cheers Rachael for this amazing piece of information” but hear me out. I see this on a daily basis. That means a daily, hourly and on occasionally sad days, minute-by-minute, reminders of how lucky I am, how happy I am and have been, the people around me and the things I’ve done. So when I am feeling low or not motivated in the slightest, I look at my phone or the various images around me and feel lighter and better about my situation.

So there you have it, that’s some little tips from me to you. I hope this helps you, I know these come in handy for me a lot.

Good luck with whatever you’re working on!

Speak soon,

Rachael