Meditate

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Now as I have mentioned many times before one my goals for this year is to get into a proper habit when it comes to meditation.  And therefore I decided to make an active decision and just dedicate 10 minutes of every day to meditating. That’s all Headspace asks of you. And also in May my subscription to Headspace was due for renewal and I didn’t elect to cancel it meaning that I had to make that 50 odd quid I spent on it worth it.

And so I made it my mission for May to meditate every day.

And I did it.

I have also only meditated once in the month of June so far, so the balance isn’t quite there yet.

And here is the thing that doing it everyday for a month taught me.

I should really do it more regularly.

I did it before I went to bed as a way to unwind from the day and try to get myself into the habit of sleeping. And to do that I did the ‘Sleep’ pack because that felt like it might work a little bit in the unwinding process. To be honest the main reason that I did it at night is because I just do not currently have it in me to change my morning routine in order to start my day with it. Also it forces me to take 10 minutes out at the end of the day to focus on myself and in doing so I switch off and then from then I find that sleep just kind of fell over me and I started to sleep really well.

There were elements of this pack that I loved. Then the last 10 days involved the introduction of visualisation, and well I noticed my focus wavered a lot more in those last 10 days. I used to get so caught up in my thoughts during those 10 days sometimes that I actually forgot that I was supposed to be focusing on something until the guidance came back through into my headphones. So that is currently something that I am now aware that I need to work on, whilst also not getting too in my head about it because then I run into a host of issues. It’s a fine line.

I think also because I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of the visualisation element of this that doing it kind of didn’t feel like I was forming a habit but more that it was becoming a chore and that is never a good thing, which I think is why I haven’t really done it since this month started.

It’s now been 16 days though (I did it on the 1st) and so I have actually noticed the difference between last month and this month just in my overall headspace and only one thing has really changed.

The lack of mediation.

This goal is finally starting to feel like it might actually become a habit by the end of the year, which is exactly what I wanted doing it every day for 31 days to do. I knew that if I didn’t make a conscious effort to do it every day for a period of time then I was just never going to get it done and so I have and I have felt the difference in the way that I feel when I do it regularly and when I don’t. It kind of feels like exercise and my attitude towards that to be honest, and we all know where the exercise one has ended up now. (My legs are so dead as I write this, I thought they were fine but then they felt heavy during my workout and even thought that flushed some stuff out and I got re-stretch them in the cool down I could feel the tightness as I moisturised them. I kind of hate it, kind of love it. Kinda curious to know how the workout that I will be doing when this goes up will feel because it was weights that did me this dirty and it’s weights that I’m doing today…will be interesting.)

Anyway, that’s where I’m at with this one.

I meditated every day for the month of May and finally understood the hype regarding it and how it does actually pay to just take 10 minutes out of the day to focus and check in with your body and see what’s going on and to be a bit more present. It really affected my mood and my quality of sleep, and I need to find out whether that was the case because I was doing a pack that was geared towards sleep or because just taking that time before I tried to go to sleep was the thing working small wonders.

I will find out and report back shortly.

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Celebrate

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Today is R’s birthday, although we celebrated it yesterday with alcohol, karaoke and food.

Anyway, this is not about that.

It’s about me.

I hate celebrating anything. Literally anything related to me can just kind of crawl up into a corner and I will then quite happily forget about it. I don’t want anything to do with them.

It’s a little to do with the fact that I hate being under any kind of spotlight but honestly for the most part, it just all sends my anxiety up the damn wall.

It starts to feel like there is all this pressure on things when in actual fact there is not. And rationally I know this, but my anxiety is just like nah you won’t be able to enjoy this properly because you’re gonna feel low key a little bit shitty the entire time and it’s not going to live up to your expectations.

And usually it doesn’t. My graduation felt a little bit shit. My 21st birthday felt a little bit shit. My 18th felt a bit shit. I don’t remember my 16th. Finding out I got into uni felt anti climatic and then finishing each year did as well. All those big moments just felt a little bit shit because there was all this expectation for them and my brain liked to trick me into thinking that they didn’t live up to them.

Looking back though, uni excluded, they did. They were what I needed them to be at the time. And there is nothing wrong with that. Yes there were people around me who were having big hooplas for things but that was never going to work with me. I don’t like that shit.

This year I turned 25 and I had no plans. And it ended up being a great day for me. I ate pizza and cookie dough, I got last minute tickets to go and see Wicked. I got a Monday off work and got to spend time with R. It was what I wanted and needed it to be, and there were people who assumed that I would have some party or something, but I am so much more boring than that.

Keeping it chill and low key is my preferred option for anything always. One because for the most part my anxiety prefers it but also because it doesn’t put me solely as the focus.  I have had to learn a lot of ways to deal with my anxiety to try and make it less all consuming and it’s been a lot of trail and error but I think I am slowly getting it down to something that I can manage more or less. It hasn’t taken over in a long while which I am considering a victory of sorts. And one of the ways to keep it in check is to keep it low key.

To trick it into thinking that something isn’t a special occasion and then just let it live its life quietly in the background. It works. And to be honest that is all I care about.

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Appreciate

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And so we have come to the final day of this little blogging project and all talk about self care. It’s been quite the whirlwind. It also kind of made me confront some things about myself that I hadn’t ever really thought about and in that way in some way was just a very good exercise in self care and reminding me to take care of my mental health a bit better. Because throughout this whole thing I have noticed that I have been letting it slip a little bit and I am trying to avoid what happened last year and get my shit kind of back together when it comes to my mental health.

However this little project has also taught me that the way that I deal with my mental health has gotten a lot better. It left me a really shitty place for a lot of last year and that has definitely stopped being the case. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still not really all that great and there are still days where it feels like a long hard slog up a mountain with the wrong kit on but those days seem to be happening far less than they used to.

For a while last year it was pretty much every single day from the moment I woke up to the moment that I feel into a really half assed sleep. It was constant and it was exhausting and I had to swim really fast just to keep the illusion that I was staying afloat alive when really I just wanted to quit and let the water take me for a little while.  But I am not there anymore.

Not even close really.

It’s kind of incredible how slowly my mindset has changed, so much so that to be honest I hadn’t even noticed it had happened until I started really thinking about it. It was only then that I could truly appreciate just how far I had come and just how much better my mindset is. I feel happier and more assured in myself in a lot of ways and I’m not embarrassed or ashamed by it. I feel a lot more confident in certain areas of my life. I’ve kind of learned to just let some water slide off my back and ignore it. Some things are just not worth engaging in and I’m finally okay with that. I’ve stopped being so in my own about certain things and am getting a lot better at remembering that honestly, some things just  aren’t that deep.

I know that there are still some areas where I do need to make some more improvements and I would quite like to know that the chances of me having to move through a small scale version of a panic attack in the toilet at work is not quite as high as it currently is. And I really need to manage my stress levels a little better, because they can soar real quickly and then I just feel even more exhausted by it all.

And I also know that right now I am in a better state of mind when it comes to the idea of dealing with the areas of my mental health that are still hella weak. Which I hadn’t really noticed or appreciated until I took part in this project for myself.

This has made me appreciate the state of my mental health in a way that I don’t give myself enough credit for.

That’s been my may take away from this actually. I really need to get better and giving myself more credit and to also appreciate the ones around me an awful lot more. That last one is just a general thing though, and I knew that before doing this project, it’s just really driven that home for me.

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Bravery

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I would not consider myself to be a very brave person.

I don’t even really know where to start with it.

I am very content with just sticking well within my comfort zone and then living there.

Although as I say that I also kind of have to acknowledge that there are parts and aspects of my life that have required bravery and for the most part I did the things that could be considered kind of brave with almost no second guessing.

For example, I moved hundreds of miles away from the life that I had lived for 18 years and went and lived in a city where I knew no one for the three years that I went to uni. It never even really occurred to me to not leave London. There is a part of me that knows that I a Londoner to my core and I am most likely never gonna not live here and so uni felt like the perfect time to move away. It was always going to be for a limited period of time and it was kind of just what I needed. It taught me a lot about myself. Mainly that I am stronger than I ever imagined I would be.

Another example is the fact that I joined a gym. I mean I am no longer at the gym that I went to because I hated it and I found something better that I enjoy and am always motivated to do, but I joined. Which may not seem like a big thing to some people, but I had joined a gym before and a grand total of once. This time I actually stuck to it. I tried to ignore the fact that I had no idea what I was dong amongst people who looked like they really had their shit together and I tried. And found that I could actually call exercise an outlet for my stress and anxiety. It’s now something that I pretty much cannot compromise on in my day to day to life. And I am way more open to trying new things when it comes to exercise then I ever thought I would be.

I am very reluctant to put myself out there because I find it exhausting for the most part, but I have noticed over the past 3 or so years that I am getting better at doing it. At trying things that before I would have said no to. At trying to be better at saying yes, which is kinda hard because I’ve been so good at being a ‘no’ person for so many years now.

But nothing great tends to happen when you exist in your comfort zone and there alone and I need to use that as a motivator for other things in my life that I kind of want to see change in. I need to be brave about it.

And for the first time I feel like I am actually in a place where I can be that and it isn’t such a terrifying idea….

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Talk

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I am not a very good talker.

I am so much better at just bottling shit up. I did it for years. I still do it. It will pretty much take for me to reach an actual breaking point of sorts before I am finally just like, wow I should really talk to someone about this.

I just don’t really like doing it.

It feels like whining to me.

I don’t even really know why, but whenever I do start talking about myself or whatever it is that is bothering me I just start thinking ‘wow I should really shut up I am being so self centred’. And a lot of the time I’m actually not. I am just getting something off my chest and clearing the air in my own head. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In fact it’s rarely a bad thing.

Talking about it does help, and I know that it does, but for some reason there is still this barrier in my head that means that I don’t like doing it. It means putting myself out there and I do not like doing that. It stresses me out. It leaves me vulnerable. It means that for some strange reason I feel weak. Which makes literally no sense to anyone really, including myself. Because rationally I am very aware that admitting that you need help or just someone to open up to then it is not a weakness. It’s a strength. It’s okay to not be okay and I do know that.

But actually saying it out loud changes the damn game. In almost every way.

It’s that final barrier. There is no coming back from it once it’s been said out loud. And it’s that that kind of terrifies me in a lot of ways.

Having said all that however I mean I have talked about it. I had to do a lot of talking about it last year because I was driving myself insane and making myself actually unwell and I needed it to stop. So I talked about it and it felt like a weight had been lifted. One that continues to feel like it has been lifted whenever I find myself talking about it again. Not even so much talking, more like just admitting that I’m going through a little rough patch right now. Just not ignoring it and burying my head under the sand and pretending that everything is okay. Just actually saying ‘not really’ when someone asks if I’m alright and then just letting that be the answer and accepting it. It feels really damn great. And it continues to feel great.

And I wouldn’t have got to this stage if I hadn’t taken my mental health seriously last year and fully accepted that I had reached my damn breaking point with it all.

Is it annoying that I had to get to that almost rock bottom stage first? Yes. Am I glad it happened though? Also yes.

It led me to accepting that sometimes you just nee to talk it out and as such I have now gotten a lot better at doing so.

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Dream

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I am not a huge dreamer.

Both in the sleep dream sense and in the dreams/hopes for the future sense.

I don’t even really know why (about the latter).

Maybe because I don’t like to work in things that aren’t solid. Which is actually maybe the dumbest thing that I could actually say in the world because the thing that I want to do kind of exists solely in a realm that is both real but then also is not quite real.

I think ultimately what it boils down to is fear.

I’m kind of scared to dream.

Because dreams can fail and they can disappear and they can become something else. They are intangible. They are an unknown.

There is a very large part of my brain that does not like working in the unknown. It makes me sweaty. It makes me feel light headed and short of breath. It basically makes me just feel a lot of things that are all heading in the way of a panic attack and therefore I try and avoid them as much as possible. That seems like a healthy choice to make for yourself right?

But in some ways it also means that I just spend a lot of time in my comfort zone. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it’s kind of limiting.

But it also feels safe.

It comes with almost no risk. And therefore almost no chance of me feeling overwhelmed as hell and running the risk of falling over some kind of ledge. Which I don’t think is a bad thing.

But it’s also not a good thing.

But the overall problem is that I just don’t want to pin any kind of hopes on a dream. Because there is a part of me that isn’t rational enough at this present moment in time to accept that dreams morph and change and become something else as time moves on and the goalposts change. It would feel to much like failure and the fall from that reality is hard and I don’t want to go through it.

I guess ultimately it comes from a place of damage control.

I have been slack with the personal damage control before and it felt really shitty when I fell down and I don’t particularly like the idea of going back there.

But I also know that deep down I have to go back to that almost place. I have to accept that sometimes I will fail and that it’s not actually the end of the world. It just sometimes feels like that. I need to acknowledge that I am for sure stronger than I think I am and if that turns out not to be true then I will find a new level to the strength that I have.

I need to stop being scared and letting my anxiety rule that part of my life, because it’s not really doing me any good and deep down I know that.

So that’s my current aim/goal/plan.

To starting actually dreaming properly in a way that actually means something slightly more legit then what I do currently. Which is to think the thought and then quickly dismiss it.

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Letter

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I was originally gonna do something like write a letter to my past or future self for this particular prompt, but I’ve done both of those things a couple of time before and I when I started really thinking about it I realised that I don’t really have anything else to say about to either of those versions of myself that I haven’t said already and so it therefore meant that I was kind of at a loss.

Those letters that I have written to myself in the past have been hugely helpful for me in processing my own thoughts and feelings about myself and what I felt about myself and it allowed me to see progress in myself that I had never really stopped to think about before and it was then that I finally accepted that there had been progress in this whole messy thing called life. When I realised that there had been progress it felt like a weight had been lifted and I couldn’t take it for granted.

But then I did. I got complacent and thought that if I had already hit a rock bottom of sorts then I wasn’t going to do it again. I was so wrong that it was almost funny. Except for the fact that it wasn’t. It was actually kind of tragic and I didn’t have what turned out to be a advantage that I was at uni. I was at work. I had to be a person 5 days a week. I had to make it through each work day when every single one task I had to do felt like an uphill battle. Looking back at it now a year later I can see that that was actually an advantage in some ways because it meant that I couldn’t wallow. I had to try and be okay and that in some ways saved me a lot this time. I needed the distraction and I became weirdly thankful that it came at a time when I was employed and had such a distraction an also a time when I was confident enough in my ability to actually do my job and get it done properly even though it as a clusterfuck of a nightmare in my head. If had happened at any other time in the two years prior to that then I probably would have lost it completely. But I didn’t and that feels like a win.

It still feels like a win.

Every time I feel myself having a wobble and know that I have gotten through worse before it feels like a win. A win that I never take for granted. Especially when I find myself being reflective which I was when I wrote letters to my past self.

The future ones are always a little bit more interesting just because I can only look at it from a place of hope. Which is nigh on impossible when the one and only time I wrote a letter to my future self I was not necessarily in the best place. I mean it contained a lot of things that I do wish for myself, but they came from a very fake place. They came from a place of what I thought I should want for myself. Full of half truths. Things that I mean with so much more conviction now because I’ve come further along in my own mind and with my sense of self. Things that I cold actually believe in.

That’s why I didn’t write a 2.0 version of a letter to myself for this prompt. I’ve already done one. It was kind of a lie in terms of the place that I wrote it from but the sentiment remains the same and if I were to write it again now it would remain exactly the same, I would just believe it a bit more now.

And to know that would be the case is freeing like you wouldn’t believe and feels like a sign of where I am right now with everything.

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