Taking a break in life

Dearest lovely readers,

Welcome back, I hope you have had a wonderful week. Welcome to the new people joining this week, it is great to have you đź’–

Life is full isn’t it? It can be so hard juggling not only the multiple factors of well-being for yourself, but also for those around you, without adding every other aspect of life like appointments, work, hobbies… I could go on.

I think there is solidarity with all people across the world in sometimes feeling like we need a break from life, to just press pause and take a break, catch ourselves up, regroup, rejuvenate. It’s ridiculously hard trying to do that, we may feel we don’t have the energy, or time, or resources. In some cultures, resting is frowned upon, I would say this includes the UK in some sectors.

We must always be doing something. If we are unemployed, we must be lazy. We need hobbies, and nights out socialising, long hours of work, volunteering, taking care of our families, and I could go on. But I want to start breaking this stereotype of life down.

Being “on” all the time isn’t possible, we aren’t machines, we are human. And humanity needs a rest sometimes. Just to clear our heads maybe, so we would with a meditation or prayer, or a lovely bath. Or we may need something longer term like time off, traveling somewhere, or just resting in bed for a few days.

No one truly knows what we need but ourselves, and maybe someone very close to us within our support network. I’m going to be honest, it’s a reminder I need right now.

I have been so focused on getting ahead with university and my dissertation, finding a new place to volunteer, keeping in very close contact with friends, cutting down cigarettes and pop intake, meditating more, doing hobbies more, trying to walk more, cleaning my room more than I should, battling pain, battling cravings for alcohol, battling incessant paranoia and tearful night times.

While some of this sounds very positive, it’s too much. My head hurts and my heart aches. So I need to take a break. I need to hit pause, reconfigure my priorities and move with a solid plan for myself. This includes possibly being less consistent with our space that we have created. I love what we are doing here, I love our moments to connect. But I am needing to take a huge step back on everything and looking at how to keep myself in a safe place without overdoing everything. So I may post on a different day or not for a week, just for a little while.

However, do message me or comment your preferred days for reading in this space. Because it matters.

If you need a break, I hear you.

All my love,

L x

25 lessons

Good evening all,

So I love my lessons it seems. Yesterday was a big birthday (for me), I turned 25, I have had 7 additional years I thought I’d never see. Though I’m still young, I have learned a lot already, I’ve seen a lot of life in such a short time. I turned a quarter of a century, in the middle of a pandemic, it was my first sober birthday since 16 and probably my last one in my hometown (for a while at least). Yeah, that’s big for me.

So I thought I’d do a small post, just sharing general life lessons I have learned so far, it’s mainly a reminder to myself, should I ever forget. Something to reflect on as I get older.

1. Life can throw many, many terrible things at you, sometimes all at once (think 2014, L)

2. You don’t have to have everything figured out by age 18.

3. Following on from 2, plans will never go exactly according to your schedule.

4. Everything is impermanent.

5. You will see both the wondrous and awful nature of humans at some point.

6. There are over 7 billion versions of reality and what life should look like on this planet.

7. If you don’t want to experiment or “go wild” because you’re ‘young’, then don’t.

8. Live life according to yourself, and no one else.

9. There are extremes to every view and thought in this world.

10. Always seek help where you need it, in any given situation.

11. You’re going to mess up. That is an inevitable fact. No one leaves their life without making mistakes.

12. Don’t be afraid of having an opinion. It’s how you find your values.

13. Don’t be afraid of conflict. Though do not seek it out.

14. Violence is never the answer.

15. Set goals and dream, but be prepared to be flexible.

16. The future is never guaranteed, but certainly seek it out.

17. Sometimes being curious about the future is enough to find your way there.

18. Everyone has something to contribute.

19. Try your best to be compassionate, understanding and empathetic.

20. Communicate.

21. There is always something fun to do.

22. Don’t procrastinate.

23. Life has its meaning.

24. Everyone has strength.

25. Always, always keep going.

Much merry love,

L x

Lessons on well-being I learned in therapy

Hello everyone! I apologise for the lateness of this piece, I was unwell over the weekend and with this being quite personal, I wanted to make sure I got the right stuff down. So today I will be talking a little bit more about what I have learned throughout therapy. I do wish to stress that therapy is a very individualistic process and what I am sharing is not representative of what anyone else has learned; it is as unique as every person is themselves. I am hoping that what I share might allow to you understand the kind of journey and evolution towards wellness I have undergone. So without further ado, these are the lessons I learned… 1: Plan your days, even if you are low Early into my time in therapy, I was struggling to find motivation to do anything, every day was a struggle and nothing was ever accomplished, so my psychotherapist suggested a therapy that helped me build goals to achieve (more on that later) and boost my mood through activity. It got to the point where I was planning my days with a mixture of pleasurable activities and activities that had do be done, like laundry. We would then discuss how accomplished each activity made me feel and how I felt in general. I found my activity times boosting and that I would feel better for doing something as simple as reading and tidying my room in a day. At this point in time, I plan the day in advance the night before so that I know what is ahead. I have found it helps to keep my mood stable and my brain focused. I do sometimes plan a few days ahead when I know there a lots of things to be done e.g. university work and studying. It has become a key point in my nightly routine and has done wonders for my sense of wellness. 2: When low days arrive, stick to the foundations and basics of self-care I have spoken about self-care previously. I have had wobbles and blips throughout therapy where my energy was low, and I couldn’t find motivation. So the solution I learned was to still plan the day ahead, especially, when feeling low. I do this by planning in all the basics like brushing my teeth, having a shower and reaching out to someone. It helps to give me a sense of accomplishment that even on my lowest of days I am still doing something positive: I am taking care of myself. 3: When good days come, don’t overdo everything to then suffer burnout This can happen to so many of us, we have a few low energy days and then when we feel good all of a sudden, we feel like we can get everything done and often do: to only feel exhausted at the end of it. This happened to me so many times once I started to feel well more often. I would overwork the body and brain and then become burned out in a matter of minutes after completing a long to-do list. Life is all about balance. To remain in a good energetic state, it is all about balance. Whilst I have not perfected the art of not overdoing things, I do feel I have vastly improved over time. So when I feel well, I place in some relaxing activities and a few little activities I need to do such as budgeting or planning work. This has helped me to lessen the burden of burnout and lengthen how long I feel well. 4: Goals can help Everybody has goals. Be it long term career plans, or short term financial goals. I will be going more in-depth as to how goals can be used to improve your well-being in a later post. For years, I either had goals that could be not accomplished or I just was not wanting to make them due to depression really digging its’ heels in. Goals were one of the first things I practiced in therapy, making small achievable goals to get out of the house a couple of times within the week. I found the goal of a short ten minute walk to the shop helped me to feel just that little bit better. They helped me to feel freer. I have learned how to plan a few months into the future at the time and have an idea of a long term career plan which I am still developing. Life, of course, does not always go to plan so I have been taught how to deal with this when issues arise. But having a goal is me having the option of learning how to better myself, to actively intend to do something I feel will be good for me, or make life just a little bit easier. 5. You cannot do everything all the time This is a big lesson I have had to learn. When I started therapy, I wanted to get as much work done as possible. This is not how therapy worked for me. Patience was needed. As I learned more tools for my well-being the more I tried to be this ‘perfect’ person who could be amazing in all areas all the time. It soon came crashing down and I was low again. I couldn’t figure out why this had happened as obvious as it may seem. Until I spoke with my psychotherapist and she showed me that trying to do too much at once will inevitably burn me out. I found the things that I knew I wanted to do regularly that helped me to function and thrive and have based my life around these practices. Other areas I want to improve myself upon are a process, it takes time to build positive habits. There is no ‘one size fits all’ model. It is a process of trial and error and finding things that can be committed to. But constantly being ‘on’ and trying to do every single thing I want can be exhausting. This is not a healthy pattern. So now, I am comfortable practicing what feels right for myself, and when I feel ready, I may take on another challenge. I often remind myself of all the positive things I do regularly; running, reading, meditating, having a morning and night routine, planning my days, yoga etc. I remind myself it is still okay if I may falter occasionally, it happens, each day is different and I have to be okay with switching things up to match the day and my mood. 6: Plan pleasurable activities into your days This is a big one, in a world where productivity and working hard is the key, having ‘me-time’ can be seen as a negative point. But I disagree. I learned very early on in therapy that pleasurable activities are what sustain me, knowing I have something that brings me joy ahead feeds my soul. It keeps me going, revitalises my mind and I can carry on with the harder activities after refocusing. I have learned we all need some down time to process things, to regroup and conquer whatever is next in our day or week. 7: Practice meditation/mindfulness Meditation and mindfulness have almost become buzzwords in this technological and social media age. A ‘guru’ will speak of its benefits endlessly. It has become a popularised part of therapy because of how much research backs the findings. I got into meditation myself last year when I wanted to learn how to calm my mind from spiralling thoughts and just be present in the day. I myself have felt the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, even if it is just a short 3 minute practice every day. Some people find that this does not work for them and that is perfectly okay, but I do find it helps me. 8: Exercise helps Over the recent years I have never really been a fan of exercising regularly, I have never had the most healthy relationship with exercise from my younger years. I did have a fear of returning to unhealthy patterns but I came into therapy with wanting to create a stronger, healthier self and this didn’t just mean my mind. I wanted a stronger body to create a unification in my wellness. So I undertook the Couch 2 5K programme, my partner helped me along with incredible support and I have learned balance and do incorporate running into my days when I can. I also do yoga at home which helps me to refresh and refocus. I hope you enjoyed reading a bit more about what I learned in therapy, maybe you find you can relate to some of it? Let me know! Much happiness, L x