Give yourself some self care daily, trust me, you need it!

I think everybody gets into a rut from time to time, thinking that all they do is work and when they’re not working then it’s chores or something else. Sometimes this rut lasts an hour, sometimes a day, maybe even a week and it happens to us all.

Life seems to fill up quickly with stuff and even if some of that stuff is having a few glasses with good friends on an evening, it’s still tiring. We all need time out and we all need to take care of ourselves.

Personally, I suck at this, I’ll be honest with you. As any of you who regularly read my blog know, I’m currently in that strange limbo stage of life before real life. If you don’t know what I mean by this, then I shall explain.

I’ve graduated and am no longer a student. I have a job and a very comfortable life. A job that is flexible and that I thoroughly enjoy to the point that I don’t feel like it’s work (until I sit down at the end of a shift with a glass of wine and feel exhausted). However, I need to pursue my career, I need to reach out and use the skills obtained from my degree and do what I love – write.

I work at my job six days a week. During the time in between shifts, before shifts and sometimes after closing in the evenings I will be writing, searching, having chats with people in fields that interest me, getting as much advice and guidance as I can and stressing about the future. When this isn’t true is when I’ve found a window of time where I manage to fit in seeing friends and family, or having a well earned drink at the end of the week. I rarely fill my time pampering myself or reading or stopping to have a breather and if I do then it’s usually accompanied by a mind buzzing with stress.

I didn’t realise quite how bad I was at self-care until I had a chat with my sister on the way to a friends the other day (of course). She told me how I fit too much into my life and don’t allow for breaks or breathing space. Since then I’ve consciously factored in an hour to read or listen to music or watch rubbish TV each day, where I don’t allow myself to think about anything else.

On days when I don’t have to get up to a certain time, I let my body wake when it’s ready and set no alarms. When I go on my daily walks with a friend I try not to only rant and moan about graduate life, but talk of all sorts and avoid the topic where I can. But of course it does help to discuss these things with people who care. By deliberately slowing the pace of living for an hour or so each day, which I still haven’t mastered, I think I’m getting better at shutting off from it all to give my body and mind a break, and when I come back to my laptop, I do feel that bit more refreshed.

No matter how you decide to relax make sure that you put time aside every week to do so. Whether it’s a couple of hours one evening laying in bed, candles surrounding you and your nose in a book. Or listening to your favorite weekly radio show. Maybe you just want to plant your arse on the sofa and indulge in some reality TV. Whatever it is, it needs to be done.

Too often do we forget to take good care of ourselves while rushing through life, trying to earn enough money, maintain social encounters, look after loved ones, stay focused and eat well. We forget that our bodies get exhausted just living and they need as much time out as our brains do. When filling up your diary or writing out your to-do lists include caring for yourself and be sure to tick it off each day. This is often forgotten or neglected slightly and this needs to change.

No matter how much free time we seem to have, we manage to fill it with visiting friends or just busying about and we forget to actually stop. This doesn’t incorporate stopping at a friends or stopping at the pub. No, I mean stopping full stop. Having time that is just for you and doing something to help your body and mind unwind and relax. Nobody, no matter how similar to Duracell you think you are, can keep going 24/7, every body needs respite from life.

In the long run, giving yourself some well earned time out here and there will make your time doing things much more productive. Whatever needs to get finished, no matter how large or small, can always wait an extra hour so that your body can revamp. Whichever stage of life you are in, a bit of tender loving care is a must. Here are some tips to get you started.


Put the brakes on, you’re going too fast

So often do you hear the saying “life is short” and so often do you see people in this modern age rushing around like mad things trying to keep up with the pace of the ticking clock. The saying is true there is no doubt about it and in the grand scheme of the Earth’s existence, each individual tiny speck of life is absolutely minuscule. However, it’s establishing when and when not to take this so literally, when it can come in useful and when it needs to be put aside.

What I am trying to express, and I suppose it’s a long winded way of acknowledging the truth within the statement, is that too often we panic about getting everything right. We stress over what people will think and worry about things that won’t matter in a few years time. We fail to slow down and appreciate what we have in front of us. We fail to notice the beauty outside our window, or the small good things that happen every day because we’re busy focusing too far ahead and rushing through this crazy thing that we call life.

A day spent fretting about whether you’re doing the right thing, living the right way, being the correct version of yourself for all situations, that is when the saying can be taken off the shelf and considered. This is when it is true. When you leave a social situation and spend the whole day worrying that you said the wrong thing, that you offended someone and that your hair looked a mess. This is when you need to consider what is worth dedicating time to for worry and what needs to be given the shove because life is short.

While you sit and worry about things that cannot be changed like what the future holds, that’s when it can be disregarded for the time being. Nobody knows and there is no point attempting to figure it out, you just need to remain calm. You can brush it aside when you’re putting pressure on yourself constantly to fit the mold, to find a secure career of a lifetime, to find a partner, to settle, to do it all by the book and to do it all by the ripe age of twenty-five. Life may be short, but time isn’t quite that pressing and life doesn’t have to be so much of a race. Fear not, you do have time.

Too often do we visit someone’s house and think about how much we have to do the next day, failing to love the moment that we’re currently in, enjoying being alive surrounded by fabulous people. Too often we speedily get out of a car and rush home to get on with our lengthy list, forgetting to notice the luscious smell of a household cooking a roast dinner on a Sunday lunchtime, dismissing the fact that the walk home is through a lovely country village. Too often we fill up our time with so much stuff that we can’t fit in moments to stop, to slow down and to admire everything with all that we have.

It’s sometimes not until you hear some startling news, something to shake things up a bit, to put your troubles into perspective when you realise just how lucky we are. You rarely hear people say that, how lucky we are. Slow down, put the brakes on. Life may be short but it’ll seem a lot shorter if you continue to rush around, panicking, failing to notice the beauty both in the natural world and in the people we love all around us every single day.

Remember this next time you’re panicking, worrying about timelines and limits, looking at everyone else, wanting to keep up and trying to get everything done but not having enough hours in the day to do so. Take a step back, relax and know that though life is short, there is always time to cherish and appreciate all that it contains and just be happy in that one tiny moment. In the chaos of life, everybody needs a break, allow for this, always and remember in your snippet of worry, there is always a perspective in which it can be placed.


My Life Right Now

Stressful. Exciting. Half of the time I am living in blissful ignorance, wine in the sun, meeting friends for brunch at 11am and pretending that student life is not almost over. But then I feel guilty. The rest of my time I’m feeling the pressure. Feeling the judgmental eyes of pensioners claiming it wasn’t as easy as I have it in their day and laughing when I tell them my travel plans. Maybe I do have it easier, but we all have different stories. 

I’m not claiming that student life isn’t awesome because it is. And it is an easy life too, to a certain extent; the lengthy holidays, lack of contact hours, cheap drinks – the list goes on. We are all allowed to joke about it, but I do think that sometimes people misunderstand the ease of post graduate life in the job market. I do live a lovely life at the moment but I also work, constantly think about my future career, still have studies going on and with only a month of Uni left (as I’m constantly reminded) I find myself repeatedly answering the question: ‘what’s next?’ 

Well, lady who’s granddaughter is such a success and walked straight out of uni into a job, it is not always that easy and no I am not going travelling to waste time, find myself, or bum about. I want to be a journalist, a writer, entertain you all with posts like these, give my imprint of thought into the world’s media. I am also just 22 years of age. The pressure to leave university and immediately walk into an amazing job in London which pays phenomenally well is high, but it is also extremely competitive. This does not make university a waste of time, it’s just not how it works. 

Having a degree in the industry that I’m entering is necessary and the jobs I’ve researched require one. Many jobs out there do not and for people in those circumstances, university would indeed be a complete waste of time, but for me it certainly wasn’t. I also don’t see the need to completely stress myself out by rushing, strictly planning my life to the year and diving head first into exactly what I want to be doing for the next fifty years of working days, but this doesn’t make me lazy. I visited careers at Uni the other month (amidst high levels of stress) and had a minor breakdown about future plans. The lady was so calming and basically advised me to slow down and chill out! She told me that I probably will come back from travels jobless because jobs don’t often work on a six month in advance basis, but its no problem and there are plenty of options. I am only 22. I keep reminding myself.

Travelling was something that was always in my mind when finishing Uni and I know there are plenty of opportunities to jet off at any age. However, this time in life really is the only time when responsibilities are next to nothing, you have saved enough money and can get away with budget backpackers and sacrificing food for alcohol. SO GO. Yes, I am a little nervous about being alone but as I sat in the chair in STA Travel about to hand away most of my savings on flights alone, I thought to myself – if I don’t do it now, when else will I? GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. So I’m going, and the more I tell people about it the more I get comments back as if I’m not taking life seriously, but I am. It’s something I need to do and I have my career in mind each day that I search travel magazines and think of pitches for articles that I can write during my time away.

As I’ve said, this puts a bit of a spanner in the works on the graduate job front. It will be very rare to find a job advertising now for intake in mid-November and so all I can really do is wait. Nope, man who constantly laughs at my plan and lack of job at the end, it doesn’t mean I’m sitting on my arse doing nothing. Most days I browse sites looking for things I’d like to do, scanning the industry and keeping up to date with developments. Being aware of writing around me and where it has come from. I also write and volunteer for companies, getting feedback on articles on a professional level but I will stop there. I don’t need to explain myself. 

Yes I’ve gone to Uni, no I don’t yet have a graduate job lined up but come November I won’t stop until I find my dream. No I’m not saying a degree is everything and there are plenty of other avenues and good on you whoever you are, but for me it was right. For half of my friends and family it was not for them, but for ME it was right. This age is both stressful and exciting whether you’ve been to uni or not and if I’ve learnt anything about this period of life it is the old cliche thing – do what’s right for you and do not listen to those who judge. Whether you went to uni or didn’t, whether you drink alcohol or don’t, if you like dressing up as a bloody unicorn or running the marathon in slippers – do it and do it for you. The people who matter to you the most will support you the whole way and those who don’t can quite frankly do one because there will always be someone judging no matter who you are. Most importantly, keep your head. You’re young so don’t forget to enjoy the amazing years, be excited about your future and don’t let the stress get the better of you (easier said than done, I know!)