Tuesday, 26 January 2016

My New Happy Plan

I admit I haven't been myself recently. The colder months and the days generally getting duller doesn't help matters. There have been a lot of personal things that have stressed me out and all the tiny bits that would just seem insignificant just top it off.

Ever had one of those days where everything is going wrong but you're holding it together, then you drop your oyster card and it just makes you burst into tears and you can practically hear everyone around you think '...ok love, just pick it up'? That was how I was everyday. I knew the smallest thing would feel like the end of the world and I'd feel like giving up. To others it must have seemed like I was a right drama queen.

I needed to act on it and do my best to try and snap out of it. Now depression is an illness and I know you can't just 'snap out of it' but I believe you can take control of (at least some of) your thoughts and try to channel any negativity properly.

I thought about doing the 100 happy days challenge again. I really liked that and it was so nice to focus on the little things in life that made me happy. But then I don't feel like this happiness needs to be external, in this day and age that might be crazy to say but I don't need to share every thing that makes me smile to feel good. In the same way I have folders and folders of memories of my sons little achievements but very few are online. My happiness starts with me - as selfish as that sounds and it is my responsibility.

I decided that a lot of negativity needs to go. Surround yourselves with positivity and it's just infectious isn't it? I used to do this pretty well and I've been slipping lately. Life does that sometimes, you're dealt a few bad hands and you have to ... do something right that you do in cards when you have a bad hand. I really needed to take more care of myself and not let the bastards grind me down.

I started small. One of my resolutions is to take time for myself, I've always been guilty of doing too much and 'burning the candle at both ends' as my Mum would say. 

These are a few of the things I've been trying out....

Limit Social Media Usage
While I think the Internet and social media is an amazing thing I think it's to blame for a lot of arguments, paranoia and negativitySometimes this is down to carelessness, lack of thinking, sometimes over thinking. However, at times things are just posted to get a reaction and I just hate seeing it. I left Facebook for that very reason and I hate to see that kind of thing spreading onto other social media too.

I didn't want to delete any accounts, mainly because of my blog, but partly because running away from things never solves anything. 

At first I only allowed myself to post my own updates and take very little notice of anything else. It made me so much happier, I stopped worrying 'is that about me?' I stopped doubting my parenting and I didn't have to see so many nasty posts between people. Even when it's clear this person doesn't even know me and they can't be posting anything about me it makes me sad that someone feels the need to try and make someone else feel bad by posting sly digs. It was a waste of my time and energy and constantly seeing such negativity brought me down. Over time I've started scrolling through my feeds more and I think having that 'time off' was really good for me when I needed it.

Switch off
I also try to keep off my phone for a couple of hours in the evening. I've found the easiest way is to put my phone on charge in another room, then I'm not tempted to look if I hear it vibrate. Having my phone next to me at all times is an easy way to not only waste time but I found myself looking for things that weren't there. It means I go t to bed with a clearer head too as I don't have hundreds of silly thoughts going around in my head. 

Does a passive aggressive post on social media ever solve anything? 

Find a better way to vent
We've all been guilty of venting and possibly saying too much. I started thinking 'What will this Gain?' before speaking or posting anything online and if it wasn't anything positive I didn't bother. This worked well for a while but I found myself feeling like I was keeping things back, almost living a lie. For so long I had used social media to vent and now I had no outlet and I slipped up a couple of times. I vented all of my many frustrations in one picture and a couple of words. I'm now well aware of how damaging that can be as it was taken so many different ways when only I even knew what I was troubled with. I've since used a notebook as a journal to get my thoughts out and it's really helping.

I'm trying to stick to my online mantra of 'if it doesn't make a positive impact don't do it'  because I'd hate to cause anyone to feel bad for no reason, that's just not fair. I hate seeing women (and it is mainly women) against each other so often and I don't want to be a part of it if I can help it.

Think it Through
Of course there have been times where I want to vent my frustrations or even bring up my problem with the person involved but I try to think -
Why am I really annoyed?
Will this matter in a couple of days? 
Am I just having a bad day?

We live in such an instant age we often act without thinking. My Mum finds social media baffling. She said she used to write in her diary if she was annoyed at someone, then the next day they'd be friends again and she realised that what ever it was her friend did didn't actually matter so it was never brought up. She has a point. We see things that rile us and it takes a few seconds to tweet or text which can just exacerbate the situation.

There are times when it's best to just 'shake it off', 'let it go' and other 2015 cliches.

Tackle things head on 
I've realised that when I really do have a problem it needs to be addressed. For a long long time I've tried to push thoughts to the back of my mind and distract myself thinking it would all go away. It didn't, suppressing thoughts can make them worse. 
There was a study where people who were told not to think about a white bear thought about it more afterwards then those who were allowed to from the beginning. 
Apparently we also seek more comfort food when we are trying to push back bad feelings instead  of accepting them and moving on 

Sometimes things will be tough. That's life and I need to do something about them and confront it. None of us can be upbeat all of the time - that's tiring and just plain unnatural!

Worrying does nothing, neither does running away so I try to think of the best case scenario and also the worst so I'm aware it could go either way and I'm prepared for it. It's a good way for me to focus on how to make positive changes too.

 A study has shown that 85 % of the things we worry about actually end up having a positive or neutral outcome.

Don't judge
Even if I'm trying not to vent online I know others still will - that's not a problem. But I have become more tolerable. It wasn't healthy for me to get so agitated by little things. Rather than getting offended by something someone says and just unfollowing I've tried to see the bigger picture. I have had a good old moan online and I'm not an awful person so if one person says something I don't agree with would I just wipe them out of my life completely? Of course not, you can't possibly agree with every single thing your friends say.

One update online can often make you feel differently about a person and that's just not real life - we all say or do things when we're having a bad day but that doesn't make us a bad person. I've given people the benefit of the doubt and if it's someone I'm close to and they seem out of character on  a regular basis I ask if they're ok rather than dismissing them. 

When I'm out I try to smile at every person I pass, at first it felt a bit weird but it's really nice when people do it back and it means I'm more approachable and it always helps to start a conversation.

Go for it

Sometimes it's tempting to cancel plans at last minute when you just aren't feeling it. Not for any good reason, just for feeling a bit 'meh'. We've all been there. Every time I've felt like this I've made myself snap out of it, get ready and go. I tell myself I can always leave and come home when ever I want.

Get organised
With wedding planning, blog planning, holiday planning and general busy lives I've got a lot of stuff up in the air and it all needs sorting out to make it easier to manage. Keeping tidy makes things easier and it keeps me calm when everything is sorted properly. I've just got to sort things one thing at a time so I don't get stressed out.

Learn from the past
This is so important. There is no point dwelling on the past. What's done is done, there is nothing we can do to change it, we can only learn from it.

Things can wait
I am guilty of giving myself a huge To Do list and getting annoyed at myself if it's not all done. That's how I run myself into the ground and then even when I'm relaxing I'm beating myself up because I didn't get around to ironing the bedsheets yet. I'll feel guilty if I'm sat eating a Dairy Milk watching Ex on The Beach when the oven really could do with a clean. When I find myself doing too much or worrying about things I tell myself it can wait and I'll work better in the long run if I take some me-time now instead. There is nothing wrong with treating myself, I deserve it. 

Wind down
I'm finding this one difficult, I admit. I have tried taking some time to be calm. Even in the bath I find myself either scrolling through social media even actual bath stuff 'masks, exfoliating, shaving etc) isn't real relaxing so I've tried to make sure I just lay down, take some breaths and just 'be'.

Be grateful
Along with getting my thoughts out in my diary I've started a Gratitude Journal too. I have to write about one thing I was thankful for that day. It can be something big or as small as 'it didn't rain so I didn't ruin my shoes'. Taking the time to really think about what made you thankful trains the mind to naturally be more positive and it puts things into perspective.


Even if it's just a walk for half hour it always makes me feel better. It's another good way to switch off for a bit too. Just a change of scenery can improve my mood, even just into another room for a bit a yoga or stretching.

I think I just need to take a moment to think a bit more and the world -both online and offline,  might be a more pleasant experience.


1 comment:

  1. WOW what a great read! I totally agree with you too much social media can be rather negative!
    I am going to turn my phone off in the evening too for a while
    We have a movie night in our home once a week without phones and tablets it is amazing how much we actually get in to the movie, if we had our phones we would only be listening to it.