Wellbeing

Wellbeing

Five Things To Start Doing If You Have Social Anxiety

An event pops into your inbox. You feel excited and put it in your calendar. Yet as the days draw closer you start to feel that panic. Does that sound familiar? If so, you might suffer from social anxiety. Me too. But I got fed up of letting it beat me.

Social anxiety and blogging just don’t mix. I would end up in a state of utter panic in the lead up to an event. Sometimes to the point, I just couldn’t go. One time at the Professional Beauty Show a lady asked my address. I had got myself so worked up, I just couldn’t remember where I lived! I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

This week I went to two events. Admittedly, only one was alone. If though, I think back to even a few months ago, I would have struggled. Well, I still struggled, but I got myself there and after the initial nerves, I totally enjoyed myself. I also met up with some lovely ladies who made it feel such a lovely experience. Thank you, Abigail Kathleen, Afshanesque and Ola Lella.

Lady walking away from the camera feeling anxious

Here are a few things you might want to start doing if you have social anxiety.

1.Push yourself out of your comfort zone

There were times that I was so anxious, that I couldn’t even go to the local Sainsburys alone. It was made worse by the fact that I was a supply Teacher. I spent my time dreading the phone ringing about work. Not the best job when you have social anxiety. Yet, if I could answer the phone and go on a longer-term placement, I felt good. And with each assignment my confidence grew.

What can you do to push yourself out of your comfort zone?

2. Prepare yourself

Get out everything you will need the night before. Then do a bit of self-care to relax your mind.

Prepare your route. I am forever getting lost when I have somewhere new I need to go. I get in such a panic about what is going to happen when I get there, I can’t focus on what Google Maps or Citymapper is telling me. Although, be prepared for the unexpected. I was all set and the Central line wasn’t running! Plan your back up too.

3. Practice your social skills

Observe yourself. What do you do when you feel social anxiety strikes? I wring my hands, laugh nervously and talk rubbish (although, if you know me I tend to talk rubbish anyway!).

I know you will feel a bit of a tool, but who is going to know! Smile in the mirror. Notice your habits and be mindful of how to calm yourself down. The event the other day was the #LibertyLivingHealthy Wellbeing event and made me realise how powerful mindfulness can be and I took away some great techniques.

4. Have something to talk about

Hands up, I hate small talk and gossip. I haven’t got a clue what went on in Love Island or whatever is the most popular tv chat. So I’m quite limited in what I think I can talk to new people about.

I’ve started up a mental bank of things to talk about and hopefully strike a conversation. Especially, for that awkward part when you first meet a group of people.

Don’t forget to ask questions. You want the other person to talk too. That way you have time to breathe.

Just be honest that you feel nervous. Chances are there will be someone else there who will be nervous too.

5. Reward yourself

Don’t forget to reward yourself. No matter how big or small the achievement.

Even if it was because you lasted half an hour at an event. You went! Next time you can aim to stay for an hour. You CAN do it!

 

How do you deal with social anxiety?

Five Physical Signs You Might Actually Be Stressed

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror the other day that made me realise that perhaps I am more stressed than I realised. Up until this point, I hadn’t really considered the physical signs you might actually be stressed.

Life recently has been quite stressful and we are undergoing lots of uncertain times and lifestyle changes to come. There have been days where our stress levels have been really high and it’s felt like an emotional rollercoaster. Yet other days have felt really nice and filled with new adventures.

During stressful times, I always gravitate towards journaling. As well as the act of writing being extremely therapeutic, I can look back at my thoughts and experiences. This actually has been really helpful for me to look back at the physical symptoms I have been experiencing.

I’m not a doctor, this is just an observation of my own experiences. I just thought it was quite insightful when I thought about how my body was telling me I was perhaps more stressed than I realised.

 

Here are my observations of the five physical signs you might be more stressed than you realise:

1.Upset stomach

I suffer from IBS and when I’m stressed it always flares up. I control my IBS through diet and taking Alforex supplements (this isn’t sponsored, although I have reviewed Alforex in the past).

Stress is probably the biggest contributor to my IBS going crazy. It’s like a vicious circle though, the more stressed you get about having a flare-up, the more likely you are to have an IBS flare up.

2. Trouble sleeping 

As soon as I’m stressed, I will start having trouble sleeping. Also invariably when I do sleep, I will have crazy, weird dreams. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been wide awake at 4:30! I’ve started leaving a notepad next to the bed to write down the crazy list of ‘to-dos’ that flood my brain at that hour.

Lack of sleep also leads to puffy or dark circles under your eyes. I look like I haven’t slept for weeks without a good slathering of concealer under my eyes.  

If you are having trouble sleeping, I did a post about five ways to sort out your sleep struggles, if you want to check that out.

3. Lack of concentration and mental clarity.

Combined with lack of sleep, I always know I’m stressed when I struggle to read a book. I will have to keep re-reading to make sense of the chapter and I can’t connect with the characters.

The mental clarity that you need to make sense of the situation and help you rationalise what is going on. It just vanishes. Then I make mistakes and just feel overwhelmed.

4. You have another cold

Most of us won’t get through winter without the odd cough or cold. But if you’re constantly feeling run down, it might be a physical sign you might actually be stressed. Thankfully, I’ve built up a bit of immunity to colds from working in schools, but I know this is something Dan suffers with a lot when he is stressed.

5. Hair loss 

I don’t remember the day, but I was in the bath and I noticed I had lots of hair on my hands when I rinsed off the conditioner. I brushed my hair and the brush was covered in my hair. Me being me, I obviously didn’t tell anyone about this. Instead, of course, I turned to Doctor Google.

Hair loss I think is the one that really highlighted to me there are physical signs you might actually be stressed. Although, I also have to consider that I’ve done the keto diet in recent months and of course my age may have baring too.

It seems to have slowed down a bit now, thankfully. But my hair still looks dull and feels dry. I bought some hair loss shampoo and serum from Amazon and I’ve spent a fortune on conditioner, so fingers crossed it’s slowed down now.

 

Unlike me, if you have any signs of stress, go and get them checked out, just in case it’s a sign of something more serious.

How do you deal with stress?

Lady looking out of window

 

Ten Easy Ideas For Your Self-Care And Reset Day

We all need a moment of me time and self-care once in a while. I know when I haven’t had a self-care and reset day in a while, things start to fall apart and I feel overwhelmed. I forget important stuff and then actually looking after myself goes out of the window.

Self care is a combination of taking care of your body, but also mentally taking care of your mind. Taking a reset day to GYST, to get your life admin done, clear your space and make yourself feel good both mentally and physically is so important.

So, you haven’t had a self-care and reset day in a while. Book a date with yourself. For me personally, Sundays are the best day for a self-care and reset day. It helps me tie up all my loose end and shift my focus to the upcoming week, or few weeks. Put all my dates in the calendar, prep my meals, get my life admin done and indulge in self-care. I feel great and on top of things when I’m done.

I can’t emphasis enough the importance of scheduling that date with yourself and putting it in your calendar. Just do it now and then there will be no excuses.

I’ve come up with ten easy ideas for your self-care and reset day if you need some inspiration:

bath and candle light for relaxing self-care

1. Clear your space

Whether that’s by decluttering or just cleaning your house, your self-care and reset day will get off to a great start in a clean and clear space. Put the washing on, put your favourite playlist or podcast on and just clear your space.

Don’t just focus on our physical space. Think about things like make-up brushes and things you don’t automatically think about cleaning.

Also, clear out your digital space. Delete photos and documents you don’t need anymore. I always take screenshots of things that I need to remember, then forget to delete them when I’m done. It amazing the space all these screenshots take up.

2. Create home for everything

Since I’ve started decluttering and organising things, I’m making sure that everything that I keep has its own home. I can’t express how easy it has been to find thing now. I used to spend such a long time trying to find things, it was unreal.

Again as with clearing your space, don’t just limit this task to physical possessions. Check through your digital folders, or create folders so that again, everything has a home. Any folders you don’t need daily put them onto a hard drive or iCloud, so everything is organised and it will also hopefully speed up your laptop.

3. Brain dump

Once everything is clear, you can sit down and clear your mind. I always do this after I have cleared my physical space as a mess always makes me feel stressed. Grab an A4 sheet of paper. I will either just write everything that comes into my head and then colour pink for urgent, yellow for the need to do, and no colour – I just need to remember.

Or you may find it more helpful to draw four boxes and divide up your tasks. I put them into: Urgent, Important, Not urgent, but need doing and Not urged, to remember. Whatever works for you. Then just set about doing or scheduling in time to complete the urgent and important tasks.

4. Make all your appointments

Most of the to remembers on my to-do lists are things like make a dentist appointment, and get my roots done. Every month or so, I like to sit down and just make all the appointments, so I can book them into my calendar. For me, I hate making phone calls. I will procrastinate and spend so long putting it “until tomorrow”. It feels so good to just know I no longer have to think about them.

5. Write in a journal.

Being in touch with your emotions and thoughts is really important for your emotional wellbeing. Especially, if you’re like me and you find it hard to talk about your emotions. Having an outlet, such as a journal for those thoughts and feelings can be so important to be able to process your emotions. Even if you have nothing to write, just write down how you felt today.

6. Do something that scares you

Have you put something off because it scares you? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Take yourself out of your comfort zone and just do it. Just do it. Trust me, you will feel so good about yourself afterwards.

7. Read a book.

It doesn’t have to be a self-help book, it can be just enjoying a novel. You can just escape, reflect on your own life and relate to the characters.

Pop a face mask on whilst you’re reading to make it extra pampering.

8. Take a walk and enjoy nature.

I am such a lover of the city life, but sometimes you just need to get out there and enjoy the fresh country air. There is something magical about just walking in the countryside and letting your mind wander and appreciate. Especially, at this time of year in the UK when the leaves are changing colour and the conkers are on the ground.

9. Prepare yourself for the week or month ahead

The reason why I like to do a self-care and reset day on Sunday is that I use it to help me prepare for the week ahead. I will get out my calendar, look at what is to do that week. Are there any important dates, such as birthdays? What food will we need for the week ahead? Then I like to get things like shopping and meal prep done.

Finally, I will pack my bag for work. I always make sure things like my Fitbit and my battery pack are charged.

10.Take a pampering bath or shower.

Once I feel organised and relaxed, I like to end the day with a pampering bath. For a self-care bath, I always get in a Lush bath bomb in advance. I now associate a bath bomb and self-care, so I instantly feel more relaxed.

I will light candles, maybe pop on a film or YouTube on my iPad. Pop on a hair mask and just relax.

 

What do you like to do on your self-care and reset day?

Five Easy Ways To Improve Your Life

Can you believe that it’s already September? The minute the schools go back, my attention really focuses on the fact that we are so far into the year. But, this is a great opportunity to easily view and review the year and what has happened so far this year and what you have achieved in 2019. More importantly, there is this last chunk of the year in which we can really focus on what you can achieve before 2020 and find easy ways to improve your life going forward.

Ok, so can we take a mo to say 2020! Like how is it almost 2020? But also every time I say 20/20 I think of the 90s alcopop. Did anyone else drink 20/20 back in the day?

Five Easy Ways To Improve Your Life

Do you feel like you could improve something or you would just like to change something? Or you just want the push in the right direction? I have come up with five things that I think could be easy ways to improve your life over the next few months and going into 2020.

1. Review your goals.

Did you achieve them? If not, why? Think – were they perhaps too wide? Could you narrow them? Or, are they even relevant if you have changed circumstances?

I checked my 2019 goals and they were focused on achieving my Master’s degree, getting organised and improving my Pinterest and photography skills. The fact that I was juggling a Masters with work and life played on my mind regarding my organisation skills or lack of. I can easily get in a pickle if I don’t plan properly, leaving me feeling overwhelmed, so I always try to plan as much as I can.

Fast forward a few months. The Masters is done, but life is still a little uncertain going forward. Pinterest I kind of get. Photography – I haven’t done anything to improve my skills. Going forward, I know photography could be a very valuable skill to hone. I need to figure out whether I will learn by doing a course or just playing.

2. Manifest your dreams. 

As with the law of attraction, a manifestation is where you apply your thoughts and your energy and use it to create your reality.

If there were no limits on money, time or anything. How do you want your life to look like in 2020 and beyond? How do you want your life to improve? 

Spend some time self-reflecting and being honest with yourself. You could do this privately in your journal. Nobody needs to read, but acknowledge, accept and ask the universe. Or you could create a vision board or a Pinterest board to log your ideas.

When you have figured out what you want your life to look like, how will you achieve that? You can always make time by getting up an hour earlier. Decluttering to live a more simple life. Join a dating app. Whatever it is that you decided you want, think about how you can make it happen.

3. Identify anything that is holding you back.

What is holding you back from achieving something or living the life you love?

For me this is clutter. I want live more intentionally, to be more sustainable and work in a clear space. Therefore, I know that I need to declutter. Although I’m doing quite well on this. I am focusing on using up my “backups”. Then going forward I want to think more responsibly about the sustainable options available when it comes to replacing things like shampoo, shower gel, etc.

4. Set 3 new goals.

We have 3 clear months left of the year. You can either set a goal a month or goals that will go into 2020.

If you don’t have any specific goals, why not mix it up? Find a goal that challenges you. A goal that makes you happy and a goal that sets a routine for the future. Remember that making things routine is what makes a habit stick.

Personally, I want to keep socially pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I would rather hide indoors, but I need to get out there. It mixes well with the goal to make me happy, as I can combine getting out there and meeting my fave peeps and meeting new peeps. For the future, I want to find a way of reducing plastic. I want to reduce waste and be more sustainable in the future. This means looking at single-use plastic and finding alternatives.

5. Crack on.

Hands up, procrastination and a lack of confidence are the biggest obstacles that stop me achieving most of the things I want. For me, I just need to crack on and do! Having a GYST day where I dedicate time to writing to-do lists and organising is essential. I see GYST days as a form of self care as they’re usually things on your mind. Things that if you’re not careful can start to feel overwhelmed and stressed, I forget important things and it all just feels a bit too much. 

What do you need to just do? Is it something left unsaid. A chat you need to have with your boss. Write it out and work out where you are going with it.

When you’re done, make sure to reward yourself. Celebrate the fact you have done something that scared you or made you feel uncomfortable. You’re braver than you think!

 

How will you improve your life?

10 Things You Can Do To Fix A Bad Day

Bad days. We’ve all had them, haven’t we? Yet, how we deal with them can make all the difference between an incident that goes wrong and it feeling like the entire day was ruined. Well, hang on in there. It’s all about changing your mindset and keeping that “bad” incident in perspective to fix a bad day.

I’ve previously talked about how I can easily end up in disorganised chaos and things like a GYST routine help me stay on track. What though if it all doesn’t go to plan, or life just chucks you some big, not so juicy, lemons? If you’re anything like me that would just make a mountain out of a molehill and the whole “bad” day would turn into the worst week and I would just feel overwhelmed. 

With that in mind, here are 10 things that have worked for me that you might want to if you’re having a bad day:

1. Step outside.

A fast fix for a bad day is simply stepping outside and removing yourself from whatever is causing tension. Get a breath of fresh air, go for a walk and take a break. The little break away gives you a chance to change perspective. It gives you chance to think, so this has gone wrong, what can I do to fix it.

2. Exercise.

Whether it’s going to the gym, for a run, or some simply yoga stretches. Exercise gets the endorphins going and makes us feel happier. Yoga is also brilliant for ridding yourself of the negativity and creating a more positive, centred mindset. I am terrible for not exercising enough, and I know this is something I need to work on.

3. Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a great way to improve your physiological state. I find that my mind is all over the place when I feel anxious, so I’ve been really interested to learn about the benefits of mindfulness and breathing exercises.

A quick breathing exercise I’m loving: Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. As you inhale notice as your breath works it’s way around your body, filling you with life. Notice how as you exhale you expel the negative energy. Repeat.

4. Listen to music.

Pop on your favourite playlist or your favourite song. Even better put on your favourite dance tunes and dance away. Music has such a positive effect on our mood. I just love popping in my ear phones and dancing in the flat. My mood shifts so quickly and it’s amazing what it can do towards feeling it’s helped to fix a bad day.

5. Talk to a friend.

Talking to a friend or family can instantly change your mood. Just letting them know how your feeling can also give you a change of perspective. I have always been really bad at talking about things, but the more you bottle things up, the worse it gets.

My mum always says to me “Will (this) really matter this time next week, month, year…” Chances are it won’t, but if it is a big deal, you can start sorting it out now, rather than letting it all build up. I found myself in a position a few years ago where I didn’t tell anyone what I was going through and eventually it all became too much. Don’t suffer in silence, talking to someone will help you realise if it’s a big deal or you’re just being a drama queen.

6. Take time out for self-care.

If you’re anything like me, self-care is the first thing I forget to do when I am going through a tough time. Yet, self-care can help us feel less stressed and happier. For me this would be something like a relaxing bubble bath or go for a nice long walk. It gives me the perfect time to clear my head, that all important head space and a change to change my mindset.

7. Read a book.

Take a few minutes to mentally escape and read something that you enjoy. I find fiction is great for escapism, or non-fiction to read something positive and uplifting for a quick change of mind-set. Alternatively, if books aren’t your bag, watching a favourite film or box set does the job just as well.

8. Do something that makes you laugh.

Watch a comedy film or TV show or something that makes you laugh. I have a few favourite TV shows and films which are my ‘go-to’ when I need a giggle. I’ve recently been popping on an Inbetweeners episode whenever I feel I just need to have a laugh. The physical act of laughing almost instantly relieves that horrible stress feeling.

9. Write it out.

Got a few things on your mind? Write out your frustrations down.  The act of writing our thoughts down can help us reflect on how we are feeling and what is causing us to feel that way. I find journaling is such a great way to download, as well as writing down what I am thankful for. I did start doing morning pages (basically writing down your thoughts every morning), but I stopped for some reason. This is something I’m trying to get back into, as it felt more of a prevention, rather than a cure for a bad day.

10. Change perspective.

Are your feelings part of a bigger issue? Are you actually feeling stressed and tired? Maybe by sitting down and tackling the stress, your sleep pattern or changing your routine, you can change perspective.

Let’s change that perspective and  fix that bad day!

 

‘Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place’. – Unknown.

What do you do to fix a bad day?