I don’t make resolutions. And even if I did, I think it would be pretty late to write about them at the end of January. Plus, I doubt I’d end up sticking to the generic gym one anyway, mainly because it’s bloody expensive to join the gym in London.
I do, however, believe in learning from the year before and using it to focus on the future. Over the past few years, I’ve had some pretty crap months. Like most people, there have been times when it’s all got a bit too much and that horrid dark duo of depression and anxiety managed to pull me down into their spiral. I’ve hit rock bottom. It sucks.
But, if I hadn’t gone through some of those crap moments, I probably wouldn’t be who I am today. Now, I know the importance of looking after my mind and staying positive and the effects this can have on life.
You can’t help suffering with anxiety or depression. They are mental illnesses, just like physical ones. It’s like trying to stop the common cold. But, there are ways I cope with preventing my moods getting to that dark place. Obviously, it’s important to say that if you ever do find yourself feeling depressed or anxious, seek help. There are wonderful people out there doing wonderful work and they can help you. People like Mind. Give them a call. They’ll listen.
As I said, I know the importance of staying optimistic and I try and live with these things in mind. Maybe they can help you too.
1. That’s life – Something I’ve learnt over the years is to accept that some days, I’m just going to feel like crap. Bad things will happen. I may make mistakes. And I will have down days. That doesn’t mean I have to hide away from the world and give in to the negativity – I’ve learnt to accept that EVERYONE has crappy days and sometimes you just need to bake a cake and smile your way through it.
2. Accept that it’s just a feeling – Sometimes when I’m feeling anxious, it’s difficult to accept that what I’m feeling is purely normal. It’s just an emotion, like happiness or anger. In fact, it’s natural for my body to feel it. I’ve learnt to accept that when I’m feeling anxious, it’s absolutely fine. I just take a step back and acknowledge how I feel and why I feel it. Instead of acting on it straight away, I feel like I’m able to asses the situation a little more and regain some calm.
3. Don’t be too hard on yourself – I’m not Superwoman. I’m not going to get everything right and I’m not going to be a happy, bubbly person all of the time. Feeling anxious or down is not a weakness. I can’t take depression away. I’m stronger than I think and it’s fine to have crap days. Those blue tights wouldn’t suit me anyway…
4. Look after your body and your mind – When you look after your body, your mind benefits. Exercise is known for boosting those endorphins and a good run is perfect for clearing the cobwebs off your mind. I know – when you feel like crap, the last thing you want to do is get up and run around in a park, but I promise you, it helps. When you focus on taking care of yourself, you feel better about things. Running has helped me so much. I still hate it, but it’s helped.
5. You’re not the same as everyone else – I always used to compare myself to others and wonder why I wasn’t achieving their successes – now, I’ve learnt to celebrate them. Everyone is different. The world would be pretty boring if we weren’t. I’ve learnt to embrace that I’m my own person with my own dislikes and likes and I don’t have to try and be anyone else.
6. Try not to give in to bad thoughts – Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to overcome is learning not to listen to the negativity in my head. When I have those anxious feelings urging me to panic, I try and take a step back and find the positive. I accept it’s a bad thought and move forward. Of course I have times where I struggle and panic, but it’s okay. I’m only human.
7. Build a strong support network – Whether it’s friends, family or the help of a charity, it’s important to have people around you who can support you and listen to you. Don’t push them out when you feel down, don’t put that wall up. They want to help, let them in.
8. Create a welcoming space – Never underestimate the wonders of good-smelling candle and a comforting jumper. I’ve created a small area at home where I like to relax if I’m feeling stressed. I find that a clean, clutter free home, brings a cleaner, freer mind.
9. Say yes – Saying yes opens doors, doors mean opportunity. I never would have done half the things I have done if I didn’t take a deep breath and say yes. When you do, it can bring so much happiness. You just have to be willing to let it in.
10. Learn to let go – A hard lesson to learn but when shit happens, forgive, let go and move on. Whether it’s with friends, boyfriends, jobs or anything else. Holding on to pain or bad feelings will just weigh you down. Get angry, get upset and then say good bye to the negativity. Life is way, way too short and you’ll only end up surrounded by toxicity.
If you have any other ways you keep positive, tweet me and let me know – @MiaHolt