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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Feeling Under Pressure; Let's Rant (and relax!) - Combat Stress, Worry and Pressure.




I've been writing this post since September, dipping in and out of it, changing my mind about posting it, continually adding to it and deleting things, but today, I've decided to bite the bullet and just post it. In September, I was feeling really stressed, blogging makes me feel 100% happy though, I love writing, I love taking photographs and I love socialising. I have met some of the most incredible people through blogging, people I call friends and I guess taking myself out of my happy blogging community back home (and going abroad for a little while), kind of knocked me a bit unsteady. I needed to go travelling (read about why here)  - I really just didn't feel happy about my first two years of university - in some respects, they were amazing but when I look back, I was far from fulfilled and guessed that taking a break from my degree and starting fresh was the best option for me. Sometimes, you've just got to take yourself away and start fresh I guess. I've always been a person who believes in tackling the problem in front of me, rather than running away from it, but the thing is, there was no direct problem to tackle, I just wanted to explore, see the world and meet amazing new people. I had a burning desire to go somewhere new, jump on a plane alone and face my fears - rather than following the standard university path. Today, I just wanted to have a little chat to you. I want to discuss life pressures, stresses and how to just kick stress/worry up the bum. 


Life:


I'm not going to lie and sugar coat this, I am quite a stressy person - I get stressed quite easily but only because I'm a bit of a perfectionist and want to succeed in life.  I'm such a worrier, sometimes I think the worst or just generally over-think every single scenario.  I put far too much pressure on myself and there are a number of reasons as to why I do this. I tend to feel quite on edge, anxious and stressy about quite a lot of situations and girls, that aint good for you! When I was younger, my Mum used to say I was going to make myself ill because I would scream so much to defend myself. I had an extremely volatile relationship with someone who should have protected and loved me throughout my life, being brought up in a volatile, abusive atmosphere has clearly had an impact on me but instead of letting that break me, I guess I just let that make me a bit of a perfectionist (it could be worse I suppose). I think it turned me into a bit of a perfectionist because I want to prove that person wrong and succeed in life. Just because things are broken, doesn't mean I am going to break. But obviously, this makes me stressed/anxious a lot of the time because I'm constantly working myself into the ground.



Don't get me wrong, I'm not moaning, the past few months have been some of the best months of my life but I've also had some time to reflect which is why I just wanted a general chat and ramble on this blog post. Everyone gets stressed on a day to day basis, it's just part of life, and sometimes no matter how hard you try, you just can't kick that stress/mood away, it's just a bad day. Often though and 99% of the time, there are ways to beat that pressure and just blooming enjoy life and this beautiful world that we live in (easier said than done, I know). Rainy days make flowers anyway but don't waste your time stressing over things you can't change. I don't want this to be a negative post, I actually want this to do the opposite, and act as a way of dealing with stress, pressure and worry and just getting a few things off my chest and generally chatting to y'all - I haven't done that for a long long time! 



Feeling Pressurised In A Pressurised Society:


Unattainable:  

I've never really been someone who's affected by magazines in the sense that, I don't see a girl and think, oh I need to look like her, I'm going to starve myself so I am her size etc etc... I tend to use it as a positive and think, ah, I'll cut back on the chocolate this week and be a bit healthier. Or wow, her blusher looks great, I'm going to try that blusher. I've never really been someone who's felt like I'm not good enough in comparison to airbrushed models/celebrities with personal trainers and nutritionalists - I get that we all live totally different lives. But, I get that it can be tough, to constantly see these people all the time and be told that they are 'perfection' - personally I take that with a pinch of salt as no-one is perfect and everyone is totally different. Have you ever heard the quote 'the girl in the magazine doesn't even look like the girl in the magazine' - granted, some people are naturally incredibly good looking but often, what you're seeing in the media is photoshopped and a full make over team have worked on that person for a full day - I think that's pretty unrealistic and unattainable for most people, so there is no point even trying to look that way. Just be you. I do understand that these constant images of what's deemed to be 'perfect' can be truly damaging to people, particularly young, impressionable girls (I did a lot of studying about this in both psychology and my degree) but at the same time, this isn't going to change - there is always going to be someone out there who looks good, or is slimmer than you, curvier, or has something you don't have. But as I said earlier, everyone is different, you just cannot judge anyone at all and I truly think being happy in your own skin is the best way to beat pressure. Learn to just love yourself, as the saying goes, 'shake what ya mama gave ya'.

Body Image:



Following on a little bit from the above. The Victoria's Secret fashion show is a prime example of where you can feel pressurised in society to look a certain way. I'm not going to discuss this too much as people are very opinionated on this topic but I personally think the models look great - but again, that's just my opinion - I've seen lots of 'they need to eat a burger' comments etc and I'm not even getting into that. I'm totally against both over-weight shaming and 'skinny shaming'. At the same time, I'm totally against brands saying 'we are using real women', because I personally see that as saying slim/bigger ladies aren't normal. I have always been a natural size 6 and when brands say they're using 'real women' I find it offensive that they don't see a size 6 as a 'real woman'. I've had this debate before on Twitter and I was basically told that 'well fat-shaming happens much more so get over it' and I am totally against both sides of shaming, I just don't think you should body shame anyone at all! You can't win really. As far as I'm concerned, as long as you're healthy and happy, who the hell cares? Women (and men) come in all shapes and sizes and we should celebrate that we're living, breathing and smiling rather than abuse someone for being 'fat' or being 'too skinny'. In the grand scheme of things, unless your weight is a serious health-issue (as said by the doctor for example), it really doesn't matter.



Achieving:


In a world where so many people are high achievers, it’s can be difficult to watch and feel like you're not achieving as much as they are. I think it's important to just sometimes take a step back and realise that nobody is perfect and no two people are the same so you're probably comparing yourself to someone who is so different to you. Everyone is beautiful and intelligent in their own ways and people will achieve and triumph in different areas, that's the great thing about people, we're all so different. 



Moods:



If I get in a mood, I tell myself that there are people out there who would do anything to be a young, healthy person who wakes up every morning. I know it sounds pretty dramatic and philosophical, (it works almost every time though) but truly, there are people who would switch places with you any day. I had to go through some pretty bad stuff until I was at a point in my life where I can say this to myself, but sometimes you need something bad to happen to you in order to put life into perspective and realise that life is for living and it could be so much worse. When you think you're having a bad day, you just have to ask yourself, will this matter next year? 


Success:

In the blogging world when you see people zooming past you in terms of followers etc, it can be quite disheartening; 'why am I not as successful as that person' for example...but does that really matter? Like seriously? There is no true measure of success, success for me will be totally different to what someone else sees as successful. 'Don't compare your chapter 1 to someone elses chapter 14' and even if you both are on the same page, never forget, you're not the same person, everyone is different and everyone is good at something! It's so important to just be yourself and to do what you love, life is too short not to. For me, I blog because I love to blog and I honestly think I would still be writing this and rambling even if no-one was reading it. I completely believe in chasing your dream and passion, no matter what. As Walt Disney famously said, 'no dream is too big'. Being content, healthy and happy are really what matters, focus on this first. That's what I try to tell myself anyway. 



Feeling Stressed Over University/School Work:

I actually ran myself into the ground in my first year of University in order to prove myself and get a good grade, as well as working part time and running my blog full time too - this actually resulted in me suffering from exhaustion and believe me, then you really are knocked out. It's very hard to manage studying, working and socialising and my advice, have a happy balance otherwise your body wont thank you for it. I make lists, I make sure I go to the gym, I drink lots of water, I prioritise things and I don't beat myself up anymore if I don't get something done on time. I find going to the gym really helps, even though that totally packs out my schedule even more, even just a 20 minute run with my music blasting out totally changes my perspective of life and clears my mind. Even a 5 minute walk does the same. I also find that taking an hour off to watch TV with my Mum really helps too. 


Not Getting Enough Sleep:

I am so guilty of this and Pinterest is generally to blame (I spend hours on it before bed). 
It's so difficult to get a good nights sleep because social media and the online world is 24/7, you can constantly be talking to someone, constantly be writing emails, in my case, constantly be finding another something to add to your to do list.

Ways To Beat It:

- Get into a good routine - I always sleep better when my boyfriend is round because we usually wind down, put our phones away and watch a film before bed

- Turn off your phone before bed - don't play on it before bed - totally guilty of this and it means I can't sleep because my mind is overly-active and in over drive instead of relaxed. 


- Turn Off Your Phone whilst you sleep, that way it wont buzz and wake you up or you won't be tempted to check it - I always wake up and check my phone first thing then stay awake on it - it's a really bad habit. 




Ways To Combat Stress:


- Do morning work outs - They're energising and kick start your day

- Go on runs or walks - They clear the mind so well.

- Socialise - The amount of times I've had to prise myself away from my computer to socialise but trust me, you'll feel a million times better for getting up and having a break (this is the same with revision, exam stress, work, blogging - anything! Take a break, you'll be much more productive, even if you're just nipping to the shop across the road to buy some chocolate!)

- Laugh - Laughing and smiling releases endorphins which are proven to make you feel happier/are natural pain and stress fighters (so is chocolate, so go grab a bar of chocolate too whilst you're at it)

- Speak to someone - Having someone you can speak to about your stress really helps, you should never keep it hidden away. Also, sometimes talking to other people really puts your stress and worry into perspective. I always feel a million times better and feel like everything is off my shoulders once I've just ranted it out to everyone. 


- Music - Music is such a mood changer - Find a nice upbeat playlist and shake your bootay in your bedroom! I guarantee that will release some stress. Beyonce is my favourite for up-beat tracks.



I know I'm making this sound easier said than done, but if you're stressing over little things, then something as simple as a bite of chocolate, a walk to the shop or a good old giggle will generally help to clear your mind (it works for me anyway!)


Take a few things into account:

Just be you, jump for joy once in a while, scream a song at the top of your lungs, do something that scares you, face your fears, who cares what people will think. Feel the wind. Ride the storm, a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor anyway. Every time you 'fail' it's actually a lesson learnt! The best advice I was ever given was from my Grandma, she said; 'enjoy, touch, taste, see buildings, gardens, sky, landscapes, hear sounds, see a different way of life, don't rush, stop and look and stare, don't miss anything, keep it in your head and heart and bring it all home to remember - we will miss you very much, but it isn't forever, laugh and be happy' - I think you can apply that to all aspects of life. It's funny actually, but here in Canada, I don't have a phone contract - I'm living on wifi and actually, it's refreshing to walk down the street without my phone in my hand and just take in the atmosphere and embrace what's around me.



Don’t judge a book by its cover, its easy to judge someone and assume that their life is perfect but no-one is perfect, I know I've said that a lot but it's true. I read a great quote once that said ‘everyone you meet has a story to tell, everyone has been through something’. You may think someone has an amazing life in comparison to yours, but you probably know nothing about their life - people's lives often look perfect on social media, but that's just the parts they choose to share.

-     
Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone elses chapter 14. I've said this twice now because I think it is so important. Driven people tend to have such high hopes and motivations which is great, but these can actually be destructive if we let them put us under too much pressure. Don't get so caught up making a living that you forget to make a life. 


So what now? Relax: just take some time to spend the night with your family, turn your laptop off and relax. Catch up with that friend you were meaning to catch up with. Go out for coffee. Giggle. Run a long bath. I need to do all of these things more often so that I take a breather and just enjoy life. Everyone is good at something, everyone has their flaws and everyone has their things they’re good at – work together, a flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.

Feeling pretty dizzy after giggling and spinning around too much

We’re all in this together; someone else will be feeling the way you feel. After all, stressed is just desserts spelt backwards so go and grab some cake, and celebrate life. You were put on this world to live. Everyone is different: The bottom line is, no two people are the same and you are someones reason to smile. 

Credit
Here's some cake for you ^

You Can Do It - You really can do anything you put your mind to and don't let anyone tell you any different. 

What will be will be, what's meant to be always finds it's way and really, whats happening to you now, will it affect your life in a years time? If no, stop worrying about it. I always try to tell myself 'rainy days make flowers' and every mistake is a lesson learnt anyway so you really have nothing to lose. These are all cliched sayings but they're all so true. I often look at brave people who are suffering in other ways and think, life could be so much worse - I am blessed to be alive. I'm sure what you're worrying about probably isn't the end of the world anyway. Did you know that a diamond is a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well? 




You're only human, you don't have to have it together every single second of every single day. When you really think about it, we're so lucky to be alive and to wake up every morning - who cares if your homework isn't in on time? If you ate too much chocolate the night before and if you don't have 1 million Instagram followers? Life is for living. Eat cake, arrive late to somewhere, smudge your lipstick and spend your days having a giggle. 



Do you have any stress fighting tips? Any ways to combat worry and pressure? Did you like this post? Thank you for reading it, I know it was a long rambly one. If you liked it, please share the love and spread the smiles and tell someone else to relax and smile! 

Lots of love, Em x

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