Stress Awareness Month – Tips to handle stress

Since it’s stress awareness month, I wanted to share my tips that help me calm down, refresh and relax when I’m going through a stressful time in my life.  

Stress is always going to be there, throughout a variety of activities and stages in your life; you will feel stressed many times. However, it’s important to try and compact the stress to not let it overtake your day-to-day routine.  

I’ll be honest and admit that me handling my stress is no where near as good as I’d like it to be. Stress is something that I really struggle with and I VERY easily get stressed.  

However, I do try my best to help myself by using these tips: 

1 – Make a list
Something that works well for me is making a list of things I need to do. Often, I feel overwhelmed with tasks I need to do, whether that’s in work or personal life. Therefore, I make a list to make sure I remember things and to then feel relief once I have completed the task and can tick it off. You don’t necessarily have to write the list down; I have a list app on my phone so I have the list with me at all times.  

2 – Talk things through with someone
Sometimes, all you need to do is have a chat with someone to get off your chest what is stressing you out. Once you have spoken about things, you may feel a weight lifted because you was able to talk about it and have someone respond back to you giving you advice, or simply just listening and giving your support.  

3 – Do some exercise
I am a massive fan of exercise when I feel stressed or down. Exercise is something that really helps me unwind and feel better. You could go for a walk, a short run, or even do something at home. It doesn’t have to be hardcore or long but make it effective enough to make a difference on your mood and stress levels.  

4 – Have some me time
It’s important to give some time to yourself. When you’re feeling stressed, sometimes just sitting there and thinking your thoughts through without anyone else or any distractions can really help your mind calm down and figure out what it is exactly you need to do or what’s stressing you out. When you’re constantly busy and seeing people, you don’t get a chance to interact with your mind.  

5 – Take a day off
If you’re stressed through work or your personal life is manic, if you can, take a day off. The number of times I hear people say along the lines of ‘wow that day off has refreshed me so much’. The issue is with feeling stressed is that you may feel like you physically can’t take the day off because you’re so busy or there’s deadlines to meet. However, having that day off to spend it the way you want to or to just stay in bed all day and catch up on sleep can really make the world of difference. If you can, give yourself the rest.

Couch to 5K App review – how it helped my mental health

I’VE COMPLETED THE COUCH TO 5K APP! Wow, I really didn’t expect to have stuck to this program and actually complete it, but yesterday, I did my final run from the app.

I’ve always fairly enjoyed running; I’ve just never been that brilliant at it (breathing is such a struggle for me). However, during lockdown 3.0 in the UK, I was really going through a bad patch and I randomly woke up one day and was like ‘I’m going to start the couch to 5K’ and since then, I’ve done 8 weeks of running and now I can run for half an hour!

It’s actually really surprising how an app like this makes an impact on your life. When I flicked through the weeks to see what I had to do and saw an 8-minute run or a 20-minute run, I’d think to myself that there is no chance I’ll be able to do it. Yet, here I am, I’ve done it! The app builds you up slowly to be able to achieve these longer runs and it surprises you just how quickly the program goes. 8 weeks flew by!

Beside the achievement of completing the program and now being able to run for 30 minutes/5K, it’s massively helped my mental health.

I’m already aware how exercise brings improvement to my mood and makes me feel better instantly. Therefore, doing a program where you can see your progress, makes you feel even better because you see evidence of the time that you’re running for. Exercise is an essential for me and my mental health. I had no doubt that doing the couch to 5K was going to help me overcome this bad patch in lockdown.

I did the runs on my lunch break at work and on the weekend. Actually leaving my house on lunch and going for a run was SO refreshing for me. I don’t normally move away from my laptop for lunch (really bad I know) so getting out in the fresh air and having a change of scene felt so good. It also made me then feel more motivated to work once I was back.

Honestly, within days of doing this program, I already felt better about myself. It calmed my mind down because I was being active and having that time to myself, listening to music, running around my town. Don’t underestimate the impact exercise can have!!!!

Another positive to doing this program is that I can see a difference in my body. I didn’t start running to lose weight or tone up or even to become fitter, I did it because I needed a distraction, I needed something to work towards and to help calm my mind. However, it’s defiantly a bonus to see my body looking healthier.

The couch to 5K app made me feel free and confident. It made me feel good about myself and that I was accomplishing something. It proved to me that I can do something if I put my mind to it. It’s made me proud that I kept going and didn’t give up. I feel so much healthier and happier because of the exercise but also achieving a goal I set for myself.

I’d really recommend this app. Running isn’t for everyone but if you want to start or get back into running or give yourself a new challenge, then have a go! Now that I’ve done the app, I will keep up running 5K and track my time to see if I can run it quicker as the weeks go on.

International Women’s Day – Period Protection

Happy International Women’s Day.

By this title, you may be thinking ‘what’s this blog post aiming at?’. It’s came to my attention lately just how many girls and women go through a time of their life, with little to no period protection. Therefore, on a day like today, International Women’s Day, I want us to come together to help an issue that us, as a woman, would have an insight into what life may be like if you couldn’t afford period protection.

I am able to afford period protection and sometimes I feel like I don’t understand how grateful I should be for that. When thinking about a life without period protection, I realised that I wouldn’t be able to go to work, I wouldn’t be able to go get food from the supermarket, I wouldn’t be able to see friends. My life would be on hold until the period was over. To think about the ease I have in life when I’m on my period because I am able to buy a pad or tampon, really opens my mind and eyes into what it would be like without it.

Like I said, on a day like today, I want to try and reach out to some of you, to help make a difference. There are people out there who can’t afford period protection and so, we can do something about that, something to help. 1 in 10 can’t afford period protection, and that is a MASSIVE issue. I know we can’t sit here and change the world because quite frankly, only the Government can do that by making period products free…but until that day happens (I pray that it does), we need to help out.

I have googled to find somewhere that we can donate to. is where we can donate. What I like about this website is that they have options of what you can buy. Also, their idea and meaning behind helping period poverty is a really great one. You buy, they give. So, every box you buy, they give a box to someone who needs it.

Something that is INCREDIBLE with heygirls is the reusable products. I didn’t even know that reusable products were a thing?!?!?! But, how incredible is that. They are plastic free and environmentally friendly. This is a company and idea in life that I feel so proud of. I’m proud that these things exist and people are creating these products to help period poverty. To be more environmentally friendly. To make a change to the world and help those who need it. Reusable period pads is a fantastic route to take, and I’m in a way, upset that I only just found out that these were a thing.

Along with being able to buy products for yourself and them then giving products to those in need, you can also donate money monthly or donate products. You can choose between pads and cups to donate. Therefore, if you don’t feel comfortable with buying products from the website or simply prefer the products you currently use from a supermarket, you can still HELP!! Donating something as small as £3.25 a month will truly make a difference, if you’re able to do so, then please think about how much this can help women out there.

As much as I moan about my period and as much as it sucks and I hate it, I’ve never really viewed it from the mindset of ‘thank god I have protection’. Period’s are bad enough as it is, but without protection, it must be a week from hell. I’m sure some of us have sometimes had mishaps, either we didn’t know we were due on or a random bleed. If that has happened to you before, think about how you felt when you went to the toilet and realised you’re bleeding with no protection. I most likely assume you then go grab a pad and you’re sorted again for the rest of the day. Not everyone has that. That is the reality for 1 in 10 people. Not being able to just put protection in their knickers, having to face life without it. Awful thought right?

Let’s do something about this. Let’s make a difference. Let’s help even one person out there who needs it. Please, if you have some spare cash, support the women who need the help, especially for something they physically can’t stop or control.

Happy International Women’s Day.

Let those toxic people go

Throughout life we will come across people who won’t have a positive impact on our life. Even though I’m young and still have plenty of people to meet in life, I have had a fair share of experiences with people I considered friends, who then turned into toxic people I needed to get out of my life.

I think removing toxic people from your life is a massive challenge a lot of people struggle to cope with and do. For some of us, it doesn’t come naturally to easily remove someone and we will continue to give those people or that specific person chance after chance because we are too scared to be brutally honest with ourselves and the person, that they are bringing a negative vibe to our life. We keep ‘friendships’ going because of the fear of looking like the bad person or having to be the one to make the move to remove them. It isn’t easy but I think the sooner we understand that these things are okay to do and NEED to be done for the sake of our mental health, it will be less difficult to do.

There are many different kind of toxic people out there but today I’m going to focus on the ones who don’t bring joy to you life, who don’t support you, who bring you down or try to make you feel bad; the ones who aren’t good for your mental health.

Sometimes it may take a few instances for you to realise that the specific person or people isn’t good for you. You may want to give them another chance and that’s okay, just don’t give them endless amount of chances because trust me, if they don’t change the first time, they won’t ever change. If they care and respect you enough, the will change their actions towards you to continue to be apart of your life.

The main thing to focus on to know whether you may be around a toxic person is to understand how they make you feel. If you feel scared of them in terms of saying no to plans because of how they react, or if they always try to belittle you or make your accomplishments in life seem silly or if they pick on your looks; this person or these people are not needed. There are plenty more people out there in this world who would give you the respect and support you deserve, who will treat you with kindness and make you feel loved. If the person or people are impacting your mental health negatively, then you need to let those toxic people go.

If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that life is too short. We never know when our last day on earth is or the last day we will see our friends and family again. Therefore, don’t waste life hanging around with people who make you feel like shit. Be the bigger person and end the relationship/friendship. Make a change to feel better within yourself, to be happier, to feel a weight lifted off your shoulders because you aren’t constantly worried about their judgements.

Surround yourself with the correct people. You will continuously meet new people throughout life and some you will adore with every part of your heart, some will become a new group of friends to go out with, someone might become a partner. This world is full of people, the right people you need to keep you happy and fulfil your needs.

Letting go of toxic people will most likely never be a fun thing to do (unless they have done something really bad which makes it slightly easier to get rid of them). That person or people may have been apart of your life for 20 years and then the relationship turns toxic. But, something to ask yourself is ‘will I be happier without them?’. Will you feel more like yourself? Can you be more yourself without them? Will you be able to live your life the way you want to without them? Will you be happy? Consider these questions, think about the answers. If the answers are yes, then you know you need to make a change.

When I say to let those toxic people go, I don’t mean to take action in a horrible way. You could start off talking to them less and giving yourself that distance from them. It’s not about removing them and being a bitch about it, you want to be the better person in this situation and not swoop to their level.

Life is too short. Live it the way you want to, with the people you want to live it with, the people who bring you positivity, the ones who help your mental health not make it worse. Let those toxic people go.

The positives to take out of the pandemic.

As the UK are coming out of lockdown 3.0, I thought it may be relevant to do a blog post about the positives I will be taking out of the pandemic and the year of lockdown restrictions we’ve had.

This pandemic has affected people in many ways, but at the end of the day, we have all been involved and hit by the impact of COVID. A lot of the days in the past year, I have felt such sadness thinking about how life has been and how much I’ve missed out on and just how weird it has been to be inside my house doing nothing…my brain still can’t quite comprehend that this has happened!

Although, one way to try and help myself get through this and not dwell on the year is to think about the positives it’s going to give me in the future, and I’d like to think these positives will also help others.

I think most of us can agree that a positive this pandemic has bought us is appreciating our family and friends more. I know for sure, when I next see my friends whether that’s inside or outdoors, its going to feel so refreshing to see and speak to them properly again. I’m going to be so grateful to still have all the people I had before the pandemic in my life and to be able to create new memories together. It really does make you realise the important things in life. Sometimes when our lives are going at 100mph, we forget what means the most to us and in a weird way, this slowing down of life because of lockdowns has made me sit back and realise what great people I have in my life and how lucky I am. It’s going to be SO positive when I get to reunite with people, and I hope you are all excited for that day to happen too!

Following on from this, another positive is to appreciate the little things more often. Before, I’d just go shopping because I was bored. Whereas now, I CAN’T WAIT TO GO SHOPPING AGAIN. It’s made me so excited to be able to go see clothes in real life instead of my mobile screen. Instead of just going because of the sake of it, I’m going to now go feeling excited to see what’s new in and just be around people. It’s those little things, as simple as going to a shop, that this pandemic has made me realise how much I enjoy doing that. Other little things I’ll appreciate more is the nice weather (being in the UK we are normally quite appreciative of the sun coming out anyway, but now it feels even more special), going for dog walks with my boyfriend, being able to eat in a restaurant, or even grab a Starbucks. The things that were so natural for us to do beforehand, now feel so exciting to be able to do again.

For me personally, I still live at home with my family and even though at times it has been tough being around each other 24/7, it’s given me this time with them that I wouldn’t have had if the pandemic didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t me saying I’m glad the pandemic happened, but in ‘normal’ life, I was at work for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, and then at the weekend I’d be out with my friends. It hit me how little time I was spending at home and it’s actually been nice to have a whole year basically stuck with them haha! Treasure the moments you have with your family.

Another positive, is how much money I’ve been able to save. Obviously, besides online shopping (which I have done my fair share of over the last year), there hasn’t been anything else for my money to be spent on. Not travelling into London for work has especially helped my bank account! Therefore, it’s helped me financially be able to save more for moving out or a holiday in the future.

A positive throughout the pandemic has been online calls. Being able to Zoom or facetime people has probably massively helped some people. We are so lucky to have the technology to be able to virtually see our loved ones, or even to be able to continue working and have meetings. Thank god for the technology we have. It’s kept friendships, relationships and family connections alive and pulled people through the loneliness.

Overall, even though the pandemic has been absolutely devastating and this blog post isn’t here to try and make COVID seem like a good thing. It’s here to try and help you see the positive outcomes. It’s been an awful year, but better times will come. We aren’t exactly sure what 2021 will bring us, but hold onto the little things, keep talking to people, say yes to plans more often, appreciate eating a meal out, support local businesses by going out, and most importantly, just be grateful that you are still here, still breathing, still able to live your life.

The book that changed me

I am late to the party with this book, however I recently read ‘Women don’t owe you pretty’ and in all honestly, I don’t think a book has ever hit me like this one did. I couldn’t put the book down and found it so inspiring and informative.

I’m sure many of you have read this book by now, but if you haven’t then I massively recommend giving it a try. The book touches on a variety of topics and even though I don’t necessarily relate to all of them, I still was engrossed in those chapters; that’s when you know it’s a good book! I bought the book of Amazon but I’m sure its probably on many different book websites etc etc – but please do grab this book if you can and give it a read!

I feel like for me, I started reading this book at a time when I needed some sort of pick me up. Not only is the text interesting to read, but the book also has many different images that are really great to look at and almost makes you want the image in a poster format to hang up in you room to constantly be reminded of the message.

I think with lockdown, everyone has had their struggles increased even more due to the loneliness, not being able to live our ‘normal’ life’s, and the reality of that we may not be loving ourselves as much as usual with some potential weight gain or not being dressed up (obviously there is nothing wrong with weight gain or staying in your joggers for a week). This lockdown (lockdown 3.0 for the UK) has been the toughest for me, especially before I read this book. I didn’t realise it was possible to cry as much as I did within the space of a few weeks…my eyes were puffy the majority of the time. I was going through some shit with not seeing my boyfriend along with other bits. My mindset wasn’t okay. My friends recommended this book to me and were speaking about it on facetime and I thought you know what I think it’s time I finally see what this book is all about, and I am so glad I did!

It was such an easy read. Some parts were so relatable or eye opening that I found myself sitting there nodding along while I was reading. I feel like, I knew there were issues in the way women are portrayed or for example, touching on the topic of women trying to figure out their safest way home, but I’ve never thought about it in much depth before. It’s so true what is said in this book and some parts made me feel shocked that I just considered this as ‘normal’, when in fact it isn’t normal the way I think or live my life; again, relating back to the getting home at night situation.

Even though I am in a healthy relationship and have been for almost 6 years, this book still spoke truths to me. The section about taking accountability and the way we may respond in arguments or when people tell you how you’ve hurt their feelings…it’s made me think about the way I talk and I’m starting to try to think more before I speak (which is something probably a lot of us need to do more often). If there is a case where I may have said something and the second it’s left my mouth, I regret it, I pull myself up on it and apologise and say you know what that wasn’t funny or a good ‘joke’ to make, it was just uncalled for and not needed. I want to change the way I respond to people and make sure I’m taking accountability for my actions instead of just ignoring that I may have upset someone.

I know it may sound dramatic when I call this book ‘the book that changed my life’ because I only finished reading it about 2 weeks ago, but I really do believe it’s going to continue to have an impact on my life and mind. I’ve always been someone who wants to become a better person and I want to learn how to handle situations better, or how to be there for people who may need different reassurance than what I do when I’m upset. Sometimes, I believe we go through our life so quickly that we don’t think about the words and actions we are making, and it may take a book you read or a TV series you watch to make you sit back and think about what you’re doing.

Before I read this book, I thought it would make me think about self-love in terms of my appearance and my body. But instead, it made me think more about my mindset and actions which isn’t something ‘self-love’ books normally do. Other books normally touch more on the look of your body. Even though I believe it helped me understand that I need to love myself more and ways I could do so, there’s been better benefits from this book.

A section that was really interesting in terms of self-love was the ‘refuse to find comfort in other women’s flaws’. It makes me almost feel ashamed to say it, but I 100% have done this throughout life. And, no offence, but I’m sure some of you have too. I’m not proud of it and now I’ve read about it, it hit me hard that this is actually something I have done in the past and something I need to stop doing. Even within the 2 weeks after reading this book, I’ve clocked onto other people who have messaged me things where I now think…you’re insecure about that, and so that is why you’re bitching about this person (I hope this makes some sort of sense, it’s hard to explain without literally writing down the chapter of the book). It’s sad the way our mindset works and that we feel like the only way sometimes to feel better about ourselves, is to make other feels bad. It’s a messed up way but with practise you can change this and overall just be kinder to yourself but also others around you.

I’ve touched on a few points that are spoken about in the book and for how passionate I feel about ‘women don’t owe you pretty’ I could probably go on for ages writing about it. Long story short, if you haven’t read this book then I encourage you so much to do so. Or, if you have but it was a while ago or feel like you need some inspiration, then read it again. I know that this book will stick with me for years and I’ll most likely read it a good few times in life.

The impact exercise has on my mental health

Sometimes I underestimate the positive impact exercise has on my mental health. Throughout the past 5 years or so, I have been to the gym, taken part in gym classes, workouts at home and recently started the couch to 5K program again. Every time I begin exercising after a few weeks or months off, I instantly feel the impact it has on my mind and mental health. It really is true when people say how much exercise can help you feel better.

I only started the couch to 5K 2 weeks ago but honestly, considering how down I was and how much I was struggling with lockdown 3.0 before I started running, the change I have felt within myself after doing a half an hour walk/run is truly impressive. Also, getting fresh air and blocking out the world with my headphones is another thing I love about going for a run! Plus the alone time after being in my house for the majority for the past year…

I’ve always enjoyed walks and have understood how much a walk helps me clear my mind and relaxes my anxiety or stress. So, I did have hope that doing a running program would be a positive decision. I think sometimes, we sit there and think how much we can’t be bothered to exercise, whether that’s a quick 15 minute ab circuit at home, or getting dressed to go for a gym class; it can feel like so much effort, especially on the days that are harder than others.

I remember when I used to do my clubbercise class at 8pm on a weekday. I’d get in from working up London at 7pm, quickly have a slice of toast for dinner and then walk round to the gym for 8. It felt stressful every single week trying to make sure I was home in time, and sometimes I would dread going. But the second, I stepped foot in the class, I felt better. My mind was busy copying the teacher on what moves to do next, the music was blasting and I did it with my bestie. It almost made me feel like I had just been to therapy for an hour. I’d leave the class and feel 100x better than what I did beforehand. I felt refreshed and like all my problems had gone away (which I know isn’t the case, the problems are still very much there, but it was nice to have an hour of relaxation and sweating out my anger/issues).

So, even when it is the case that you may feel like you have no motivation or effort to even move off your bed, always try to think how you will feel during and especially after your piece of exercise.

For someone who loves shopping, another pro to exercising, is that it gives me a reason to buy new clothes…yes, I know this may not be a sensible thing, but it makes exercise more fun! I love buying new clothes to wear to go for a run, or a new pair of trainers (for comfort but also style). Treat yourself, look good to feel good! Plus, who doesn’t love buying a new outfit???

There’s so many ways you can introduce exercise into your life, or if you already had a exercise routine and have fallen off the road a bit (don’t worry, we all have, its been a pandemic), then figure out what works best with you. Switch it up if you’ve had the same fitness routine for a while and starting to feel yourself getting bored of it.

Some exercise ideas include:

– Running
– Walking
– 100 squats a day
– Weights
– Hula hooping
– Skipping
– Boxing
– Yoga
– Zumba
– Focus on one area for a while such as, abs or glutes

Find what you enjoy most, or try something new!

The message I want to get across from this blog post is that, if you’re debating a new fitness routine or even as simple as going for walks more often, exercise does wonders for your mental health. Take it from someone who has struggled with mental health for years, yet like I said, whenever I then do a workout or go for a run, I can’t even express the positive impact it has on my health. Not only mentally, but physically I feel so much better because I know I’ve done something good for my body. Exercise has a lot of pros to it and I do think that its worth giving it a go. Not everyone will love exercise, but it may be the case that you try and then you end up sticking to it for months because of how good it makes you feel. Think about it in the way that, there is no harm in trying.