Turning 22 – What have I learnt in my life so far

Last week it was my 22nd birthday *sings Taylor Swift 22*. Every year when it’s my birthday, I normally get quite emotional or sentimental about the past year and what has changed or where I am in my life at that specific age. I thought to celebrate my birthday in blog style, I’d share 22 things I have learnt so far in my life.

1: Not everyone will like you. Simple as. Instead of trying to please everyone and having hundreds of friends, focus on the people who really matter. There will be people throughout life that you won’t get on with or who won’t like you but that’s okay and that’s normal.

2: Have time to yourself. Having time to myself lets me feel like I can reset my thoughts, think about how I’m feeling or what I want to do in life and my goals. It’s important to have time to sit there and think with yourself about your life.

3: Chocolate is the best food. Ever.

4: Speak up about how you feel. Sometimes being open and honest is a huge challenge for me, however, I need to take that step out my comfort zone and say how I’m really feeling to get my views or message across. Don’t hold in your feelings.

5: Disney films are the best. They make me so happy and whenever I need a pick me up, Disney is the way to go.

6: Walks are truly life changing at times. In a bad mood? Go for a walk. I bet you feel even 1% better afterwards.

7: Every life is different. Stop comparing yourself to every human being you walk past or see online. You are you for a reason and therefore, be the best you, you can be.

8: My boyfriend and friends are my absolute world and I’m beyond grateful to have the people in my life. Right now is the most content I have ever felt in a friendship group.

9: If you feel like you deserve more money in your job, do something about it. This is something I am currently working on and I hope soon, I will be earning what I believe I deserve and should be on.

10: The little things in life really matter. Whether its chocolate, a tv series, a run, a coffee date, the things that feel so simplistic and easy, make such a difference on my mood. We don’t always need to have a huge party or expensive dinner to feel important or happy.

11: Save money. I never saved when I first started working and boyyyyyyy do I regret that now. Save money and your future self will be really appreciative that you did.

12: Change something about your appearance (only if you want to). For years I have debated changing my hair colour. In January I finally dyed it darker and I LOVE IT! Don’t be scared, the risk might be worth it.

13: Have a work, life balance. You need to enjoy your life and not just have a life all about working. Do things that make you happy and take you away from the mindset of business, professionalism, and working.

14: Change your room around. You most likely spend a lot of time in your bedroom, I know I do. Therefore, I’ve found it really beneficial to change my room around whether its a complete change of colour, moving furniture or small things like buying a plant, putting your TV on the wall. It makes me feel refreshed when there is something different about the place I spend a lot of my time. Jazz it up a bit!

15: Think about what you say before you speak. Very important!

16: Treat yourself every so often. Even though I just said to save money, that doesn’t mean to never treat yourself. You work hard, you achieve things, you’re doing well; treat yourself!

17: School years are actually some of the best years of your life. I HATED school when I was there, but now looking back…wow what it a stress free zone. I miss school, treasure it when you’re there.

18: Say yes to more things. I’m a complete anxious mess most of the time and I struggle to do spontaneous things. I’m very much someone who needs to know what I’m doing next weekend about 2 weekends beforehand. I like a plan and it makes me feel better knowing I have a structure to my life. However, what I’ve realised is that sometimes, spontaneous plans are actually really fucking good plans. Say yes to more, try to get out your comfort zone, do different things you wouldn’t normally do.

19: You don’t need to know your whole life plan by the age of 19. Or 22. Or 30. Take life as it comes.

20: Good things will come your way. At times, even right now, I feel like life is constant crap coming my way. There’s always something new to worry about or stress over. But, even if it takes a while to turn around, life will get easier and better. Good things will come to those who are kind, keep going, never give up, who deserve it.

21: Get over the argument or issue as quickly as you can. Don’t drag on something for days on end. Fix the problem, life is too short to be mad and upset.

22: Be kind.

Trying to work out my career route

As someone who throughout school and education, didn’t have a clue what to do in life as their career, I feel and relate to those who don’t know what is right for them. Do we ever know what is right for us? Whether we are 16 at college or 40 years old and worked in 7 different jobs. Finding the career route that suits you, is a really difficult thing to do.

I’m almost 22 and I started the route into my career 3 years ago. I started as an apprentice, which is a route I would recommend over and over again. An apprenticeship route taught me the ways of working life, made me grow up and be mature, gave me skills I will use forever in life; it was the right route for me. 3 years down the line, I sit back and I think ‘is this what you want to do’. I know some of you will read this and probably think about how young I am still and that I have my whole life ahead of me to figure out what career I want in life. However, I am an ambitious person and even though I may only be in my early 20’s, I still feel this pressure and uncertainty on what I want to do.

It’s okay to feel this way. If you feel overwhelmed with options or confusion of what job route you want to take, then that is okay and it’s totally normal and understandable. The world offers SO many different opportunities out there, that its sometimes too much to cope with.

I think something for me that stands out is the amount of effort I put for the amount I get paid. Money isn’t everything, I get that, I understand that you have to be in a job that makes you happy and you enjoy. However, for me personally, money is a big factor to consider because of the life I want to have and to offer to my kids in the future. Some people only do a job because of the money, but I want to find the balance. I want to work in a career that I wake up every morning excited to do, but also have the money in the bank to go Disney World whenever I wanted. This life is probably want most people want to have.

But, how does one even find this life. I feel so motivated and determined to get into a career that is perfect, but my type of perfect. I love the job I do now but I feel like I need more from it. I want to offer more and have more challenges and weirdly I want to feel more stressed and that I’m this really important business women that you watch on TV series absolutely smashing life. I suppose that’s something that has brainwashed me. This vision that TV series and films give off about careers. But, even though it’s unrealistic, I crave that. I crave the hard work, I crave seeing my work making a change, I want to be paid an amount of money which I think I deserve.

When I sit back and think what I want from life, I know that I’m not currently living that life. I know I need to step out my comfort zone and fight for this life I dream of. I need to put myself out there and show people what I can do. And, if you’re feeling the same as me, then you need to do it too. We need to be able to live our life being happy at work, enjoying what we do. I’m not saying everyday at work has to be the best day of my life, but I want to be appreciated more. I want the credit and I want to know I’m doing a good job.

I need to take the next step into finding what my career route is. Trying new things whether I’m 21 or 55. I want to keep learning and understanding new departments of sectors. I want people who feel the same to do this with me. Step out what you feel comfortable with and go for it. The past year has made me realise that life is too short to be debating changing your career or moving to another company, just go for it!

Do we ever know that we are in the right career, in the right stage of our life, working for the right company? Are most of us just winging it and hoping to get through life without being fired? Are some of us holding back our full potential because we are scared? Are we scared of being ourself in the workplace? Can we be earning more money? Can we be living such a happier working life? Maybe so. Finding the right career for me is something I want to make my mission throughout life. I don’t know how to do this, but I’m determined.

I don’t know what life is going to throw at me – none of us do. I don’t even know specifically what job sector I want to be in. My mind changes ideas constantly. All I know is that I want to be in a career that makes a difference. That helps people. Figuring out a career route isn’t easy. It’s one of the hardest things we all have to go through. But we can get there. We can become the career person we want to. With the right attitude, we can do it.

This blog post is more of a jumble of my thoughts right now. But I had to get them off my chest. This may not help anyone, but it’s helped me. Talking about things and realising things and writing them down, it’s helped. Please, if you’re reading this and you need a chat about your career or whatever, comment below. We can talk together, rant together, motivate each other.

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.

https://www.heygirls.co.uk 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 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
– HIIT
– 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.

How to become body positive

Becoming body positive isn’t something that happens over night. It’s something that takes time and effort to find it within yourself to be positive towards your body. Everyone responds differently to their body and how it makes them feel but I wanted to touch on a few tips that have helped me in my journey of loving my body for what it is. But trust me, it wasn’t easy for me to be body positive and I still have days where I dislike how I look, but that’s okay. It’s a journey and it’s about growing from the down days and loving your body even if the day before you cried over it.

Firstly, I want to say that your body isn’t just about what it looks like. Remember the real importance of your body and how incredible it is. Your body is there to get you through every single day, it experiences everything in your life with you and its there to allow you to live. Whether you’re a size 4 or a size 20, our bodies all have the same reason and meaning behind it. It carries and creates babies, it changes every single year, it grows as you grow. So, remember that your body, everyone’s body has such a bigger meaning in life than just how it looks.

Let’s go through some tips that have helped me on my body positive journey:

Tip 1: Understanding that every body is different

I think the first thing you want to understand is that our bodies aren’t meant to be the same. I know so many people have probably told you this before or you’ve heard similar things but how boring would it be if we all looked the same? Understand that your body is the way it is because that’s how you was created. You was brought into this world to be the shape you are. That doesn’t mean I’m saying to never exercise to make your body the way you want (girl if you want that but to be bigger, then do those squats). But what more of us need to understand is that all bodies are different and that’s okay. It’s okay to have a different body from your bestie or the person you once saw in a nightclub (do we even remember what a nightclub is…this pandemic has been long…). We are different and that’s what makes this world so beautiful and interesting.

Tip 2: Don’t look in the mirror

You may be sitting there reading this thinking ‘how can I be body positive if I don’t look in the mirror???’ Hear me out. A time in my life, I was looking at my body in every mirror and reflection possible.. Did this make me feel body positive? No. In fact, it was probably the lowest I felt about my body. It was constantly on my mind to ‘check’ what my body was looking like, asif it would change within an hour. I’d go to have a bath but spend 20 minutes staring at myself, picking my body apart. It wasn’t healthy. Therefore, if you’re finding that you are always looking at your body to try and find something wrong with it then please, I know it’s easier said than done, but try and take a break from doing this. Whether you decide to remove a mirror from your room, or you get dressed in the corner of your room so you don’t see your reflection; make a change to look at yourself less. You may be surprised the impact it has on yourself and your mind by taking some time away from a mirror.

Tip 3: Don’t buy clothes just because they’re on sale

I’m very guilty of buying clothes just because it’s a bargain. I’d buy a top for £3 because it was reduced. But did I actually like this top? No, not really. I know we all love to grab a bargain when we can and sometimes these bargains pay off SO well for us, but changing your shopping attitudes can really help you become more positive about your body. Take time in deciding what you buy. Try the clothes on. If you order them, try them on twice before deciding whether to keep it. Find clothes that fit you the way you feel most confident. If it’s the case that you love an item but it’s a bit pricey, instead of spending money on other ‘basic’ clothing just for the sake of it, save up and buy that 1 item that could become such an essential in feeling positive in how you look.

Tip 4: Write down what you love about yourself

Granted, I think most of you will read this tip and think ‘there’s no way I’m writing a list complimenting myself’. I get it. A while ago I would be thinking the same. However, don’t write a list of what you love about yourself when you’re in a down mood because it will most likely only make it worse and your mind will make you believe that there isn’t anything you can write down. Maybe instead, wake up one day and before you do anything else, you note down 3 things like you love. It could be that you love how long your eyelashes are, or the size of your thighs. Writing down positives about ourself will be a huge step into your body positive journey. Feel proud about the body you have and hunny, if you have 17 things you love about yourself or even 90 things, then write them down!! Express your love for your body.

Tip 5: If you think exercise will help, then do it

Exercise is an activity that massively helps with mental health and the way you feel about yourself. This isn’t me saying you have to exercise to be body positive because you don’t have to change your body at all to do so. However, some people may find that working up a sweat and buying new gym clothes or going for a 3K run, does wonders for their confidence. When you know you’ve done something that impacts your mental health but also your physical health, it gives you that boost, those few minutes or whole week of happiness because you put in the effort to motivate yourself to sweat it out. Exercise is something that grows my confidence more than I thought it would. But again, exercise isn’t for everyone but if you are debating doing it, even if it’s once a week, try it!

Tip 6: Unfollow them

I’ll leave this as my last tip, and probably for some of you this will be the most important and affective tip. If you are following people who don’t bring you happiness on social media, then get rid. Whether you unfollow them or mute them, if you’re constantly comparing yourself or feeling down when that person uploads a selfie, then do something about it. Stop yourself from feeling down because ‘you don’t look like them’ and unfollow!!! The impact this has is insane. Trust me, if you asked anyone who has gone through their following list and unfollowed the people who don’t bring positivity to their life, they will most likely say it was one of the best things they have done to help their mindset and views on themselves. Follow people who’s posts bring you joy, who make you feel good and inspire you. Stop scrolling through a feed that makes you unhappy. You’re better than that.

I hope these tips make sense and that you find at least one of them useful. I know these tips may be quite ‘common’ but they’re still just as important as the last person who may of mentioned them. These tips are here to help you find your way through your journey of becoming body positive. When you put the time, effort and trust in yourself, you will see a difference.

If anyone else has any other tips or ways that helped you become body positive, please comment them – I would love to hear!