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.

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!