Tag Archives: anxiety

Let’s Talk About Comparisons

Today, I just wanted to talk freely about my problem with comparisons. When I say comparisons, I mean comparing where you’re at in your life to where other people are. Comparing what you’ve done or what you have to other people. Getting jealous or angry or bitter about what you think you lack.

I have a HUGE problem with this, I confess.

One of the things I’m trying out is not beating myself up for comparing or getting jealous, though, because that’s not healthy either. Instead, I’m recognising that I’m doing it, and doing a few things to stop it. This is things like writing a list of what I’m grateful for in my own life. Writing a list of the good things about myself. Writing a list of achievements or experiences that were important. Etcetera, etcetera.

Others things that I do is make sure to smile, breathe, and say that I am happy for that other person. Like my little sister has just spent a month on her own travelling in Thailand. It was an exceptional trip and of course, I’ve felt very jealous. However, when I feel the jealousy seeping in where I just want to scream and block her on Snapchat, I smile and breathe and say, “wow, she’s had an amazing trip, my baby sister, and she deserves it. And my time will come.”

Another great thing to do is put things into perspective. Take my sister as an example again. I know for sure that I wouldn’t have done what she has done. Maybe I could have gone to Thailand alone for a while, but a month? I’m not so sure. Plus, the things she’s done are extraordinary but it’s nice to do those things with someone else (in my opinion), and so I’d rather wait and do them with my partner when we’re able to. See? Perspective. I’ve wasted energy and harmed my mental health by comparing and getting jealous of the fact that she’s travelled alone and done great things when in reality, that’s not what I’d want to do anyway!

We’re all guilty of doing this. We get jealous of what others have; for example, their flashy cars that we wouldn’t even buy if we had the money to do so anyway! Or we compare our simpler lives to people who are out all the time, when in actuality, we may be introverts who don’t thrive in those environments anyway, so it wouldn’t be something that would actually make us happy!

I’ve found myself jealous of people on my social media for having all these friends to party with or whatever, but I don’t even like parties! I don’t need or want loads of friends, either! I love my own space; I thrive in alone time, and so I have friends that I see now and again, and I have my partner who’s there every morning and evening, but other than that – I wanna be alone, man! So, why do I hurt myself with comparisons?

And why do you do it?

When we put them into perspective, we often realise that they make no sense. Even when they are justified, like comparing your B grade to your friend’s A grade, we still can’t allow it to continue. How is comparing and getting sad going to serve you? It’s only going to make you feel rubbish. So, let it happen, but recognise that you’re doing it and stop yourself in your tracks.

Say, “hey, they got an A and I didn’t, but that just means it’s their subject not mine, or they revised harder, or they test well and I don’t. It doesn’t mean I am less-than or that I’m going to fail in life. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Plus, a B is pretty great too!

It is natural to compare sometimes or get jealous, but try these things that I’m trying to do when I get jealous, too:

  • Set goals to help you get what you actually want, anyway, therefore you won’t be jealous because you’ll have it too.
  • Use those people you’re jealous of as inspiration instead of a source of anger.
  • Do a social media cleanse and either get off it or unfollow the people who make you feel jealous and don’t actually serve any good to you.
  • Have visual stimuli for what you want from life, so that you work hard to manifest it, and so that you have something else to focus on instead of people who have what you don’t. This could be dream boards, vision boards, photographs, mindmaps, photos on your phone, quotations, etc.
  • Change the dialogue. Change “I’m so jealous of her/him” to “I want what they have, and I will do this and that to get it” or “I’m happy for them.”
  • Give yourself a reality check. We all know that no one posts about or talks about the problems in their lives. We all share our highlights, our best parts. So don’t compare your internal dialogue, your past, your down days (etc.) to someone else’s social media feed which only features the best parts of their life. There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than you realise.
  • Remember money and material things does NOT equal health and happiness.
  • Remember that you have enough and are enough already. There’s someone out there (probably loads of someones or the very someone that you’re jealous of) who is actually jealous of you and what you have.
  • Stop looking outward, and start looking inward. If you’re focusing on your life, your health and happiness, your wants and dreams, your passions, you won’t have any time left to be looking elsewhere and getting jealous anyway.

If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.

If you want to hire me to write about mental health (or other), then don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Missing Sunglasses Metaphor

Today, I’ve been squinting to the point of a headache due to accidentally leaving my sunglasses at home. It gave me a dreadful headache and dry eyes and generally put me in an even worse mood than I already was, which ruined what could have been a nice day.

But the sunglasses were in my bag the whole time…

My first instinct was to cry in frustration and beat myself up for being so dumb. But then I began to see it as a metaphor.

Something I needed dearly, and would have helped rectify my day to an extent, was with me the whole time. The only problem was, I didn’t look for it.

I had the tools to change my situation, my mood, and my day with me all along.

This is deeply profound because this is so true for all of us and all our lives. Oftentimes, we have the tools and the power to rectify a bad vibe or situation, yet we don’t use them. We don’t seek them. We don’t look passed the bad.

If I’d looked in my bag and remembered that I’m a pretty prepared young woman, who would naturally her sunglasses always in her bag, I could have changed things. My mood would have soothed, even by a little.

Gosh, guys, how silly?!

We need to remember that we always carry with us the tools to help ourselves. There’s truly no need to suffer. Just look within. Just look, and see what you might find…

What Society Thinks of Mental Health

*This is my opinion, taken from my own feelings and experiences and the experiences of people I know who suffer from poor mental health too.*

You should just get over it

Not everyone feels this way, but I’ve heard so many people say that they feel people who suffer from anxiety or depression are simply weak. That they can’t handle their emotions or life in general. “Everyone has bad days, so just move on.”

This isn’t what mental illness is. Anxiety does not equal nervousness. And depression does not equal sadness. I feel that a lack of education about mental health, or a lack of experience with it, would be the only reason why someone would think this way.

It’s not as important as physical health

For me, this is crazy. The thing is, if we care about our mental health more, we will be better equipped to deal with everything else in life, and we will actually be better at looking after our physical health, too. Everything starts in the mind, so, take care of it. Simple.

Mental health = mental illness

When people say mental health, they don’t mean mental illness. Just like when you say physical health, you don’t mean a physical disability. No. Mental health means caring about the state of the mind. Nurturing it, working it, loving it, moulding it. Therefore, mental health is for everyone. Don’t only start caring about mental health once it’s too late and you do suffer from ill mental health.

Mental health practices are for hippies

I’m paraphrasing, but people often think that spirituality or yoga or meditation or mindfulness are hippie dippie techniques. They’re not. Don’t be so closed minded. These things help so many people, ill or otherwise. Ask any successful person in this world, and they’ll tell you that they probably meditate or do yoga or practice some form of spirituality at some point in their week. It helps us stretch the mind, body and spirit and better align them in order to feel stronger and go at life with everything we’ve got. Plus, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. But if they’re really not for you, there’s so many other ways that you can strength your mind on a regular basis to better your mental health.

Mentally ill people are crazy

Crazy is such an awful word. Yes, some point with extreme mental handicaps can come off are unstable, irrational, or impulsive, but ask yourself who is this worse for? You, or them? They have to live with it. It’s their reality and they didn’t ask for it. So who are you to come along and make things worse by calling them crazy?

Plus, mental health issues or mental illness covers a large umbrella of illnesses and disorders, from the common ones like anxiety and depression, then bipolar disorder or eating disorders, as well as the more severe ones like schizophrenia, disassociation disorders, personality disorders, and more complicated ones that some of us haven’t even heard of.

So no, people with poor mental health aren’t crazy. Not all of them are unstable, in fact the majority aren’t, and the ones who are don’t need your judgment – they have enough to deal with. Why not turn it into support or education or simply mind your own business.

It’s not a priority for children

Luckily, this is changing in some schools, but I for one know that my life may have been different if mental health and well-being was practiced or at least talked about in schools. This would help children grow into healthy adults who are better equipped to deal with life’s lashes. Similarly, if the various mental handicaps that can occur in people were taught in schools, students may be diagnosed sooner, feel less judged, be better understood, and generally live a less stigmatised life.

Education is, after all, everything. It can give so much to us, if only it would give mental health more light…

Thank you for reading. You are a part of this society and so if you make a change in your mindset and better educate yourself about mental health, you will be effectively changing the world for the better for future generations.

So, please do…

If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.

If you want to hire me to write about mental health (or other), then don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Remind Yourself That You’re Enough

I know that my mental health weakens when I compare myself to others, get jealous of others, fail or fall short, or don’t do “enough”.

Well, the best way to combat this is to remind yourself that you’re enough. Remind yourself of the awesomeness that you’ve already achieved or seen or experienced.

We can feel like we’re not enough when things aren’t happening right now, but we forget that we had a great experience or achieved something great a year ago or a month ago. Stop being so against yourself. You’re amazing. You’ve done great things, and great things are yet to come…

Remind yourself monthly or every weekly of what you’ve achieved. Of where you’ve been and what you’ve done. Remind yourself that your life as a whole isn’t as bad as you think, just because right now it isn’t sunshine and rainbows.

Let go of expectations. Let go of comparison.

The best way to do that is to not go on social media. I’m trying to start my day by not looking at my phone right away, otherwise I know I’ll probably see someone doing great things on social media and it will make me feel crap and then it’ll set the wrong tone for my day. So you need to not do this, too.

Have a constant list of great things about yourself. A list of achievements. A list of things that make you feel good. And regularly look over this list. I have a “sad times” book that I go to when I feel down and it’s full of quotes that make me feel good, lists of things I’ve overcome and achieved and like about myself, and generally all feel good things. It’s a way to effortlessly remind myself with my own words that I’m okay, I’m good, I’m enough.

Let go. Let it be. Trust in the course of life.

So, if you’re feeling low, remind yourself of what’s real about you and your life. Remember that you’re not alone, not as lost as you think, and not a failure or disappointment. Remind yourself that you’re enough, you’re on a path to something, and growing pains do hurt but it’s a part of the process of growth.

Breathe. Laugh. Live.


If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.

If you want to hire me to write about mental health (or other), then don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Big Fat List of Self-Love & Mental Health Strengthening Techniques

  • Exercise regularly
  • Yoga practice (however and whichever works for you)
  • Meditation (again, however and whenever works for you; sitting in quiet is all you need to do)
  • Eat well
  • Watch your favourite show
  • Favourite film
  • Read
  • Read your favourite book
  • Stretch
  • Plants and nature (in your home, workplace, garden etc)
  • Get outside
  • Go for walks
  • Good music
  • Dance like crazy
  • Baths
  • Aromatherapy
  • Plenty of water
  • Journal
  • Problem solving
  • Reflection
  • Communicate
  • So what you WANT to do
  • Don’t try to fix others
  • Focus on you
  • Quit comparisons
  • Clean up
  • Declutter your space
  • Redecorate
  • Nap
  • Affirmations
  • Go for a destination-less drive
  • Be creative
  • Mindfulness practice (be in the now)
  • Work on setting exciting goals or desires
  • Socialise with good people
  • Play a game
  • Turn off your phone
  • Turn off notifications from social media; avoid scrolling through
  • Make a change; stop moaning, take action for a better, healthier life
  • Help others (without losing yourself or giving too much)
  • Create something or nurture something
  • Be with loved ones
  • Watch inspirational YouTube videos, films, tv shows
  • Listen to inspirational and motivational and educational podcasts and videos
  • Focus on feelings you want, less on goals and changing yourself
  • Speak to a higher being
  • Write a list of good things about yourself
  • Write a list of things you like; make sure you do them more

If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.

If you want to hire me to write about mental health (or other), then don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Mental Health Awareness

When you do the every day/week things that you do for your physical health, be aware that there are many easy ways to do things towards bettering your mental health, too. And you should be doing these things in order to be truly healthy and happy in your life.

So, when you think about doing a basic thing for your physical health, why not think of these things for your mental health, too?

Cardio -> good for mental health, too

Plenty of water -> mindfulness

Walking -> get outside

Muscle work out -> journaling

Moisturise -> meditation

Exfoliate -> yoga

Sun block -> travel

Fruit -> deep, rhythmic breaths

Veg -> discuss feelings

Hair cut -> socialise

Nail trim -> negative thought challenging

Massage -> good for both

Vitamins -> stretch

Doctor check up -> if you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, or odd unnatural thoughts, speak to your doctor

Anti- allergy medication -> soothing baths

Face masks -> change up your environment

Wash hair -> watch something good

Brush hair -> read

Brush teeth -> detach from negative people

Shower -> declutter

Good sleep -> good for both

Dress well -> good for both

Not too much screen time -> good for both

Move throughout the day -> cup of calming tea

Cleaning your ears -> make good plans!

Eyebrows shaped -> travel

More = acupuncture, new experiences, lists, self kindness, favourite things, you-time, and more…

There’s so much more that I haven’t put here that you can try, too. Make these a part of your daily routine and you’re on to a win! Incorporate your own self-care routines into your life, then when the mental health difficulties do come, you’ll be better equipped to deal with it.

You’re As Mad As I Am get your copy here of my self help book here, which helps you cope better with anxiety, depression and stress.

Or if you wish to hire me to write about mental health (or something else) contact me.

Take care.

Our Trip to Portugal: Part Two

Here’s the details from the other half of our trip…

Airbnb

Ever since I decided to travel for myself, I have stayed (or tried to) in AirBnbs. If you’ve never used it, give it a try. You can opt to stay in a house, a spare room, or a shared room depending on your budget. It is the perfect way to travel on a budget because you can get a great little home for half the price of a hotel (at times). And it makes for a unique experience, where you feel like a local rather than a tourist using a hotel.

Our AirBnb was a studio “apartment” with its own mini dining table, mini sofa, microwave, hob, kettle, double bed, sink, big bathroom, small cable tv, amazing entrance with stairs and a mini garden, and it even came was a three-legged dog that we named Champion (this is from a tv show called Parks and Recreation, go watch it; my brother’s girlfriend mentioned it and it just stuck for the whole trip!)

We loved it. It was close to the beach, about a 10-minute drive, and so we ended up going to Praia da Faro 4 times. It had cafes and shops close-by, too. The best thing was that it was close to the airport, so when we had to wake up at 5am, we didn’t have far to go in the Uber to catch our flight.

I am so grateful to Julio, our host, as he suggested we visit Sagres, which is right at the end of the South of Portugal. I had planned for us to drive to Albufeira and Lagos,  but I didn’t think Sagres was close enough to Faro. It was Julio who said it would be worth the 2-hour drive, and so we did it. And he was so right. We saw sights like no other…

AirBnb

Nature

Aside from the food, or perhaps alongside the food, the best thing was the nature we saw. I read a quote recently that said, “Everyone should have themselves regularly overwhelmed by nature.” I feel that it was so apt that I read this whilst we were away, because I was incredibly overwhelmed by what I saw.

I am a very emotional person. I love and hate this about myself. But it was only a good thing that I was emotion when myself and Patrick got out of our car, wrapped up in jackets and jeans, and then ascended the hill to find the most beautiful sight I have ever seen in my life. Sagres, where we were, is called “The End of the World” which is so appropriately named. I felt like I was looking at the end of the world, over the cliffside, and staring out at the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. Seeing the edges of the cliffside, cut by the waves that weren’t vicious, but instead glorious.

I haven’t travelled far. I haven’t seen much. There are so many times that I have felt like the world is against me, and that it is ugly, and that it is unfair. But that view proved me ever so wrong. It showed me that my problems are so, so small. That I am capable of so much more than I realise. And that the world can never, ever be truly ugly. The sea may be cutting those rocks, but in doing so, it is creating something so wonderful. If nature can be that beautiful, how can the cuts from my life be seen as ugly?

Thank you, nature, for showing me that when I truly needed it.

Then Lagos gave us the opportunity to explore and sit amongst the rock formations, looking over the edge at the ocean, the boats, the waves washing over the rocks, and the cloudless sky above. It was…ineffable.

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Communication

We learned a few Portuguese phrases before our trip. These were “hello”, “do you speak English?”, and “thank you”. The whole trip, we said hello and thank you, of course. But we hadn’t yet used our key phrase, “do you speak English?” And so, I made it my duty to do so. When we were ordering our lunch at McDonald’s, I went up to the counter and ever so bravely and fluidly said “Voce fala Ingles?” I felt like a rockstar, I’m not going to lie! The young man smiled and said that he did speak a little bit (which I understood because it kind of sounded like Pequeno which is “a little” in Spanish, which I learned in my GCSEs!)

I loved that throughout the whole trip, I found myself saying “that word’s like such-and-such in Spanish.” My 16-year-old self was coming out, remembering the language I used to love learning. I received a B grade for Spanish in my GCSEs, and apparently, a lot of the words had stuck with me, even if I didn’t realise it. Thank you, Portugal, for reminding me that I love foreign languages. I really hope I can kick myself into gear and start learning more languages and brush-up on the Spanish, French, and Japanese that I already know parts of.

Sightseeing

Of course, no trip abroad is complete without sightseeing. We spend some time on the beach, chilling and reading and having a tussle. We parasailed and went on a boat to see the coastline caves and the vastness of the ocean. But we also had to look around at the monuments, the culture, and the town.

We were staying in Faro, and so we looked around their Old Town. This didn’t take long, as there’s not much to see really. We loved the rickety old trains, the marina, the pastel coloured buildings, the graffiti, the statues, and the cathedral. It was awesome to eat whilst we looked over at the ocean, watching boats bob atop the gentle waves. In Lagos, we looked around their town a bit, too. It was amazing to just wonder and accidentally find hidden gems like cacti, palm trees (huge and miniature), dogs and cats, dirt paths leading to the water’s edge, and gelato shops.

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All in all, Portugal was just what I needed, right when I needed it. I got to relax under the sun, sand in-between my toes and tickling my back. I got to read without feeling like I was getting a quick chapter in before bed or before starting my work. I just got to read unapologetically, with no time limit. I got to not only see the ocean, not only put a foot in the ocean, not only brave the waves of the ocean on a bobbing sickly boat, but also see the ocean from 80m in the sky on the parasailing! That’s pretty incredible.

I got to eat, and eat well. I got to sing along to the radio on the best road-trip-like journeys I’ve ever been on. And most of all, I got to do it all with my best friend. We changed and grew and experienced it all together, which is all I ever want for us. There is no one else I would have wanted to scream with in the air in the parachute or marvel at the rock formations that were Google-picture-worthy.

Thank you for the trip of a lifetime, and here’s to many more!