Happy new year everyone! Are we still saying that? Probably not, but I still feel like the new year is only just getting started.
I’ve spent the last week or so at home, with a cold, not doing an awful lot if I’m honest with you. All the Christmas decorations are down (they still need to go up into the loft) and I’ve been spending a lot of time on the sofa eating up all the left over Christmas food.
At this time of year I always feel like the warm and cosy bubble of Christmas time, spending time with family and friends and the happiness that brings has come to an abrupt end and all of a sudden we find ourselves on the other side of it, exposed to the year ahead but not feeling quite ready for it. Add to that the pressure of making new year resolutions, getting back in the gym, and working freelance I find it easy to find myself feeling anxious and lacking in confidence which can lead to me feeling un happy.
This is something that I’ve worked on over the years, and thankfully I’m able to nip there feelings in the bud, so I thought I’d share with you some tips on how I approach the new year to feel better in myself and avoid any of the ‘January Blue’s’ that the media love to shove down our throats to make us feel even worse!
1. Listen to Audio Books:
If I’m at home on my own, I find that listening to an audio book can really boost my mood and take my mind away from any worries and into a positive and inspired place. I also feel that even if I’m doing the most mundane task, by listening to an audio book I’m using that time wisely and opening up my mind to new ways of thinking. I’ve just finished listening to ‘Happy‘ by Fearne Cotton. Other mood enhancing books I recommend are ‘The Secret‘ by Rhonda Byrne (although I do think some of this one should be taken with a pinch of salt, but over all it’s a very positive book) and ‘Confidence: The Secret’ by Katie Piper which I often return to whenever I feel like a pep talk.
This is something that I’m only just getting back into, because running with a bad chest isn’t fun. But I’m so happy to be starting up again. Even though it’s absolutely freezing outside at the moment and my body feels tight and achey after the lack of exercise over Christmas I know that it’s the right thing to do. I get most of my ideas when I’m out running, and I love getting that daily whistle stop tour of my local area and the changing nature that I would miss out on if I didn’t run.
3. Getting organised:
As I’m spending more time indoors with month I’m using the time to get myself organised and tick off a few of those jobs that I managed to put off all of last year. Really dull stuff like supplying the meter reading that the gas company has been asking for, or organising my contact lens check up. Despite these things being incredibly boring it does give me a sense of satisfaction to tick them off, and I know I’ll feel better when work get’s busy that I don’t have to worry about them.
I’ve also been doing my accounts – many of us who are freelance will have their annual self assessment to do. I’ve found that looking back over the projects I worked on last year to be a healthy reminder of what I’m capable of. It’s so easy to forget what we’ve achieved and what our capabilities are, and this annual ritual of putting invoices and receipts into piles is a comforting reminder of what is amazing and exciting things we can achieve if we put our minds to it. (in between weeping at the amount of money I’ve spent on sandwiches & coffees).
4. Social media and Online content:
I’ve made a conscious effort to examine how I’m using social media recently and the sort of content I’m creating myself online. The start of this year has been atrocious for negativity on both social media and on YouTube. I don’t have any opinions to add myself, as I feel far too much attention has been put on all the negativity which is drowning out other important and positive content, but I did feel incredibly saddened that these platforms are being abused, in turn causing hurt and anger in online communities.
I started my blog as a creative outlet and to meet like minded individuals. Twitter, Instagram and YouTube all go hand in hand with this and I value each of these platforms for the different ways I can interact and share things on. And I want to keep it that way.
Recently I’ve found myself feeling less happy using some of these platforms and I’ve had to examine why and make some adjustments:
I love twitter and particularly the way I’ve been able to interact and strike up friendships with other bloggers on there. It’s a brilliant place for group banter, to throw out a question and to share and discover blog posts or vlogs.
The side I’m not so keen on, is the sharing of negative content with an opinion attached. I don’t have an issue with people for doing this as I know that they just feel very passionate about these things but I find it draining to read and will be avoiding it but using the mute button.
Instagram for me is a place to share pictures of my outfits, beautiful scenery or interiors that I think will inspire other people. It’s also a place that I think I’ve been spending too much time on!
I’ve felt a pressure to post daily grid photos in an attempt to grow my following. This mentality is not healthy – I see so many creators begging for follows to reach a certain number – and really what is the point? I know that the number of followers isn’t going to have any impact on the quality of my content and that is what is important to me, so if I skip a day without posting something I’m not going to worry about it.
I love Instagram stories, it’s such a quick and easy way to share video content, but again it’s an area I need to keep an eye on how I’m using it. It’s so easy to compare when we have a constant steam of other peoples highlights. (I include myself in this, I’m the first person to post a new purchase, a flight abroad or the delicious slice of cake I’m about to eat). And, it’s easy to feel the need to post something just because everyone else is.
An example of this is 2017 highlights that so many people were posting. I have no issue whatsoever with people posting these, I’m all for people celebrating their achievements and reminiscing, and I enjoyed looking at some of the amazing things my friends have achieved which I totally champion. But then afterwards I was left feeling like I should be posting mine too. As though I was going to miss out on something if I didn’t. This is when I had to have a word with myself. Did I want to spend the next half an hour scrolling through my phone in search of photo’s worthy of a highlights reel on my stories, or did I want to get on with my New Year’s Eve? I’d had no intention of doing this before I’d seen everyone else’s so why was I now feeling like I should be doing this? Was it really in my nature to do this anyway?
These are the sort of questions I’ll be asking myself in future if I find myself comparing or feeling the need to post something in a knee jerk reaction to something I’ve seen.
I feel like I’ve rambled a bit, but to summerise, I’m going to attempt to be mindful in my use of social media, keep an eye on how using it is making me feel, and do my best to practice what I preach in sharing inspiring and positive content and avoiding any comparisons, drama and negativity.
5. Travel Planning:
Travelling is a massive part of my life and I always like to have a few trips in the diary to look forward to. I’ve been spending some time thinking about what places I’d really like to visit this year – I’d love to hear of any trips that you have planned or what destinations are top of your list. I’m very fortunate in that my job also involves some travel, so I’m really excited to see what new and exciting places that will take me to. At the moment I’m really keen to go back to New York. I’ve been three times before so I’m not sure if I should prioritise somewhere else that I haven’t been to before – but New York is somewhere that makes me feel so alive and I have a constant desire to return to. And of course, I’m sure I’ll get a cheeky trip to my all time favourite place Monaco!
I hope that you have found reading these thoughts helpful, and that you are feeling hopeful and inspired for 2018. If you aren’t, remember that it’s completely normal to feel a bit daunted and out of the loop at this time of year, and hopefully some of the things I’ve mentioned will help you to take the pressure off and shift your mindset. If you have made any small changes or have any tips for beating the so called January blues I’d love to hear them.