Why We Need To Stop Thinking We Can Do It All

 

There is a lot of debate as to whether stress is good or bad for you, with some people arguing that stress makes me you more productive. Which I don’t dispute.

However, I maintain that too much stress (be it good or bad) still negatively impacts on the body… otherwise we’d be able to handle it and we wouldn’t become physically or mentally ill from it.

I have learnt a valuable lesson this week… that ‘good stress’ is just as bad as ‘bad stress’ – a predicament I’ve never experienced before.

As you may know, I started my new job about 5 months ago now (time flies when you’re having fun!) and I reckon I enjoy it as much as anyone can enjoy a job. It’s the right level of challenging yet rewarding.

Because I’ve been caught up in all the fun, I didn’t realise that the stress of the challenge has continued to impact on my body and as I’ve ended up taking on the role of 3 people’s job this past week, I’ve found myself once again being on the brink of being burnt out.

My memory is shot. I’m in bed by 8.30pm most nights. My epilepsy paranoia is out of of this world. I’ve had migraines. Last week, I had a couple of nights of being inconsolable for no valid reason. I’ve not even attempted to lose weight for the past 3 weeks. My stress management strategies are long forgotten and I’ve had random aches and pains. I accidentally ate yeast because I forgot to check the ingredients before I tucked in. But the most dangerous thing of all… I didn’t realise any of this had happened because I felt happy.

I assumed because I was mostly enjoying the challenge, it wasn’t stressing me out. However, once again I’m left wondering whether long term, working as a therapist is the right job for me.

For now, I’m off to chill out and try and regain control over my life. Starting off with car insurance. Because the joys of adulthood never stop.

5 Top Tips To Achieving a Work/Life Balance

Within the therapy world, a phrase you will often here is ‘at 3am this idea popped into my head’ or ‘I was sitting on the loo when an idea popped into my head’ or ‘I didn’t mean to check my emails at 1am but I couldn’t sleep’.

Being the heartless person I was, I always prided myself on the fact that I was very good at stopping thinking about work the minute I left the office.

However, with my most recent job, there isn’t often time to think of bright ideas during the day and I’m working with very complex cases which has resulted in the cogs never quite turning off (including managing to infiltrate regularly into my dreams). The heart seems to have defrosted a little as well. Grr.

As a result, I am feeling run down, struggling to stick to my weight loss plan, grumpy and getting home and collapsing on the sofa.

By the time I get home, I’ve been on the go for 10 hours and I just end up thinking about how much work I have to do tomorrow or next week. I sit on the sofa and collapse into a heap from 5.30PM til 9.30PM.

I have of course also been neglecting The Healthy OT which I want to continue working on and watch flourish. I’m generally feeling quite frustrated with it all. I never have quite enough brain power to think about what to write, or how to build and develop what I’m trying to achieve.

For the past week, I have managed to find brain space to spend some time generating a plan for how I’m going to combat a better work/life balance, so here goes:

1) Exercise (and stretch): a classic go to solution for everything ha! I do find exercise really wakes me up but I really need to persevere with just doing it the minute I get in from work. I would like to be exercising 4 times a week (as I’m currently watching my posture crumple before my very eyes with limited exercises focusing on improving my posture at the moment) and 2 of those times can be done at the weekend. Additionally, if I’m stronger, moving around will be easier and therefore more energy efficient.

Plan: exercise on a Tuesday and Thursday the minute I get in from work (2 x 25 minute HIIT).

2) Have a bath: I know baths are known for relaxation, but for a small group of us, they are known to wake us up and I am one of those people. Our bath takes FOREVER to run but that gives me 25 minutes to collapse on the sofa, get in the bath and then another energy burst for the evening 👌

3) Focus on pushing ‘work’ thoughts out my head – probably the best method for this is to add more tiny hobbies in such as reading, listening to music, getting involved in a box set or generating ideas for a blog post etc. I’m SO bad for thinking of a million different topics at once instead of focusing on one thing, which puts me at higher risk of letting work thoughts slip into my head. I need to commit to what I’m doing in the moment and not think of anything else.

4) Incorporate more healthy fats into my day and meal prep: yes you can eat fat when trying to lose weight! I find that my diet tends to consist of more saturated fat than unsaturated (and they’re the bad fats), so I need to try and add more nuts, seeds, avocado and coconut oil into my day.

Meal Prep: this may seem quite random and abstract (hence the mention of a million thoughts but go with this). I’m often so tired in the evening that I can’t always be bothered to cook what I had planned and this can throw my calories off. I then get annoyed that I can’t just stick to my weight management plan and then end up being frustrated. If meal times were covered and designed to give me a good energy boost and nutritional intake, then I could steadily be losing weight without having to think about it, allowing more brain space to think about other fun things!

5) Get up earlier: I’ve got into a terrible habit of hitting the snooze button and getting up at the last possible minute. I did wake up naturally at 6.15am the other day and I got out of bed and what a difference it made. I got to work 25 minutes early which meant I could leave earlier and have more of an evening!

And I know I said 5 top tips but here’s a free 6th tip:

6) Be less grumpy.: I’m not known for being grumpy. I’m not having any negative thoughts, but I’d like to be able to achieve more leisure activities during the week. I’m just so exhausted that I’m also being slightly more blunt when communicating with other humans. I don’t need the worry about offending people on top of everything else! I’m just going to chill out, take each day as it comes and focus on myself more than work.

Embrace You

“Two things you need to give up: 1) Processed food 2) Processed people”

I was recording a vlog earlier (before I got struck down properly with Tonsillitis) and what started off as a discussion about happiness and gratitude, ended up going into a full on rant about no one being happy because we are forcing each other to do things we don’t want to and be people we don’t want to be. I’ll probably have to re-record as to not offend 😂

In this instance I’m referring to the dieting, fitness and fashion industries. What started off as ‘this is how I get muscles’ or ‘this is how I lost fat’ has become a competition for trying to be brand ambassadors for active wear or protein powder and is no longer about encouraging each other to be healthier.

As I spend my days trying (and failing) not to be generic online, I have come to realise the pressure there is to be just like all the others that have made their social media fame.

The majority of these people landing the huge days with major fashion brands (fashion influencers too), come across as being straight out of the factory, and almost robotic in their opinions (and with great bodies).

Of course you stumble across the odd gem who has stuck to their guns and continued to show their personality (and they are my heroes), but you can easily understand why young people are feeling like massive failures because they aren’t conforming to social media’s expectations.

The reality is that to be robotic is a costly and time consuming process which most of us can’t possibly achieve whilst going to school/working full time. These influencers also tend to hire their own photographers to get the best photo, and sell the contents of their home for their ‘hauls’.

Sadly the algorithms favour these people making them an easy spot for big brands. However, rather than sacrificing our young people’s mental health to conform to a computer, why don’t we make the algorithm conform to young (and older) people expressing their own individuality.

The reason I set up my social media identity was ALWAYS to be (dare I say it) ‘the best version of myself’, but never did I say that that would be the best version of myself based on society’s expectations. I would be a massive hypocrite as an OT (which is a therapy based on what’s meaningful to the person), to try to conform and quite frankly, I don’t really want to.

I vow to maintain my identity online – do you care to join me?

2018… You Have Been Weird

I know… I’m rubbish. Since starting my job in October, this blog has taken somewhat of a hit. I’m sorry!

However, as we fast approach 2019 (and yes one of my resolutions is to crack on with this again), I thought it would be rather apt to look back on the past 12 months and think ‘WTF WAS THAT?!’

I won’t bang on about how rubbish the first 10 months of this year were… there are many many posts about that. What is super weird though is how the year is ending. In the past 3 months, miracles have occurred.

I started my new job which I adore. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. I wish I could tell you where it was and what it involved, but alas I cannot. However, I’m still an OT and it’s all going rather splendidly. That was a close one guys.

I have completed by Advanced Diploma in Nutrition and Weight Management which has proved very useful. It is very challenging not to become embroiled in the dieting industry on Instagram… every diet has an excellent sales pitch. However, I will be doing my best in 2019 to follow what I have learnt from this course. Of course, I would love to be rocking my active wear with my belly out by tomorrow, but firstly, let’s be realistic and I also want to incorporate healthy habits into my daily life to ensure I enter my elderly years in the best way possible.

The final and best thing that’s happened this year however, is the change in my attitude to life. Now I know… When I used to hear people speak of daily gratitude I was the first to do an eye roll and think it was all a load of tosh. Just ask my friends. HOWEVER, when it was all going a bit wrong, I really started working on being grateful for what I had and let go of all the dreams to own this, that and the other because I had to for my sanity. Now don’t get me wrong. There were many days when I sobbed on the phone to my Mum asking her what was the point in working so hard to lose it all. I am only human. However I started listening to podcasts on Mindfulness, being thankful for what I had e.g. my incredibly supportive family and friends and REALLY worked hard on not trying to freak out.

And I’m now a completely different person. I’m not afraid to say I feel content and at peace for the first time in as many years as I can remember. Granted there are more awkward silences because I have nothing to moan about, but it’s a small sacrifice.

Of course, I still go on Right Move daily and spend my days on Instagram trawling through millions of photos of dogs. I have put on a few lbs but it is another resolution to get that weight off ASAP. But I’m not sitting here beating myself up too much. To have maintained until December is a small miracle in itself after the turmoil this year has brought.

My life is far from perfect but the reality is, perfection doesn’t exist. As I’ve said before, as long as there’s a roof over your head, food on the table, water to drink and you’re surrounded by loved ones, you don’t really need much more than that.

I won’t miss 2018 by any stretch of the imagination, but I can only hope that it has equipped me with everything I need to have an amazing 2019!

 

My Perception of the World Has Changed

I can only apologise for the lack of posts since starting my job. I’m so mentally pooped when I get home, it’s so hard to try and think of what to have for dinner not alone write a half decent blog post.

If you’ve kept up to date with my blog, you will see that during my time of unemployment I really worked hard on myself to shift my negative mindset into a more positive one. At the time I wondered if I would ever truly commit to my new thinking style… it worked in the moment but it didn’t feel real that I had changed my mindset forever.

Now I’m back in the real world and my new mindset is still very apparent. It’s also being challenged on a daily basis. I appreciate I was given a (somewhat stressful) opportunity to work on myself, and not many people get that chance and it’s so easy to see who is on the brink of needing a time out and who isn’t.

I work in a very emotive environment and it’s hard to resist getting sucked into that. But so far I’m able to identify the days that I might be slipping into old habits and work on changing to stay in my more positive mindset.

If only it was so easy for losing weight 😂

The reason I don’t want to go back to my old habits is that they are pretty darn stressful and can make life quite miserable. I’m enjoying being grateful and without meaning to oversimplify things, I wonder if that’s where most of us are going wrong. What we are not appreciating is that being positive is so much less stressful than being negative.

We aren’t grateful so we always want more.

We struggle to ‘get’ more because life gets in the way (inflation, breakdown of relationships, loss of jobs etc)

We then are hard on ourselves because we have failed to get more.

For example, Tim and I were discussing the cost of phone bills last night. When I took out my first phone contract back in 2006, I paid £30 a month for an all singing all dancing contract. Now a basic contract is around £36 and people will happily pay out £40-50 for the new iPhone. We personally could not justify spending that much to keep up with the latest trends and if we were 10 years younger this might really get to us.

Our question is….when did it become okay to pay these prices – and paying for something that is impacting on our social skills and mental health?

Don’t get me wrong, I spend hours on my phone, but it’s an interesting concept.

The one downside to this shift in mindset is that I find it harder to empathise with people’s problems that aren’t actual problems.

I appreciate that all problems are very ‘real’ in the moment to that person. But when you are able to stand back and say ‘how much of a problem is this in the grand scheme of things?’ then it’s altogether a very different story.

People still come to me for advice and their problems aren’t that significant but because they are so consumed in all the stuff they don’t have, they are forgetting to look at what they do have, and it can be quite frustrating to listen to.

I maintain that if you have a roof over your head, food on the table, people that love you – then you are winning. On top of that, if you have a job that pays the bills and gives you a little spending money – then that’s the real lottery.

For the next week I challenge you to write down three things a day that you are grateful for… they don’t have to be elaborate. It can be thing such as ‘having toothpaste to brush my teeth with’. Not everyone has that luxury.

Just A Little Life Update

I am very aware that it’s been AGES since I’ve blogged or vlogged but I am pleased to inform you that I am back!

Why the absence?

Well I started my new job which I am loving BUT have been absolutely knackered after not working for four months. But because it’s in a school, it’s been half term this week and I am feeling refreshed and ready to go again. Although it’s 9 weeks til the Christmas holidays which is going to be a challenge!

In addition to this, my chronic sinusitis got OUT OF CONTROL but I am back on antibiotics and have finally been given a nasal spray on repeat prescription. I can’t tell you how much this excites me!

I’ve been suffering with ‘chronic rhinosinusitis’ (the official diagnosis) for 3.5 years so I am known for my constant sniffing and nose blowing. But it had reached the point where my runny nose was waking me up repeatedly throughout the night, I was sleeping for almost 9 hours a night and generally felt like crap. On Monday night I had a minor breakdown (and did feel stupid for crying over a snotty nose but it’s like having a constant cold) and booked my doctors appointment the following day.

I am having considerable urges to get my YouTube channel going – it’s been on mind ALL week so one will definitely be up by Sunday night. The first video is already up but a few weeks have passed with no further uploads. It’s just so scary!

I have finally got myself in a head space for watching what I eat and exercising again. It’s only day 3 but it’s the longest I’ve lasted in AGES. I’m officially declaring that I WILL graduate from the Joe Wicks 90 Day SSS Plan. I’ve been completing my nutrition course and Joe pretty much nails it from a nutrition point of view and feeding for exercise and whilst so much is going on I thought it would be better for someone to tell me what to eat whilst I get back into the swing of working and continuing with my blogging/vlogging life.

I have put on 14lbs since my lowest weight and 9lbs since my wedding and boy can I feel it. But what is SO refreshing is knowing I’m sticking to the plan and not thinking ‘argh another day that I’ve ruined by eating biscuits!’ – it’s such a better place to be and as I’ve spent the week catching up on Instagram, there’s SO many posts of people saying ‘I’m such a failure – I just can’t stop eating’. How did we all end up in this mess??

I’ve already decided that life after Joe Wicks (i.e. in 87 days time!) that I am definitely going to be sticking to whole foods and cooking from scratch. I probably won’t continue to count exact macros because YOLO, but after a few weeks of eating rubbish, my heart lies with the natural stuff – I’m all about dem micronutrients.

Now that I’m close to completing my course in nutrition, I’m probably going to start adding a bit more of this stuff either to my YouTube channel or this site… I just don’t think the importance of micronutrients are discussed enough! People try their hardest to explain, but I think it’s that embroiled in jargon and being fashionable that people lose interest and because of all the cheese (not actual cheese, but the happy smiley people) that the message just doesn’t get across.

Anyway, you will be pleased to know that I’m going to get into the habit of scheduling my posts. I’ve spent so many hours formulating the concept of TNL and looking into how to get into coaching that I don’t want it to go to waste!

For once I’m feeling in a really good place so it’s time to get productive!

 

Do We Really Need A Side Hustle?

I will openly confess that from 2012 until earlier this year I was living under a rock and it still terrifies me how I managed to miss SO much of what was going on in the world.

Despite having accounts with YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, I remained oblivious to the rise of vloggers and influencers and that 20 year olds were becoming millionaires as a result of their #sidehustle.

In fact, it’s only within the past two months that I became aware that the ‘side hustle’ is a thing that real people do, and I’m truly hoping you won’t have a clue what I’m talking about (you know, to make me feel better).

In the unlikely event you too have been living under a rock, a side hustle is extra income – be it selling your clothes on eBay, setting up your own mini business, making money online – whatever it is.

Social media’s version is that you turn your passion into your side hustle and your side hustle gradually becomes your main hustle and you quit your day job. And obviously that remains the dream. But essentially, the rule is that you shouldn’t rely on your main income to fund your life and that you should always have back up finances, either to pay off existing debt, pay for holidays or trips, pay for your designer shoes – whatever it is.

When I was at school, this wasn’t a thing. The main goal was to find a 9-5 Monday to Friday job that would be able to let you pay off debt, pay your bills, allow you to save and allow you to live. You didn’t need to do anything else. And when I saw that the starting salary for a therapist was £21000 and at the time the typical graduate post was £18000, I was on to a winner.

Errrr, no.

In reality, unless you work as a successful stockbroker or you’re Simon Cowell, it’s unlikely you are going to afford life this way and I really wish someone had told me this sooner. Since qualifying in 2014 (which really isn’t that long ago), there have been more months than not where I’ve had £50 disposable income PER MONTH. I found myself selling clothes on eBay and books on Amazon, but I saw it as a way to declutter rather than make money – the money was just a bonus and my credit card typically benefited from it rather than me.

For the average Joe, pay rises are not matching inflation and therefore our disposable income is becoming less and less. Meanwhile, ‘influencers’ and general advertising are encouraging us to spend more and more (I really need to stop hating on social media ha!)

A prime example is the Maltesers Shrinkflation gate – I may have well mentioned this before because I feel very passionately about it!

When I was a child, a large packet of Maltesers were 175g

In 2018 they are 93g.

Price reduction to match? No.

No wonder I’m skint.

Why Else Should I Set Up A Side Hustle?

Money aside, there are plenty of other reasons to set up a side hustle. For me, I’ve found it an amazing outlet to provide unwanted advice. In my defence, a lot of friends do come to me for advice, but now I can impose it globally! Ha.

In all seriousness, up until this year I was consumed by the therapy I had chosen to pursue. I’ve never been an extreme workaholic, but I was too passionate about my job and I found the ‘red tape’ frustrating. If I had known that there were other ways I could use my enthusiasm for health and wellbeing, it would have saved me a lot of heartache.

It’s incredibly easy to start dabbling with most side hustles, depending on what you want to do. If you want to set up an online business then social media is free, you can record decent podcasts straight from your phone, you can set up a website with a shopping cart for next to nothing (well, less than you’d think anyway). If you want to offer a local service e.g. babysitting or dog walking, it’s easy to print off a few leaflets and distribute them.

It’s also great for interacting with people that you wouldn’t normally. As each day I come a little bit closer to being the next Oprah, I chat to more and more people (okay, it’s like 1 extra person a week but still, Rome wasn’t built in a day!). It’s SO refreshing to speak to people outside of my direct profession but still have an interest in health and wellbeing and these are people I would never have the opportunity to chat with otherwise.

I think it’s fair to say that until the past few years there has been the belief that you either worked in a 9-5 job or you were an entrepreneur but never both. But maybe there’s benefits to being both. Just remember though – burnout gets you nowhere so plan wisely how you would make it work!

 

 

 

It’s Only A Setback

It’s fair to say that these past 7 days have been somewhat of a rollercoaster, but I’m choosing to ignore the couple of days of tears and focus on the fact that my mind has taken in SO much information.

It all started when I was introduced to The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris. It was 99p on Amazon so obviously I downloaded it within about thirty seconds.

Now some of this stuff I have thought about previously and dismissed. I wouldn’t say I lack confidence in my thoughts but before I created this blog, who could I share them with?

So what has Russ taught me?

Happiness is not a destination and it’s not a constant. We are always chasing something we will never achieve and we wonder why we are all feeling a bit mopey! We associate happiness with success and therefore because we don’t all live like a Kardashian, we are quite simply failing at life. Research has even shown that people who chase happiness are more likely to experience depression.
Let’s think about it… let’s set up the generic fairy tale. Big house, happily married, two typically healthy children, two fancy pants car in the drive, holiday home in some exotic destination and two well-paid dream jobs. You know the kind.
Except the boiler has broken, one of the kids shoved their Barbie down the toilet, the other kid has a sickness bug. One of the cars has a flat tyre, there’s a hurricane headed towards your holiday home, and one of your jobs is under threat. Depending on how we let negative, stressful, worrisome situations affect us, it could just be the Barbie or the boiler that tipped the scale for us to think ‘I can’t cope. I just want to be happy’. Alternatively we could be in a position to accept and cope with all the above and still find some happiness. After all, the boiler and the toilet can be fixed, the kid will recover (my language here demonstrates how ready I am for motherhood), there’s a spare tyre in the garage, the hurricane could be downgraded before it reaches your home, and you can afford to live off one wage if you need to. You have your partner, two children, your health and you live near the beach (nature is good for you).

In addition to this, two other significant things happened.

On 5th September 2018 was our first wedding anniversary. For some reason (including PMS), I was overwhelmed with emotion. I wasn’t sad – I just felt so incredibly lucky to have Tim in my life that it made me cry like a baby. Tim found it all quite amusing.

Anyway on my personal Facebook page I did the traditional ‘go us’ post, but it felt insignificant just to say ‘Happy Anniversary Bae’ after all he’s done for me. I let down my guard and summarised the year we have experienced and the reaction it had was very strange. People who I haven’t spoken to for years started sending messages of support and private messages of ‘if you ever want to talk’. But I wasn’t looking for sympathy or support – I was just stating that I was grateful for Tim. It was very kind of them don’t get me wrong – but their messages  made me feel like I was on the brink of being sectioned. However, what was more surreal was that I also had messages thanking me for being so open and that these people who appeared to have all their s*** together could relate.

Secondly, two things happened to me last Thursday. I was having a down day because of my never ending job saga and had a little bit of a meltdown. Sobbing. Standard practice. Once my mood started to lift after about EIGHT hours (I cried for about 30 minutes in total), I was relaying my woes to various friends and each one of them told me to be more positive and stop focusing on the negatives.

Now if I’m honest, I’m quite proud of how I’ve managed these past 4 months. I’ve self-rehabbed from burnout. I’ve worked on having a more positive approach to life. I’ve been working on my blog, plucking up the courage to start doing vlogs, planning a podcast, completing a nutrition course, learning a wealth of information on coaching, learning to live on a shoestring and developed and evolved the concept of TNL out of thin air. Now I know my friends meant well, but on the same day I was reading The Happiness Trap and how happiness is not a constant, and it got me reflecting on what my friends had said.

We feel an array of emotions on a daily basis – worry, happiness, stress, love, sadness, anger… yet I felt like there should have been some official diagnosis for me because I was showing something that wasn’t happiness.  Now I know that they weren’t telling me to ‘man up’ and that they do just want me to be happy, but I felt an added pressure that I had to hide my stress and worry and put on a  smile to appease others. And if you know me, that’s not my strongest trait.

It got me reflecting on the mental health movement. Now please don’t get me wrong – I think it’s excellent that we are talking about mental health, that people are coming forward saying they’ve experienced mental health problems, and I am in no way trying to undo any of that hard work. I openly admit that my mental health can be a bit dubious at times, most notably in 2008 and 2014, but there have only been a handful of times in my life that I have had genuine cruel thoughts about myself. I have never had any suicidal thoughts, and even over the past 4 months I have cried because I was exhausted, angry and most recently frustrated, but never because I felt hopeless. I would truly feel uncomfortable saying that I was in anyway experiencing depression or anxiety.

The problem that I now feel is possibly arising is that by normalising mental health problems, we are increasing the pressure on us to feel happy all the time. You can’t possibly ‘get out of the wrong side of bed’ anymore and surely this is going to start creating a vicious cycle of chasing happiness, thus increasing the likelihood of depression?

Following on from that I started listening to a couple of podcasts – one of which is called Crappy to Happy. Cass and Tiff (the hosts) were discussing the idea of ‘threat’ versus ‘challenge’ and how even though technically we are pooping our pants in both situations, we react very differently depending on how we categorise the situation. During this same episode they mentioned the word ‘setback’ and I can’t really tell you how the podcast finished because my mind went down a rabbit hole.

For some reason when the word ‘setback’ filtered into my auditory system, everything fell into place. Generation #liveyourbestlife have stopped talking about setbacks.  We are too busy constantly striving for success and we have forgotten to admit that setbacks happen and that’s perfectly okay.

For me, I’m half jobless (don’t even ask), we may have to move, we are utilising our savings to stay afloat. It’s a significant setback, yes. But I haven’t failed. My marriage won’t fall apart (I’ve had that dream four times this week). We may have to move to a smaller abode but we won’t be homeless. We have our health (mostly). I look around our flat and although we have had to sell some stuff, we still have plenty of crap knocking around.

We are experiencing a setback.

Everyone I know is experiencing some kind of setback… a relationship that fell apart, a loss of a job, health problems, financial problems (probably should have put that first), fertility problems, but not one of them have said ‘yeah so this is a setback.’ I’m very aware that a lot of my friends only speak to me in a crisis (which is fine), so I do hear a lot of ins and outs of people’s lives that others don’t have the privilege of hearing. But because of this, everyone has been quickly chasing something to fill in the gaps that have suddenly been created to make sure that they remain looking like they’re ‘on track. In addition to this none of us possess any patience anymore (not that I ever did) to let the storm pass.

I am lead to believe that only 10% of our ‘happiness’ is created by the situation that we are currently in and for the first time in my life I would agree with that number. Yes I become frustrated that we have no cash to go beyond necessities, and my faith in the human race is not at an ideal level, but there are still a lot of positives in my life and I may be 90 before this setback is over, but I trust that one day it will be over.

The Pressure of Social Media

Since announcing to close friends and family that I would like to incorporate health and wellbeing coaching into my messy and convoluted career, I have seen a slight surge of people messaging asking me for life advice.

Getting it free whilst they can you see. Jokes.

But as I’ve spent many nights sitting there with two or three people messaging me with the same problem, I’ve often found myself thinking ‘wouldn’t it be nice to address this on YouTube or on a podcast’. Once thing is for sure… it would save my thumbs from early onset arthritis.

The problem is I don’t feel like I belong in the realms of social media. I’ve spent a lot of time watching health and fitness YouTubers, judging some of them on the rubbish they come out with, but because I don’t conform to the expectations (mainly Instagram) have set, I feel like I’m inviting myself to a party I’m not welcome at.

However, as I’m all about early intervention and prevention (and the fact I was only half joking about my thumbs), I’m going to have to suck it up because my people need me.

Now yes I have felt the pressures of being skinny, but when I did lose weight it wasn’t massively intentional at that exact moment in time and what shocked me the most was not only my new found confidence but also how WELL I felt. It’s especially obvious now whilst I’m carrying a little extra beef that my frame just isn’t cut out for carrying too much excess weight. In addition to this, I’m not someone who wears much make up because on the whole my face isn’t too offensive (IMO), I can’t overly be bothered to straighten my hair and I always chip my nail varnish so I don’t bother wearing it. Some may say I’m either very lazy or very confident. We’ll pretend it’s the latter shall we?

What I’m trying to say is that I can see there’s room for improvement but I’m not offensive to the naked eye. Yet I’m still pooping my pants about putting my face on the internet.

You see I feel like I’m trying to fit in with the cool kids even though I wouldn’t even put myself in the same category. I find myself wanting to earn their approval despite their unhealthy attitudes to health and fitness (not all of them I’d like to clarify). Why is this?

As Sarah’s Day states ‘act confident and no one will question you’ and the irony is she’s the one YouTuber who has not yet offended me with her approach to health and fitness. But on the flip side, she’s there filming herself in contortionist positions, having cured her own acne and owning the cutest dog on the planet whilst living next door to the beach in Australia. Yet she sits there describing herself as a ‘normal’ person.

And don’t even get me started on trying to break the ‘gram. I’m not sure what they want from me. And Twitter is a strange place.

But what I’m trying to get at is that despite some insecurities I have, I’m not battling anything major yet I feel significantly intimated by social media. So what about those that do feel they need to conform to what’s on Instagram and YouTube? I know teenage mental health was recently linked to Instagram (of course, which many defended) but I can see it. It’s setting this precedent that you have to have a gorgeous giant house, a partner with the body of an Adonis, a cute dog, a Mac Laptop, only the most expensive brands of clothing and makeup and an insane body.

What Instagram isn’t showing is that the people who have giant houses aren’t your average earners or had some inheritance knocking about; these people with Adonis bodies spend hours in the gym with their personal trainers and have meal plans sent to their doors. Additionally their job is social media so don’t have to worry about that plate of cakes sitting in the staff room. The dog cost well over £1000. The Mac Laptop is goals but still costs another £1000+, and that people modelling the clothing and makeup get it for free.

As pretty as it all looks, it’s not real life. That’s why we desire it. But whilst the influencers continue to describe themselves as ‘normal’, the rest of us will have to just continue living our inferior lives.

Life Update: 4 Months Later

It is 4 months since I started this blog (where does the time go?) and I thought it would be a good time to reflect now that hopefully I have come through the other side.

If you’ve not read my blog before you may not know that my career and I went through a bit of a breakup back in April/May time… we both said a lot of stuff and it was hard. Mostly because I didn’t know what direction to turn in next.

The biggest problem of all wasn’t the clients I was working with – they hadn’t done anything wrong; it was some of my colleagues. They were ruining everything, including my mental health.

Since then a fair few tears have been shed. My mental health did take the plunge initially but I refused to be defeated and with the support of Tim, my family and my friends I’m turning a corner, especially after I managed to get some closure.

Despite all the fun stress of being unemployed and feeling lost; what scared me the most was how much life I had missed since 2012. Some of it very superficial, some less so. As part of being a therapist I often preach about occupational balance but in fact realised that I had very little balance myself. I’d shut down all my hobbies and I couldn’t even remember what my interests were! Somehow, despite making the vow that I would never do this, I had been consumed by my job.

In addition to (re)discovering the gym, watching ALL of the vlogs on YouTube, learning the ins and outs of our finances and learning to live on a tight budget, I am now starting to develop my own business – something I was never brave enough to do prior. It’s still very much a baby whilst I try to work out legal stuff, but considering Telle’s Nutritional Life wasn’t even a thing, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s slowly forming. One thing that’s very important to me is that I don’t want to force it.

I now also have an almost full time other job that’s going to let me be more of a therapist than I have been in a while and let me develop in a way I couldn’t have done whilst working as my actual job title. In addition to this, the hours are perfect for giving me time to focus on TNL and my pay cut is barely noticeable.

My relationship with Tim is stronger than ever and I admire him more than I thought possible. I won’t gush about him on here because no one wants to read that but he is annoyingly perfect.

The biggest thing I have learnt is that you actually can’t control anything and in some ways it’s surprisingly comforting (for the most part). I learnt that I can be the friendliest, smiliest, confident (but not arrogant), knowledgable candidate for a job yet still won’t get it because of that pesky internal candidate. I learnt that you can be exceptionally resourceful when you need to be. I learnt that going for a walk in the middle of nowhere makes you realise how much we generate our own stress and that life doesn’t need to be that complicated. I realised that living in Scotland with Tim means more to me than my career. I realised that sometimes we just have to wait for our dreams to come true (and sometimes this wait may have to be a decade or so). Finally I learnt that being a ‘realist’ or ‘pessimist’ has literally got me nowhere in life. I had spent my life preparing for failure because I didn’t think I could cope with the disappointment. I now partly think that instead, I had been setting myself up for the moment where I came close to losing my career, my home and my savings.

For whatever reason I have discovered positivity (of which many people who know me think I’m faking). But genuinely… we can choose to be happy in life or we can choose to be miserable. I was placing too much emphasis on the wrong things instead of realising we only have one life to live and that we should try and make it a good one.