Slowing Down

I think it’s important every now and then to slow down. I think it’s okay to look at the way you’re spending your time and think about if there’s anything you’d like to change. If you’re not enjoying something right now, and it’s something you’re able to change, it might be worth doing so.

I love writing this blog. It’s given me a space to clear my head, to share my thoughts, and even though I don’t have the biggest follower count I love hearing the messages from friends and readers telling me that something I wrote struck a chord with them or they agreed or it made them think or made them happy. I don’t want to stop writing this blog.

Unfortunately, lately I’ve been feeling a little… stumped. A little short on time. Trying to force out two blog posts a week (which, I know, is a lot less than many other bloggers already write) isn’t working for me right now. I feel like I’m not dedicating the time I want to the things I’m writing because I simply don’t have the time to do so. I think trying to force out more posts is having an overall harmful effect on the quality of my writing. That’s why I’ve decided it’s time to make a change.

As it’s the beginning of a new year, I think it’s the perfect opportunity to mix things up. I’m going to be cutting down for a little while to one blog post a week, and it’s looking like it’s going to be on a Monday. This will give me time to properly dedicate to writing the things I want to discuss, but it also leaves me with more time to focus on my creative writing endeavours. Writing fiction is my passion and it’s fallen by the wayside a little as of late.

I’m by no means giving up on this blog. Rather, taking my break over Christmas made me realise that the more time I give myself to think, the better the quality of my blog will be. It wasn’t the longest or the fanciest post, but my last post on New Year’s Resolutions was absolutely one of my recent pieces that made me the most proud.

With so much coming up in my life over the next month, I definitely think it will be beneficial to my mental wellbeing if I feel a little bit less crowded and rushed and short on time. Cutting my blogging in half opens up a lot of extra hours!

I hope to see an improvement in the pieces I produce over the coming weeks. And this is by no means necessarily a permanent change! But right now, I think it’s the right choice.

Until next time, stay cool!

-K

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Blip.

Yesterday, I had what I can only think to refer to as a ‘blip’. I was eating food with my friends and I was having a lovely time (albeit I was feeling a little worse for wear after coming down with a bit of a cold), and then, rather abruptly, my head started to feel a little swimmy and everything seemed a bit heavy and just generally off. This happens sometimes. When asked why I was being so quiet, I responded, with a shrug, “I just feel a bit quiet.”

A few years ago, I had a really rough, difficult time, and I went to the doctor and I made some huge life changes and things got a little bit easier. Thankfully, since then, things haven’t been quite that bad, but sometimes things get a little bit off again. Sometimes they last for days or weeks and sometimes it’s just a few hours. I always feel a little bit guilty and I tend to keep it mostly to myself – I don’t want to worry anyone and I feel like it’s my responsibility to take care of myself. I must be doing a good job of it, because people have commented on how I have it “so together” and I never seem to have any problems, and all I can do is laugh and smile awkwardly and say, “Yeah, I mean, not really, but thank you.”

But the thing is – it doesn’t have to all be down to me. I know that I shouldn’t feel guilty about this, and I remind other people of this constantly, but when it comes to me I have a hard time accepting help without feeling like an inconvenience. This is silly. I am not an inconvenience, and the people around me don’t see me as such. Anyone who does has been cut off; lopped off like the dead ends of bleached hair.

I do feel bad admitting I’ve been sad when I’ve been doing nice things with good people. I feel as if I’m letting everybody down – but it can’t be helped. Sometimes we get sad. It’s okay.

If you feel like you need to see a doctor, then you should see one. Being taken seriously by your doctor can definitely help you feel like your feelings are valid, and they are. When you start believing that your sadness is valid and important and real, it becomes easier to deal with. You’re no longer dealing with something that you’re denying is true.

If you aren’t comfortable enough to see a doctor, then talk to someone you trust. Just having someone assure you that what you’re feeling is important can give you the courage to take steps to change it.

My blip didn’t last long this time. Sure, I’m feeling sorry for myself today because I haven’t had a cold this bad for a while and I’m feeling rather pathetic, but it’s no blip. We’re coming up to my favourite time of the year, and I have a handful of exciting things planned, and even though there’s no guarantee I won’t  have those weird feelings (in fact, it’s rather the opposite), I’m confident enough in my support system that I’ll be able to cope.

I don’t have a point in writing this post this time. I just had a funny mental turn yesterday and it was playing on my mind, so I sort of just felt the urge to blurt this all out. I’m better than I was a few years ago, but I’m not better. Sometimes things don’t feel good. I’m not letting anyone down in admitting that.

It’s okay to not get better all at once. There are going to be blips and some blips will be worse than others. Sometimes, I might need to go back a few steps, and that is okay. I’m just going to take it all as it comes, and we’ll see how it goes.

-K

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Self-Care: My Tricks

My last blog post was all about things I’m looking forward to in an effort to combat my depression, and I realised that writing these things down is actually a really useful way of:

  1. Making some sense of my jumbled up thoughts
  2. Having a place to refer to the good things going on!

So I decided to do something similar again, but this post is going to be all about self-care.

‘Self-Care’ can be anything from getting washed or eating to reading a book or taking a walk. It’s things that you can do yourself – and obviously, this is specific to each and every individual person. You shouldn’t feel bad if you aren’t able to do the same things as others without help.

When I say ‘self-care’, I mean the little things I try to do when my depression starts to get the better of me. They’re things that help me, and I think that as long as I’m getting a moment of relief then they don’t have to make sense to everyone. They’re not always possible, and they won’t work or apply to everyone; they might not even make sense to half of you. I’m not even able to do all of them myself sometimes – but I’ve found that they give me a moment of relief, whether it be 5 minutes or an hour, so here are some of my methods and tips:

  1. Grounding

My partner was the one who first suggested grounding to me. I can get quite restless, distressed and overwhelmed by all the excess energy I can feel building up because I don’t feel well enough to go out and use it. Grounding shakes off that excess energy and allows me to dispel the negative energy I’m harbouring. It’s usually a technique used before practicing magick, but I’ve found that keeping my energy in check as often as possible helps me in my day-to-day life.

Everybody has different techniques for grounding, and you don’t have to worry that you’re not doing it “the proper way” – there isn’t a proper way.

  1. Making a different kind of tea

Anybody who has ever met me is probably aware that I drink a lot of tea. A lot of tea. I’ve been trying to cut down this year, but honestly, Yorkshire Tea is my downfall. However, I’ve found that just shaking things up a little by switching what kind of tea I am drinking can help me feel refreshed. I don’t mean switching to Tetley (ugh…), I mean drinking a different kind of tea.

I hate green tea. I just do not have a taste for it. However, I do enjoy a cup of Earl Grey sometimes, and I adore Chai tea. I’ve also discovered that I actually can manage and enjoy a cup of Twinings Salted Caramel Green Tea, but that’s as far as I’ve managed to wander into the world of green teas thus far.

Liverpool has this really wonderful tea shop, Leaf, where I feel a bit more adventurous in trying new teas. My favourite (so far) is the Butter Truffle Tea.

Changing what kind of tea I’m drinking is a quick way to pull me out of that stale mental rut I’ve been in, and considering I drink a lot of tea and it doesn’t take much effort to put a different tea bag in the mug, it’s an especially handy one.

Screenshot 2016-05-04 11.39.13

  1. Taking a shower/bath

Oh, now this is one that I’ll admit I can struggle with. Sometimes, pulling yourself into the shower is a really huge and exhausting task. However, I’ve found that when I can manage it, just getting clean can help me feel a bit more ready to go back out into the world anew. I don’t have a bath in my flat, but I’ve noticed recently that whenever I’m at mum’s I’m taking baths instead of showers. Being able to relax for an hour (likely with one of the Lush bath bombs I’ve hoarded there) can really make a difference.

  1. Going for a walk

If I’m feeling well enough to get out, then I like to be out as much as possible. It’s not that I always want to be doing something, but if the weather is nice then I feel a lot better taking a walk in it than I do staring out the window (which can make me feel even worse). It’s not always a long walk, but it helps. I live in the middle of the city at the moment, so often it’s just walking into town to buy some more toothpaste or whatever necessity I’ve run out of, but I take what I can.

  1. Going somewhere quiet (e.g. museum)

This, admittedly, isn’t one I do very often. It’s more of a summer thing. Liverpool has multiple museums, but my favourite will always be the museum most closely associated with my childhood, the Liverpool World Museum. It has everything! An aquarium floor, those draws you can open and look at fossils, dinosaurs, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, science… it’s also an 8-minute-walk from my flat, so it’s perfect.

I’m also a fan of the Walker Art Gallery, but I always feel a bit more pressured to act like I have a lot of deep thoughts about the paintings. In the museum it feels alright to look at a big dinosaur, nod, and state, “Cool.”

world museum

The Liverpool World Museum

walker art gallery

The Walker Art Gallery

I’m interested to hear any self-care tips or tricks any of you have found work for you! Leave a comment, and feel free to follow me on my new twitter account, created specifically for blogging purposes, @kittypann!

-K