Turning a bad day around

Those days when you just wake up in a funk and feels as though everything is going wrong and everybody is against you. It is so easy to allow thoughts like this to snowball and before you realise you’re wallowing in a tomb of self-pity. But you can fix a bad day.

Stop and breathe. Take 5 minutes to allow yourself a bit of self-pity (you are human after all) but then stop this unhelpful thought because wallowing in self-pity and catastrophizing really is going to ruin the rest of your day.

I recommend reading Don’t sweat the small stuff by Richard Carlson if you haven’t read it. His book is full of positive thinking approaches to squashing the little worries we all have and at its core the book provides advice for not over thinking or blowing problems out of proportion.

However, it’s ok to not to be ok sometimes. There will be bad days. But just remember the following:

This too shall pass

If you have decided that you want to turn that bad day around, there are so many things you can do to help yourself. My favourites:

IMG_8939_lsExercise

Move your body. Get your heart pumping.

It might feel like the last thing you want to do but trust me, a bit of exercise will give you an instant pick up. It releases endorphins and serotonin (the feel good hormone) and reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) so added benefit if your bad day is stress or anxiety related. It’s written in the science and you can’t argue with that. You don’t have to slave away in the gym for hours, but a simple 30 minutes sweat fest can be the difference between prolonging the crappy feeling or turning the day around.

Personally, I like to do a 20 minute high intensity (HIIT) workout or listen to a podcast whilst running. HIIT workouts are SO easy to structure. Just pick your fave body weight exercises and an interval that works for your fitness level and off you go. If that seems daunting, my fave YouTube workouts to follow are the body coach, fitness blender or blogilates. I’m a gym bunny and use exercise as a preventative measure. I might write a separate post about structuring workouts if you are interested.

IMG_4010Self indulge

Particularly powerful is to just STOP and ask yourself what would make you most happy in that exact moment. Remember the last time you were spontaneous, how great did you feel? What would boost you in that exact moment?

Take time out and treat yourself to a bit of me time. This is personal but it could be having a hot bath, reading a book, watching some TV, ringing a friend, going to the cinema, having a massage or a pamper session. Indulge in the way that feels right for you. Regarding food, it’s tempting to reach for junk food or alcohol and if that is what would make you happiest in that moment then indulge. But don’t feel guilty afterwards! Listen to your body and thoughts. Personally I feel worse after junk food, so 9 times out of 10 I’ll avoid it if I’m in a bad mood and instead I’ll nourish myself with healthier (but equally tasty) food. If I want treats, I’ll eat them. And that’s fine too. Just ask yourself how you’ll feel after because you don’t want to cause unnecessary guilt.

 Mindfulness and living in the now is powerful and proven to boost your mood. Read my post about it here.

IMG_1644Challenge your thinking  

Write down the negativity. What was the situation or event that caused you to feel that way? What was the event/trigger/situation and how did you feel. Describe as thoroughly as possible and then try to identify the following: your thoughts about the situation/event, your response, your emotions, feelings and physical response (e.g. heart racing). Whilst we cannot control external events we can control our response to them.

When you have identified as much of the above as possible, try to think of alternate ways to perceive the event/situation. Could you calm your body down to stop the panic, think more kindly towards yourself or take a moment to calm the feelings? If you have unfavourably compared yourself to somebody else stop right now. Remember people only share their best bits and you actually have no clue what goes on behind the facade.

What are your go to’s for a bad day?

Lianne

Thursday Thinking: Just do it

I was listening to an old Trish Blackwell’s podcast (which I really recommend listening to you’ve never come across them) and these words really hit home:

Just do it

I’m really starting to get into self-improvement literature. It’s pretty motivational stuff – our mind is a powerful and unfortunately overlooked tool. Positive thinking and its benefits all that jazz. Preaching to the choir with me because I for one definitely love learning about the mind as well as self-improvement .

In the episode she talks a lot about how so many of us are ‘almost’ people in so many aspects of our lives, from saying we’ll get fit and healthy ‘one day’ or saying we’ll go on that dream holiday ‘next year’ or find a new job ’soon’. These big life events are somewhat dependant on funds or other circumstances, but what’s worse is being almost people within our day to day living. Constantly putting things off, finding easy excuses and stopping ourselves from pursing things we actually want to do by procrastinating in our minds. Saying we’ll get round to something for it to forever hang on our to-do lists. I think most people are guilty of this. I know I am.

What this does is deny ourselves not just of those big dreams, but also those easily achievable wants and desires on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Procrastination really suppresses ourselves of truly living a full and meaningful life.

Carpe diem 

 

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One thing I’ve always yearned for is more time. More time to achieve work/career things, more time to put into my relationships and more time to try new things (I mean I’ve had aerial yoga on my list for almost 10 months!). I always proclaimed to be a busy person (which I am to be fair) but am I busy doing proactive things? Or am I just turning the wheel? I might perhaps not be filling my time as proactively as I can be. I see this all the time in people around me – running around like headless chickens – but they don’t seem to be happy. Perhaps insanely busy but not proactively time wise or necessarily enjoying what they are filling their time with.

Time is precious 

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What time is it? (Cue a terrible time reference LOL)

Once I started to fill my time proactively and be more congruent in following through on doing things that I wanted and planned to do, rather than felt I had to do, I felt a sense of relief. As though I had taken back the control and gained time. Enter the time wise phase of my life. It sounds selfish, not doing things the that I don’t want to do. Fancy that? Living a life where I only do what I want. Let me tell you one thing I’ve learned, being selfish with your time does not make you selfish at all. It means you can concentrate on you – making you happy – because ultimately we are all responsible for our own happiness. Plus if you’re happy then you’re a pleasure to be around. Win win.

Do you also suffer from having a million and one things that you want to do, but never enough time to get around to them? Those dreams that just seem way too far out?

Nobody is too busy.

I used to feel as though I almost needed permission to allow myself to take time for me. Does anybody else feel that way?

I’m going to stop making excuses and stop procrastinating in my thoughts, ideas and goals. In the last year or so I started doing this on an ad hoc basis but I probably haven’t fully committed. Sometimes when I want to make a change I end up outlining about 100 micro changes in order to achieve that goal. Result? Hello procrastination! I try to take on too much at once, become overwhelmed, disinterested and end up doing nothing at all. Small, day to day, baby steps are needed, not a list of big changes.

So here are some small steps to thinking less, doing more:

  • Bullet journalling and following through on plans – yep. I might be late to jump on this bandwagon but I’ve just bought one and I’m pretty damn excited! I’m going to start scheduling my weeks better. Instead of saying I want to do things, I’m going to take the list and put them in my diary. I got my to-do list out this morning and I’ve booked a massage for next week, had the brakes and lights on my bike fixed (I had been putting this off for the longest time!), booked tickets for a Halloween event and scheduled time for next week when I want to write up some more blog posts!
  • Quit being a perfectionist – and striving to be bloody great instead of perfect Perfectionism is procrastinations best friend. Aiming for perfection really hinders progress, the more you want things to be perfect, the less chance you have in even starting…  So just making the start. Put that first word down on paper, or make the phone call… make a start, however big or small!
  • Stop waiting for the perfect time – i.e. in line with the above, there will never be a right place and right time, there is just now
  • Positive language – I feel that the power of language is often overlooked, but I’m going to ban the use of negative language. Trish calls these ‘death words’ and I couldn’t agree more. Those horrible words that we use to criticise ourselves or talk ourselves down or out of a situation are often a BIG cause for procrastination. I’m totally guilty of this one – I’m SO hard on myself. Speaking words of action and kindness to myself. I like the idea of having a daily or weekly mantra. One for this week is definitely Just do it.
  • Stop caring what others think – again I feel that this stops the majority of people from doing things. Who cares if someone judges you for trying something new? following your dream, or heck, even starting a blog! It’s more than they are doing and you cannot please everyone. I’ve learned one thing – people will find a way to criticise whatever you do, or don’t do.

I thought back to the times when I’ve been happy as Larry (who IS Larry!?) and the majority of those times I just did it. I lived in the moment but was bloody great with my time. No thinking, just doing.

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Thanks for reading

Lianne x

 

 

Taking a step back

For the last few years it feels like my life has been running at 100mph. Whilst if I’m honest this actually works well for me because I’m definitely fast paced person, I think it’s finally time to stop. Reflect. And take stock.

2017 has literally flown by. What have I done?

It’s funny really because on the face of it I’ve done loads. I moved house, trained for a 10k, been on a few holidays as well as achieved a lot in my work/personal life. But it feels like I’ve not achieved anything. Or feels like something isn’t quite right.

It might be my impending 30th birthday next year that is seriously making me ….anxious/excited/nervous/unfulfilled and question life right now. When I was 18 I really thought that by 25 i’d be married with kids (WOW) but since that hasn’t happened I’m thinking time for a new plan. Since I’m going to be 30 next year and, well, single, I’m thinking that it’s the perfect time to create a new life plan.

I feel like I’m hitting one of those pivotal points in life where you question things and wonder about what the future holds. I definitely hit that point after I finished uni at 21, and again at 25 when I sort of embarked on a career change. I’m at that point again. I think turning 30 must evoke these feelings in people.

On the face of things life is great. I have a great job which is both interesting and offers me a unique flexibility to work on things I really enjoy. I live in a great city, in the middle of that city too, offering me abundant opportunities for my social, work and *cough* love life. I have amazing friends and family (moving away makes you have to put yourself out there when you meet people who sort of already have their friendship groups… but great as you get to meet lots of new fun and interesting people).

So what is missing? I can’t quite put my finger on it. I feel like I’ve running around like a headless chicken for the last few years and have barely taken time out to just stop and think. Sometimes the problem is that when I do stop for more than a few hours I get seriously bored?! I’m out the house Mon-Fri from early until pretty late. I go to the gym a few times a week, fill my other *free* evenings with dinners, catching up with friends, pub quizzes, etc… then the weekends are non-stop too. Not to mention trying to go home to see my family a few weekends here and there, travelling for work and exhausting myself trying to keep up with everyone!

What am I going to change?

Stopping to reflect, regularly

One thing is starting to blog.  I have been saying I want to blog for the longest time. It’s productive, cathartic and well, really helps to understand what my thoughts are. Sometimes just getting it down on paper helps to understand what I’m feeling. I’m also thinking that I can use it as an outlet. I have SO many interests that I like to talk about… travel, fitness, nutrition, health, psychology, fashion, photography… the list is endless. I also love sharing my little tid bits of knowledge with everyone – I sometimes can talk people to death about things.

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Taking time to appreciate the sun in Cyprus 

Pledging to spend more quality time with those closest to me

Instead of trying to keep up with everyone, i’m going to start saying no more. This is actually something I pledged to myself at the beginning of the year. I’ve been somewhat good at it but I could do with working it a little more! Whilst it may seem selfish, it really is more about taking time for yourself. Instead of seeing about 25 different friends once a month (and even less in some cases!) I’m going to spend more time with those I love the most.

This is a tough one for me, because ultimately I hate letting people down. And I get FOMO. But I’ve realised I can’t please everyone, and the person I have not been paying attention to is myself. Doing things I want to do. For me.

I’ve also realised that since I’ve moved around that much I’ve built up a collection of friends from different places… school, college, uni, different jobs from when I was at uni, different cities I’ve lived in, people within those different cities, work places, and the list goes on. This is both fab and detrimental. There was one point of my life where I was out for coffee, lunch, brunches, dinners, nights out about 5 days a week just to keep up, and the problem would lie in the fact that for some of those people, that *dinner/coffee/cake/cocktail night* would be their treat, but it was becoming my norm. So when people would say, ‘oh why aren’t you getting dessert?’  I’d be thinking, erm, I had one every night this week!

Over the year I’ve said no to things I would usually just squeeze into my jam packed diary, and well, I have felt GREAT. So definitely implementing this one a lot more. But beyond that, I’m going to start regularly putting time in with those that I actually want to see more ❤

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Like these girls ❤ 

Being mindful

This sounds like I’m jumping on the mindfulness bandwagon. In reality I have tried implementing mindfulness into my life for a while now. Instead of going through phases where I’m great at it and do it everyday then ultimately get sick of it and stop altogether, I’m going to start slow by taking 5 minutes a day to think of what I’m grateful for and why.

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I am DEFINITELY grateful for nature 

Being inquisitive

This applies more to career options because I think i’m fairly inquisitive as a person. I’m going to take a day every few weeks to look into career options and possibly a year out/sabbatical. This one needs more work.

TBC…

Did you suffer from a *OH GOD I’M ALMOST 30* crisis and if so, what did you do?

Lianne x