Two tag posts in a row? I know, lazy blogger! But I couldn’t resist jumping straight into this wonderful post, listing 50 things that make me happy. I was very kindly tagged by Colourful Hope, whose post is here.
I think the idea of listing 50 things that make you happy is brilliant. It’s a list, so it sounds simple – but 50 is a pretty big number! (The most I’ve dared so far is 26!) Having to think of 50 individual things that make me feel happy can only be a good thing for my wellbeing. So, here goes!
I cannot tell you how much it made my day to get a notification on Twitter telling me that the very lovely Kelly over at Paperback Adventures had nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award.
I haven’t been blogging for very long and I am often only able to post once a week due to work, so I know that I’m not the most active person in the blogging community. So to know that Kelly thought my blog was worth reading and recognising like this means loads. 🙂
So here we go:
Thank the blogger who nominated you
Write a post to show your award
Give a brief story of how your blog started
Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to
Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them, and provide a link to the post you’ve created
HOW MY BLOG STARTED
Over the past 5 years or so, I’d say that I must have started and abandoned nearly 10 different blogs. I’ve tried book blogging (and for a short while, Booktubing…), mental health blogging, writing about my studies… and honestly, I think the timing was just never quite right. I’ve had a very busy few years and I never found a passion that I was inspired by enough to write about every week – nor could I think of enough content to do so!
The Self-Care Sloth started in August 2018, during my first summer holiday as a teacher, whilst I was looking for a more creative outlet and also a way to track my own progress on a self-care journey. I started my blog with a post about journalling that has since been deleted – but I haven’t looked back since!
I don’t feel very qualified to give advice, because I’m still so new to this world myself. But I guess the advice I would give to someone as new as me, and the steps I’m trying to take myself would be:
Try to have a post in your drafts or scheduled at all times. That way, when life gets busy or you’ve run out of ideas, there’s always a post ready to go.
Write about what you want to write about, not what you think will be ‘popular’. People will find it, people will read it, and it will feel great because they’re like-minded people who might come back to your blog later on.
I’m really not part of the blogging community very much yet, so I don’t think I know 15 people! I’m going to nominate 10 people and I hope that’s okay! (and sorry if you’ve already been nominated! But you’re all fab, you write my favourite blogs, and deserve every nomination or award going!)
I love Halloween! I love the spooky stuff, the abundance of pumpkin-spiced-everything and the cold creepy nights. However, as someone who suffers with an anxiety disorder, I do know that not every Halloween activity suits people with anxiety problems. If you find this time of year nerve-wracking, or want to join in with social events but get nervous doing so, here are a few ideas of how to survive Halloween as someone with an anxiety disorder:
Scary films are a huge part of Halloween for some people and something that I often enjoy. However, on a bad anxiety day, they aren’t ideal, and you may well think that horror films sound like an absolute nightmare! (Pun slightly intended…)
The main thing is that you always feel like you can say no. If you don’t want to watch a scary film, just say no. Any real friends won’t mind and will probably change their plans to accommodate you.
If you feel like you can watch a scary film, there are a few things you can do to prevent extra anxiety. First, watch them at home. That way you can pause the film if you need to, you’re somewhere familiar, and you can leave some lights on too. Also, avoid particular triggers if you know you have them. For example, my anxiety is often triggered by medical scenarios, so I will often avoid films that are set in hospitals or similar. Lastly, have a quick self-check before the film starts. Are you in the right mindset to watch this film? Is there anything you need to make yourself feel more comfortable?
There are also plenty of films that are more ‘comedy spooky’, rather than full-on horror. Think ‘Hocus Pocus’! (Which I’ve never actually seen and desperately want to watch this month!)
If you’re desperate to consume some Halloween-y media, but can’t stomach a horror film this year – why not try a scary book instead? The bonus of books is that you can close them and walk away very easily if you need to.
For a traditional ghost story, I would recommend The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and for a superb psychological thriller I love Misery by Stephen King.*
Horror Mazes or ‘Scare’ Events
There’s a ‘scare village’ event near where I live that I really want to go to this year, but I sometimes really struggle with live-action horror events. Every year, you will see this style of horror event or maze pop-up. For example, the ‘Fright Night’ events at Thorpe Park. I have done these type of mazes before, but I’ve also avoided them before, so hopefully my advice can help you if you want to go to one of them.
First, remember that the actors are not allowed to touch you. You are completely safe and are in a controlled environment. Keep telling yourself that the whole event is completely fake and the performers and organisers are there to keep you safe, if a little scared.
Secondly, remember that you can always get out if you need to. I have, on two occasions, left scary themed events early and on both occasions, staff were really understanding and accommodating. You won’t be the only person leaving early and you can always say you feel sick or unwell if you don’t want to say that it’s anxiety. A few years ago, I was in a queue to enter the ‘Chamber of Horrors’ section of Madame Tussauds in London and I just felt like I couldn’t go in. They had a sign that informed you that this was your last chance to leave before entry (check for these points – there may be some times when you won’t be able to leave, and you need to know that) and I decided to leave. I told a member of staff, told my friend, and we went to get some food instead! No one minded and it meant that I could take time to calm down and try a different activity.
You are always allowed to leave. Sometimes just knowing that escape is possible will be enough to calm you down!
If you’ve been invited to a Halloween party, then there are two important things to know:
I’m very jealous of you. I love Halloween parties and no one I know ever throws them any more!
You don’t have to go.
Number 2 is really the important one there, of course. If you’ve been invited to a party, you don’t have to go. Now, if you know that you have a tendency to hermit because of your anxiety, and you will actually have fun with your friends if you drag yourself there, maybe it is good to do just that. However, if you’re really panicking, don’t force yourself to go to a big party that scares you. If you do go, make sure you can get home early if you need to. Drive yourself, walk, or don’t rely on a hard party-goer for a lift home.)
Now… I love fancy dress so I love dressing up for Halloween, but I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and you might feel anxious about people looking at you. However, think of it this way – if everyone in the room is in costume, and you aren’t – who are people more likely to look at? If you’re not big into fancy dress but want to blend in, I’d suggest something easy and subtle like the traditional witch’s cat. Wear all black, put on some cat ears and make a tail out of black tights and scrunched up newspaper. Done! Also, this would be easy to hide during travel if you need to get public transport – just put the ears and tail in your bag until you get to the party. Similar ideas might be a witch (black dress, hat and broom) a devil (black and red clothes with devil horns and a pitchfork) or a vampire (more black clothes, pale make-up and some fake teeth.)
And if you’re friends really want to celebrate Halloween, but none of these activities are for you, why not suggest one of these:
Halloween crafts (do you have any young relatives you could do crafts with? most kids I know love Halloween and they don’t do anything too scary!)
A board game night with a spooky twist. (I’d recommend Plague Inc. which is a brilliant plague-themed game. You could also play Cluedo for some old-school murder mystery feels!)
And last, but by no means least, keep up your self-care. Perhaps by trying out the #SelfCareTogether challenge that Pigletish is hosting this month. Halloween is a very social holiday and you might be surrounded by triggers for your anxiety for a lot of this month – so make sure you are taking care of yourself, and having moments of calm whenever you can.
* Please note that Book Depository links in the post are affiliate links. They cost you no extra money, but if you buy a book through my affiliate links I earn a small commission.
Spoiler alert – I’m not dealing with it very well!
I’ll apologise now to anyone who thought that this was going to be a self-help advice post about how to deal with stress or some more self-care advice. Honestly, this is just a bit of a self-indulgent post to help me get my head out on to the page, and to reflect on what my reactions to stress have been recently.
Over the past month, I have not only been trying to get this blog up and running, but I’ve also started my first year as a qualified teacher and had a heck of a lot to think about! On top of a pretty hefty workload, there have been family emergencies and a fresh new batch of anxiety…
So how have I been coping? Let me see…
Lots of to-do lists
Have you noticed a theme?
It’s not been good – let’s be honest – excessive quantities of chocolate and coffee is never the way to get through a tough week! I’m sure my anxiety is worse because of coffee and I’m feeling worse because I know I’ll be putting weight back on that I only recently battled to lose. The only positive thing on that list is my obsessive use of to-do lists to stay on top of things. I’ve been trying to take part in the #SelfCareTogether challenge but I’m honestly struggling to make any time for self-care.
So why am I writing this post? I’m not exactly an inspiration to anyone at the moment!
Maybe I just needed to get things out of my head. Perhaps I was hoping that this would publicly shame me into getting my act together. Honestly, I think I just wanted to say “Hey, we all have those weeks where we want to give up and stay in bed all day. We don’t all deal with it by drinking green tea and doing yoga, and it’s okay to feel like you’re not coping right now.” Hopefully this will resonate with someone and we can all get past these bad days and come out the other side.
Hopefully next week I’ll be feeling a bit more on top of things and I can write a post titled ‘How to deal with stress’!
How do you stay on top of things and start feeling better when things get too much?
It should come as no surprise that someone with blog title ‘Self-Care Sloth’ thinks that self-care is important.
Of course I think self-care is important! Taking care of ourselves is one of the most crucial things that we can do to keep ourselves healthy and happy. If we don’t take care of ourselves, then who will?
There are loads of different ways to practice self-care, be they indulgent and only for the odd occasion, or low-energy and everyday activities. What Anneli has done is collect 31 of these activities together and created a plan for October that encompasses four different aspects of self-care. Isn’t that such a great idea?
I am definitely going to be taking part in this challenge and I will share most of my thoughts over on my Twitter @ASelfCareSloth, but today I thought I’d start off with some thoughts here on my blog.
My Self-Care Plan for Week One: Self-Care Basics.
01: Go outside.
On day one, I will make an effort to get outside, for more than just the walk to my car in the morning! This was one of the only benefits of my old office job, actually. Every lunch time, I used to go out for a walk and get some fresh air. Now that I’m at a school, it is expected that I’ll be on-site for most of lunchtime, so I don’t get this same opportunity. I am glad that this challenge will give me a push to get outside on Monday after work, even just for a walk round the block. My aim is 20 minutes of fresh air.
02: Eat Something Nutritious.
A big one for me at the moment. My relationship with food isn’t great and I often make the wrong choices, even though I know that healthy and nutritious food makes me feel much better. On Tuesday, I am going to make a nutritious and healthy dinner, including lots of colourful veg!
03: Venture Further Out
I’ll admit, I’m not totally sure I know what this one means. But I’m going to take it to mean venturing out of my comfort zone – because that is always a good thing to do, and I don’t necessarily need to venture further out of the house. There’s always a way to push my comfort zone a bit further when I’m teaching, and my comfort zone is pretty small, so I’m sure I’ll find a way to venture a bit further on day three.
This is such a key self-care topic, I’m really glad that it’s been included in this list. Sometimes, just having a shower or a long soak is what both your body and mind need. I’ll have been to the gym on the fourth, so a long hot shower will be needed! But I’ll level it up a bit this week by using a hair mask, properly cleansing my face, and really putting the effort into this regime.
05: Life Admin
How often do we all get behind on this?! If you’re anything like me, this is an ongoing to-do list that always gets forgotten – so day five will be my life admin day. My priorities will be finally filing some very important paperwork and going through my finances.
06: Social Media Cleanse
My aim is to cleanse my social media by unfollowing anyone who I don’t actively want to follow or who doesn’t bring positivity to my feeds. We’re all guilty of following someone on Twitter once and then never really reading their tweets again, or following that Victoria’s Secrete model lookalike on Instagram whose account really only serves to make you feel bad. Day six – cleanse my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds of all those people! This is a great idea and one that will hopefully have long-term benefits to my mental health when I’m online.
And last but not least…
07: Focus on Drinking Enough Water
Every day, I carry round with me a large, 1 litre water bottle. My aim was always to drink at least two of these bottles a day, meaning I drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Sometimes this happens, but honestly it is a habit that has really slipped in recent weeks. I’m really disappointed with myself that I’ve let this habit drop and I need to get back on top of it! So, on day seven I will be aiming to drink at least 2 litres of water and I will make sure that I document it on my Twitter!
Thanks again to Anneli for putting this challenge together. I think this will really give me and lots of other people a push to prioritise self-care in October.
Are you taking part? Let me know below if you are, and leave your social media handles so I can follow your progress. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SelfCareTogether as well!
Today is the third and final day of my 3 days, 3 quotes challenge. So far I have quoted Shakespeare and Stephen King, and today I’m turning a bit more philosophical.
Thank you again to Kelly for tagging me in this challenge. Today I would like to tag Milenka.
Thank the person who nominated you.
Post a quote each day for three consecutive days.
Nominate three new bloggers a day. (I don’t really know enough bloggers yet to tag 3 people per day, but I’m hoping 3 in total is enough!)
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Today, I am sharing this quotation often attributed to Aristotle (turns out, misattributed – see this website for more info!).
The most important part of this quotation to me is the first half. “We are what we repeatedly do.” To me, this means so much. If you consistently act in a generous and kind way, then you are, clearly, a kind and generous person. By contrast, if you repeatedly tell yourself negative things, you are a negative person. Every time you do something, you reaffirm the type of person you are. I find this inspiring, as it is so easy to believe that we are hard-wired in a certain way, but actually all we have to do is change our actions. We can be who we want to be, by doing what we want and need to do.
I’m not sure how much that makes sense, but I find this quote very empowering.
The wonderful Kelly over at Paperback Adventures tagged me in this challenge and I am very happy to take part! The idea is to share a quote each day for three days. I think it’s a great way to share inspirational or motivational quotations that I love and hopefully inspire some of you too. 🙂
Thank the person who nominated you.
Post a quote each day for three consecutive days.
Nominate three new bloggers a day.
“To thine own self be true” – William Shakespeare
This quotation is from Hamlet and it is actually a tattoo that I have on my forearm. I find it to be an excellent reminder that, ultimately, you are responsible for your own happiness and you have to be true to what your heart is telling you to do. This is a quote I followed with passion when I made a big career change last year and so far, it’s serving me very well! (You can read a little more about my career change in my 26th birthday post.)
I don’t really know enough bloggers yet to tag 3 people per day, but I’m hoping 3 in total is enough!
Today I tag Ruth, who has helped me start my blogging journey in such a positive way, I’m not sure she even realises how helpful she is! She also started the wonderful Facebook group, Blogging Buddies, which is a great place to get advice if you’re a new blogger like me.
In one of my recent posts, I discussed how I think that ‘traditional’ or ‘mainstream’ self-care suggestions aren’t always accessible. A long evening that starts with a bubble bath, moves on to a manicure and ends with a big nourishing salad eaten in peace sounds idyllic, but also isn’t something I have the energy or resources to do on a day when my depression or anxiety is biting me in the backside.
So what can we do to take care of ourselves when we’re having a bad mental health day, we’re low on time, or we just don’t want to go down the traditional pampering route?
Here are 8 ideas for simple activities or tasks that are 100% examples of self-care, should help you feel better, and don’t require you to have a ton of energy, time, or money:
Get out of bed. Just roll out from under the duvet, slide your feet into a comfy pair of slippers if you have them, and stand up. That’s all you need to do to start a day where you feel better. Bonus points for making your bed, so you’re less tempted to climb back in.
Wash your face. Whether it’s a splash of cold water, the old reliable face wipe, or a full five-step skincare routine, this will make you feel more awake and just a bit more human. And on that note…
Have a shower. Even if you all you can manage is to stand (or sit) underneath the water for 5 minutes, that’s okay. Again, human feelings will commence shortly.
Put on comfy (but ‘outside acceptable’) clothes. You know the ones I mean. Not pyjamas, but in many ways, even better. You could pop to the shops if you needed to, but you’re just as comfy as you need to be for a day at home.
Make yourself a drink. Hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, your favourite cup of coffee, a fancy mocktail, a green juice, or simply a tall, cold, glass of water. Get yourself a drink that will hydrate you, calm you, comfort you and refresh you. My only advice? Stick to non-alcoholic if you’re trying to look after yourself.
Talk to someone. Pick up the phone and call your mum. Text a friend. Talk to your cat. Do whatever you can to just share your brain with someone. You don’t have to tell them what’s bothering you, just ask them about their day and get out of your own mind for a little while.
Watch something comforting. For me, it’s usually The Simpsons, Friends or QI. You can always see what I’m currently watching here.
Eat something colourful. Whether you take colourful to mean a big bowl of fruit or a handful of jellybeans, do what makes your soul feel good. You could even try baking something yourself, if you have the energy.
Hopefully these are simple enough that they can help you on a low-mood, low-energy day. What are your go-to activities to make you feel better?
And if it is a bubble bath and a manicure – go for it!