Category Archives: sometimes wellbeing

Easy Like Social Media: Reality Versus Really Cool Posts

In 2016, I had the most views on SometimesWrite.com. There were a couple of thousand of you who were interested in what I had to say. Cheers for that. We had a bunch of interactions and the number of posts was the highest it’s been. I can actually recall the days when I sat at my desk and congratulated myself for a job well done. I reached the blog awards’ finals and my social media was hopping with positive validation and interactions.

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Fast forward to 2018 and the hard work hasn’t been there. It’s shown in the number of posts, visitors and the interactions on social media. When asked about the blog, I’ve responded with “Ah sure, I haven’t put the work into it to be honest”.

The great news is that it’s an easy formula. Work hard and the results will come.

Cool, done.

No, not really.

As Bradley Cooper’s character says in Silver Linings Playbook,

“You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, you have a shot at a silver lining.”

Success isn’t guaranteed but you certainly have a higher chance if you work hard at it. Personally, I’m aware that if I actually write posts, I’ll certainly impact more people than if I make excuses about how I need to work harder at it. Likewise, the time spent looking at how great other bloggers’ social media doesn’t mean it’s an easy ride for them in the background. I messaged a blogger I really admire recently to say ‘A job well done’ and her response was simply “thanks for that, it’s been really hard”.

Never make assumptions based on a Snapshot in time.

There are the aesthetics, the social media loveliness and then there’s the grit going on in the background. They say it takes 10,000 hours at something to become an expert. That means if you want to become an expert within a year then you need to spend 192 hours per week to get there. That could work if you would rather not have a life and certainly need to get there faster. In the meantime, you can keep sharing your progress, cool photos and inform on social media as much as possible.

In case you need it, the advice I’d give is this –

There are always going to be challenges, things will go wrong and inevitably, you’ll deal with objections and naysayers. You’ll experience moments where it will seem like things aren’t working and you’ll want to quit. All of this is OK. I’ve been there myself where I’ve stepped back from Sometimes Write for long periods of time (this is my first post in five months). Just remember the reasons why you’re doing it.

Stay off social media if you’re experiencing FOMO! If this isn’t feasible, then know that actually, most people on there are posting their best bits. They’re working their asses off in the background and are looking at other profiles feeling the exact same as you. Just like you, they don’t have all their ducks in a row.

It will all get better if you push through those challenges. I promise. 

Celebrate your successes in one way or another! Did you hit a small mile stone? Then bank it. There are wins in everything – recognise them and see them for what they are.

What are you working to right now? Catch me on social media or in the comments below to share your experience.

Financial Stress And Your Mental Health

I recently lifted up the well stapled down carpet of my subconscious and swept out a small debt I had been avoiding. I knew it needed to be taken care of and until it was, I’d feel that niggle. The nights of grinding my teeth into oblivion because of the worry needed to stop and for sure, my sense of self, deserved better than something as trivial as money worries. One fine day, off I headed down to the credit union, cleared out a bunch of savings and paid the debt that had been bugging me. Such a feeling meant that I could function with ease and not have to wonder why I was getting ever so slightly irritated by those little silly things.

Our finances have a habit of being rather central to our lives. If something as unexpected as a surprise expense or bill pops up, it can cause unwanted stress and leave us feeling helpless. If we receive a random invite from a friend we haven’t seen in a while and we need to decline due to our bank balance then that can affect our self esteem and elicit a feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out). Meanwhile actually going along and spending the money we can’t afford, can stress us even more than staying in in the first place. Ideally, any worries in our day to day lives are probably not so well received so avoiding them at all costs is suggested.

Coming out of a recession in Ireland, we can be confident as a nation that things are getting better. We know for sure that there are more jobs around, banks are being less daft and we are generally being more careful with our cash. Perhaps it’s majorly due to my age (being in my early thirties) surrounded by people my age but this is how I perceive the case to be. Still though, finances will always play a major role in any part of adult-life.

Can we eliminate loans, budgeting or that feeling that we should be spending less?

Mostly no.

How then can we keep them under control, stay on track and maintain positive mental health when it comes to our cash?

There are a few ways that I’m personally trying at the moment. As for the rest, be sure to share your tips below.

* Be open and honest about how it’s going. I spent ages denying some of my spending until I sat down with a loved one for an objective view. After realising that a massive chunk of my wage was going to eating out and coffees on a particular month, I did the maths and figured out where it would be better served. This has incentivised me to be more mindful. An outside view over what we’re doing can never hurt. If it opens your eyes and saves you a few bob, well why not?

Disclaimer* Please don’t be surprised if you see me treat myself to a cappuccino a lot less often than before.

*Once you understand where the cash can be saved then it’s time to figure out some accounts. If you’re like me then seeing it piling up in your current account can lead you into temptation. Open a credit union account where you can’t access or a bank account that requires a request for notice should you wish to withdraw lots of saved cash.

*Stop using your card! Tapping away with contactless payments starts to add up quicker than you can imagine. Taking out cash and using that for day to day expenses has worked more effectively for me to stick to a budget. There are less little costs adding up.

*Checking in on internet banking, receipts and other available resources will mean you have a clear pulse on what’s happening. I’ve been guilty in the past of not checking my internet banking following a busy weekend for fear of seeing costs clocking up from those mad nights out.

*Give yourself a break if you go mad spending. I bought 7 dresses in one sale last week and justified it as I needed them for my new job. It was a totally valid reason plus it doesn’t happen super often. The main thing is to be wise with what you’re doing but give yourself a treat when you know you can afford it. Mind your mental health no matter what – nothing’s worth losing sleep over.

Now, take a deep breath and do the best with what you’ve got.

x

Tides Turning: Listening To Your Body During Life Change

Life’s full of change. There are times when we want things to stay the same forever so we can cherish people and circumstances we care for that bit longer. Other times, we would love for things to change rapidly so we can escape whatever awkwardness or uncomfortable feeling we’ve been left with. We can’t have it every way so the best we can do is take it as it comes. What if though, our mind and body is resisting? We know that we need to take a next step yet there’s something stopping us in our tracks?

I’m currently transitioning from one place to another. I’m changing jobs which means changing routine, leaving an environment I’m familiar with and swapping out a load of super great people for some more. What has been my daily life for two and a half years will be no more.

I first made the decision to change jobs a few weeks ago. I looked at my long term goals, my day to day life and how my schedule was working and figured out what I’m missing. The conclusion I came to was to change my job for one that would allow me to move in a specific direction and that would give me the balance I’ve been craving. It didn’t come easy and it certainly wasn’t a decision I took lightly. Life is full of trading choices and coming up against it when decisions have to be made. We want to stay in one place but we know another will serve us better.

Our bodies tell us so much. They tell us if we’re happy, how a situation rests with us and if we’re in good health in general. They are here to protect us, keep us safe and serve as a reminder to take care of ourselves. How then do we get to understand if a feeling is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy?

During my recent decision making process, I experienced discomfort, fear, upset and some anxiety. I slept poorly and cried a little. I talked it out with those I love until I was blue in the face and still came to the same conclusion.

Like when we were cave men, our bodies go into fight or flight mode when we’re stressed. If we’re panicked, it’s the equivalent of our minds and bodies thinking we’re surrounded by lions trying to eat us. Stress is there to protect us and it’s up to us to decide what we need protecting from. Is it change? Is it hungry lions? (hope not) or is it simply a difficult decision?

Our bodies don’t lie. Some ways of recognising what our bodies are thinking before we even do is to do a little audit. How do you feel in general? What are you craving? How are you sleeping?

More importantly, how do you deal with it?

Some ways your body might resist change includes sleeplessness. Not sleeping at night due to an over active mind is normal. Sometimes, having a decision weighing on your mind will mean that it’s harder to switch off. There are loads of ways to rest a bit better. One key way is to find a way to move along the decision making process. Is that possible for you?

Feeling anxious is normal too. When I’m making change, I can get rather overwhelmed and feel anxious. The way I deal with it is to pay attention to diet, practice meditation and talk it out with those I love.

Craving junk food can be sign of many things going on. When we’re overtired, we tend to crave quick sugar fixes. This means that we’re getting temporary energy boosts and even bigger crashes. Ensuring we get a balanced healthy diet is imperative when it comes to change. Jumping into Mc Donald’s for a quick fix can be tempting but won’t necessarily do your mood any good.

Of course, the exercise point is going to come up. When we feel anxious or overwhelmed, there is lots of extra energy built up in our bodies. We need to burn this somehow and exercise is more effective than sitting and stewing or even acting out. Go for a brisk walk in the sunshine or have a swim and notice how much better you feel afterwards.

Change can be amazing but it can also take its toll on your body. Be sure to get the rest you need and to listen to what your body is telling you. If it needs to chill out then let it chill. Likewise, if it is telling you something you’re not sure about, take the time to figure it out and move it in the right direction.