Stop Beating Yourself Up!

We all do it. When something doesn’t go right or we feel like our current situation is too much to handle, most of us tend to blame ourselves. All that self-deprecation builds up and eventually affects both our emotional state of mind along with our physical well-being adversely. You know what the crazy thing is about all this? Most of the shit that we’re constantly beating ourselves up about is totally out of our control!

Think about it for a while. What good does hating/blaming ourselves do about these problems? It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make things any better. In fact, I’d say it actually makes the situations harder to deal with. Sometimes, we just need to take a deep breath and remind ourselves that not everything bad that happens in our lives is our fault. I myself am guilty of beating myself up far more than I’d like to admit.

So, what can we do when we feel those negative thoughts creeping up on us reminding us of all the crappy stuff? We can take a deep breath, step back from the situation and just be good to ourselves for a few hours until we’re in a better mindset to deal with the current problems bothering us. I have a few suggestions on how to do this, and also a few things that help me personally. Obviously, these won’t work for everyone but I hope that at least some of these will help you.

  • Make a ‘feel good’ playlist.

This has helped me so much. When I start feeling yourself get down and out about all those problems, the first thing I do is plug my phone into my water speakers, select my ‘feel good’ playlist on my phone and have a good singalong (or even a crazy dance!). It honestly is amazing how much music can make you feel so much better. Make sure you only put happy/upbeat songs in the playlist, otherwise it defeats the point of ‘feel good’. I’ll make a post in the future featuring some songs from my ‘feel good’ playlist.

  • Tidy your room/house/desk area.

Something that helps me when I’m feeling like my life is out of control or my problems are too hard to fix is tidying and organizing my room. It helps because it’s something I can control and it also takes my mind off my problems. Also, playing my feel good playlist whilst cleaning up makes the chore much more fun! Doing all this helps me feel like I’m being more productive with my time. Because, let’s face it, sitting ’round wallowing in self-pity is the least productive thing in the world.

  • Go for a walk/run.

Getting some fresh air is good for so many reasons, but it also gives you time to think and gain perspective on the things that are bothering you. Maybe you’ll even come up with solutions to them whilst getting some exercise as well. Breathe in that fresh air and breathe out all your worrying.

  • Take a bubble bath.

Admit it, no one hates bubble baths. They’re relaxing, fun and an easy mood-booster. Add a little Lavender for extra relaxation. Just light some scented candles, lie back and relax.

  • Make yourself a warm drink.

So, after that bath, wrap yourself in a robe and some fluffy socks. Then, head to the kitchen and grab your favourite mug and make yourself a warm drink. Personally, I prefer some Chamomile + Honey tea because it’s yummy and super relaxing.

  • Watch a funny movie/TV show.

You’re nice and cosy in your robe/blanket with your hot drink? Good. Next, boot up your laptop/iPad/DVD player and pick a funny/feel-good movie or TV show to watch. Or even watch some stand-up comedy. My favourite comedians are Russell Howard and Michael McIntyre. My happy TV show is Parks and Recreation and movies with Jim Carrey never fail to make me laugh.

  • If all else fails? Sleep.

Oftentimes, I find that when I’m having a horrible night, if I go to bed early I usually wake up in the morning feeling a lot calmer, more logical and able to deal with whatever problems caused my low mood the night before.

So, those are just some ideas on how to look after yourself when you’re having a bad day/night and everything seems too much. Never feel ashamed for taking a duvet day or for being good to yourself. From a young age, it’s drilled into us that we need to be nice to others. We should also be taught the importance of being nice to ourselves.

Obviously these tips won’t solve our problems, but they will help us to relax and forget about them for a while. Not all problems can be sorted overnight, and some are completely out of your control. What’s important, is how we deal with those problems. That’s what makes us stronger in the long run.

Until next time. Be kind to yourself.

My Embarrassingly Guilty Pleasure

Today, I got inspired by another daily prompt from dailypost: Grateful and Guilty. The prompt is: Whether it’s a trashy TV show, extra-pulpy fiction, or nutrient-free candy, write a thank-you note to your guiltiest guilty pleasure. 

This brilliant prompt instantly made me think of one show that is my guiltiest of all guilty pleasures. Don’t judge me, but that show is The Only Way is Essex. Yep. So, here’s my love/hate letter to the show that glitters with vajazzles and continually keeps the fake tan industry in business.

Dear TOWIE,

Sometime early last year, I was bored. I’d been thinking of starting to watch some ‘reality’ TV shows for a while. My sister was watching Geordie Shore at the time, so I decided to go further south and see what all the fuss was about with The Only Way is Essex.

I didn’t expect to like it at first. A few years before, I’d watched the pilot of Jersey Shore and absolutely hated it. But, as I was soon to find out, TOWIE was nothing like it. Instead, I was instantly hooked. I found myself loving the on/off relationships and having a few favourite ‘characters’ and getting immersed in the whole TOWIE world. It’s not exactly intelligent television. It’s like that chocolate bar which you know is bad for you, but is so damn delicious that you devour it happily. Before feeling guilty about it later, of course.

So, since this is meant to be a thank-you letter, I’d like to say thanks for the laughs (Arg is such an idiot sometimes), the gorgeous men (Mark & Elliot Wright can be my Mr. Wrights anyday 😉 ) and the many juicy bitch-fights and dramatic story-lines that have kept me thoroughly entertained as well as insanely jealous of the pretty girls and the fancy cars. I’d seriously love to be a part of the TOWIE world, if only just for a day.

Well, there you go guys. I’ve truly humiliated myself with this post.

Until next time. The only way is up.

Random Thoughts and Ideas

Last night, after writing the post about my happy box, I slowly began to think about maybe making this blog into a mental health help blog. Not just that, but also my recovery blog. I obviously still have a long way to go in order to be free from these demons, but maybe by helping others I could help myself.

Never before have I been this determined to recover. Not just for myself, but for others too. I feel like I could possibly help a lot of people if I managed to climb out of this hole and make it known that maybe it is possible to recover. It’s so important to feel like you’re understood and not alone when you are suffering with a mental illness. That’s why, I think I would be good at helping people going through similar experiences to myself.

I’m not saying I’m a qualified professional. Though, I am starting a Psychology course which hopefully will enable me to someday become a professional. Not just a qualified professional, but an experienced one too. Sometimes, I find that some therapists I’ve attended haven’t understood me well enough. It’s easy to tell which ones have experienced mental illness either themselves or in their family/friends circle. I’ve made so much progress with the ones who do understand me, and that’s why I think I’d be good for the job myself.

Anyway, those are just some random thoughts I’ve had recently. Hopefully I’ll make a decision soon. I really do want to give this blog more of a theme to it.

Until next time. Have a good day.

My ‘Happy Box’

Hi guys!

Today I wanted to talk about a cute idea I discovered on YouTube a while back. There’s a certain YouTuber called Laura who I’ve been a fan of for quite some time. She does videos on a whole range of topics relating to mental illness. Laura herself has suffered with Bipolar Disorder, Self-Harm and eating disorders in the past and is now in recovery. In one of her videos, she talked about her ‘crisis/emergency’ box. That’s what inspired me to start my own ‘crisis’ box which I refer to as my ‘happy box’ instead.IMG_6032.JPG

Basically, the idea of the box is to fill it with stuff that will help you when you’re feeling shitty or anxious or tempted to self-harm. It’s basically a brilliant distraction technique to kind of get you through those tough moments when all you want to do is breakdown.

I’m hoping to get a bigger, better box soon and fill it with more stuff but for now, it’s just an empty perfume box. At first, I filled the box with face masks, hot chocolate sachets, those little straws that turn your milk chocolate-y and a pack of tissues. Basically a few things that would distract me from my feelings, but also make me feel better.

Even if you don’t have a mental illness, we all have those times when we feel down and out and just wanna scream at the world. I think this is a great idea for everyone regardless of your situation. Just find a box and fill it with things that make you happy/calm you down.

Here are a few more ideas of what you can add:

  • Photos of people you love.
  • A stress ball.
  • Chocolate/Sweets/Candy.
  • Some reassuring quotes written on squares of coloured card.
  • Nail polish.
  • Temporary tattoos.
  • Bouncy ball.
  • A DVD of a comedy movie.
  • A small notebook to scribble in or write your feelings in.
  • Your favourite scented candle.

Anyway, let me know if you find this idea helpful and also if you have anymore ideas of what to put in it!

Until next time. Keep calm and be happy.

Music Monday #1 – Blank Space Music Video

Hello and welcome to my first Music Monday where every Monday I plan to make at least one post about my latest favourite songs/music videos/albums.

This week, I really wanna talk about the current Queen of Pop’s latest music video:

Yes. Taylor Swift recently released the music video for her new single ‘Blank Space’. It’s been a week since it premiered on YouTube and it already has over 45million views.

I’ve been ~Swiftie~ since 2008, so it’s been weird to see her turn her career around so dramatically over the past few years. From a cutesie country singer with uncontrollably curly hair to a feisty young pop star, she’s definitely changed a lot over the years. What hasn’t changed, though, is her wicked sense of humour as we see in this music video.

This definitely has to be one of my all time favourite music videos, though. I just love how Taylor has the ability to make fun of herself. She’s frequently portrayed as a sort of man-eater by the media thanks to her many failed relationships. Despite the criticism, it’s good to see that she maintains an awesome sense of humour about it all.

Also, her co-star in the video (Andrea Denver) is insanely attractive. Plus, along with the appearance of a cat, a fancy car (Shelby AC Cobra), some really nice dresses and two white horses this music video is definitely a combination of an overly-dramatic depiction of Taylor’s love-life along with some really nice scenes and cinematography.

In conclusion, I love the video. You should go check it out. It’s amazing and so is Taylor.

Other music-y things:

  • I’m a little addicted to Taylor’s new album (1989). My favourite songs from it being ‘Wonderland’ ‘Wildest Dreams’ and ‘Clean’.
  • The BandAid 30 song and video were released this weekend. Proceeds go to the global fight against Ebola.

Until next time. ‘Don’t say I didn’t warn you’.

Dear Past Me,

Earlier, when I was trying to decide what to write for today’s post, I came across a blog post prompt on my dashboard which instantly inspired me to take it on. The post: Good Tidings. The prompt? Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.

Here goes:

I know you’re so young right now and you’re not going to comprehend many of the things I’m about to tell you, but I want you to listen carefully to everything I have to say. In the next ten years, you’re going to go through so much. Both good and bad. There’ll be tears and laughter. Good people and bad people. Winning and losing.

First good thing to look forward to? The bullying will end, kiddo. I promise. So, you hold on and keep your head up because the strength you gain right now by getting through this will be so helpful in the future. Also, those people don’t matter. Honestly, in less than five years they will be nothing but a distant memory.

Sadly, there are a lot of challenging situations to come, Mini-Me. Perhaps the most challenging thing to come for you is definitely your mental health issues. Right now, those words probably mean nothing to you but you’ll find out in about 3 years exactly what I mean when I say that. Depression and anxiety will wreck your life, relationships and future prospects. I know that sounds scary but, in a way, they also make you a better person. They make you a stronger person. You’ll learn to see the light in otherwise dark situations. If you hold on, hopefully we’ll both be ok in the end.

The most rewarding thing? Well, when you’re sixteen, you’ll discover a little show called Supernatural. It’ll literally change your life. I know that sounds silly. How can a TV show change your life? Well, it does. It gives you hope and laughter, you learn important lessons and meet some amazingly inspirational people through it. It also gives you some of the best and happiest memories. It’ll help you in so many ways. It’ll be your lifeline when you’re feeling down. Supernatural will save your life and make it so much better in the process.

Despite all the bad shit that will happen in the next decade for you, I can assure you that there will be just as much fun packed in there. You’ll make some friends in high school and have some hilarious times there. You’ll begin traveling at 17 and develop a passion for it. Supernatural conventions are the very personification of fun for you from 2013 onwards. You’ll make so many special, happy memories there and meet so many awesome people. Also, you’ll learn that sometimes the most spontaneous plans are the most enjoyable ones. Look for ways to have fun and make memories every day, ok?

So, little Lauren, I guess the best advice I can give you for the next ten years is to make the most of every single second. Life goes by so quickly that sometimes we forget to just slow down and appreciate the small things. Stop and smell the roses. If you love someone, let them know. Look up at those breathtaking stars and smile. At the minute, you may think life is pointless but let’s challenge each other. Let’s give our life our own meaning.

Lastly, you’ll learn to be a good person within the next few years after some stupid mistakes. Don’t just be good to other people, though. Be nice to yourself too.

Until next time. Stay positive.

Every Cloud …

Hey, guys.

In this post, I wanna talk about something I was told today. I went to an Occupational Therapist for personal stuff which I’ll eventually discuss on here, but not today. Anyway, she was super nice even though I was in a horrible mood and was acting like a little bitch. I suppose I should give you an idea of the issues I was seeing her for, so that you’ll understand a little more. Depression and anxiety. Two issues which have made my everyday life these past few years incredibly difficult. But, as I said, I’m not going to discuss it in detail in today’s post. I’m just not up for it yet.

So, after she’d asked tons of questions that I’d answered many times before to many different professionals, she then stopped and said something that really hit me hard and made me gain a new perspective on my problems. I had told her that one of my long-term goals was to help people in any way I possibly can, but particularly people going through similar issues to myself. That’s when she said something along the lines of: Look at it this way; you can choose to see your mental illnesses as the worst thing in the world. You can see them as things that have ruined your life beyond repair. You can even choose to just give up. But, that’s not your only choice. You can choose to fight it. You can choose to tell yourself that someday, you’ll have gained the life experience to be able to help people who are going through the same struggles as your are. You can get through it and eventually go on to help other people and maybe even save their lives because you understand. And to be understood is one of the most underrated things when it comes to mental illnesses. To be understood is like the first step to beginning to see that light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.

I guess what I took from her words is that you can choose to focus on just the bad things about your mental illness (or any problems you may be going through), or you can try and find that silver-lining. Even if it’s small. I’m not saying this makes any issues you may have less horrible or less important, but it may make them easier to cope with sometimes. If we find some positive in our negatives to hold onto, it may help us get through them.

It all comes back to a Chinese philosophy I always try to remind myself of. Yin-Yang is the belief that there is bad in the good, but also good in the bad. For instance, shadow cannot exist without light. Or, my mental illnesses are difficult, but they also make me a better person by giving me the ability to empathize with other people in my position.

I really hope this made sense and you guys see where I’m coming from. The OT’s words really made an impression on me today, and I wanted to share it. She’s also encouraged me to end any journal entries/blog entries on a positive note. So, I guess one positive thing about today is that it’s a Friday! Also, if you’re in the UK, Children in Need starts soon on BBC1. Make sure to donate! 😀

Until next time. Be good to yourself.

My Daily Post Themes

What’s up, guys?

So, today I’ve decided to get a weekly blog routine thing going to motivate me to write a themed post every day. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Music Mondays (a post where I talk about my favourite music at the time or I review an album/music video)
  • Top-Ten Tuesdays (I pick a topic and make a list of my top ten of that topic)
  • Wishlist Wednesdays (basically either stuff on my bucket list or stuff I want to buy)
  • Thankful Thursdays (where I list some things I’m grateful for from the past week)
  • Film Fridays (self-explanatory)
  • Selfie Saturdays (where I post a selfie of myself and talk about self-esteem and anything else that’s been bothering me)
  • Supernatural Sundays (where I re-watch 1 or 2 episodes of SPN each Sunday)

I may change some of these if I come up with better ones. But, it all starts on Monday with my first ever Music Monday!

Until next time.

Dancing With Strangers and North Coast Adventures

Hey, everybody! (Hi, Dr. Nick!)

Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who read/liked my first ever post on here. I didn’t expect to get any likes or comments this early on, so it really boosted my motivation to keep on blogging. Also, thank you to all you lovely people who decided to follow me, I really hope you guys enjoy my blog!

This past weekend was a total blast and I have some fun stories to share. On Friday morning, I went to meet my friend Mary at the station.

Mary is an awesome lass from London who has come over to Northern Ireland (where I live) to study in Queen’s University, Belfast. Along with her intelligence and prettiness, she’s also tons of fun and I had such a great weekend with her.

So, I met up with her on Friday morning at the station – after getting myself a Gingerbread Latte in Costa (my first of the season!) – and instantly gave her a huge hug. I hadn’t seen her since June, so it was just great to see her again. I love seeing people after long periods of time, it just makes the time you spend together even more special and memorable.

After leaving some stuff off at my house we then headed to do some touristy things at the Giant’s Causeway. I only live 2 miles away from this world heritage site, so we got to enjoy some abeautiful scenery on our way to the visitor’s centre.

When we arrived at the Giant’s Causeway, we proceeded to take lots of pictures (Mary’s were particularly breathtaking especially with the perfect lighting we had). Even though I’d been to the Giant’s Causeway a few times before, it was still fun walking around and exploring with someone who’d never been before.

As we got out onto the stones, I decided not to go too far onto them as I’m an extremely clumsy person and I’m hardly steady enough on solid ground, not to mention horrendous when rock climbing. So, I took some pictures of the waves whilst Mary soldiered on without me.

At one point, I’d thought I’d lost her. With no signal on my phone, I was freaking out a little. Then I spotted her quite far out on the stones. Panic over, I later found out that she’d actually had a bit of a shock herself. Whilst standing out on the far rocks nearest the sea, a particularly big wave crashed onto the rocks she was standing on, soaking a few unlucky tourists. Thankfully, only Mary’s shoes got wet.

The sun began to set and we reunited before beginning a tough trek back up to the visitor’s centre. This was the moment when I realised just how out of shape I am. I really need to get back into an exercise routine sometime soon. Anyway, once we finally got up to the centre, we discovered that it was past 5pm, which meant it was closed. We both had a mini freakout – which involved Mary banging on the glass doors with her fists trying to get the attention of staff inside – before noticing the large arched exit leading to the car park. Facepalm.01f631181f10a368b0d34c592f7d28029ef9c08210

Our north coast adventure continued when we arrived in Portstewart an hour later. Since we’d both hardly eaten all day, we were glad to finally sit down in a little cafe called The Sizzlin Sausage and have something to eat. I ordered some chips with gravy and Mary ordered a chicken burger with chips. As we sat there sipping our cokes, Mary came out with possibly the funniest line of the weekend, ‘I’ll sizzle your sausage’. I think I laughed for a straight minute afterwards. I’m a huge fan of innuendos after all.

I don’t know if you’ve ever eaten ice-cream at nighttime in 3°C weather by the sea, but that’s exactly what Mary and I did after leaving the cafe. We got our ice-creams at what many say is the best ice-cream parlour in Northern Ireland – Morellis. It was such a refreshing experience, just sitting there eating ice-cream in the freezing cold acting and looking like mad women but we totally rocked it.

018eb759be1d9dc2d85167d864b4ab4fb53a4085dcMary stayed the night in my house and we took a train the next day down to Belfast where I stayed in her student accommodation. I learnt a few things during my time in Belfast this weekend:

  1. Mary is a great cook (regardless of the pasta carbonara fail story).
  2. Uni life is awesome and I’m so jealous.
  3. Belfast is actually very pretty (especially at night).
  4. Take every opportunity to let go and have fun.

I’ll explain that last one. Mary took me to a superhero-themed cocktail bar on Saturday night called Love and Death. It was actually so cool. They had a cocktail menu designed like a comic book. Anyway, we were sitting drinking our cocktails – Mary had a Hulk Smash which I much preferred to my Pappy Valiente – and it was kinda early so it was super quiet. All of a sudden, two girls came in. They’d obviously had a bit to drink before arriving, but they weren’t completely drunk. I guess I can only describe these girls like this: you know those kinds of people who can just have so much innocent fun and liven up an otherwise dreary room? They were exactly like that. They were just having so much fun, dancing like fools and singing at the top of their lungs and it was just so infectious that eventually Mary and I just had to join in.

A few years ago, I would’ve never done that. I would’ve rather ran away and hid. My anxiety would’ve hit the roof and I would’ve been terrified of either being rejected or looking like a freak. But that night I was able to just let it all go and have fun. I think that’s such an important thing to do sometimes. Some of my best memories are of times when I just let all the anxiety and stress and feelings melt away to reveal someone who just wanted to be happy and have fun and make memories. That’s the person I was on Saturday night. The me I so desperately wanted to be.

The girls welcomed us onto the dancefloor with open arms and we had so much fun dancing like idiots and even the DJ IMG_0294seemed to liven up. It just goes to show how contagious positivity, fun and even happiness are.

I find that these are the moments we most remember in life. Those moments when we just forgot all about the bad shit happening in the world and in our lives and focused on the here and now. I guess that can be my little message for today: keep your eyes open every day and make sure you take every single opportunity to be happy or have fun during your day. Even if it’s something small. Even if it’s just for a second. Don’t let any ounce of happiness pass you by.

The night went on after we left and we ended up at a local karaoke bar where Mary and I sang a duet of Carry on My Wayward Son. Which, if you don’t know, is a popular song among the Supernatural fandom. Yes, I am a huge fan of that show and I’m beyond proud and happy that the show is airing its 200th episode tonight. It’s incredible and I can’t wait to see it.

Botanic Gardens

Sadly, the weekend had to end sometime. On Sunday morning, we went for a walk around Botanic Gardens which is just incredibly pretty. After that, it was time for me to head home. All in all, I had a brilliant weekend and I can’t wait to see Mary again soon.

So, thank you guys again for all the likes, follows and comments. Hope you enjoyed this and I’ll write again soon!

Until next time.

And So It Begins …

So, this is my first proper post on here! *cue celebratory music and streams of confetti*

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at blogging and also vlogging, so I guess there’s no time like the present to start doing so. My mind keeps trying to put me off this idea by telling me that my life isn’t interesting or fun enough to blog/vlog about. Well, maybe having a regular blog to write in might actually encourage me to say yes to more exciting opportunities in order to make my life more bloggable (yes, I know that technically isn’t a word, but whatever!).

Anyway, now on to the introductory phase:

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Oh look, there’s me!

Name: Lauren.

Age: 19

From: Northern Ireland, UK

Likes: Books, attractive men, life-ruining TV shows, food, traveling and taking wayyy too many pictures.

What you’ll most likely see on this blog: My daily thoughts and ramblings, maybe some book/movie reviews, my traveling adventures, lots of fangirling about many different things and just basically tons of random stuff.

So, that’s me. Nice to meet you! I hope you enjoy my blogging/occasional vlogging and feel free to follow me here and/or at any of my other links 🙂