Put simply, 2016 has not got off to the smoothest of starts. The last couple of months threw some major curveballs which really shook me up and fundamentally changed the way I think about things. Nevertheless, I’ve always advocated focussing on the good (or, at least, the lesson) in every situation, so I think it’s only right I take my own advice. There have been some pretty low lows, but they’ve definitely taught me some useful principles which will only make me stronger for the future (‘what doesn’t kill ya’ etc etc). Here goes…
1) Be kind to yourself. If you’re the kind of over-achiever who always strives to be their best, this is going to be difficult. Sometimes you’ve gotta accept that you cannot perform to 100% in all areas of your life, all the time. Please don’t feel bad about not ticking off everything on your to-do list for a day, a week, (hell, even a month!) if your priority needs to be caring for yourself for a while. Life is all about balance and sometimes that’s just how it’s gotta swing. In the long term, it’s your wellbeing that really matters, not the mark at the top of your last essay.
2) Take new opportunities – even the weird ones. I really believe that when life ain’t fun, the universe has a way of conspiring to help you. Keep an open mind and open eyes to all the opportunities around you – and don’t be afraid to take them! Even if it’s seems really crazy and like nothing you’ve ever done before, go for it! You’ll learn, develop and grow out of it, which is only ever a good thing.
3) Read! A wise guy named Albert Einstein once said ‘Life is like a bicycle. To stay in balance, you have to keep moving.’ This is such an important principle and regular reading is a great way of putting it into action. It doesn’t have to be a novel – the paper or online opinion column does the same trick. Engaging with other perspectives widens your view, challenges your mind and just recalibrate your outlook on the world – useful for putting things in perspective 🙂 Start with some pieces by Caitlin Moran if you need inspiration.
4) Take a daily reset. When you feel yourself falling back into bad headspace, it’s useful to have a ‘reset’ – an activity that you associate with starting the day over with a clean slate. This can be anything – reading a book, watching a Ted talk, listening to your favorite song etc. For me it’s a quick burst of exercise, followed by a shower. It’s the perfect way to recharge your body, then (literally) wash away all the negative crap and move on.
5) Tell people how much you value them. You know those people in your life who say they’re always there for you – and really mean it? Those people who made you laugh when you wanted to cry, who listened to your 3am worries, who texted you out of the blue just to check up on you? Those people are your gold. Make sure you remind them how much you value them and how amazing they are – they deserve to know 🙂