Looking Forward

I look at this title, and I roll my eyes. There is this doubt, that everyone will be feeling, which asks us if it is worth even planning anything for this coming year. Is really worth getting our hopes up, that 2021 will be better than 2020?

It’s all rather pessimistic, and I think that modern society (from politics to marketing) wants you to be like that. It means that ‘they’ have the answer, that ‘they’ can make everything better. Go back to the good ol’ days, where things were more in your favour. This perfume will make your life a success, this politician will get rid of the things holding you down, this car will allow you to live the life you deserve.

Dreams. That’s what everything is selling to us. A better life for a the cost of a few pounds, or a vote on a bit of paper. And, people would like to believe that a better life would be so easy. I mean, if buying a new £30 pair of jeans would make all my problems go away, I’d snap up multiple pairs. But, that’s not the way the world works. There is no short cut to happiness or success, you have to work for what you want.

I sometimes am guilty of telling myself that I have put effort into things, which is why it is so unfair that things haven’t happened for me. But that isn’t true. Not really. I think about stuff, then I kind of half-arse it, and then get upset the stuff hasn’t turned out how I wanted. The audacity, I tell you.

So, I’m trying to make myself more responsible for what happens. Make the effort to do things fully. Work to my strengths. I know I am good at doing things in short bursts, for example, tidying for an hour at a time. Breaking things down like that helps me do more. And, if that’s what I need to get things actually done, so be it. So that when I look forward to things, they actually happen. Which would be nice.

Welcome 2021

I swear every year gets faster. It feels like I have only just written the first post of 2020, and it’s already a year ago. Obviously, 2020 didn’t really live up to anyone’s expectations, with COVID scuppering most people’s plans for the year. But we survived, we got through it, so hooray for us.

At the start of every year, I always try to create resolutions, plans to try and live by. It never happens. It sometimes starts well, but quickly falls apart. Usually, by the end of January, most plans have been given up, and I seem resolved that maybe life won’t get any better. As if, I have already hit peak life, that things are ‘all down’ from here. Which is a rather pessimistic way to feel about things.

But, 2021 is still a blank slate. A fresh start. A perfect opportunity to try and make the self-penned book of 2021 better than that of 2020. Not that it’s hard. As you can tell, from this and other things I have posted, I am pretty defeatist, pretty negative. If things don’t go the way I intend, I find it really hard to keep going. Lots of hobbies, books, tv shows and more end up abandoned for this very reason.

It’s why, I thought hard about what I would like to make better about 2021. And I, after speaking to my doctor, the biggest thing I need to change is my mindset. To be more positive, to not let the bad stuff knock me down every time. Which is hard, because my rubbish mental health has me constantly in the ‘down’ mood. So, I am going to spend time trying to find things that naturally lift my mood. Working out is good for that, apparently, and it would always be good for my joints, which are becoming a bigger problem as I get older.

I think what is important is not give up. As I often ‘don’t see the point’ of continuing anything once the initial novelty has gone. So, to try and not be so defeatist will be a huge challenge for me, and I do think that it will be a positive change for me. Just keep going, plodding away, no matter what happens. Will see what happens, I guess.

Hope that anyone reading this has a fantastic 2021.

Watching The World Go By

The world feels like it slowly coming back to some kind of normality for so many people, as a lot of countries are experiencing a decrease in Coronavirus rates. It’s meaning that people can see friends and family, businesses can open, and folk can go away on holiday again.

I work where I have to wear a mask, and my work has been open throughout. Other than more cars on the road, I don’t see much of a difference from when lockdown was in full effect. The changes that have occurred in workplaces, like mine, will stay the same for the foreseeable future. Must wear masks, must social distance, and loads of Perspex screens have appeared, to help people social distance whilst they work. When these things started popping up, I knew this wasn’t going to just ‘go away’ like a lot of people hoped. But, I did my best, and worked on.

Last Friday, Scotland made it compulsory to wear face masks in places like shops. Whilst I do think it’s late, I understand why it’s there. It’s not something that bothers me. Wearing a mask in a supermarket is more comfortable than wearing one whilst doing physical Labour. And when I have been in shops, everyone, even kids, have had masks on. I am happy I haven’t seen anyone kick up a fuss, as we all have to do our bit to keep one another safe.

As more starts happening, I have found that I have become accustomed to work-supermarket-home. Where, before lockdown, I would be looking to get out every day, I’m now happy relaxing at home, reading my book or watching crap TV. I have got used to spending more time with my family. I’ve enjoyed not feeling obliged to ‘go out’ to keep myself busy. There is plenty to do at home, that I haven’t done in so long.

So, I think, I’ll watch the folk who have enjoyed lockdown, go out and about. I might just grab a book and enjoy my new normal.

The Subtle Art of Doing Nothing

Beginning to get a little bored of sitting at home all the time.

My anxiety thrives during periods where I am not busy. There is a sense of dread that rises up, and over takes everything. This feeling that, you are wasting your time, that you should be doing something useful.

So I try to keep busy. But, like everyone else, I end up losing hours at a time to social media. Which means I do nothing, so feel awful. I then put on a show, or movie, one that I have seen before. But the feeling is still the same. I have had panic attacks over not using my time efficiently. I am trying to read more, books that are sitting in a pile, that have been waiting to be read for months. I have downloaded Animal Crossing: New Horizons for my Switch. Trying to go out for fresh air every day.

I am still working, and that has helped immensely. I can go to work, and have some kind of normality in place. Although, even work, is far from normal. Having a routine helps keep my anxiety at bay, and it means I only have a few days a week where my anxiety spikes. I just hope that my work is able to stay open, because I really am concerned about what would happen if my work closes down.

Keep Safe

These are strange times. Because of the advice on the Coronavirus outbreaks, people are being asked to stay at home. And if they do go out, it can only be for work, food shopping or daily exercise, and you must keep 2 meters distance. The rules seem simple enough.

Unfortunately there seems to be an abundance of people who are ignoring these rules. They are having house parties, meeting friends and just behaving like normal.

The thing is, this isn’t just about me, or you. It’s about everyone else. The people who have illnesses they are unaware off, or conditions they are aware of. The people who pick things up, and get it worse than everyone else. Everyone knows people like this. You and a friend pick up the same cold, you get the sniffles and they are floored with it.

Think outside your own bubble, think about the other people. This is about making sure your neighbours, friends and relatives get through this, as well as you.

Please STAY HOME.

Going Offline

The world has become a little crazy, hasn’t it?

I have found myself writing my feelings into a traditional journal. It’s been good. It means, that I am still able to get my feelings out, but don’t seem to overthink, or procrastinate as much as I do when there is an internet connection involved.

So, I write a few pages of rambling, before bed. And it actually has been helping me sleep better. Because I am not clicking on another tab, or looking through Facebook nonsense. It’s a positive thing. And in these, very challenging, times, it’s good to try and claim any positivity we can.

Words Matter

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me’.

How many times in your life, has that small phrase been mentioned? It happened a lot at school, maybe when you pointed out that kids were calling you names. It was classed as ‘poking fun’ and that you were told that you needed a ‘thicker skin’. Back then, it felt like real bullying only happened when punches were thrown. Words? Only a baby lets words hurt them.

Words hurt me though. They still do. People make throwaway comments, and I just have to pretend that I am unaffected. I hear every comment. Every time someone sneers about my weight. Every time someone makes a big deal over what I am eating. Every time I am called an attention seeker. Every time I am told that because I work, I don’t have mental health issues. Just because I am an adult, doesn’t make the words hurt less.

When people say nice things to me, I am likely to not believe them. As many people do. The negative things take priority. I feel like I’m not good enough, so these negative things are what I need to improve on. That’s why people say bad stuff, right?

Work In Progress

I explained in earlier posts, that one of my aims for 2020, was to try and be a lot more creative. Something that always helps me boost my creativity is to ‘refresh’ things. I feel like it allows me to mentally draw a line under what has happened already, and focus on what is coming next. It is not foolproof, and sometimes I still struggle, but it is always worth a try.

Over the next week or so, this blog is going to be changing a wee bit. I am going to try and find a new layout that suits what I need, and personalise it a wee bit. I think that refreshing online accounts is always a good thing. It also means that if you don’t feel like you use a service or site anymore, you can get rid of it. Lessen the load, if you know what I mean. This is all the more important, if you read the reports on how so much social media, and web services, are causing people anxiety due to the pressure of ‘trying to keep up’.

Luckily, keeping this blog is something that actually helps me mentally. I don’t think many people I know actually read it, so there is no pressure. I can write honestly, which helps document my journey. I have kept this blog for years, so I do feel that it deserves some TLC every now and then. To be honest, when I fell out with the graphic design stuff, a few years back, I started to find being creative so much harder. I felt that the stuff that came freely to me, wasn’t good enough, and it broke my flow. If that makes sense.

So, if things look a bit odd over the next week or so, that is all it is. A wee freshen up.

You Do You

What is the worst habit that you have?

Some would say smoking, not exercising enough, or drinking too much. I would say that most people’s bad habit should be talking about other people. Talking poorly about a person you don’t know, or only partly know.

A person only starts to think about this when it is them being spoken about. It is for them that an area turns quiet as they walk by, hushed voices giggling to one another. People speak, and sometimes their words get back to the person they are about. And when you are struggling to function, to hear others speaking nonsense can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Normally in this situation, people don’t realise the damage they have done till it’s too late. It can be hard to admit that the words that you have spoken could have really hurt someone. Because, that is never the intention. People talk rubbish about others to help ease their own frustrations about work, life, or whatever.

I know that I have been at both sides of this. I have talked crap, but I have also had crap said about me. And it is something that I have been thinking about a lot. I know that, personally, I want people to like me. I want to be friends with everyone. Of course, that is something that is not always possible, you cannot please everyone. And, to hear that people don’t like me to the point that they’d talk as soon as my back was turned, broke my heart. I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong. I would worry about something like this for weeks. I would analyse every little thing I did, to see if there was anything that would offend anyone. It’s compulsive and irrational, but I can’t help it.

Recently, I’ve tried to change things. Focus on myself, and do what makes me happy. I wouldn’t purposely harm anyone or anything, and that should be my focus. Some people won’t like me, but that’s okay. I’m going to just try do what I like. Keep my mind busy, so that I don’t worry so much about what other people say. It’s easier said than done, though.

Something Different

When it comes to trying to get things done, I seem to get so far, and then stop. Not on purpose. My attention starts to wain, and I end up just leaving whatever project alone, in a drawer and do everything I can to avoid looking at it.

I read a news paper article a while ago, where it spoke about focusing on actions that work for you. It sounds a little silly, but because everyone is different, it’s not too hard to assume that not every path works for everybody. I am going to use studying as an example. Some people learn by reading, some by listening, some take notes, and some draw diagrams. There are so many different ways to learn, and although the ‘taking notes’ option is the recommended by educators, it may not work for you. It doesn’t work for me. I do better if i read stuff out loud, and try and doodle wee diagrams about what I read. And, when I read back it always seems easy to understand.

As mentioned in my last post, I have joined weight watchers to try and lose weight. Previously, I have always used other people and their comments about me, to push me to change. But, someone mentioned in the weight watchers community, that a person should want to get healthy for themselves, and because they love their body. It sounds odd, but it is a concept so foreign to me, it might work.