What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
I like reading, writing, playing computer games, going for walks, drawing, and finding new music. Stuff that seems to help me get more joy out of my day to day life. Things that keep my hands, and my mind, busy. Which, a requirement at how ‘doomsday’ the world seems right now.
My brain struggles to focus on things. So I think I am going to paint something’, and I simply stare at the piece of paper, and nothing happens. My brain just stalls. So then, I try to write a to-do list, to try and motivate me, as to-do lists do help when I have housework and stuff to do. But it doesn’t work with things I normally enjoy. Things become a chore, and any pleasure is gone.
Sometimes, I think that I like to do too many things, for the time I seem to be able to give. I have to learn, that I don’t have to do all of the things, all of the time. Which will take time. My mind still tells me that I have failed for not doing everything. It’s like, because I have failed on things in life, I think that everything I do must lead to failure.
I have been frequenting TikTok recently. People will sneer, as they have done already, as it is a ‘child’s app’.
No social media app is suitable for children to be left alone on. All parents should be aware of the content their child consumes, as you would if the child was playing outside. It is just as dangerous. There are people who will take advantage, as there is in the real world. Social media is even more dangerous, as people can pretend to be someone else, and get close to a child.
Since last year, with the first lockdown, TikTok became super popular. With people downloading the app in their millions, to beat boredom. Small 15 second videos can be uploaded by anyone. People talk about personal problems, hobbies, show a talent, discuss politics, anything. And it’s one of the few things my bad attention span is able to deal with.
I started making my own videos. Just moaning about life. Talking about my mental health and my struggles in losing weight. It’s so fast to do. And I think that is key to me using the app regularly. I find with a lot of social media, you are encouraged to edit everything, like a quest for perfection. I find, that 15 seconds is so quick. I can make a quick point, and upload before I can think too much. And I find it quite cathartic.
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.
At the moment, my health is not my friend. With feeling sore all over, constant feelings of sickness, dizziness, and bouts of anxiety that can have me standing crying at the most embarrassing times. I have sought medical advice, so hopefully a solution is coming. But, it doesn’t stop me feel horrible every day.
One of the best pieces of advice, I have found, is to focus on things you enjoy. Because part of my problem is relating to my mental health, I end up doing things that I have done a thousand times before. I think this is something that I have mentioned on here fairly recently, but today I wanted to go into more detail.
One of the programmes I have been watching, again, is The Hills. It was a show, which appeared on MTV from 2006, that aired for 6 seasons. It was about young women, work and enjoy social lives in Los Angeles, California. The show was the first of that ‘US reality’ stuff that came on to my radar. There were always rumours, of scripted reality. Where things did happen, but they were edited to make a story, or sometimes situations were entirely fabricated. That didn’t bother me so much, it was simple tv. And some of the girls, Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port in particular, were interested in doing something creative. Yes, it was fashion, something I had never had much interest with personally, but I still found it interesting to see part of a creative industry I hadn’t seen before. It was something that I would watch whenever I got the chance. And when I found the whole series on Amazon Prime, I couldn’t resist watching it all. I have always been bad at watching ‘whole seasons’ of a show, but I have watched all 6 seasons in a couple of weeks, which is very fast for me.
I have also been trying to journal more. Write down nonsense, draw pictures, stick down memories, just create something. I usually sit and write a few pages before bedtime, and it helps clear my mind. I have some ‘study music’ playlist on in the background, and make the experience as relaxing as possible. I have found it is a good way to wind down after a busy day at work. As I am more relaxed, I am starting to fall asleep quicker. This means I am more rested, and able to deal with how challenging the next day will be.
On my Apple Watch, there is an app called ‘Breathe’. It guides you through a process of focusing on your breathing. It’s like meditation. Helps calm everything down, helps get my thoughts in line a little. I haven’t really tried meditation before, and maybe it is something I should do further. Especially in times, like these, where I can very easily become overwhelmed.
My immediate aim is to try and find more things that help calm my brain down. Try to let myself go enjoy something, even if it’s just a distraction. A lot of people will quickly dismiss distractions, as a waste of time. But, when life is hard, sometimes a distraction is exactly what is required.
A few years ago, I remember reading something (can’t remember where), which stated that a person’s personality was created by what they see around them. I thought this was interesting, as it was something I hadn’t thought of before.
The more I thought about it, the more I noticed it. I became aware of picking up phrases or mannerisms from people I liked. And if anyone had unfavourable qualities, I would stop myself from doing the behaviours I didn’t like. And people can do that automatically, based on some kind of instinct.
Then, I come on to the subject of role models. How many times have you opened a website, or a newspaper, to see headlines proclaiming that some pop star is ‘an awful role model to young girls’. People don’t ask to be role models, it is something that just happens. The image portrayed through media, often tries to show a person in a positive light. This positive light, is what can influence the behaviour of others. A lot of the time, there is very little conscious fault involved on either side.
It isn’t just kids who are influenced by the behaviours of people they admire. Everyone is. If you watch a tv show, about a person who adores baking cakes, you may see that joy in that person and think, ‘I’ll bake a cake too’. If you see someone, in your actual life, or on TV, who is motivated and works hard, it could push you to work harder towards your own goals.
And if someone, anyone, can encourage you to be a better person, there can’t be anything wrong than that.
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.
I have always enjoyed playing computer games. I like platform and racing games. I like games I can dip in and out of, without getting lost about where I am. I need a game that isn’t too complex. Mostly because my attention span is really bad, so there are times where I will leave a game for weeks at a time.
I remember my first console was the Game Boy. I played Mario, Kirby, games that were easy platformers. There was no saving, sometimes there would be a code for a level, but normally when your character died, you had to start again. The games were made to pick up and play time and time again. This suits my wondering mind. Games these days, tend to be focused on a person committing hours of gameplay. Which isn’t good for me. It means I don’t ever get very far in games.
Animal Crossing is an example of a fairly modern game, that I can play. My progress is slow, but a player is incentivised to play a little every day. And that works fine by me. I am also finding that because I am at home more, I am playing more. Animal Crossing is about a person living with cartoon-like animals, something young me used to imagine about.
I bought my Nintendo Switch last year, and these last few weeks are probably the most I’ve played it. Other games I have on it are Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing. I also like playing the old Nintendo games like Mario from the SNES.
I don’t really like playing games on my phone. I own an Xbox (which I am using to watch Masterchef) as well, the games played most are Crash Bandicoot and GTA. I think GTA is the only modern franchise that I play, but I believe it’s because it’s quite episodic, and you can play short missions. Which makes it strange that I don’t like mobile games, because they are made to be played for short times.
I’m currently sitting on my break at work. I work in a warehouse, which is part of a large distribution network in the UK.
When people say they are key workers, it’s usually on the front line. Doctors, nurses and care staff. The people who need to be out working, to help those who are wick and need care. That what people assume a key worker is. But there is a whole lot of other jobs still working, banking services, supermarkets, take aways, people collecting bins, delivery folk and people who work in the hundreds of warehouses up and down the country.
These are the unsung heroes. People often tell me that my job is for the worst kind of people. Those people are still going out and working, so that people who can’t go out still get what they need. I’ve mentioned a few days ago, but being able to work has helped my mental health so much. I am not focusing on the news, I am able to focus on my job.
It is important that people remember those who are working. Those who are unable to stay at home. Respect workers. If you don’t value the workers, then don’t use their service.
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.