Looking Forward Into 2021 & A Retrospective Look To 2020

We live in a world full of oversaturated images of ideal circumstances. Pinterest and Instagram is stuffed full of overly clean interior design: kitchens without a drop of mess, living rooms with no life, bedrooms lacking spice and excitement. We see pictures of DIY projects completed seemingly in one go by yoga practicing, straight laced, ‘my body is a temple’ gods and goddesses, who seemingly have endless holidays and limitless bounds to their finances.

Overall, there is something very wrong with the way we present ourselves on social media.

Once we lose sight of the fact that these perfect lives have taken hours to capture the right moment on camera, waiting for the right lighting, the right opportunity, we start to wonder why our own lives don’t reflect those of the people around us, or who we chose to follow online. It begins to affect us in ways we cannot always physically see, in ways that niggle us from the corners of our minds. Suddenly, our own imperfect images online aren’t good enough, and we’re not sure why. Suddenly, the pictures from a very merry Christmas with aunt Susan and nana Peggy don’t look as fun as you remember.

In 2020, the world took a very strange turn into the world of the online due to Covid-19. We worked online, saw our friends through the palms of our hands, and we found ourselves alone a lot more than usual. Now, although this seclusion at first glance doesn’t appear the best, we found that we had time to reflect on our lives, retrospectively assess how we wanted to spend our time.

Some of us, myself included, felt that 2020 was the year we hit rock bottom. We saw a record loss of jobs and an increase in people asking for help. We saw people learn to live with their new surroundings, survive with the bare minimum and surprise themselves in situations they didn’t think they could survive.

Yes 2020 was the year we hit rock bottom but if we hadn’t hit the floor, we wouldn’t have found our solid foundations on which we could build and grow from.

Its important that when we look at the lives of others online who have seemingly thrived during the pandemic as motivational content rather than as competition, or something to be jealous of.

Its Ryan Serhant who said that this year has been like sitting in the backseat of a moving car and looking out through the right window and seeing a brickwall, dark, dingy and unappealing to look at. Its easy to think, looking through the window that this is the only outlook on life that you can have yet if you switch up your outlook, jump from one seat to the other and look out of the left window you might see bright sunny skies and a beautiful view. You’re still in the same car but with a tiny bit of effort you now have a much lighter view.

Its easy to slip into bad habits, think negatively about your situation and here’s the thing: no one is responsible for changing your world views but yourself. You can’t rely on anyone else for your happiness. Your sadness is caused by your outlook on life.

If you’re sad, lacking in motivation, craving change, then it’s you that also needs to stop being lazy and get moving. Wherever you are with your plans, implement something today. Not tomorrow, today. Why wait?

Yes we’ve had a bad year in terms of a life threatening pandemic but it doesn’t mean life has to stop, we just have to learn to adapt and change with it.

I think in 2021 we should look to incorporating more life into our online presence, more human error. We should promote normalcy, encourage candid shots of everyday adventures and show people that life is perfect just the way it is. We need to start creating a world we are proud to leave behind to a future generation of community based survivors, people caring prodigies, life loving collectives.

Believe in the message? Join in with the candid collectives on social media by using the hashtag #candidadventure in your everyday positive posts and help build our positive vibes across the globe.

Because when we help each other succeed, we all succeed.

Until next time, beautiful readers.

Being The Best You & Encouraging Others

I found myself having a discussion about who I’d be in an ideal world if money wasn’t an option. I said that if I could buy what I liked, when I liked, that I’d be one of those women who ate avocado toast for breakfast, drank healthy smoothies for lunch, did yoga in the early hours of the morning and pole dancing lessons to strengthen my core. My partner said he’d love to take up skating again and get some sort of exercise routine going.

Our discussion got me thinking about how we could mutually encourage each other to do these things, to make ourselves the best versions of ourselves. We ended up looking for used in-line skates on Facebook marketplace and gumtree to see if there were any cheap skates going. Unfortunately there weren’t at that point but the seed had been planted so that we could keep an eye out for the future.

My partner suggested that I start getting up with him in the morning and doing my yoga then in the living room, following along to a YouTube video. The only hurdle I have to overcome in the mornings is actually getting out of bed that early and not just wasting the time on my phone.

I enjoyed our discussion, our small sharing session incited excitement and got the brain cogs whirring. It also felt like an intimate discussion, an honest expression of our hopes and dreams, albeit humble ideas. It’s these kinds of conversations I live for, these two way streets which allow both parties freedom to express themselves without fear of being judged or persecuted.

I highly recommend opening a dialogue with your significant other about what each others hopes and dreams are for the future. If both couples are willing to discuss, it’ll offer a really fulfilling conversation which I think is much needed during this current climate.

So how about it? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? How can you see your best self? Are there small steps you can take now to achieve these goals?

Until next time.

Reinventing Yourself & Coping With A New Direction

Sometimes things don’t work out the way we expect them to. You might have a grand plan in your head of which path you’ve chosen for your life but a strong wind has turned your sail and suddenly you’re facing a different direction. You might battle against the wind, try to get back on course, but sometimes the wind is too strong. So we learn to accept our new course, we plod through each day with a new perspective on life.

We might feel saddened that our old life is no longer before us, we might even cry from time to time, thoughts of shattered hopes and dreams clear in the forefront of our minds.

You might lure yourself into a false sense of security that one day things might be different, that your old life will resurface and things will be better, but you know deep down that this is a coping mechanism to help you get through the bad days.

Obviously we never know what the future may hold. Some reminders of our old life are bound to resurface around us, a bit like as if we were on a boat in the middle of a shipwreck. Floating debris bob up to greet us, some may even get close enough to scrape the side of our boat and if there are survivors then you know damn well we’re right there pulling them aboard. It’s inevitable when your life was so important to you, that aspects of it will still be present but it’s our actions and how we proceed which determines what kind of person we are.

This being in lockdown is bizarre. It’s simultaneously the best time and worst time for reinvention and starting a new course. On one hand we have effectively broken all of our patterns and are in a changed position anyway, which means that we will have to not only start this new course during lockdown but also figure out where this new path is taking us when everything returns to some sense of normality so its almost like starting again twice. On the other hand, lockdown is a chance to get things done retrospectively, without outside influences.

Starting a new course is scary, especially when you have been forced into a new direction, but we can do it. We can make the best of a bad situation and we may even end up on top, living a better life than before.

Sometimes we will have moments of confusion and others of clarity. We’re human. We’re allowed to feel these things. We want to know why the thing has happened but also we know why and accept it, sometimes. We might get angry and our bodies might suffer with the consequence of sadness, but its important to remember that tough situations don’t last but tough people do.

Until next time.

Battling Negative Emotions Over Christmas

There’s a lot to be said about negative emotions, how they aren’t productive, how feeling them won’t change facts. However, negative emotions can be a great way to reflect on our lives, even when we don’t feel like it.

When we’re talking about negative emotions in this article we’re focusing on feelings of deep sadness or a bubbling and/or festering aggression towards a person, or a circumstance.

When we’re upset or angry, we tend to spiral in the same way which is why some of us end up crying when we’re angry or shouting when we’re sad. It’s during these times we can seemingly only see the bad things in life or the negative in people. However, noticing this behaviour is possibly the best route to self improvement.

If we learn to notice patterns when we start feeling these negative emotions then we can learn what triggers us and once we know what triggers us we can then learn to deal with it. Triggers can include everything, from the way someone taps their fingers on a table, to opening your bank account and realising you had less money than you thought.

Triggers are often part of a larger story.

If someone’s tapping finger is frustrating you to no end then its probably going to stretch a bit deeper than the surface noise. This frustration could be because you might dislike the person doing the tapping. Although, this sounds like a catch 22 as without delving deeper into your own psychosis, the cycle of finger tapping/ disliking anything this person does will continue on and on until the inevitable snap.

A better route would be to assess why this person is frustrating you. Is there a deeper reason within yourself which is causing this emotion?

The honest truth of it all is that nobody likes to take the blame for anything and without training your brain, this is no different in circumstances where it is you Vs you. For example, in the previous scenario, disliking a person could be a projection of parts of yourself you aren’t keen on.

Bob, your finger tapping work colleague, chats a lot about his terrible mother in law at work, and everything that creeps out of his seedy little mouth is negative. It’s his down trodden behaviour which puts you down in the dumps and makes the little things he does do annoy you.

However, as soon as you leave the office, you’ll be chatting your partner’s ear off about the terrible day you’ve had and suddenly you’re just as bad as Bob.

Hands up, I’ve done this many a time before and in the words of Karl Pilkington, sometimes we do need a good moan to make ourselves feel better. Yet there is a line, and it’s important to notice when we’ve crossed it in order to improve ourselves.

This Christmas time, a lot of people are feeling down in the dumps or frustrated.

It’s this time of year which is so important for us to look after our mental health and the mental health of those around us. By paying more attention to the attitudes of those around us and to our own behavioural traits, we can hope to better not only our own lives but the lives of friends who need positive mental encouragement.

Let’s start a conversation. Join me on Facebook @theroamblogger as we discuss the best ways to keep a positive mental attitude this Christmas time.

Until next time.