Going With The Flow- Keeping An Open Mind

I am very much in the “go with the flow and see what happens” mentality at the moment and it’s actually quite freeing. Instead of letting myself get hung up over what ifs and buts, I’m saying to myself whatever happens, happens.

Its proving to be quite effective. I don’t feel obsessed over the small things, especially the aspects of my life I can’t control.

Please don’t mistake going with the flow for someone who doesn’t care or is carefree, I simply mean, I am trying my hardest to live my life with an open mind. I’m keeping my future path loose and fluid, with the idea that if one option doesn’t pan out the way I would like it to, then I’m not seeing it as a set back, merely one door that has closed.

We don’t know what the future holds but anxiety leads us to believe we do. We worry and stress over every little aspect of our lives. Whether it’s something seemingly as simple as someone not texting us back, we think the worst. I’ve seen it in myself in the past and friends in the present and I’m sure they’ll be plenty of people in the future going through the same situations. What we have to learn is that we can’t control everything.

Once we learn that, it suddenly becomes a freeing mentality which opens you up to so many opportunities.

When Derren Brown the illusionist placed money on the ground in front of a group of people he’d questioned before, the focus group who said and believed that they weren’t lucky didn’t see the money on the floor, whereas the people who said they felt lucky sometimes or more often than not, saw the money. It was an interesting psychological experiment which shows us that belief and your mental state can impact your life quite dramatically and in order to combat negative emotions, we should be actively opening ourselves up for opportunity.

Obviously with opportunity comes vulnerability but being vulnerable can also help us to develop as human beings. Being rejected from a job or a relationship hurts, don’t get me wrong, but with each experience we grow and we learn what we like about ourselves and what we don’t through other people’s criticism. This is why rejection hurts so much. We have a twisted sense of self, we believe that we are the protagonists of our own story, that other people are there to forward our adventure and in some aspects we’re right. We should be positive, be looking at constantly moving forward but we also shouldn’t have such a closed view on life.

Sometimes we’re the sidekick in someone else’s adventure. If we all went around thinking we were the hero of the story then there would be no story to be told.

Even sometimes, on our worst days, we’re the villains of someone’s story. It’s in these days we have a lot to learn about empathy and how to treat those around us.

Life, as I see it, is about experience. We have adventures, we love, we explore and reach new and exciting highs. We experience heartbreak and sorrow and incredible lows, even to the point where some of us don’t want to be on this earth anymore. But life is worth living for both the highs and the lows. It’s worth exploring the opportunities that are presented to us and keeping our path fluid with an open mind.

I thought that I would be stuck unemployed for months while on lockdown but during this time I’ve not only found myself a few odd jobs for people but was also head hunted by my old bosses friend. It was an unexpected surprise and has led me to the current freelance job I have today.

Maybe I believe in karma. Maybe I believe that I’ve had a lot of bad juju in the past few years and I’m finally receiving some well deserved positive vibes. Maybe I don’t believe in it. Maybe I think we are in control of our lives through the ways in which we choose to live mentally.

What do you think? Do you believe in karma?

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.

3am

3 am is a time for lonely people, a time for people who over think. Its a time for creatives, those trying to finish a project, too absorbed in their craft to notice the time.

3am is for the party lovers. For the people spilling out of the clubs as they close, not wanting to go home so soon.

Currently, 3am is that tipping point between night and day, when the darkness is at its peak before, as if by magic, the world becomes lighter again. Its a time which feels stuck, almost like a limbo, much like this lockdown.

The silence of this time is simultaneously a blessing but also totally deafening. I fear making a noise too great, it seems unnatural to watch a video or listen to the radio at this time so instead I opt for writing down my thoughts and feelings. Suddenly, 3am starts to feel like a retrospection and things start to fall into place.

3am is a rare time to see. It’s often too late to stay up to and just that bit too early to wake up to.

Obviously there are people out there who work nights and probably see this time quite regularly but I wonder if those people who spend more time in the limbo of the early hours are more at peace because there aren’t as many distractions from the outside world.

3am, in my flat, is currently a place for retrospection and contemplation, a time to miss people and cry until I inevitably fall asleep again or decide to get up and face yet another day in lockdown.

I have only been struggling for a couple of days but there are some of you out there who have been struggling for weeks, months even, as the lockdown continues to disturb regular life.

For those of you who are also up at this time, try a sleep hypnosis podcast. It might seem silly to listen to a calming voice telling you that you are feeling sleepy but for some reason, it works. Whether it’s hearing a different voice, whether it’s because it’s calming and relaxed, or a mixture of things, listening really helped me to stop. It stopped the thinking so I could drift off.

One of the things I learned during my counselling sessions a few years back was the importance of distracting ourselves when our brains start to think of things we cannot control. If we are unable to do anything about our situation, unable to better the situations by actions then the next best thing is to forget about it for a while. Give your brain the much needed rest.

Sure you’ll feel guilty at the beginning, as if somehow taking a break from worrying is going to make the situation worse, but persevere as a break from stress can, more often than not, help us to gather our thoughts when we are more in a place to deal with them.

I hope we all can learn a thing or two about finding inner peace, without meaning to sound too Buddha, and although I don’t wish people to suffer, I also wish people could witness the humbling impact of 3am.

As always, my message box is open if anyone wants to talk, be it on here as a comment or though twitter @kirstyawriter.

I also created a Spotify playlist for sleep which is a mixture of guided meditation and nature sounds for a truly good night’s sleep. You can find it here.

Until next time.

Dealing with the stresses of lockdown- Part 1

As we enter week 5 of the UK lockdown, it’s clear to see that everyone is trying their best to follow the rules and stay home where possible.

There are less queues at the supermarket across the way from me, less people on the streets walking and an increase in people wearing homemade masks.

However important it is to stay home and stop the spread of the virus, it’s still affecting people incredibly. The rise in domestic violence is frightening, and its splayed all over Facebook where people are finding staying at home straining.

There are people like me, who lost their jobs when the epidemic started and applied for help and still have not received a penny. Then families staying in one property have an immense amount of strain placed on them as the contact is sheer overload, similarly, those home alone have no contact and are striving human contact. It’s this team of both financial worry and human contact which are causing a lot of people to suffer with mental health issues like anxiety and depression who maybe hadn’t experienced it before.

It’s these people who are plodding along but not knowing why they feel the way they feel. They’ll describe it as frustration or boredom but might have a cry when it gets too much.

It’s these people I want to address, these people I want to extend my heartfelt thoughts to. Yes, you’re struggling and you don’t have to compare yourself to others.

Too often I hear “well so and so have it much worse than me” as if offering yourself a sadness borderline where if you reach that line you’ll agree to be sad instead of accepting that you’re sad now.

It important to look at your own feelings, observe how this lockdown is affecting you and coming up with an action plan to make the most of it.

For instance, I’m a massive advocate for writing. By now you should know this if you’ve been following the blog. Most mornings since lockdown, I’ve had a certain routine. While my boyfriend sleeps, I browse the news in bed, not too much about Covid-19, mind you, but I try and find other stories as well, before I get up, make myself a coffee and read a magazine or a book.

It’s this quiet morning reflection and routine which calms me down, gives me time for me to reflect and truly think about what needs to be done during the rest of the day.

It’s easy to slip into a routine of getting out of bed late, staying in your pyjamas and binge watching yet another series on netflix but do you know what that sounds synonymous with? Depression. People with depression find it hard to get out of bed, find it hard to motivate themselves. And yes, it’s hard to break this routine once you have it but good god, breaking that habit is possibly the best thing you can do for your mental health.

In my next article I’ll discuss my routine for the day and how I break the depression cycle. Stay tuned for more or start a conversation on Facebook, I reply regularly and am happy to discuss anything about the points discussed in this article.

The Search for a Better Job & Other Self Discoveries

So what have I discovered this week?

I have realised that job hunting is not all it’s cracked up to be. I have applied and chased up over twenty jobs in the past month alone with little to no reply. What I have discovered is that I am incredibly resilient and will continue in my job search until a result presents itself. Maybe I need to adapt and edit my resume or maybe it is just a run of bad luck or too much choice for employers in an overcrowded job searchers frenzy, either way, persistence and networking seem to be key to success.

I have also discovered that I am an overly careful person, with regards to finance, driving and life in general. Some may call this a weakness but it allows me to be fully aware in every action I take. It means I am able to assess the situation without leaping to conclusions. I could buy those shoes but what about all those starving kids in Africa? I could speed up to a dangerous speed on the motorway just so the person behind can get home that bit earlier. Whether intentionally or not, I am creating empathy towards my fellow human beings in everything I do. What I must remember is that I cannot pour from an empty glass, that before I can make others happy I must first take care of myself.

It is not all doom and gloom, this week I have also discovered that one of my top songs in a previous post has now reached chart status which means I get to listen to the song regularly on the radio (and eventually hate it after it is played to death- much like that Ed Sheeran song).

This week I have also received a wonderful shout out from Randall’s Review blog, who you should check out if you haven’t already. His posts are dry, witty and sarcastic which are all traits I love to find in a blog.

You’ve reached the bottom of this post- before you go, why not follow The Ramblings of a Madwoman for weekly Sunday writing prompts and other wild blogging tangents?