Sunday, 13 August 2017

Dealing with a crisis of confidence



Confidence. Seems like you either have it, or you don't, right? We all have those friends who ooze the stuff. They're totally self-assured, would take on any challenge in a heartbeat and would never be heard putting themselves down. 

But what if you're not the confident one? Or maybe you used to be, but somewhere along the way, you lost it? 


I've been spending some time recently trying to connect with my younger, more confident self after a series of events found my self-belief and sense of worth sitting at rock bottom. For almost the whole year I've been on a downward spiral when it comes to confidence.

The voice in my head has steadily eaten away at my sense of self, uttering constant criticisms ranging from "You look 10 feet wide in these jeans, you've really let yourself go," to "It's not even worth handing this piece of work in. It's so bad it'll get shot down immediately," and "Don't arrange that get together - nobody wants to hang out with you anyway."

Hearing that 50 times a day is enough to bring anyone down, right? To make you feel even worse. Eventually you retreat into yourself because it's easier. You let those voices win. I know I'm not the only one.


But you can't go on like that forever. There comes a point where the only way is up. For me, that moment of epiphany was when, within the space of a couple of days, three of the people closest to me pointed out that I had lost that ballsy spark they used to associate with me. That they could here in my voice and tell by my body language that I was in a bad place.

I was going through a hard time, and in many ways I still am, but how can you tackle what comes your way if you're already telling yourself you're not good enough to tackle it?


Talk to anyone in your life who you'd describe as 'confident' and the first thing they'll tell you is that they don't have it together all the time. They don't always feel great about themselves and they definitely have worries and hang ups just like everybody else.

So what makes them different? They don't give those negative voices the time of day. They focus more on their past achievements and future goals than they do their failures and faults, and that shines through in their mannerisms and behaviour.


At the risk of sounding like a dodgy Nike advert, sometimes you just have to do the things that scare you, ignore that voice that tells you "you can't do this" and fight back with "hell yes I can!"

Look in the mirror and focus on something you like about yourself instead of stressing about your frizzy hair or puffy eyes.

Take action and plough on with a task instead of letting procrastination take hold just because it feels safer. Worry about what might go wrong after you've done it.

Focus on the things that make you who you are, not on the things someone else can do better than you.

Hell, I've even created a sickeningly upbeat girl power playlist for mornings when I feel like I just can't take on the day. And it works. Because confidence is infectious.


It takes a lot to pull yourself out of a hole and put this stuff into practice, but distracting myself from my own negativity by moving swiftly onto doing or thinking something else is slowly starting to have an effect on me.

I have good days and bad, but I can feel a little bit of the old, confident me returning. I can feel a hint of a zest for life, a hunger for a bit more than just plodding along, coming back to me. And I've really missed it.

Have you ever felt like you're lacking confidence? How did you build yours back up? Let me know in the comments below.

Outfit details

Top: River Island | Jeans: F and F Clothing | Bag | & Other Stories (Old) | Watch: Olivia Burton | Ring: Regal Rose | Bracelet: Primark

Thanks to the lovely Pippa from Clashing Time for the photos
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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

When will the blogosphere implode?


I've had a blog for over four years now, and for me it's always been a place of self expression. I feel like it's that way for a lot of people! Until recently I'd always found the blogging community a pleasant one. I never seemed to follow or associate with bloggers or YouTubers that caused 'Twitter drama' or engaged in cyber-bullying or subtweeting (whatever that even is). But that seems to have changed now, and to be frank it's bloody spoiling it for everyone.

I'm not dumb enough to think that what's grown to be a huge online space full of bloggers with aspirations to grow and possibly even make a career out of what they're doing is always going to be a nice, fluffy lovely place to be. Putting half our damn lives on the internet there's always going to be realness, negativity and disagreements.

But lately it seems like some bloggers can't move without being criticised. Can't try to make a living without enormous backlash. Considering that many of us dream of being paid to collaborate on our blogs, Instagrams and YouTube channels, would we want to be treated that way by our followers? This 'industry' - and I'm not even sure I could call it that anymore - is propped up by people aspiring to do the very things they berate others for.

Everything anyone says is wrong - it's not inclusive enough or doesn't present every viewpoint or isn't 'relatable' (whatever that really means). How can anyone win? The more I see of it, the more I want to log off and disengage. The more I see of it, the more I want to ditch my Twitter account and go back to the real world.

Sooner or later something has to give. The backlash against the backlash is just as strong. I see people taking long breaks from blogging and social media for the sake of their own sanity. I see people picking fights on my timeline just for a bit of validation. It's not OK. Having an opinion is fine. Forcing it upon others is not. And for me it's all getting a bit boring.

I've seen multiple posts this week on Twitter/blogger hate and why it's OK to unfollow people. Of course it flipping is. You should unfollow people. I unfollow people daily at the moment because for some reason there's some kind of poisonous virus spreading where everyone forgets their manners and just leaps right whatever 'drama' of the moment is without really thinking about it.

You don't have to support someone who doesn't echo your values or produce content that you love, but you don't have to lurk around ripping them to shreds either. This whole thing is INSANELY draining.

I have NO idea where this post is going, but I had to get it off my chest. Maybe that's part of the problem. I don't know. We're all aching to be heard and feel validated in a sphere that's so overcrowded that recognition is hard to come by. But we will never achieve anything by going at each other's throats day in day out.

You didn't ask for my advice, but God damnit I'm gonna give it to ya cos recently I seem to have grown a pair. Step away from the laptop, put your damn phone down and go get some fresh air. We all need a nice, healthy dose of perspective. Blogging in its current capacity won't be here forever if we carry on like this.

I'm exhausted after trying to formulate this rant into something that makes any sense at all, so I'm off to make myself a cuppa. Night guys.
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Sunday, 30 July 2017

A holiday essentials haul


I'm not sure if I'm alone on this one, but I quite enjoy a bit of pre-holiday planning. It usually involves a spot of shopping, putting a few outfits together and thinking about itineraries. I recently hit the shops for a little splurge after realising I was missing a few essential getaway bits and bobs for our trip to Crete , so I thought I'd share them with you!

First on my list was storage. I picked up a set of travel bottles from Tiger for a couple of pounds so I can save on weight and ditch massive bottles of shampoo and shower gel. Then I spotted a triple set of toiletry bags in Primark in shiny copper and couldn't resist. Who doesn't love to be matching? Plus they were just £8!


When it comes to summer holidays, it doesn't get more essential than SPF! This year I've gone for Nivea's Protect & Sensitive range, to help prevent the prickly heat rash that seems to plague me when faced with a week of sunshine and swimming pools.

I picked up some nail polish remover pads too - they do the job without weighing down your suitcase like a bottle would. And of course, no sight-seeing trip is complete without aching feet, so some heel cushions are also coming along for the ride.


Makeup-wise I've also purchased my first ever CC Cream from Bourjois. I've been meaning to try one for a while and although it's a little heavier on the skin than I was expecting it's still lighter than foundation and I love the way it looks. There's an SPF of 15 in there alongside three different colour correcting pigments so I'll definitely be taking it with me! I picked up a mini palette from Collection too, that contains a highlight, blush and bronze in one. There's just no way I would take my gigantic Kat Von D one all the way to Greece with me.

Last year I picked up a mini argan oil from Schwarzkopf at the airport on the way to Turkey and despite using it ever since there's still half left. It tames my hair despite the humidity, meaning I can leave other styling products and fancy masks at home for the week and let my mane drip dry instead.


Now, I know that facewipes are something of a taboo in the beauty world, but when I'm away I just find them so convenient. No annoying bottles of cleanser or muslin cloths required, just wipe makeup away and hit the hay! These oil balancing wipes from Simple really agree with my skin, helping to refresh it after hot and humid evenings.

And lastly, I always pick up a pack of anti-bac wipes - great on the go (again, no pesky liquids) for messy hands and yucky seat-back trays on the plane.


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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Why I still (kind of) blog


Everyone's a blogger these days. So much so that people no longer act like it's an unusual hobby when they find out. Little girls are growing up dreaming of starting their own websites and YouTube channels and Instagrams. While there's nothing wrong with that, the world of blogging has definitely become a much busier place. It's a legitimate profession now. And that's totally OK!

But one thing I've noticed more and more with the phenomenal rise of vlogs and YouTube, and continuing popularity of other social media, is that I read blogs less and less. I used to pour over the newest posts from my favourites, but now I see their content on my Instagram feed and Twitter timeline along with so many others, and I'm much less likely to click through and engage with it. That doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy the post, but when scrolling through any app is an assault of 'check out my latest content', it's impossible to take the time to look at everything without feeling overloaded.

I struggle to find inspiration to provide my readers (who I'm very glad are still here after all these years!) with something unique, or at least a perspective they haven't seen somewhere else that very same week. It sometimes seems like it's almost impossible to grow, too. My followers on social media have been stagnant for months - why would anyone follow yet another small-time blogger with little to say?

I've struggled in my private life so much lately, with anxiety rearing its ugly head not for the first time, and in taking the time to try and deal with that and prevent it from taking over my life, I really neglected this space. And not keeping your blog and social up to date is sinful these days. My pageviews have plummeted, my Instagram followers and engagement have dropped dramatically (I wish I could blame that stupid algorithm entirely). Any attempt to blog in the last few months has only come from a random spurt of inspiration, that vanishes almost as quickly as it appears before I lose enthusiasm once more.

I wrote a while back about how sometimes this whole blogging thing seems too superficial. I'm not sure I feel exactly the same right now, but I do know that something is stirring in me to create something a little more meaningful out of the turmoil I've been going through offline. I guess that whatever comes out of this will only be a good thing. Because after considering packing this all in I've decided that's not an option.


Thinking about it, blogging at all in my current mindset is still an achievement. I've managed to keep up a blog in some shape or from since 2013, and it was only in April that I found myself dwindling from my usual 2-3 posts a week. This blog as always given me something to work at, something to try with, something to distract myself with for a little while.

It's also given me some wonderful new blogger friends. I wish I saw more of them, but hopefully as I get to building up my confidence and motivation again I'll be able to get more involved in the local scene and maybe even arrange something myself.

A blog gives me a chance to develop a whole host of skills, too. Since moving into social media marketing a few months ago with a new job, I'm struggling to remember the last time I wrote more than 160 characters. It's time to learn how to pour my heart out again. It's time to pick up the camera again and actually remind myself how to switch off the auto setting. It's time to put on a sassy outfit and take an image that makes me feel more 'girl boss' than empty shell.

There are so many reasons not to keep this blog running, to pack it all in and find something else to do... but the truth is I don't know if I'll ever be ready to give it up altogether. There are so many more reasons to continue. So, yes - I'm still here! In an impossibly tricky online space, I still want to succeed in growing and learning and bringing even more of you on board for the ride.
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Sunday, 2 July 2017

The 'self care' advice worth taking


You can't scroll through Twitter these days without encountering a thread of 'self care' tips. They're all over blogs, vlogs and even magazine pages. The recommendations made in self care content range from the perfectly sensible (e.g. eat something), to the downright ridiculous (purchase some organic lavender oil spray and spritz your new fairtrade cotton bed sheets to your heart's content while adding even more unnecessary steps to your to do list). 

If you're not doing so well mentally, for whatever reason, the simplest daily task can feel like another mountain to climb. That's why however trendy it seems, self care is important. If you struggle to completely look after yourself sometimes then having key actions to focus on can help you get into a routine and take your mind off of your troubles. 

Self care is not, however, an endless tick list of treats and luxuries. It's not an aspirational lifestyle choice. It's not a 'trend'. The internet seems to have forgotten that part. For many people, myself included during a few periods of my life, getting out of bed at all feels like an achievement. There's no need to then add the weight of a bunch of unobtainable goals. It's all about taking things one step at a time

It's not healthy to set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Instead focus on 2-3 simple things you can do each day, and try to make these a habit. If you have to put a written list somewhere to remind yourself then do it, but don't beat yourself up if you don't succeed, just start again.

Some realistic things you can do to look after yourself

Get out of bed

Even if you just move to the sofa, getting out of bed will make you feel more awake. If you have trouble falling asleep then separating day and night locations could also help. By the time you've gotten out of bed, you may even start to feel like getting dressed, having breakfast etc. Even if you don't, you've succeeded at motivating yourself just a little.

Wash your face, comb your hair and brush your teeth

I find brushing my teeth such a chore when I feel down, but once I've done it I feel weirdly cleansed. The same goes for washing your face. Self-care isn't about looking perfect, it's about being clean and feeling a tiny, tiny bit better for it.

Take your medication

Whether you're on prescribed tablets or are taking the supplement route to deal with whatever you've got going on, skipping doses is going to make them less effective and help you less in the long run. If it helps, you could get one of those weekly pill boxes to keep track. Keep it somewhere prominent e.g. by your kettle or on the bedside table. If you're not taking anything at all, it could be worth looking into if things are bad - there's no shame in asking your doctor.

Talk to someone

Even though I'm rarely truly by myself, in episodes of anxiety or depression I manage to convince myself I'm completely alone. Of course, that's never true, but I need to be reminded of this. Finding someone to talk to, whether through a helpline, a partner, parent, other relative or a friend, could make you feel a lot lighter. I can't tell you the amount of times I've gone quite literally crying to my parents as a grown adult because I've struggled to cope. They're always ready to listen and help me get my thoughts in order. Asking for help or advice doesn't make you weak, annoying or needy, and social interaction is important. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Go outside

You don't have to take up an extreme sport or buy hiking boots, but moving around a bit and getting some fresh air and sunlight is so important for your health. Vitamin D is a natural mood booster and a lot of us don't have enough of it. Even if you just step into the garden, it's a change of scenery.

Drink something. Eat something.

It's easy to forget to look after your body's basic requirements in the midst of a panic attack or when you feel like you're in the pits of despair. I have to admit that when my anxiety is simmering away in the background I'm more of an emotional eater (Krispy Kreme's for breakfast, anyone?). However when it really takes hold I can go the whole day without feeling hungry or thirsty. It's like that part of my brain has been disconnected. A slice of toast and a glass of water isn't much, but can keep you going when you're not interested in putting together a gourmet quinoa and avocado salad.

As far as I'm concerned, anything else is a bonus on those days where everything seems to take ten times the energy and effort it usually might. And who knows, once you've conquered the basics then maybe you'll be ready to start adding in new steps and getting back on your feet.
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© kelly anne rist

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