Tag Archives: Pressure

Stress Less Around The Christmas Season.

Stress Less Around The Christmas Season

When we think about it; if it was any other time of the year and we were panicking about getting someone a gift or spending time with a friend, we would say to each other, “it’s only one day!” but when it comes to Christmas, the majority of us go into meltdown mode to make sure it’s the perfect time of the year. I wanted to discuss four pieces of advice that I tell myself if I start panicking about the holiday season.

  1. Having the perfect wrapping paper is not the most important part of the gift.

Listen, this used to be me. I had to have the prettiest wrapping paper and it all had to be the same type. I would get the matching tags and I would have to go back to the supermarket numerous times because I was always running out. If it was colourful, I was in but if it was covered in glitter, I HAD to have it. If we actually think about it for one minute; that wrapping paper is going to be admired for maximum 30 seconds and ripped apart (unless you are Monica, then you slowly unwrap it and iron it for later, but how many of us are doing that with each gift?). That’s it, that’s all that happens and it more than likely ends up in a bin at the end of the day. All that extra money on the glitter, the colourful pattern, it’s going in the bin and because the majority of that type of paper isn’t recycled, it’s just going to sit for years unable to decompose. 

20181209_114216-01.jpeg

I’m not trying to guilt anyone, I promise I’m not, but once you really think about where that wrapping paper is going and what it’s being used for, something just clicks. It clicks that we don’t need to be really fancy; last year I used brown wrapping paper and I used regular string and it gave the present a minimalist feel. This year, I’m going to add ribbon to the present instead and that means that the paper will be recyclable, the tape I use is also recyclable and the receivers can use the ribbons afterwards if they want. This doesn’t apply to only Christmas, this is all year round and it means that you won’t have to rush round the shops looking for fancy birthday paper because you’ll have left over brown paper from Christmas and maybe a ribbon or two.

2) If you can’t attend every single event, people WILL understand.

Christmas and December in general in expensive; it’s the busiest time of the year and we want to gift our friends and family with presents that they will love. That comes at a cost and you still have to pay all your regular bills, so going out for a few nights over the month for dinner would be absolutely fine any other time of the year but around December, it’s a little harder and it can be hard to admit that to friends and family. You may want to go out and still catch-up over your monthly pizza night or have that weekly pub night, but if you can’t afford to or you have family plans, the people around you will understand. It’s a busy time of the time and you’re having to balance everything you would normally do as well as planning your Christmas and scheduling your family time around your work schedule (and your own family’s schedule). A catch up over a coffee on your lunch break can be just as effective or inviting a friend over for a home cooked meal can be just as comforting. These are things we should be doing all year around but I believe it’s so important to emphasize that if you can’t go out as often as you used to or you feel like you’ve committed to so many events, it’s okay if you can’t go to everything, and those that truly care about you will one hundred percent understand.

3) Quality over quantity is more important.

This has been a really important part of my Christmas gifting experience especially over the last few years and with my on-going journey with minimalism (or at least my very very slow journey with minimalism) I treat my present buying the way I want to be treated with gift giving. As much as fifty presents would love on the sofa on the morning of Christmas, am I going to get around to use all fifty? I absolutely love surprises and I love surprising people especially with gifts, and I believe the reason why I’m so good at gifts is because I do research. One of my favourite things to do throughout school and college was the research part of an assignment and it has stayed with me. Of course, if you ask someone what they want and they tell you; well you have hit the jackpot and you know exactly what they want, but we all have those people in our lives that we ask what they want for Christmas and they either say “Oh nothing, I don’t need anything” or “I don’t know, I’ll let you know” and they never let you know.

close-up-photo-of-gold-and-silver-christmas-ornaments-1669091.jpg(Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels)

I would rather buy fewer presents that I either know the person will love or is higher quality than buying five smaller presents. I think this is something that parents deal with quite a lot and especially now that almost everything is documented on social media; the living room is covered in presents or there was one woman a few years ago I remember being interviewed on TV who bought her children something outrageous like three hundred presents! I can’t imagine what it’s like as a parent because I’m not one yet but I can imagine that you want to give your children the most magical Christmas. You want them to go back to school and tell them about the amazing time they had when they were off on holidays and you want them to fit in with all their friends. Where does it stop though? Do you get yourself in debt over it? Do you push yourself so far that it means the first half of the year you’re struggling to get back on track over ONE DAY? Children might not understand the quality of a gift but I believe if it’s taught to them at a young age, they will appreciate it so much more. (I’m saying this as a non-parent but this is how I want to raise my future children. At least I have a plan right?)

4) At the end of the day, it’s ONE DAY.

Is it worth it to completely stress, stretch your budget to harm you for the next year coming and make everything perfect for ONE DAY out of the year? I can give you the answer right now and I can tell you it’s a firm no. We have another 364 days to buy gifts for each other, to show each other how we feel and show our appreciation for one another; the pressure for this one day has completely taken over on an entire new level and instead of looking forward to Christmas, it’s sad that so many don’t love the build up and the excitement of it all because all they see is the pressure to be perfect. 

As always, thank you so much for reading today’s post, I know it was a long one but it’s always a good excuse to make a cup of tea beforehand, right? If you have any feedback; please let me know in the comments, over on my Instagram or over on my Twitter. Also, I love Christmas themed posts, so if you have one that you think I would enjoy, let me know! Have a great week! ❤️

Is There Unwarranted Pressure Around Veganism?

is there un-warranted pressure around veganism_ (1)

The world of veganism is growing year upon year, and as a vegan myself, I couldn’t be prouder. I wanted to talk a little more about my journey with it, how my boyfriend is coping with it so far with his own short-term goals and why I still get frustrated with the perception of veganism. 

The start of January marked my two-year anniversary of becoming vegan and it still feels so strange to say that because that was never the plan. I had never planned to become vegan; I wanted to try Veganuary because it was something that I was fascinated by, and I was looking for another challenge. The nutrition side to a plant-based diet has always interested me and considering the food intolerances I was already dealing with, I wanted to see how I would cope. At that point when I tried Veganuary, I had been vegetarian for around ten months but I had adapted to that change quite easily. If you want to read about my vegetarian to vegan journey; I have a range of posts you can read which I’ll link to below:

Becoming A Vegetarian
What I Eat In A Day: Veganuary Style
So what happened after Veganuary?
How and why I turned vegan.

My boyfriend Scott, is adapting his diet to vegan this month for Veganuary and I never thought I would see him do this. I sometimes read threads online of other vegans asking could you be in a relationship with someone who wasn’t vegan, and for me, it’s never been an issue. Scott has been very up front about the reason that he’s trying veganuary (you can read his post here!) and it’s been an eye-opener for me to see someone who isn’t looking to permanently change his diet, to change it for a short-term period. 

I call myself his mentor as a joke, but he cooks the majority of our evening meals which have been all vegan, and whenever he wants, he cooks some meat on the side to add to his. We’re always double-checking labels together and we want to explore new recipes because as much as I love his vegetable korma, he wants to see what else is out there. We’re always questioning certain parts of the vegan lifestyle, and sometimes we agree and other times it can turn into a debate, but it’s a healthy debate. As much as it’s nice to have someone who is on the same wave length as you (which I absolutely value in any type of relationship) a healthy debate and another view point is something that I cherish too.  

wp-1486859335842.jpg

I believe Veganuary is a fantastic cause, whether that means that you continue being vegan (like I did) or you plan on cutting down your animal-based products further afterwards, it’s still a step in the right direction. There seems to be so much pressure on being vegan or becoming more eco-conscious which is something I am very passionate about but there are some individuals on the online space who seem to follow the all-or-nothing thinking, which in turn, can deter others from trying to make a change. I can understand that in order to help the planet, one of the biggest changes you can make, is to your diet but sometimes that’s not possible for people. You may have to be on a specialised diet that means you have to cut out so many food groups and individual foods that then cutting out additional food, may be too much. You may still live at home and can’t afford to buy your own food, so you have to eat the food that your parents or guardians eat. You may think that going vegan cold turkey (excuse the pun!) is too much in one go; in that case, it may be easier to cut down on your red meat first, then move to chicken and slowly coming off fish. 

Personally, I think the whole philosophy of becoming vegan seems to be lost sometimes; part of the journey is about being compassionate, not just to the animals and the world around you, but to other people. There can be criticism to other people who choose not to follow the vegan lifestyle, and it can be understandable in some circumstances. When you first learn of the choices that are made against the animals for our food products (to give one of many examples) it can be hard to understand why someone would choose not to follow the same lifestyle. I believe we all get like that sometimes no matter what the subject choice is; we all have our own views and it can be hard to remember that not everyone will have the same opinion as you, but it’s something that over time, you start to realise that you won’t be able to change everyone’s opinion, that’s not your job. 

20180907_155809-01.jpeg

For me, I’m so happy that Veganuary and the vegan lifestyle is becoming more popular, because the food ranges are absolutely fantastic and are getting better constantly, which is only a good thing. However, if you want to change your diet or change your lifestyle but feel like you can’t do it all in one go, that’s okay. You don’t have to turn a vegan overnight to make a real change for our planet; if it’s something that you can’t do, or simply don’t want to do, it’s a valid reason and you shouldn’t feel the need to have to justify your decision. There are many other ways you can help our environment without pushing yourself completely out of your comfort zone beyond the point where you’re not happy.  

Are you trying Veganuary this year? Have you tried it before, what were your thoughts with it? Do you think there is too much pressure sometimes on completely changing your lifestyle? I’d love to know your thoughts on anything I’ve talked about today. Thank you so much for reading, I really do appreciate it. 

How To Plan For Christmas Gifts: Present Pressure and Intentional Buying.

How To Plan For Christmas Gifts (2)

There is no doubt that when the Christmas season rolls around, a lot of us feel the pressure around buying gifts and receiving gifts. In my last two posts, I talked about budgeting, saving, list-making, gift ideas (linked here) and research (linked here); today’s post will focused on intentional buying alongside my journey of becoming a minimalist and how that changes with a holiday so focused on buying lots.

The pressure of buying gifts is probably one of the most common stresses around Christmas. It’s something brought on us not only by society, but our mindset too. We feel the need to buy lots and it’s something that sounds so strange in a lot of ways; spending lots of money while stressing for one day out of the year. 25th December is one of the most anticipated days of the year, there’s no doubt about it and it can be easy to fall under the spell of needing to go all out but we don’t need to. There is so much pressure on parents to buy their children everything or else you’re the worst person in the world. Not being a parent yet, I don’t understand this type of pressure but if I didn’t get something for Christmas one year that I really wanted, I don’t think I ever kicked up a fuss about it. At least, I don’t think I did. Not knowing the feeling but I can imagine that Christmas is one of the most stressful times for parents because it’s not just about our own children; present envy from other children can come into play too and with the world of social media, I see parents on my Facebook and Instagram feeds with a sofa (or two) filled with wrapped presents for the children, almost like a competition, who can out do the other? The reality soon hits that a few weeks or months down the line, how many of those things that you gave your children, do they still use?

In my previous posts I talked about doing your research and making lists for each person and while that sounds like a lot of work, a lot of thought goes into it too. Being a beginner minimalist, I’m wanting this Christmas to be different. In years past, I would go all out and spend too much money when I didn’t need to. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t try and pick the perfect gifts because I absolutely did, but because I didn’t have a budget, I just bought more presents that I should have because it meant that I cared, right? Wrong, oh so wrong. That’s why this year and every year after this will be different. I’m taking a more intentional approach with gifts this year and I have already started. I’m still doing the research I always do by trying to find gifts that fit my family and friends’ personalities but I’m using the less is more approach.

blur-boxes-cards-688017.jpg

This approach is going to challenge me and make me uncomfortable because it will be completely out of my comfort zone. I also have to look at my financial situation; with being unemployed for the last few months, I have had to borrow money and really look at what I have been spending so it’s very unlikely I am going to have a regular amount of money to spend this Christmas. That was scary at first but everyone understands at the end of the day, they’re not expecting lots because they know I’m not in a position to do so. I’m also looking at it from a positive angle because I don’t think I can say I’m on this minimalist journey but pay no attention to that when buying presents for other people, that defeats the purpose surely?

Something that we don’t always acknowledge but is just as important as the pressure of buying gifts, is receiving gifts. Have you ever received a present that you thought “I don’t deserve this” or “I didn’t get them as much as they got me”. Of course, a lot of this has to be with the pressure we put on ourselves and how we view ourselves but it’s a conversation that I don’t see happening as often. For example, significant others always seem to want to get their other half’s everything under the sun to make sure it’s the perfect day for them. When I suggested to Scott having a budget, he scoffed at it for quite a while before agreeing. The point I wanted to bring across to him by us both having a budget was selfish on my part; I didn’t want to make myself feel bad if he spoiled me so I wanted to bring both our expectations down. He reluctantly agreed but he argued that if I didn’t spend as much on him, it wasn’t going to bother him because the amount I spent on him didn’t matter. I’m sure you can see what we both meant, but again, it’s that pressure I put on myself.

baby-blur-celebration-257910.jpg

Going back to my first post briefly where I talked about asking yourself why you get stressed at Christmas, I can guarantee a good majority of people will list pressure of some kind in that list. It’s nothing out of the ordinary and is completely normal but in order for you to no to become stressed, you need to change your mind set on how you view the action of giving gifts and receiving gifts. We could get into the more in-depth conversation of how we don’t need to give gifts to show people we care and I agree completely; however we currently live in a fortunate part of the world where most of us can afford to buy gifts for the ones we love and may not feel right not doing that for each other. Both sides of the coin are perfectly fine and whatever you choose to do is right by you but I believe the first step is changing our approach is making sure that we don’t talk down to ourselves by saying that we don’t deserve a gift or becoming overwhelmed by one day of the year.

We’re always going to put pressure on ourselves no matter what and there are so many factors as to why we do it but as long as we acknowledge it and try to work on it, then that’s the best you can do, right? Again, I hope today’s post helped if you go through something similar. It’s not easy but I’m sure you’re not the only one to feel like this in your inner circle. Open up about it and you never know who you might find feels the same as you.

Choosing What To Share About Your Mental Health Online.

Aah, mental health. It’s possibly one of the most talked about subjects in the last couple of years yet it still isn’t talked about enough, how can that be possible, right? I definitely don’t talk about it as much as I should in real life, but have I found the right balance for the online world? Let’s talk about how we decide on choose what to share about the subject on social media in today’s post. 

With the evolution of sociaI media, I believe a majority of society are over-sharers (myself included) and living in an online world certainly hasn’t helped that perception but with outlets to tell your friends what’s going on, to tell strangers your problems and to share with the world what you had for breakfast; is it really that shocking that we feel like everyone is living a lie? I’ll be the first to say I love posting on Instagram; from my running progress, the foods that I am loving to what I’ve been getting up to that week. I’ve been a tweeter since 2010 and with almost 50,000 tweets, I love talking nonsense sometimes so I definitely count myself as an over-sharer from time to time. 

20180919_144557.png

Take a look at my latest Instagram feed for example, what do you see? You see gorgeous plates of food, fresh manicures, gorgeous skies and spending time with my boyfriend. In that timeline, you don’t see me struggling to get out of bed until mid-afternoon one day because I’m worried about the future. You don’t see me sitting by the phone waiting for that phone call telling me whether I got a job offer and you don’t see me having a good Sunday morning and then suddenly getting hit with very sore cramps that caused me to lie in bed for most of the afternoon.  

Am I part of the problem? What exactly is the problem that I may or may not be a part of? Is there anything wrong with just sharing the good moments of my life or have we been conditioned to believe that it should be that all-or-nothing attitude of “share the good, bad and ugly or share nothing at all”? The world, online and offline, really isn’t that black and white and I think that’s something we are all struggling with. In real life, I’m not someone to really open up about problems that are bothering me and while that is something that I’m becoming better at, it is still a struggle. I feel like a burden and I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems and that’s much more common than you think. So while I’m all about others talking about their problems, I’m not so open about my own. (Again, am I part of the problem?) 

accounts-applications-apps-267350

At the beginning on 2018, I became very depressed to the point where I cried on the way to work for weeks on end and getting out of bed to go to work was a task in itself. I hated the weekends because I put so much pressure on myself to do everything and when I didn’t, I felt horrible during the week because I didn’t feel good enough. I was very unhappy; nothing I enjoyed doing made me happy anymore and I floated through life for a couple of months feeling completely lost. At the time I questioned why; I had my family and friends, I had my boyfriend, I had a job and I had my own house, I had everything I wanted (or so I thought) so why was I incredibly unhappy? Yet on social media, you probably wouldn’t have picked up on it because it’s not something I wanted to put out there nor was it something that I was trying to hide. Do you see my dilemma? Just because I didn’t put it on social media, doesn’t mean I was trying to hide it but I chose not to put it online so it seems like I was hiding it.  

I don’t think anyone has the authority to tell us what is too much to put online except ourselves. Social media is not the be-all-end-all and I think that’s why so many more people are now having digital detoxes because it can all become too much. Waking up and scrolling through other people’s lives can become your daily habit if you make it that. Comparing yourself to someone else can become something you do on a regular basis if you’re constantly picking up the phone and looking at yourself in a negative light because someone else is doing something different than you through the other side of the screen.  

adult-beverage-blank-1093903

We can all handle social media in a much healthier way if we recognize that it isn’t all pretty rainbows and sunshine. Next time you look at someone’s social media accounts, remember that they’re not putting out every single thing about their life; they’re not always putting out the bad and they certainly don’t put every single great thing either. If you can’t handle what someone is sharing, don’t look and I know that’s easier said than done. The great thing about most social media platforms now is that we can mute people, so you’re making the active decision to not look at their content and unless you physically go to their profile, you won’t see it. If it helps your mood and overall mindset, then you’re doing something right. 

This is a post that I’ve been thinking about for a while and it’s been really hard for me to write exactly what I want to say because this is such a broad subject, it can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole, can’t it? I hope it made sense because it’s something we all need to think about and it’s also something that we need to protect ourselves from, whenever it‘s necessary. 

Why I’m No Longer Counting My Steps.

We seem to ask technology to enhance our everyday life; we have everything from fitness watches, earphones that no longer connect via a wire and even shout “Alexa” or “Siri” to turn our music on. In my case, I used a step counter for over three years and sometimes it felt overwhelming and even have the opposite effect of what it’s meant to do. Today’s post is all about how and more importantly, why I’m no longer counting my steps.  

IMG_20180528_105123_748.jpg(I used it to not only track my steps but to also, track my workouts.)

If you’ve followed me on my Instagram for a few years now, you’ll know that for a long time, my first board of call when it came to documenting my fitness was my FitBit. I went from the Flex to the Blaze, and I have had the FitBit Blaze for a little over two years now. I even got my Mum and her partner to get one too and they love theirs. The only time I didn’t wear it was when I went for a shower; with it being able to track your sleep, I wanted to see all that information so taking it off when I went to bed, wasn’t an option for me. Over the last month or so, I decided to take off my tracker to see how I felt because I had been using it for so long, I wanted to see if I felt any different without it. When you’re so used to each step being counted, it is strange to suddenly not have it there anymore.  

So why exactly did I want to try living without it? Why is this so significant that I felt the need to write about it? The problem for me was I relied on my tracker too much; if I didn’t hit the 10,000 steps the one day at the weekend that I was cleaning the house, I felt bad. Sure, I had cleaned the house and felt great for it, but I didn’t get that little buzzing notification that I had hit my steps. I started to feel bad over one thing I hadn’t done rather than the small tasks I had done around the house. Having been in therapy and working on validation issues like these, I knew it had become a problem. Some people could say, “Well, why don’t you just take it off?” When you have depended on something for so long and you look to it for validation, it’s not quite as simple as that. 

IMG_20170812_110243-02.jpeg(In terms of running, it wasn’t that reliable when it came to accurate distance when running.)

To give you some back story on me; I’m a fairly active and fit person. When I was working in the city centre, all I needed to do was walk to work which was half an hour and back again, and that was 10,000 steps. It was almost too easy to hit that target every day but for someone else who was driving to work and not getting out of the office as much as I was, it could have been harder for them. I would go to the gym twice a week and I would try and do the same in terms of going for a run too, so I never had a problem with needing to hit my step targets.   

LPP-podcast-artwork_3_3000-300x300(Picture from LivengProof.com)

I’m a massive fan of podcasts and one I have been listening to recently is “The Liveng Proof” podcast by Engrid Latina. If you follow me over on Instagram, you’ll see her pop up in my stories at least once a day (and for very good reason too!) In one of her latest podcasts, her guest was one of her clients called Dorothy and you can tell they had a very special relationship, just by how the conversation flowed. In this episode (which is linked here) Dorothy talked about how she worked with Engrid about helping her fitness get back on track and it starting out with walking, to create those guidelines to help figure out where she was starting off. Dorothy then talks about her mentor taking off her FitBit off and that inspired her to take hers off. She openly says it was for vanity reasons, and I really feel her in that because they can be quite bulky and let’s face it, they’re not the most fashionable of accessories, are they? She goes on to say that this gave her more freedom and she didn’t feel the need to track every step so I definitely felt like I was on the same wave length as Dorothy while listening to this episode. She goes on to say that she thinks it’s important to open ourselves up to new things and I believe that can still be the case when we talk about letting off of every single tracker we have on ourselves.  

It’s all about purpose; do I believe step counters are important? Of course! If you’re someone who wasn’t aware of the exercise they were doing before and wants to keep an eye on it, then absolutely. If you’re someone who doesn’t feel like they walk enough during the day and wants to see if they can improve themselves with a step counter, then that’s even better. However, if you’re someone who struggles with control and sometimes lets little things take over, then maybe (like me) you need to re-evaluate if you need a tracker in your life.  

strava879400568.jpg(This is an example of the tracking that Strava can do where it gives you the map with your distance, your time and your average pace per kilometre or mile.)

Don’t get me wrong, I still use trackers. I am a massive fan of Strava which can be used for a number of different exercises on Apple and Android, but I tend to use it for my running and my cycling. It’s a fantastic way of keeping track of all my runs and how far I have come in terms of my timing for running a 10K distance for example. I always like to keep an eye on it when I go cycling too because I never tend to know the distance when I’m cycling, so it’s nice to have that too. I’m certainly not against trackers in any way shape or form but for me, I believe that it needs to have a purpose and for me, a FitBit no longer serves its purpose for me. 

As I mentioned when I talked about Engrid’s podcast, Dorothy felt freedom when she stopped using her tracker and so did I. It was hard at first to let something go that I had used for so long but it gradually got easier. I didn’t put so much pressure on myself to hit my target each and every day and that was big for me. Scott has tried to encourage me to start using the Samsung Health app to track my steps but again, it’s not important to me to do this. He loves using it and he’s always in the top 5% in the world of steps but it’s not for me, right now at least and I’m pretty proud that I have been able to take a step back.  

Let me know your thoughts on today’s post; do you use a fitness tracker? Do you count your steps? Why do you count your steps or have you stepped away from it too? Thank you so much for reading it, and if you know of any other posts that are similar to this, please send them my way. 

Does Curating Your Feed Come At A Social Price?

I remember when Instagram first started and I thought to myself, “Why do we need a place just to post photographs? Isn’t that what Facebook is for?” Little did I know that it would become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. However, over the last six months, I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I should and I started to put so much pressure on myself. So, instead of complaining about it, I did something about it and that’s what today’s post is going to be about. (I understand the irony of that last sentence because I know the first paragraph coming up, is me complaining) 

accounts-applications-apps-267350

Before you roll your eyes, I’m not talking about engagement. The amount of Instagram posts, blog posts and tweets I have read about “the lack of engagement” is shocking and quite frankly, very boring. I understand that the platform has changed recently and less of our followers are seeing our posts (I talk about how this hasn’t been the case for me later on in the post) but the constant stream of complaints is too much. Putting your new post in your Instagram stories but colouring half of it in to make me click on your profile and go to the new post, is not going to make me like your post. If anything, it’s going to make me swipe through. I understand why people do it; maybe it’s a tactic that works to get more people engaged with posts, but for me, it’s extremely frustrating. 

I have got caught up in the Instagram hype before. The platform was exciting and fun for such a long time but there was a time where I got obsessed with having to post twice a day and I always worried that I didn’t have good enough content. It’s that “comparison is the thief of joy” quote that comes into play and I can relate completely. My flat lays were never good enough, I didn’t think that my content was interesting and I saw so many other people who were so careful with what they posted that it became this beautifully matched theme. I started to question why I was bothering. Thankfully, I seem to have dug myself out of that hole before it got any bigger. It’s now is a place that I post on when I want to, not out of pressure (on myself). If I don’t post for a few days, I really don’t mind now. It’s the quality over quantity that I believe we should all be focusing on. 

adult-beverage-blank-1093903.jpg

For the last few months I have struggled between two bridges. One bridge is supporting as many bloggers as I can and the other bridge being that I want to curate my feed with what I want to look at that fits my style, my personality and how I want to live. You can’t do both, trust me, I have tried.  

I felt guilty at first because I am a former people pleaser so that started to creep in a little; you don’t want people thinking you don’t like them especially with those you know locally. That’s the biggest pressure I put onto myself and I absolutely hated that I couldn’t get past it for a while. We preach so much about how important it is to put ourselves first especially when we talk about topics like self-care so doesn’t this fall into that too? What’s more important; following lots of accounts so you can say that you support everyone but missing out on the content you actually want to see or is it more important to see content you prefer but feel less involved with the blogging community? Do you even feel less involved because you don’t follow everyone? Do you have to follow everyone to feel involved? 

I would be the first one to stand up and say if my content isn’t your style or if you find it completely boring, then unfollowing me is the best thing for you. I could never be offended or annoyed at someone who didn’t enjoy my content anymore. I wouldn’t want anyone following me because they felt like they had to or they thought I would hate them if they didn’t. At the same time, I don’t want people to automatically think I don’t like them (because that’s not the case) just because I’m no longer seeing their content or simply because their content is just not for me, that should be perfectly okay. 

android-app-communication-35177.jpg

I’ve never been someone to have one of those applications on my phone that tells me who follows me or unfollows me. I have no interest and I believe it can be quite damaging to your self-esteem if you are constantly checking who is unfollowing you. There’s certainly no judgement on my part if you are someone who likes to check that type of information but it’s not for me and really, is it any of my business why some-one doesn’t want to follow me anymore? 

I was watching Just Laura Jayne’s Instagram stories recently and she talked about the fact that we didn’t need to follow every single local blogger because we still see them at events and some we don’t even talk to even if we do follow them. I definitely felt the pressure to follow every local blogger or every blogger that followed me, even if their content wasn’t even close to what I wanted to see. Doing that meant my feed wasn’t curated for me, it was curated simply because I wanted to feel like I was a good person. It’s almost like we’re putting this platform on a pedestal and using it to show how connected we are like we used to do with having tons of Facebook friends or having the perfect top friends on Bebo. I shouldn’t have to prove how connected I am to an interest by how many of that same community I follow.  

Curating my feed took quite a few days; I wish I had saved the exact number of accounts I used to follow but I know it was close to the 2000 mark and now it’s around the 500 mark. I’m really happy with the changes I have made because I’m seeing more varied content which makes the platform more interesting again and it’s more “me” now. I’m following more accounts that post about home interiors, minimalism, wellness and health and you have no idea how nice it is to see more posts that I feel more connected to. 

app-apple-application-219003.jpg

Funnily enough since making these changes, I find that more people are seeing my Instagram stories. Now, I’m not sure whether this has anything to do with minimising my followers but it’s certainly a nice surprise. I’m really happy that it’s something that I feel like I can be open about and put into my own words because it’s something I had struggled with for such a long time. 

As for the title of this post, does curating your feed come at a social price? It really depends if your followers determine your worth. If you’re doing it for you and you’re seeing more of what you want, then it’s not coming at any cost. If someone unfollows you because you don’t follow them anymore then that’s something you shouldn’t worry about because they’re in it for different reasons than you. However, if you slowly but surely see your followers drop and you feel bad about unfollowing the accounts you used to follow, then yes, you are paying the social price. At the end of the day, it’s all about how you view yourself on a social platform. 

I would love to know your feedback on this because I certainly can’t be the only one who felt the pressure to follow everyone, whether that was on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It’s important not to take these platforms too seriously but at the same time, I can understand why someone would feel worried about unfollowing a certain person or a group of people. Thank you so much for reading today’s post and if you have any similar posts to this, you can always catch me over on my Instagram or Twitter. (Oh and all of today’s photographs are from Pexels.com)

Becoming Comfortable With Calling Myself A Runner.

IMG-20170812-WA0001-01

Over the last number of years, the term of “labels” or “labelling ourselves” have started a lot of conversations. Many people don’t like to label themselves because they find if they do that, they’re almost stuck in a box and they can’t veer out of it. I have been very open and honest when I have spoken about being vegan; initially I didn’t want to put that label on it and preferred to say I was eating a plant-based diet. By calling myself vegan, I thought I had to be perfect at it one hundred percent of the time and I was almost afraid if someone called me out on something I did wrong (especially if it was accidental). I am not longer afraid to call myself a vegan and I do when it’s brought up in conversation. I can understand completely that some people don’t think it’s appropriate to label themselves and I’m in no way dismissing that, everyone has the right to what they choose to call themselves (or not call themselves), I’m simply speaking about my experience and not only about how I choose to label myself but why it has been difficult for me. 

What am I? I am a woman. I am a daughter. I am a grand-daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a best friend. I am a girlfriend. I am partner. I am a work colleague. I am a vegan. I am in the media industry. I am a blogger. I am a gym go-er. I am a yogi. I am a learner. I am independent. All labels I am proud of. 

So why was it so hard to call myself a runner? Expectations were a huge barrier for me and it goes back to the point of putting too much pressure on myself and being worried I was going to be judged by other people. When I first started out I told myself that I won’t be a real runner until I can run a certain distance without stopping, so when I did that, I automatically told myself that I had to run further to be classed as a runner. When I ran that further distance, I told myself that I had to do it within a certain time, so again, when I did that, I told myself that a real runner would do it faster. I also told myself that I couldn’t be a runner until I ran in a race but then when I did, it still didn’t feel right. Without me explaining over a dozen scenarios that went through my head, you can see the pattern developing and it’s not a healthy one. 

Changing my mindset and perspective on this particular battle was hard, it really was. I like to think I’m determined (when I truly am passionate about something) and I have even been called stubborn. I’m not sure if stubborn is the right word but I believe when I want something, I work for it and I try not to ask for help along the way. In doing so, I’ve learned that sometimes you can’t do it all on your own and that in itself, has been a huge life lesson for me. 

victoria-wilson-1(Photography by Jess Lowe Photography)

Look at Olympic athletes, did I think they weren’t runners because they “only” ran 100m? Of course not. Did I think those who took part in a ParkRun weren’t runners because they weren’t hitting the specific time that I had in my head? Of course not. Did I think that runners were only “real” runners if they ran in official races? Of course not. So why did I think I wasn’t a runner? 

I was listening to an interview with Tim Ferriss; I’m a huge fan of his work when it talks about mindset and routines specifically. I know I’ve heard him say this quite a few times but I’m not sure if this is his quote or someone else’s but he says “Always try to be the weakest person in the room, in some aspect” It’s a valid point because if you’re always the strongest person in the room, I truly don’t believe you will learn anything from others because you are at the highest point and everyone is looking to you. Whereas, if you are the weakest person, you’re looking towards others for advice and education on whatever that particular subject is. So next time I’m taking part in a race or a ParkRun for example, I know I won’t be the strongest person there and I’ll be getting overtaken right, left and centre but I can only look at that as a positive rather than a negative. I’ll be picking up my pace and I’ll be looking at them to see if they’re using any techniques I haven’t used yet in order to improve my running ability. 

No matter how fast or slow I go and no matter how short or long the distance is, I am a runner and I am proud to call myself one.