Overcoming My Fears

This year I’ve committed to watching I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and it’s genuinely bringing me so much joy – especially in lockdown. Should fame ever come my way, I would love to be a contestant on that show – come on manifestation, do your thing! I’ve always considered myself to be quite adventurous. Having camped every summer whilst growing up, I would bat away badgers, ants and cope with treacherous weather, among many other challenges! The premise of I’m A Celeb, comes down to overcoming your fears. We are only born with two fears; the fear of falling and of loud sounds. So it’s interesting to think that everything else is learned, and that most are irrational. During my early adulthood years, I accidentally discovered one of my fears (I suppose that’s the way they all are discovered though). I say “accidentally” because it’s genuinely something I discovered by accident, and it took me by surprise…

A few years back, I was on holiday in Cyprus enjoying the sunshine and tzatziki (although not together), having the time of my life. One afternoon I went on a boat trip. This was my very first boat trip abroad and it was very different than the kind you go on along the River Thames; there was sunny weather and crystal blue waters for a start! There was a portion of the boat trip where you get off and swim in the sea. Here there are two options for how to get into the water. You can either enter by climbing down the ladder (easy), or you can go to the top of the boat, climb over the railings and jump in. I’m sure you can see which direction this story is going in…

My boyfriend told me how much fun the second option was, and me being me, I was up for trying something new. It’s not that big of a drop, about 15 – 20 feet, I thought to myself. So I took off my sunglasses, made my way to the top floor of the boat, all the while feeling calm and collected. I then watched my boyfriend climb over the railing and turn to me with an encouraging smile. I put one hand onto the railing, when my legs suddenly turned to jelly. At that very moment, that scene in Titanic where Rose almost jumps off the ship came to mind. “Nope, I’m not doing it. There is no way I am flinging myself off this. Not for me. No thank you!” was the physical reaction my body was having, before I even got around to saying the words aloud. After a minute or so, I took a deep breath, and I climbed over. I kept a firm grip on the rails behind me, and I stared at the ocean. (Side note: My hands have gone clammy and my armpits have even begun to sweat as I write this!) I was reluctant to let go, but I did not want my fear of this thing that I’ve never done before, to get the better of me. Eventually after a lot of encouragement from my boyfriend and even the other guests on the boat, I psyched myself up. I jumped into the water, which was complete with a mighty scream. This very (dramatic) jump had much of the other guests in fits of laughter, and I think I may recall a bit of clapping and whooping – although that part may be a bit exaggerated. As I emerged from the water, I realised nothing bad had happened to me in this moment. I’ve continued to force myself to do that jump many times since, and it gets a bit easier each time, (although the thought of this now still majorly freaks me out!)

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Mist Falls Trail, Yosemite National Park

Evidently I have a fear of heights, combined with the fear of falling. Strangely enough I’m fine on planes, but if I go into a glass elevator you will most definitely witness my panic. No word of a lie, I have noticed onlookers laugh at me in amusement, at my minor freak out during the course of a five second glass elevator journey. This same scenario has played out in theme parks too. I love that sense of adventure and enjoy fast roller-coasters, but any ride where I am up super high, followed by a steep drop terrifies me. The perfect example here being Rush at Thorpe Park, and don’t even get me started on some of the rides I went on at Six Flags in California.

I can also vividly recall one hike in Yosemite along the Mist Falls trail leading to Nevada Falls. On this hike you climb beside a waterfall. The water sprays create a mist, resulting in a rainbow appearing the higher you climb. I love being active and I especially love the outdoors, but I couldn’t bear to look down the whole time we hiked. At the top I felt a sense of satisfaction, but it was the hike back down which I found the most challenging. If you want to see my internal panic, there was also a similar moment I captured during my Wales Vlog at 7:01 – 7:18. On the Yosemite hike, there was however a humorous moment which broke my tension. I was trying my best to hold back the tears and a fearless girl who must have only been about seven years old, marched right past me, brave as can be! Who knows, it could have been the Ghost of Christmas Past, reminding me of what I too used to be like as a child.

So what have I learned? Well, I know I will continue to force myself to climb a few more peaks in the future. I will also try to push myself to do more things that scare me. Throughout each of these moments, I persevered and I certainly don’t regret doing any of those activities. I’ve learned that quite often on the other side, once you push through the fear and discomfort, that’s where growth lies.

However, should I ever have to abseil down a cliff backwards like they did on I’m A Celeb, I would probably react the same as Jordan North and let my nerves get the better of me. Nonetheless, I know that I am far stronger and capable than I give myself credit for and I should not let my fears hold me back – whatever capacity that may be in. That being said, I can’t imagine myself jumping out of an aeroplane just yet… Maybe one day!

What’s one fear you have tried to overcome? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and it made you smile! If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way Monday – Friday throughout lockdown, so don’t miss out!

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Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

I have always loved Autumn and the changing of the leaves. As a child, Autumn always denoted for me that it was time to go back to school. I remember being so excited when I could finally wear my brand new school shoes (although they didn’t stay shiny and new for too long). As an adult that excitement has been replaced with wrapping up in layers, going out to Bonfire Night displays, and lovely trips down to the pub. Sadly this year, these Autumnal rituals look slightly different. During the first lockdown I shared with you a post about how I felt one month into the pandemic here in the U.K, so it only seemed right to give another update as we go through lockdown 2.0.

I am typically a very “glass half full” type of person, but here we are seven months later and things seem the same as they were in many ways back in April.

During the first lockdown, work and exercise remained as my constants; a routine which kept me busy and sane. I also tried to remind myself of the other positives, such as how much more money I was saving and how much more rested I was feeling. Thankfully the U.K. had an abundance of sunshine this Summer too, which also meant lots of time spent outdoors. As time passed, I was eventually able to enjoy socially distanced meet-ups and walks with friends. However, I couldn’t help feeling a bit anxious that things were opening up far too soon, inevitably causing a delayed reaction in the Winter (lo and behold, here we are). Throughout this, I continued to work remotely and although there were days where I missed the ease of asking my colleagues questions without the need for a video call, the working from home life was “working” for me, so to speak. I even managed to go on a late holiday abroad and felt very safe with all the precautions that were taken.

Then after 2 weeks being back from holiday, it hit me. Life wasn’t going back to normal. Even though this time I had a support bubble, life seemed a bit gloomy. Was it just the holiday blues, I wondered? I didn’t think so. I felt demotivated and disconnected from myself. However I still couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong. At this point, the clocks had also gone back meaning shorter days and less daylight. I found myself going to bed earlier because I simply could not bear the long, dark hours of the evening ahead. I had also watched everything interesting on Netflix and it seemed that exercise only lifted my mood temporarily. I now realize that this was a very delayed reaction to the realization that we are still living in a worldwide pandemic. I was digesting that we will be living like this for far longer than I initially anticipated.

After accepting this, I am now taking each day as it comes. Although I realise just how ironic this blog post may seem for someone who wants to share some positivity, it is important to be open about the days where you may not be feeling so great too. I know that there may be many more days ahead which may feel a bit dark and challenging, but it’s important to speak out and not brush those feelings aside. There is something very refreshing about someone not answering the question “how are you?” with “fine, how are you?”.

As we move through November, I encourage you to check in with your own family and friends (especially the quiet ones) and of course, most importantly – with yourself. If like me you question whether you have the right to feel like you do, try to remind yourself of the below.

Melissa Parkinson on Instagram: “WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT ... I heard  that we are all in the same boat, but it's not like … in 2020 | Storm  quotes, Boating quotes, Storm

Remember, we got through lockdown once and we can do it again. Look after yourselves!

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Come connect with me on socials:

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Working From Home Tips | Mental Health Awareness Week

You may be aware that last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, with this year’s theme concentrating on kindness. Mental health is not an easy topic to approach, but I really wanted to get involved and join the conversation – despite this late upload! Mark Rowland (Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation) shared an anecdote of just how powerful the simple act of kindness is, particularly in today’s circumstances. He recalled how whilst he was waiting in line to enter a supermarket, “One of the staff noticed we were getting wet. He scurried away to find a pile of umbrellas, carefully disinfected the handles and passed them out with a smile. To my surprise, my eyes started to well up. At a time when I felt alone, I suddenly felt connected”. This story really resonated with me and reminded me of a moment I had earlier last week. I woke up on Monday morning momentarily feeling disheartened at the challenge of getting through another week. Another week, working from home, not being able to go out and see family and friends. Yet again. Working as a Recruitment Coordinator, I really enjoy meeting new people and having a direct impact on the candidate experience. I miss not physically seeing any new, as well as the regular faces around the office! It was 8am and I was sat by my desk in my bedroom, drinking a cup of tea. I was checking my work messages from colleagues based in America and Asia, to see if they could support with some upcoming interviews. Over the weekend, they had come back promptly, apologizing for the delay and gladly expressing their support, as well as their gratefulness to me for getting these organized so quickly. At this moment, I found my eyes welling up. I felt really moved by this simple thank you and the mountain that was the week ahead, suddenly felt easier to climb.

I tend to get a lot of my energy from being around people and so have often found it quite difficult having limited social contact during lockdown. Some days I experience brain fog, lack of concentration, and some days I am just caught in the motions. I have beaten myself up for not using every waking moment of this time to be my most productive, creative or <insert your own superlarative!> self. If I’m honest, I’ve been so up and down I could be my own roller-coaster. However I’ve been trying my best to be open and transparent about these feelings; acknowledging them, riding them out, sharing them and it turns out I am not alone. And you know what? The saying, “A problem shared, is a problem halved” is really true.

It may be the start of another week, but I hope you make some time today to check in with yourself and acknowledge whatever it is you may be dealing with. No matter what battle or challenge you may be facing, particularly during this pandemic, your feelings matter. Ignore the small voice in your head that tells you that person x has it “worse” or “harder” than you. Your challenges are yours alone and the intensity of them may be heightened during this very abnormal time. Give yourself the love and kindness you deserve and would give to others.

If you are in need of a bit of self-kindness, I thought I’d share just a few of the things I’ve been doing more regularly, that have been helping me cope over the last 10 weeks and look after my own mental health:

  • Goals; I jot down daily/weekly goals that are achievable. Simple things like reading for 20 minutes or painting my nails have been on this week’s list. This helps find a sense of direction for the day
  • Go outdoors; Whether it’s for a walk in your neighbourhood, in a park or even just sitting in the garden! Going outside really lifts my mood and helps clear away some of that brain fog
  • Listening to podcasts or the radio; I miss physically socializing and podcasts are great to help you feel like you are a part of a conversation and keeping you engaged
  • Read; One of my best friends bought me the book, Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and it has been really beneficial in changing my perspective and regaining some positivity – I’d highly recommend this book for anyone who likes a bit of Psychology mixed with Self-Help
  • Exercise; I’ve been prioritizing my physical health this year and have been making time to exercise more regularly. I have chosen to do workouts that I enjoy and thus am more likely to do again. I haven’t worried about how “easy” or “hard” they are, or personal bests etc. Instead, I’ve been focusing on how they make my feel and it’s the first time in a long while I have stuck to exercise regularly and have definitely noticed results!
  • Challenges; Pre-covid life, the freedom of choice, trying and experiencing new things and places was plentiful. Some days, lockdown has been exhausting as it can seem like one day merges into one. Therefore to establish some differentiation (like my life pre-covid had), I’m trying to initiate new challenges for myself, such as taking time to bake or cooking new meals. Last week I cooked a chicken katsu curry for the first time!
  • Talking; Making time to Facetime friends, family and even co-workers just for a chat like I would have done in the office has helped cheer me up. On the flip side, I know how meaningful these check-ins have been for them too
  • Alone time; Importantly, I’ve also really enjoyed spending time with me! The pandemic has removed a lot of noise and distraction, that my life used to have and has forced me to spend more time on my own more than ever. Yes, it’s cliché but I’m getting to know myself and am identifying the things I both want to and don’t want to do in the future

Although there are days I can be self-critical I try to recognize this behaviour, flip my perspective and be kind to myself instead. According to the MHF, “Kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging… it reduces stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Kindness to ourselves can prevent shame from corroding our sense of identity and help boost our self-esteem”.

I hope that you are each looking after yourselves the best way you can and that you make a special effort to be kind to yourself.

#KindnessMatters 

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and will subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about!

Make sure you check out the below if you enjoyed this read:

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