Tuesday 3rd Jan
2022 has gone and left us, and let me tell you, it was a year full of highs, complemented of course by some lows. All in all, it was a year to remember for sure.
As I said in my last post, New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs) are not for me. However, in this post, you will see that I still have some ‘things’ I want to take with me into this new year.
It’s day 3 of 2023 and I am still facing hangxiety. New Year’s Eve was a big one and the new year didn’t start how I wanted it to, being hungover and all. Today, I want to get out of this slump, and thus writing this. post will help me, and I hope it will also aid you if you’re also feeling a bit low.
I learnt many things last year, from learning to love myself, to loving the idea of travelling and exploring the world outside of the UK and European bubble. Below is a list of things that 2022 taught me and I want to share them with you.
- Working out should not be a chore or something you dread.
I’ve spoken about my past exercise addiction a lot on this page, but it’s still something that needs to be spoken about, especially if I’m wrapping up my year in this post.
I used to think that you have to work out every single day, get in your 10K steps and always be active. 2022 taught me, due to various things that prevented my from getting in my morning workout, that you don’t have to do these things.
I’ve learnt the pure bliss of waking up late, staying in pyjamas, sipping coffee in bed, and just taking time to wake up. I’ve also learnt that you don’t have to work out first thing in the morning. I have grown to love exercise again and now I exercise (in whatever form: pilates, weights, cardio, walking, running, dancing) when I truly want to, whatever time of the day, or not at all. Many times this year I have gone a week or more without exercise and I’m not mad about that. It’s shown me that there is wayyyyy more to life than being “thin”, “lean” and “skinny”, and learning to love exercise because it is a celebration of what my body can do. Your body needs movement, maybe not daily, but it makes me feel good when I show my body how much I appreciate it for what it can do and how it carries me.
- Truly loving and appreciating myself for who I am.
This year has shown me so much self-love. None of what I have achieved this year would have been possible without this process. This started at the end of April and I carried it through until the very end of the year and I still am. I grew and evolved throughout 2022 and for that I am ever grateful. I have to thank three main people for this and their podcasts: Lexi Hidalgo, Alannah Blumberg and Trin Tondelier. These three influencers really showed me how to love myself and that there is more to life than pity and dread. I learnt how to love every day and to push through those anxieties to enjoy my life again.
- Family is everything.
I spent a good chunk of the start of the year at home and not at Uni. My mental health was low, and has been for the past few years. Spending this time with my parents showed me how special family is. Family is the only thing that is permanent. I also travelled a lot with my dad, and then with my mum, and spending these few days alone with just them really showed me this. Christmas, too, was a special time, as it was the first year where I truly recognised this. I think it’s because I’m getting older too. Christmas isn’t the same, really, and it’s more special as us kids all come home to celebrate this time and it really is my favourite time of the year. Being away from my sister at Uni has also been hard but those weekends that I do spend with her show me how special (I know how many times I have used that word in this segment!!!) our twin-bond is.
- Taking care of yourself and your mental health is the best thing you can ever do for yourself
As I said in point 3, I have experienced a lot of pain in my past and 2022 showed me how to grow with that pain and accept it. It was the first time I have really began to care for myself and practise this act of self-care. I put myself first and worked on myself to the extreme and for that I am grateful for myself.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Life isn’t linear, progress isn’t linear. I think this is something a lot of us still struggle with. We think everyday has to be productive and we have to “get something done” each day. This is false. Some days, even just getting out of bed is the biggest achievement in the day. Other days, you may get everything done on your to-do list. And then some days, you might find yourself somewhere in the middle. Every single one of these days are valid and you don’t have to put pressure on yourself to do any of these things.
- Life is full of ups and downs.
Mental health is always there and it’s a pain in the butt. I’ve learnt this year that it’s not about having no breakdowns or bad days, rather it’s about how we deal with them and learn from them. Despite my sheer progress this year (and trust me, I have progressed a lot), there has also been a lot of hard days. Some of those days, I have let myself slip. I don’t regret doing that per se, because I knew that the next day, I’d get up again. However, they were still hard. I grew from them. It’s key to know that we will always have these anxious days and feel low – it’s about how we build ourselves back up from them. It may take an hour, a day or even multiple days or weeks. That’s ok. Just know that you’re not alone and we all struggle.
- Be more present and live in the moment.
This was one of the first topics I spoke about on my podcast back in May. The first lesson of self-care I learnt was the power of being present. Gratitude was part of this too. I took in the world around me, appreciated nature, and appreciated each day, even those days I got nothing done. Travelling further deepened this, as well as spending time with those people I don’t see that often, like my old friends, oversea friends and family. I learnt to live in the moment and this showed me abundance and gratitude, that every life is worth living.
- Allow things to go wrong.
You can’t control everything. Things will go wrong. Build upon that. Learn and grow with it. Plans fail, people cancel on you. That’s life. Not everything is in your hands.
- The people who are in your life right now won’t necessarily stay.
I built this perfect picture of my high school friends – people who I thought would be in my life forever. When I fell out of touch with these people, or even fell out with them, my anxiety would spike. I thought, “what’s happened between us?” or blamed it on myself. This is life. People come and go. This also showed me who my true friends are, who I stayed in contact with and who made an effort to stay in contact with me.
- Do things for you and only you.
Don’t rely on other people’s opinions and help with making decisions. Learn to trust yourself. Do things that you truly enjoy and want to do. Just because everyone online is doing certain things, like working out, and becoming this toxic ideal “that girl” doesn’t mean you have to do it too. You feel more confident when you make these decisions on your own, you feel power in it.
- FOMO is real. Social media is just a snapshot of life.
Following on from this point about seeing what other people do online, this year I have learnt that social media is fake. We all post when we feel and look our best and when we’re doing exciting things. Especially over summer I learnt this, when lots of people my age were going on all these holidays and having aesthetic picnics on the beach etc. When I stopped going out and partying as much as my peers were, I felt a bit lost, thinking that that’s what I should be doing at my age. I felt this fear of missing out. We all feel this. It’s a human condition drilled into the Western society – that we should always be doing and posting about doing something exciting. Maybe to make people jealous. That’s not how I want to live anymore – I want to do things for me and only me. Social media is only a highlight reel of what’s going on in someone’s life. It only shows half the story, or even just 10% of the story.
- Recovery was the best thing I have ever done for myself.
Recovery for me really started when I began to practice the act of self-care. Before this, I was in pseudo-recovery, which means that I was doing what I thought was ‘recovery’ but not really paying attention to the whys or hows.
I fell in love with food again. This definitely came from travelling, and kind of forcing myself to try all the different cuisines that I was encountering. I also fell in love with the days where I didn’t work out, and instead spent it taking care of my body and mind, or spending it with people I really loved. For example, I really felt this in September, where I spent a weekend with my sister, very hungover, and we just ate hungover food and watched movies all day. I appreciated and lived in the moment.
I still very much struggle with my ED and urges to go backwards. Again, life is not linear. We will always have these ups and downs, but now I know that I am strong, and can always get out of my funk and move on with my life.
- Finally, you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. An incredible quote that I found on Pinterest is this, and I think this really sums up this whole post:
Who are you not to love yourself?