10 ways to deal with the bad days

Some days it seems like nothing can go right. We all have those days where it just seems like there is too much drama. Too much pressure. Too many expectations. Too many things to do, not enough time. Then there’s all the unnecessary nastiness. Some days it’s just all too much!

img_1745

It’s days like these that self-care is super important. Sometimes I struggle with this. It’s something I have been trying to focus on lately. So here are a few of the things that make me feel better on those days.

1: Be kind to yourself

This is probably the most important thing. Some days you just need to cut yourself some slack. Would you have the same expectations on someone else that you have on yourself? Why shouldn’t you be as kind to yourself as you would a stranger? There’s only so much you can do and sometimes you just need to be okay with letting things go. It’s alright not to be perfect (see why here).

2: A good old pamper session

By far my favourite thing is to run myself a nice, hot bath, with bath salts, a beautiful candle and a good read. Sadly my unit doesn’t have a bath though. Instead I’ll do a face and hair mask, give myself a mani-pedi or some other make-me-feel-pretty thing. This usually involves some gorgeous scented candles burning in the background.

3: Play some feel good music

What I consider feel good music seems to vary with my mood. Sometimes I want something up beat and pop-y, other times calm and relaxing. Listen to your mood and pick some tunes that suit you. I have a few Spotify playlists that are my go-tos for times like these – let me know if you want me to share.

4: Treat yourself

Come on, who doesn’t love a little (lot?) retail therapy? I usually use it as an excuse to buy myself something little. This is usually something that smells amazing – a scented candle, some new body wash or body butter. I always find this is an instant pick me up.

5: Do some yoga

Yoga is such a good release for me. There’s something about focusing on body positioning, movement, breathing and stillness of the mind that just makes everything else melt away. On days like these, I tend to opt for the chilled out, slow and relaxed Hatha yoga as opposed to Power or Vinyasa sequences. On the really bad ones, this could literally just be an extended period in child’s pose. Really it doesn’t matter all that much what you do, as long as it works for you.

6: Life admin

I always feel better when things are sorted. All those little things you have been putting off, like calling to make appointments, seem like such a big deal on bad days. Sometimes making little steps to move ahead can make it so much less overwhelming. Attending to one or two of those little things can make all the difference. It can make you feel on top of things and is definitely worth the effort.

7: Stick to your routine (as much as possible)

It’s important to maintain some form of normality. If you normally go to the gym every Monday, don’t stop on account of a bad day. Those kind of things can actually help to get you out of that funk. Keeping busy can take your mind off things and give you something positive to focus on instead. Also, you will probably regret it the next day if you don’t.

8: Affirmations

Create a journal or notebook with all the good things. The things you like about yourself. The things you have achieved. The things you are proud of. The things that inspire you. The things you aspire to be. Do this over time when you think of it. Then you can bring it out on a bad day and be reminded of all those positive things. An instant pick me up.

9: Reach out

Make social connections. Invite friends over. Arrange to go out and do something. Even if you can’t organise something right away, knowing you have plans in the future gives you something to look forward to. Otherwise, just have a good chat with old friends can brighten any mood.

10: Chill out

Some tea and a good book. Or maybe Netflix and chocolate is more your speed? Either way, just taking some time out and escaping reality for another world makes a world of difference. You can check out some of my top picks here. Opting for a comedy is a great way to lighten the mood and bring some smiles to that face.

What are your go-tos for a bad day pick me up?

Advertisements

Why perfectionism should be done away with

Perfectionism. It’s often toted around jokingly: “I’m such a perfectionist”. I have heard it so often (and I’m a culprit I admit) that it has kind of lost it’s meaning altogether. I hadn’t really thought to much about throwing it around. Since I saw Reshma Saujami’s talk, “Teach Girls Bravery, not perfectionism” (see where I talked about it here) I have been questioning this.

I started thinking about who I usually hear tossing that phrase around. I could not recall an example where a guy said that. It’s almost exclusively women. Why?Why is there some hidden expectation that it is acceptable for women to be perfect? Hmm, not acceptable, expected.

No one bats an eyelid when they hear “I’m such a perfectionist” from a woman.

I think it comes from socialisation.The way the world is constructed. It’s something that is taught, albeit implicitly, from when you are a child and then constantly reinforced throughout life.

Take clothing options for example. If you haven’t already, check out this girl’s explanation:

 

There’s definitely different expectations placed on young boys versus young girls. For girls to be pretty, happy, cheerful and agreeable. Boys on the other hand, are encouraged to make their own adventures, to give things a go, to take risks. It doesn’t matter if boys take those risks and make a mess of things. After all, boys will be boys. The same can’t be said for girls. They should be clean, tidy and organised – all things that can be related to perfectionism.

Now surely these same gendered standards don’t continue into adulthood. Or do they?

It appears that the fashion world is improving in the portrayal of men and women. Increasingly men are photographed in “low power” positions such as clutching their own legs and arms. Women are more and more being photographed in powerful poses. While this is great, it seems that the same can not be said about a lot of the culture.

The importance of female perfectionism is still inherent within society, though understated. There’s that suitableness of men often being rewarded for taking risks. When things go wrong? When the wrong things are said? When there is a lack of empathy, compassion and emotional intelligence? There comes that saying: Don’t you know that boys will be boys. So that makes it okay to lower our expectations of the human condition? That phrase, gives an exemption to perfectionism. Why is it okay to grant this concession based on gender?

This concession, is it internal? Or is this something that is being imposed by other people Previously I had considered it to be purely a societal thing – now I am not so sure. Does self-talk play a part?

While I believe that people should not be treated differently, I find myself trying to be perfect at everything I do. I find myself avoiding risks because I am not confident I will be able to make it work. Am I part of the problem? Am I unknowingly perpetuating this concession? I don’t have that expectation on others, why then should I have it on myself?

I do not believe that this concession can truly be done away with until we change our self-talk. Change the expectation on yourself to be perfect. You are human. Why then should you have to be perfect? Why should that be something to aspire to?

I believe when I focus more on taking risks and less on achieving perfectionism, that I will be able to say with confidence that I am not perpetuating this gendered concession. Imagine what would happen if everyone would do the same.

The start of the storm season

img_1720

Spring is in the air and normally this would be totally okay with me. It’s starting to warm up again (not that it really gets all that cold in Queensland) and all of the fun outdoor things happen – beach, sun and sand. Today, we saw the start of the “summer” storm season.

You can check out some footage here:

I had heard about the storm and looked out the window at work. “That doesn’t look so bad”, I thought. So I kept working away. Then, my coworker points to the other direction – a think wall of black clouds as far as you can see. Usually there are issues with flooding when it storms and the train lines are suspended. So off I rushed, racing the storm to get home.

Almost at the station, the storm really picks up speed. One more road to cross, when is a steep hill, the rain almost horizontal and water flowing like a stream across the road. The traffic stops. I start hurrying across. A huge gust of wind. Snap. There goes my hardy, little black umbrella that has stood by me for the last few years.

Silver-lining: umbrella shopping. There are so many gorgeous ones out there. Yes! These are a few of my favourites.

She Lion: The Go-Getter Umbrella

umbrella-snake-2_e784710c-c00f-46ea-a114-9eb088871ea2
She Lion

Let me just say, polka dots are my thing. And I kind of fell in love with this super cute, functional and stylish design. This Australian corporate lawyer turned designer, has some pretty exquisite offerings. Not to mention offers after-pay, where you can pay by instalments. This is also available in a gorgeous snake-skin print.

Fulton Walking Umbrella in Blue Check

7067930-1-blue
ASOS

While this is a little big to fit in my handbag, it reminds me of a cosy, log cabin in the country. It gives me vision of snuggling up in front of the fire place on a cold night. I think it is pretty cute. Flexible ribs for added strength is also definitely a plus after today!

Oroton Signature O Umbrella

SS16
Oroton

Feminine. Classic. Timeless. This understated beauty is a favourite. And the fact it is so convenient to fit in my handbag. A true essential.

So many choices. Time to stop being so indecisive! What is your favourite?

DIY: Painted Glass Vase

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I am a bit impartial to thrift shopping. You just never know what you are going to find! My latest find was an old, glass, half-litre milk bottle, which I thought would look great as a little painted vase. Super easy too.

It would be great for your home or even as a gift. You could use jars, bottles, vases or even glasses for this. So many possibilities.

This is what I started with:

IMG_1678.JPG

I just had some left over acrylic paint. It really doesn’t matter too much the type of paint – just will change the effect. Spray paint or water-based paints will also work pretty well for this.

I also used a paint brush, sanding paper and some polyurethane clear coat. You can get polyurethane from your local hardware store and it usually comes in a satin or gloss finish.

To start, turn the bottle upside down on some cardboard/paper/anything to protect the surface below:

Then I just started painting the bottle upside down from top to bottom. This is just the first coat which looks pretty streaky.

After a couple more coats of acrylic paint, was looking like this:

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I ended up really loving the matte finish on this one so didn’t go ahead with the polyurethane coat. If you are after the shiny or glossy finish, simply use some light sand paper to smooth the painted surface gently. Then apply a few coats of polyurethane to suit your taste.

I am super happy with this one. Now brightening up my living room with some fun spring colours.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

 

 

My secrets to peaceful slumber

When you think about it, sleep shouldn’t be THAT difficult. You’ve been doing it since you were born. Why then do I spend countless nights laying in bed admiring my ceiling? I set out on a mission to boot the insomnia once and for all. Here I share the secrets (?) I learnt and used to finally get those much needed z’s.

img_1677

1: Create and stick to a sleep routine

Now when I first came across this I thought it was absurd. I thought, “Doing the same thing before bed every night won’t make a difference, pfft”. Then I tried it. It is probably the best thing I have found to help me sleep.

The premise is that if you do the same things before bed each night, it gets your brain into the mindset of sleeping. It’s like it subconsciously prepares you for a peaceful night’s sleep.

My routine involves having a teaspoon of honey (seriously all the good things like anti-bacterial, throat-soothing and makes the body release serotonin which promotes sleep) in herbal tea. I slowly sip this while unwinding, removing makeup and all the rest of it. A sleep playlist, of chilled songs that calm me are also a must have. I have been working on getting to bed around the same time each night – that still needs a bit of work.

2: Limit caffeine after lunch

Coffee is my guilty pleasure. The smell. The sensation of that first sip. A good cup of coffee can dust away all my worries and help me take on the day. I know that coffee has a pretty big affect on me though – probably more than most. The other day, I bought the most delicious chocolate covered coffee beans (from the Noosa Chocolate Factory). I had been so good but it was about 6 pm and I had some serious chocolate cravings – may have delved into the chocolate coffee bean supply. I DID NOT SLEEP FOR HOURS AND HOURS.

I have been working on not consuming any caffeine after midday. Some days this is more challenging than others for me. So worth it though when I have those blissful uninterrupted hours of sleep.

3: Before bed yoga

Sometimes I find this whole “wind-down” thing a bit out of reach. I would try and then end up getting frustrated with myself that my mind was running a thousand miles with all the things it wanted to think about. Yoga is a great way to calm your body and get ready for sleep.

Don’t be intimidated – I ain’t no pretzel. My idea of pre-bed yoga are some pretty chilled poses like child’s pose, cat pose and supine twist. Really just some super gentle stretching but makes such a difference! But if you are up for the more intense stuff before bed, go right ahead.

4: Escape technology

We spend so much of our time now days behind a screen. I probably borderline on a little too much. The white-blue light of a screen actually tricks your brain into thinking it’s day time. It can reset your body clock and make it almost impossible to fall asleep.

Many devices now have the option to change the colour of the display lighting to make it more warm – which is much better sleep-wise. On an Iphone, it’s under Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift.

While this is great, turning off the computer/tablet/phone/other devices is even better. I have heard that some people will not bring any devices into the bedroom. I don’t know if I could even cope with this! For now I will settle for not using them 30 minutes before bed. At least that’s something, right?

5: Dim the lights

Kind of keeping with the technology theme, but this has made such a huge difference to me. When I moved into my unit, all of the fixed lighting had bright, stark white light bulbs. While this is great for offices, studios and photography, it is pretty poor for sleep.

One of the best things I did was replace most of the fixed bulbs and all of my lamps with warm light globes. When I’m starting to wind down at night, I switch from the few white lights to the warm ones and instantly notice the difference.

What helps you sleep better?

Inspiration: My top 5 inspo talks

It’s been one of those weeks! I am only just (FINALLY!!!) getting over this sickness that has dragged on for over a week. Feeling drained and behind, sometimes I just need a bit of a pick me up. We all do sometimes. So I thought I would share with you my favourite TED talks to watch when I’m feeling down or needing a little motivation.

1: Isaac Lidsky – What reality are you creating for yourself?

An amazingly eye-opening talk on the power of perception and vision. Isaac challenges you to think critically. Things that once seemed to be objective truths, are cast in the light of your perceptions. He challenges you to think differently, harness inner strength and look at the world through another lens. I find this talk incredibly powerful and makes me feel in control of my own life.

2: Lidia Yuknavitch – The beauty of being a misfit

OMG! For those days where you feel like you just don’t fit in (please tell me I’m not the only one!). I for one often fall into the familiar grasp of self-criticism. This talks helps me to re-evaluate: Find the beauty in the situation and the endless possibilities of life. It challenges me to look for the chances and opportunities available – instead of feeling like I need to fit in. Such a great pick me up (you deserve it).

3: Emilie Wapnick – Why some of us don’t have one true calling

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I DREADED this question – I still do. When I was in primary school I was torn. My answer was either an astronaut or a waitress. As I grew older this changed, but was more fragmented. All of the options. All of the interesting things, from engineering to painting, law to marketing, sculpture to community, were pulling me towards them. I felt so ostracised because I didn’t want to just choose one thing! This talk embraces this multi-inspired approach and inspires me to how this is good instead of weird.

4: Nonny de la Peña – The future of news? Virtual reality

This absolutely baffles my mind. I find it truly inspiring the amazing ideas people come up with. This is a fabulous and amazing innovation on the way news and events are delivered. Journalistic innovation to drive emotional reactions to stories. While it is a little way off delivering main stream news, it makes me feel like anything is possible.

5: Reshma Saujami – Teach girls bravery, not perfection

I confess I am a bit of a perfectionist. I always just took this for granted. So many of my girl friends also display these traits. I thought nothing of it. This talk really made things click for me. I find socialisation theory pretty fascinating. Reshma raises the idea that this perfectionism isn’t necessarily natural, but rather a result of socialisation. The perspective-shifting talk inspires me to throw away my fear of failure – well try to anyway.

Where do you get inspiration from?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin