Friday, 10 November 2017

Feeling Stressed? Find Your Happy Place!



With the new year less than two months away now, it's really easy to feel stressed. Stressed about how you're going to make all the little things fall into place so that you're starting the new year the way you want to be. Stressed about where you're going to be spending Christmas, how you're going to spending Christmas, whether you've got presents for people or even know what to buy them when you go out to get them! Maybe you're running low on money, running low on energy or maybe you're just out of motivation to see you through the next couple of months.



Being the way I am, I have quite a few things that I want to achieve by or before the new year. Just personal goals that I know need to be in place for me to be able to lead the life I want to lead later. So sometimes I feel a little bit stressed thinking that time is running out. I know some people think you shouldn't put pressure on yourself to achieve things too quickly, but I've always found that I work best by setting myself time goals. For example, I wanted to pass my driving test before I finished university, so I started my lessons well in advance. After failing two tests, finding the motivation to continue driving seemed almost impossible. I hate failing anything so I was literally heartbroken and I beat myself up so much about it, that every time my instructor arrived I just felt a looming sense of dread. But I persevered, told myself that this was my final chance to do it and then thank god on my third test I passed!

I always set myself goals regularly throughout the year. Whether it's to get a first in an essay or to go to the gym three to four times a week. A lot of the goals I've set myself this year have actually helped me to lead a much happier lifestyle. I've started to save money instead of blowing it all in one go and it's actually amazing how much you can accumulate just by being disciplined. By meal prepping your lunches on the weekends to avoid having to buy lunch at work. Or today when I went to the gym, I left my card at home and brought £2.50 out with me instead - that way I wasn't tempted to overspend in the supermarket on the way back.

The things that cause me the most anxiety in life at the moment are, firstly, my future. It makes me really nervous to think about where I want to be in a year's time from now and where I will actually be. It's difficult finding a standard job these days let alone a job doing something you actually dream of doing. It's difficult getting a mortgage and saving up for the deposit you'll need when renting prices are so extortionate. I watch programmes every week about people struggling to pay bills and grappling to finance the everyday expenses of life. I read an article by The Guardian the other day that stated household debt in the UK has increased by 7% in the past 5 years and that the current total debt in the UK is at an astonishing figure of £1630 billion. The majority of which is from mortgages and the remaining from student debt and consumer credit.

I also watched The Landlords Move In on BBC1 tonight - if you haven't seen this then I highly recommend! - and whilst one woman owned an 8 bedroom, 4 bathroom house and was building 5 detached houses in her back garden (seriously) there was a pensioner renting an attic room in a flat share. The disparity between the two was shocking considering that they were both the same age. It just makes you think, which one would you want to be? Well, in all honesty I'm really not asking for an 8 bedroom house. There is only one of me, I will probably have only one husband (at a time anyway 😉) and a maximum of two children, no more.  But I also don't want to end up in a position where I'm renting a room or just renting generally for the rest of my life. The thought of renting makes me feel very uneasy as I know that it will leave me next to nothing to actually save.

Secondly, listening to other people's problems. Sometimes I feel like I absorb so much of everybody else's problems that I have a bit of a brain overload and I can't even think for myself. There is only so much negative energy you can take in before you start to feel really negative yourself and that's not cool. I'm always there for my friends, but there are some days where I just don't want to hear it and I think we would all be lying if we said we didn't ever feel this way. Besides, a lot of my friends' problems revolve around boys. *Sigh* Boys and girls, I have been single for some months now. The stress of relationships is far behind me. So if you have relationship drama, please bear in mind that I am happily living a relationship drama free life and although I am all ears, sometimes my ears get a bit tired. The extent of my drama these days is probably just that I'm hungry, bored and/or tired - all of which are pretty easily fixed.

Now aside from all that moaning, the best way that I've found to solve these brain overloads is to spend some time in my happy place. Everybody needs an activity, a place, maybe even a person that just relaxes them, grounds them and reminds them that everything is going to be okay. For me, that's one of 3 things.

Seeing my friends is a big one. If I'm feeling stressed or down about life, seeing my best friends completely lifts my spirits. Whether that's going to stay with them, like I did earlier this week with one of my best friends in Bournemouth or it's going for dinner or lunch just to catch up and have a few laughs. My best friends are my ultimate happy place, I could not live without them.

Going out for food can pretty much always cheer me up. It's not even like I can say I'm a foodie, because I'm actually quite a fussy eater and only really look for chicken on a restaurant menu. But I went to The Ivy Chelsea Garden this week for dinner and it was just so nice spending time with my best friends and getting good food to go with it. We were seated in the outdoor, heated area and given blankets to cuddle up with when we got cold. So really it was quite a posh and expensive dinner, but with very cosy and relaxed vibes too. Almost like sitting on your best friend's sofa! My best friends are always guaranteed to make me laugh. One of them ordered the steak tartare, thinking it was just normal steak. If anything is a tartare it's raw and what she ended up with was essentially raw minced beef in a pretty circle with lots of green leaves on top that she didn't eat. Meanwhile, my other friend had ordered a proper steak and was happily munching away. Hilarious!

Playing The Sims is probably my biggest pastime. Currently I have played 1761 hours of The Sims and that is only going to increase! In light of this whole post, one of the main reasons I probably play this game so much is because it is literal escapism. I can live in a mansion, drive a fast car, have a job as a writer, adopt a horse, kiss a vampire, talk to an alien when he turns up in my back garden in the middle of the night. I can do whatever I want and I love it.

So if you're feeling stressed around this time of year, then what's your happy place?
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