Monday, 5 November 2018

Month in Review: October 2018

Monday, 5 November 2018

"Cracking open rarely feels good. Unraveling isn't comfortable. Get used to it, baby. You're going to be out of your element for a bit. You're going to feel lost and untethered and sad and scattered. And yet (and yet!) ... if you pause for just a moment, if you check in and breathe, you'll know exactly where you need to be. Perspective is everything. Please give yourself some grace as you transition into this next version of yourself. You're doing just fine."-We Are Soul Sparks


It's that time again: although October felt like just one week, it's all over and we're back writing another Month in Review post. Where has the time gone?!

October is always a fun month for me, not only because it's practically the bright neon welcoming sign into the season of Autumn, but there a lot of birthdays - including my own - marking the beginning of a new chapter of life. Oh, and Halloween of course!
Despite being a little late with this one as we're already 5 days into November, I really enjoyed writing the last and wanted to do a follow-up of the very eventful month that's just been. So buckle up - it's a wild ride...

Flat Update

In the last Month in Review post, I talked about how I'd recently made a pretty big life change and finally flew from the nest by moving into my own place. It's starting to feel like more of a home now, with more furniture and decor added with just a -hint- of clutter! We have 2 new sofas in the living room, along with a dining table in the kitchen and I ticked 'wardrobe' off the checklist for my bedroom. Getting there slowly but surely :-) 

I'm still waiting on a desk for now, but I'm already looking forward to decorating the apartment into nothing less of a Winter Wonderland with December on its way. Again, it feels really nice just to have my own space, and very 'adulty': appropriate given the fact I just turned 25!

Rhian's Birthday

On the 19th I surprised my best friend of 20+ years (yikes - we're really getting old!) to a surprise birthday night out in Liverpool. I booked a stay at Malmaison Boutique Hotel which included a free continental breakfast and copious amounts of Prosecco (thrown in as an extra from the staff - thanks so much!) and it was glorious. The hotel was situated across the docks, giving us fantastic views from the room, and the interior design of the actual building was exceptional. The lobby itself, as well as the bar, was nothing short of luxurious and the double room and en-suite was even better!

As an additional surprise, I also decided to have my friend's boyfriend and our other friends turn up once we were actually out. She definitely didn't see it coming and we all had a fantastic night - I think this deffo earned me extra brownie points as best friend material ;-)

My Birthday

My 25th birthday fell on the 27th of this month, and my family made it special as they always do! My sister treated me to a fancy Afternoon Tea & Lunch at Patisserie Valerie followed by a spot of shopping afterwards. My family then came round to the flat with presents and a delicious Bailey's Freakshake birthday cake, and I proceeded to get ready for a night out in Preston with my uni pals! 

It still feels quite ridiculous that I've now turned 25 years old: on one hand, it feels like I should have so much more of my life together considering I'm halfway to 50 and quarter of a century old! On the other, however, I do feel somewhat at peace with this age. Without sounding too much like I'm preparing myself for retirement, I genuinely feel okay with how my life is going at the moment and its general direction. I've still got a lot of internal improvements to make, which I'll delve more into shortly, but for now - life is pretty good. I've considered writing a '25 Life Lessons in 25 Years' type of post, too - we'll see if I can come up with anything worth writing about!


Ok, so, technically I celebrated Halloween and my birthday on the same day this year: it just made sense with Halloween falling on a Wednesday! That said, I had a really great night - it was so fun dressing up with my friends and to my relief, a lot of people in Preston were also in costume. I decided to go as Maleficent (Angelina Jolie version) and it was surprisingly pretty easy to achieve the make-up look - probably because I already have an angular face with pretty chiselled features!

On actual Halloween, I spent the night cozied up on my sofa watching the new Sabrina series on Netflix, stuffing my face with Lindt chocolate and hiding away from trick or treaters. Not a bad night at all.

Goals for November

Thinking again about my goals for the new month ahead, I decided to listen to my body and recognise the feelings I have deep within me as a solution to what changes I need to make to my life. 

For example - what is the root of the anxiety in my stomach? 
What's fuelling my depression and creating this grey fog in my brain? 
What's happening in my surroundings when I'm feeling sluggish and what am I doing, or hindering, when I'm not feeling like myself?
What would most likely bring peace and balance to my life right now?

A few things stood out to me in particular when asking myself these questions, and provided me with the following key goals of November I want to focus on:

1. Focus on myself - not relationships!

Despite being single for just over 4 months now, it's really become apparent to me that I did not spend this time prioritising the important things, like healing, recovery, feeling comfortable with being alone again, etc. I think I definitely did well with keeping myself busy, but I've come to realise that my distractions were not always healthy ones.

I became dependent on external validation, usually from other people, who definitely did not have my best interests at heart. I stuck around when things felt wrong, ignored my gut, and attempted to bargain with people who just weren't right for me. As a result of my life experiences, and largely my last relationship, I put up with toxic behaviour and situations and allow it to reflect negatively on my self-worth when it goes wrong. 

This is something that I need to work on. I've struggled with poor self-esteem for the majority of my life, and I think I'm finally at a point where I no longer want to ignore it and cover it up with temporary band-aids in the form of others and unhealthy behaviours - I actually want to address these issues, no matter how uncomfortable the process, and work through them so that I can finally be at peace with myself, and happy with my own company.

It's a scary thought, and the journey will no doubt be unpleasant at first, but I'm going to distance myself from becoming involved in romantic relationships until I'm in a good place both mentally and emotionally. I've deleted any dating apps from my phone and I'm no longer communicating and keeping in touch with problematic people (including from my past) simply as an escape from loneliness. My priority right now is strengthening and flourishing the relationships I currently have with my friends and family.

I'm also looking forward to spending time getting to know myself again - the real me, not this people-pleasing, insecure individual who continuously puts other people before her - and feeling free from the unhealthy control and influence that others have had over for me for months, hell, years!

2. Dramatically Reduce my Social Media Intake 

I guess this kinda ties in with my last goal, in that I'm focusing on distancing and detoxing from any unhealthy sources in my life: which, for me, includes the intoxicating world of social media.

I actually attempted to do last year and wrote about my experience: pretty interesting actually given it was also October! I'm managing a lot better than I was back then with how much time I spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., but I just feel as of lately it's become a bit of a hurdle in my life again. It's pretty tricky attempting to distance yourself from certain people, and avoid seeking validation through the form of social media apps when you consistently use them, for hours upon hours each day, which is why I decided to add this goal to my to-do list once again.

I don't want to become reliant upon these digital tools to feel good about myself, especially at a time when I need to be working on my confidence and mental health from within, so will be dramatically cutting the time I spend on these platforms. This definitely won't be permanent, but I'm hoping a little time away will do me some good and help me ultimately in achieving my other goals for this month. As of now I've deleted the aforementioned apps, and will try to avoid using them (specifically from my personal accounts) for at least 2 weeks. 

Maybe I should make this a yearly thing?!

3. Journal, Journal, Journal

Last but definitely not least, I'm making a personal commitment to myself this month to begin journaling again - and frequently. 

I used to write in journals quite often a few years back, which was a great form of introspection and insight into what was going on in my life, and my head, at the time. They're fun to look back at too every now and then, and I always tell myself I'll go back to it - but never do!

I guess this can be put down to the craziness of our fast-paced modern world today - with everyone constantly doing and working towards something, it's difficult to ever remain in the present. One of the other main reasons I stopped writing in a journal often was also because it began to feel very uncomfortable. For example, if I'm in a bad mood, it's usually the last thing I want to do because then I have to actually face my problems in writing! I have to talk about them, I can't avoid them, and this obviously doesn't make me feel good.

The catch 22 with this, however, is that by doing the very things that make us uncomfortable, we're actually gaining perspective on a situation and our thoughts surrounding it. We're becoming familiar with ourselves, with what makes us happy and unhappy, with what we want from our lives and what needs to go. 

Journaling is a powerful form of mindfulness and change, so within this goal I have set myself the challenge to write in my weekly Happiness Planner, jot down my sleeping habits and dream patterns in my new Dream Journal every night, record my moods and thoughts daily in two fantastic AI-powered apps called Youper and Reflectly (which I've just started using), and perhaps also invest in a pretty notebook to turn into a bullet journal and make notes on just about anything.

What are your goals for November? Is there anything in particular you need to be working on?
There's always something we'd like to improve, but at the same time, it's important to keep mental note of the positive influences in our life and be grateful for what's going right - another instance of where a journal will come in handy!

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