Hellooo! So today, I want to discuss 3 things that a lot of people I know, definitely including myself, fail to do: to not stress, to not compare themselves to others and to purely enjoy life. Whether you’re at school, at uni or in full-time work, life can often feel like one stress after another; one disappointment after another. We fail to notice the good. This has been particularly prevalent in my life since starting university. The preconceptions that students do nothing but lie in bed all day, just to get pissed at night are the biggest load of rubbish I’ve ever heard. Everything I do is either focused on catching up with uni work, or trying to strive towards career goals. Yes, I have a social life too, but it’s not 24/7 partying. A lot of pressure is put on students, whether that be budgeting very little money, trying desperately to get that 2:1 or attempting to maintain friendships away from home. In life, you’re constantly being pulled in different directions, and it can be bladdy tiring. Not to mention that we’re too busy looking forward to ever enjoy life. For want of a better phrase, this gets on me tits, so today I thought I’d discuss some thoughts that I know all of us have from time to time, and how to dispel that negativity. We all need a bladdy good pick-me-up; it’s about time we started enjoying life again.
Oh also, this post features me in a leopard print dress, because the dress makes me feel happy and let’s be honest, we all need a bit of that back in our lives. And the photos aren’t great, because trying to find somewhere on a university campus that’s quiet is a monumental task. There’s scaffolding in shot, but I’m okay about it, because I am not going to stress.
NEGATIVE THOUGHT NUMBER ONE: ‘IF I DON’T ACCOMPLISH EVERYTHING ON MY TO-DO LIST TODAY, THEN I’VE FAILED.’
Now, if I’m particularly busy, then a to-do list is needed, just to remember everything I’ve got to flipping get done, but usually, I’m not a fan of these. Seeing 20 tasks written out in front of me is actually pretty overwhelming and more often than not, it’ll send me into procrastination mode like nothing else, because I’m too terrified to start tackling seemingly never-ending tasks. I sometimes even begin a to-do list by writing down something I’ve already done, just so I can tick it off and feel as if I’ve got my shit together. A little white lie never hurt nobody.
As for not actually getting everything done, at uni, do we ever anyway? For an English student like me, there’s reading after reading after essay after reading and to be honest, no student ever gets everything done. Universities like to remind us that we should be doing that extension reading, but at the end of the day, you do have a life. Prioritise and get done what’s really needed, and if you don’t finish absolutely everything? Just be proud that you got the majority done. Lecturers live in a world of academia- they sometimes forget there’s real life involved as well. Bless them. You do your best- that’s all that matters.
NEGATIVE THOUGHT NUMBER TWO: ‘IF I TAKE AN EVENING OFF, I’M NOT BEING PRODUCTIVE ENOUGH TOWARDS MY GOALS.’
I’m 110% guilty with this one. I haven’t watched Netflix since September and if I decide to chill in bed and watch a movie, I feel like it’s punishment rather than a reward. If I’m not doing something towards university work or securing some work experience over summer, then I’m pretty much failing in my eyes. University feels like this all important bubble where you MUST be doing something productive 24/7, because an English degree gives you 0 real prospects and the real world looks pretty grim for you if you don’t put the effort in now. Which is honestly the biggest load of rubbish.
Not to mention the fact that if you burn yourself out, getting the simplest of tasks done is going to be a mahoosive hurdle. Take one evening off a week, or work until 9pm and then have some wind down time, because it’s preparing you for the next day ahead. Who knew rewatching The Notebook would be productive, eh? Treat yo self.
NEGATIVE THOUGHT NUMBER THREE: ‘IF I DON’T GET ACKNOWLEDGED FOR MY HARD WORK, I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH.’
Lol, guilty here as well, everyone. I recently applied for an editor position at the student newspaper and I didn’t get it. I do work my lil bum off every week, writing as many articles as possible and sometimes even neglecting my degree work in favour of ‘work experience’, but sometimes it’s not your day and sometimes you won’t get picked for things. We need to remind ourselves that that doesn’t mean we’re not good enough, we’re actually doing perfectly fine, it just wasn’t our turn this time around.
NEGATIVE THOUGHT NUMBER FOUR: ‘NO ONE ACKNOWLEDGES MY HARD WORK, THEREFORE I SHOULDN’T EVEN BOTHER TRYING AGAIN.’
The worst thing I do after aforementioned situation above, is to cast aside any positivity and focus on everything that went wrong. After I applied, I got some feedback as to why I didn’t get the position, and they were so complimentary of my hard work and ideas. The email stressed that I should apply for the next one available and that I didn’t get the role purely due to the competitive nature of the application process. Open to first years, through to PHD students, a more mature student got the role. Instead of realising that I was in fact doing well and that I couldn’t really compete with someone doing a Masters being a mere first year, I decided to go into self-destruct mode. I told myself that I was clearly shit at writing, shit at interviews and maybe shouldn’t even bother trying again. Which is ridiculous.
Now, looking back, I can see that I did do okay and the current editors clearly do value my hard work, it’s just that a mature student is going to have just that little bit more experience, as they’re older. Everything happens for a reason, and no situation can be negative if you’re taking something positive away from it. Every lil thing is a learning curve and hard work will always pay off in the end.
NEGATIVE THOUGHT NUMBER FIVE: ‘TODAY HAS NOT BEEN A GOOD DAY, THEREFORE EVERYTHING ABOUT MY LIFE IS NOW SHIT.’
When things go wrong, we allow that to impact our moods for the rest of the day. Maybe you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped on that essay; maybe your boss had a go at you for no apparent reason at work. Once the moment has passed, why tarnish everything else with the same negative stroke?
Each and every day will have its ups and downs; life is a rollercoaster. You may hate rollercoasters. But even if you do hate rollercoasters, you don’t hate every single moment you’re on one. Maybe it’s going upside down you hate, or a massive vertical drop. The rest of the ride can be pretty tame and actually even a little bit fun. For one thing, getting off the rollercoaster at the end and knowing you have survived is an achievement like no other. Rollercoaster analogy over, but ya’ll can see what I’m getting at here. Just because one little thing didn’t go well, it doesn’t mean the whole journey should be ruined.
NEGATIVE THOUGHT NUMBER SIX: ‘I’VE GOT 15 THINGS I NEED TO GET DONE TODAY- AND TOMORROW THERE’S 10 THINGS TO DO…’
Each and every single one of us is guilty of this lil negative thought. We spend our lives constantly planning ahead and visualising the end goal in sight, that we forget to cherish the journey. What about each little thing you’ve done today towards said goal? Concentrate on the little steps and be proud of them. And let’s be honest, by the time we do reach our end goal, we’ll start thinking of another one we want to achieve and off we’ll go again. We’re never satisfied with where we are now. And this kind of thinking needs to stop.
There’s a lot to be happy about in the here and now. Grab a pen and some paper. Write down 3 things you’re thankful for today. Then, stretch it to 5, or even 10. You’ll realise that life is for enjoying, so start bladdy well enjoying it. Yolo and all that stuffs.
NEGATIVE THOUGHT NUMBER SEVEN: ‘SO-AND-SO IS DOING SO MUCH MORE THAN ME- I’M NOTHING COMPARED TO HIM/HER.’
As soon as a thought like this pops into your head, shout at it, dispel it and think it away. This is NOT what you should be thinking. We live in a society that continually compares itself to other people, like other people’s lives are better than the ones we’re living right now, as if Instagram is a visual representation of someone’s existence. It is not. The words ‘filtered bubble’ come to mind.
We cherry pick what we want the world to see. We show our best bits on social media- our FILTERED best bits. And I know that every single blog you read will churn out the same advice about ‘not comparing yourself to others’ because ‘Instagram or Facebook doesn’t show you the reality’, but that’s because it’s some advice we all need to take ahold of. It’s also churned out so much because it’s easier said than done. We can remind ourselves however much we want that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, but we’re still going to keep doing it from time to time. The best thing you can do when you have these negative thoughts is to say to yourself: yes, she may look like she has a fab life and has her shit together, but although I have my down moments, nobody can do my thing quite like me. The girl you’re envying on Instagram is wondering how you are so damn great. So just give yourself some credit.
NEGATIVE THOUGHT NUMBER EIGHT: ‘I’VE GOT SO MUCH TO DO – I CAN’T SLEEP.’
1- If you’ve got so much to do, surely sleep should be welcomed with open arms, seeing as it’s a lil chance to get away from it all for a while. 2- It’s 11pm at night- what can you actually realistically do now about your to-do list? Absolutely nowt. 3- The quicker you get to sleep, the better you’ll be able to handle your day tomorrow.
When you’re stuck in a cycle of stress, it’s so difficult to make yourself see sense with regards to sleep, but some tough love is needed. Tell yourself those three things, continually, remind yourself you’re stressing about something when the time to get that something done hasn’t even arrived yet, and hopefully you’ll find yourself drifting off. My Dad always used to say, ‘there’s no point worrying about something until that something comes’ and it’s advice I always remind myself of at stressful moments. Do not worry about things you cannot even tackle yet; worry about them when you’re getting them done. Then, you won’t even be worrying, because the thing will be being sorted. The recipe for a worry-free life!
NEGATIVE THOUGHT NUMBER NINE: ‘I’VE GOT SO MUCH TO DO, I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN.’
Contrary to what I said earlier about writing lists, if you’re in this horrible mood where you feel so overwhelmed and cannot get your head around what you have to do, grab a clean piece of paper and just write down the first of your tasks. Then, it’s all that’s there, it’s all that you can think of, and you just have to get on with it.
On a busy day, things can seem utterly overwhelming. Half the problem is just getting started. Once you start tackling the first thing, you’ll be on a roll for the rest of the day, I promise!
NEGATIVE THOUGHT NUMBER TEN: ‘I DON’T KNOW HOW TO REACH MY DREAMS. THEY SEEM IMPOSSIBLE.’
We all just want to be successful- and success means different things to different people. Whatever it is that you want to do, you can do it. With enough hard work, you can get there. Just keep doing your best, keep striving for it and ultimately, remember to take that time out for me-time and learn to not spend your life stressing over the minor things. Stress never helped nobody and if you want something hard enough and are willing to put the effort in, you’ll get there. But, make sure to enjoy the journey along the way – it’s the route to success that is just as important as the end result. Life is for enjoying, not stressing.