What do you want to be when you grow up?

Do you remember being asked this as a child and feeling elated when you would respond with an answer that was completely free of fear, judgement or reality? A fireman, an astronaut, a policeman, a mermaid!… At that moment you truly believed you could be anything you wanted in the entire universe- how empowering, how liberating, how alive that must make a child feel. When did we stop being these fearless, bold six year olds and turn into self doubting, insecure ass holes? Like, was this a gradual thing or did this happen overnight, cos either way, it sucks, and I want to be six again.

Have you ever been in a situation where you have said ‘I don’t care what they think’ or ‘I don’t care what people think about me’ and TRULY meant it? Because I can honestly say I have said both of those statements ferociously, to the point where I even convinced myself for a moment that I believed it, but deep down its never really the truth. Not until you learn to let go of you inhibitions and be one hundred percent, no rips off, the genuine article. Actually just be, yourself… scary right… Many of us probably think we are; most of us don’t stand in front of the mirror in the morning and consciously paint on a façade. We don’t plan to go into work and be someone else. We don’t plan to crawl into our shells and be riddled with insecurities during that morning meeting, or end up compensating by being the life and soul of the party at the office drinks on Friday… no, this is your subconscious mind taking hold. Making you think you ought to be something other than who you actually are.

This may stem much deeper than we realise. When you are ‘feeling a little self conscious’ in a social setting because you think people are looking at you, or are dressed better than you, or think you’re weird. Or being afraid to stand up and give a presentation to your colleagues because you think you are not good enough, they’re better than you, they have WAY more experience so I will never be taken seriously…. all of these beliefs are FAKE, where is your evidence? What is worse, is that 99% of the time these negative thoughts will hold you back. They will often prevent you from moving forward. A 2018 study showed that out of a population of 100 women surveyed 85 of them said that they wouldn’t go for a job promotion through fear of not getting it. Another study showed that people were too scared to start a new hobbies because they were worried they wouldn’t be able to master it, or they were worried that they would be judged by others. These false, and mostly negative beliefs are stopping us reaching our fullest potential  (which by the way I don’t believe any of us ever reach- unless you’re Usain bolt, then perhaps ).

I am reading a book at the moment called ‘You are a bad ass’ by Jen Sincero. It was recommended to me last week by my Coach after a discussion around ‘fear of judgement’ ( ground swallow me up plz) and coming to a realisation that perhaps I care about what people think of me, how I look and how I am perceived by others more than I ever truly gave attention to. As soon as I heard the title of the book, and saw its shiny yellow cover, I made my amazon purchase (thank fuck for Amazon during COVID, and yes, I do judge a book by its cover, and boy am I glad I did). She talks about how “no matter what you say you want, if you’ve got an underlying subconscious belief that its going to cause you pain or it isn’t available to you then you either a) wont let yourself have it, or b) you will let yourself have it but you’ll be rill fucked up about it, and then you’ll go off and lose it anyway’. When I read this it was like a million light bulbs went on in my mind- does this resonate with you? Because it sure as hell does for me. I mean, I can give you example after example of how I applied these fake rules to my own life. One recent one being moving to Berlin. Living and working in another country was something I had longed to do from such a young age. I even told my Dad when I was 11 years old that I would move to Berlin one day, and to some extent I believed I would, but another part of me never really thought it would happen. I would always make excuses, or find reasons why I ‘shouldn’t’. I would convince myself that I had everything I needed already, why did I need to change that. Or, moving to Berlin would look irresponsible. People will think I am crazy… wait, am I having a pre-mid life crisis?… Why? Why do we do that to ourselves? It is limiting, and its self defecating.

Imagine if we all told ourselves we SHOULD do something. Or all of the reasons why we COULD do it! Because we are fully capable human beings, our options are endless and our potential hasn’t even began to be touched yet, we haven’t even scratched the surface… imagine. Imagine being as bold and as fearless as your 6 year old self, believing that one day you would be a brain surgeon, or a dolphin trainer or a princess. Lets stop living a life where we just ‘imagine’ and lead a life where you start DOING.

I’m not saying lets all live in a fairy tale. Trust me, I know this world isn’t pretty. I know its hard. I know we have responsibilities. I know some may have aspects of their life which make it seemingly more difficult to do certain things (financially, physically, mentally). But stop limiting yourself and then wallowing in your own sadness about how restricted your life it. How stuck you are. If you have the ability to physically make change then it is your subconscious mind providing you with false beliefs which is the main thing preventing you from moving forward. Jen Sincero talks about how the main source of these beliefs come from our parents, and their parents, or our over all childhood environment. Most people are living in an illusion based on someone else’s beliefs. There are also of course learned experiences, things we have gone through as a child, or somewhere along the way which has caused a specific feeling, perception or belief about a particular part of life. I was sitting in the park today and a little girl was being chased by her Mother, she was running away with her arms flailing, giggling with such elation and enthusiasm as she ambled around in a wiggly line secretly wanting to be caught. The same of which was mirrored by her Mother. They were both revelling in such happiness. Did the little girl learn how to be happy from her mother? In that moment I felt delighted for them both to be experiencing such joy, and then like a lot of these moments it was balanced, or rather it was crushed, by an overwhelming sense of sorrow. I had never experienced that. I had never been chased around in a circle by my mother (not that I can vividly remember anyhow). I had never been tickled so hard by my father that I lost my breath. I couldn’t recall having a moment like that little girl was having right there, and I couldn’t recall ever seeing my mother as happy as her mother was right there in that moment. So, what does that mean? That I should be unhappy about it forever, that I am doomed, or that I can never feel love? No, it means it happened. And I am not labelled by my past. I have the ability to change my future. And I am in the drivers seat in controlling my emotions and my thoughts (with the help of others… I cant take all the credit).

What I’m saying is that all of us are connected to this ‘limitless power’ and most of us are not even using a fraction of it. Instead we are caught up in the hamster wheel of life believing that this is all there is to life. But there is time! It is never too late to make decisions, to seek help, to travel the world, to be brave, to make change. If someone asked you what you want to be when you grow up, what would your answer be?

Mine would be, me.

 

JRs handy tips and tricks

Over the last few months I have delved deeply into my own personal development and growth, and along the way I have picked up a few pearls of wisdom. The things which you are about to read have come from life experiences of my own, inspiration from books which I have read as of late and conversations with folks far wiser than I. The list below is not exhaustive (believe it or not).

Some of these are lessons which have been a long time coming, some are simple and others are still very much work in progress. I wanted to share them with you incase some of you are in a similar position, or are finding certain areas of life a little testing… Here goes:

  1. Impermanence is real! Basically, nothing lasts forever, and when I talk about this I am generally referring to emotions and feelings. It may seem a little pessimistic but I use this to help get me through difficult emotive states. Telling yourself ‘this wont last forever’ can provide that much needed comfort and support when you are struggling. I suppose this is relevant more so now than ever with the current crisis. We are all going through different emotions, feelings and experiences. When you are having a bad day try telling yourself that it will eventually pass, even if it feels permenant.
  2. It is okay to be in between two places. This is something I learnt just yesterday during a conversation with my therapist. Life is a moveable and fluid journey, and sometimes you may find yourself at a point where you are ‘in-between’, lets call it a life-junction. This is the place where you are living in the middle of two worlds, an ‘old world’ and a ‘new world’. If you have made any big life changes you may have experienced this. The old life does not just drastically change or seize to exist, least not in your memory and certainly as a part of your being. Just in the same way as your ‘new life’ does not just magically begin. I think this is perhaps a topic for its own blog, but the main thing to take from this is that where ever you are in life, whatever you are doing- it is perfectly normal to find yourself at a life-junction. It can be a tricky and painful place but you will eventually move forward.
  3. Enjoy the journey not just the destination- you don’t have to get from A to B quickly and you certainly do not have to get there flawlessly. Too many people are focussed on arriving at their destination, whether that be a certain life goal, something they are trying to achieve or an ACTUAL point B. For example, I can totally relate to this when I was learning to snowboard (if any of you have been through this, you will know what a painful and frustrating process it is). Every fall made me want to rip the bindings off my feet (i think i did actually throw a few tantrums), but an instructor said to me as my face was buried in the snow ‘if youre not falling, youre not learning’. At that moment I hated him, and I hated snowboarding but once I had thought about it, it all clicked and made sense. Enjoy the falls, enjoy the bad runs, enjoy the fact that you are training your body and your brain a totally new skill. Once I changed my outlook, everything changed. I was enjoying the journey. This is the same with so many other things; starting a new role, meeting new people, starting a new hobbie- you dont have to know the ins and outs of a ducks arse all at once, you dont have to be perfect at your job and dont kick yourself if you something fluff up- enjoy learning the ropes, meeting new people, getting to know your new environment. This also applys to making your way to an actual destination- how much nicer would that journey be if you made it pleasant instead of just willing to get there- find something new to spruce up your morning commute (when its not just from bed to sofa), embrace your surroundings on the walk to the shop instead of just storming ahead to get the job done. There are so many simple things which may pass us by because we are too focussed on reaching point B.
  4. Be brave, not perfect- I recently read a book by Reshma Saujani which is aimed at Woman (and girls) to fear less, fail more and live a bolder life. From such a young age girls are taught to be polite, to play nicely, to not get dirty (although im not sure I ever lived up to any of those expectations), whereas boys are actively encouraged to climb trees, get covered in mud and are almost expected to be mischevious, bold characters. This follows us into our adult lives, meaning as woman we now live in a world where men rule the boardrooms, where men are praised for demanding a higher salary and where a mans direct and assertive nature is praised, yet so many woman are living lives striving for perfection. Striving to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife and to have the perfect career. Wake up call huns, LIFE IS NOT PERFECT, and striving for perfection will only ever create a life where nothing is ever good enough. Instead Reshma calls for Woman to start being brave. Start doing things which scares the bajeezus out of them, no matter what it is. Instead of searching for perfection, look for excellence in all that you do. Excellence is a moveable goal, but perfection is just setting you up for disappointment. She also talks about failure, and encourages women to not only do things which may result in failure, but to celebrate their failiures. A little like the above point about enjoying the journey, failing is part of life, its part of a process. Learning to dust yourself off and try again is one of the bravest things you can do. And the more you try is, the braver we will become.
  5. Let people be- okay, this is a big one, and probably a topic of its own blog but its something really important which I have learnt, and it is helping me to deal with situations differently, and to look at things through a whole new lense. The short story is YOU CANNOT CHANGE OTHER PEOPLE. You also have absolutely no control over what they think about you. Yes, your behaviour towards them may influence that, but ultimately, you cant control others emotions or behaviour. Im sure we have all been there, lord knows I have, in a situation whether that be at work, or with friends or family where you just wanted that person to do what you thought was best, or to change the way they think… news flash, its wasted energy! There are times in life where we just have to let people be. Focus on what you CAN control. Focus on YOU. I read something the other day and it said ‘two life rules to live the ultimate happy life’ 1) do your thing 2) let others do theirs… I know its difficult but trust me when you learn to let go of that desire to change others, or to control something out of your remit, you free up your time and energies. I recommend it!
  6. Everything will eventually begin to make sense- This links in closely with point number 2. Answer me this, do you ever feel as though so much time has passed but really is has only been, say, 1 month? This is the story of my life and it leads to a distorted view as to where you should be at that point, it makes you question whether you have achieved enough, or done the right things… As humans the part of our brain which controls emotions moves a lot quicker than other parts of brains, such as the part which controls decision making, for example (which is ironic to say the least- who designed this shit?). We are in a constant cycle of emotion, some days stronger and different to the last but also- time is a weird concept, so don’t let it fool you. Take one step at a time, and deal with your emotions as and when they arise. It will service you best and it will all eventually start to make sense.
  7. Be kind to yourself- last but certainly not least. Are you kind to others? I am sure for most of you the answer will be yes. Can you truly say that if I asked you this question about yourself you would answer the same? I know I cant. But starting yesterday, I have vowed to try self compassion. I have promised to start treating myself more kindly. Instead of choosing blame, choose kindness. (Unless of course you royally fuck up, then take a moment, reflect, and continue being kind to everyone, including yourself!)

I hope these small pearls of wisdom can resonate in some way. I am on a journey of self discovery, change and growth. Its not easy and its not always fun, but it is one hell of a ride. I am not recommending everyone makes huge life changes, but it is never too late to transform, even small transformations can make the biggest difference.

Recent personal development, growth and self help books:

  • Brave not perfect by Reshman Saujani
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchin Reuben
  • Managing yourself; A Harvard Business Review
  • Insight by Dr Tasha Eurich
  • Better than before by Gretchin Reuben

Why are you sitting on your own?

This was a question I was asked by a colleague at work as I was sitting eating my lunch by myself a few weeks ago. I was initially taken aback by the fact that someone would even think this was a bad thing, never mind enough of one to question me about it.

I explained I was having a short lunch and wanted to read my book. I shouldnt have needed to explain but I’m trying this thing where I’m being polite to people these days. And, he was just being friendly afterall.

Following this it got me thinking about how some people are actually afraid of their own company. Some may simply not enjoy it as much as spending their time with others, but its quite worrying, and a little sad that people find it difficult to enjoy spending time on their own.

Since we have all found ourselves wound up in this COVID 19 frenzy, it has gotten me thinking about it even more. I have seen people posting things on social media; “omg its 9am and I’m already bored” or “its my birthday and I am stuck in isolation with my family” or “I live for the weekends to see my friends and now I have nothing to look forwad to”… So, i completely appreciate the current situation is pretty tough for people, and its very strange times to say the least. Being ‘forced” to stay home isnt ideal, I know that people have had big trips cancelled, travel plans ruined, weddings rescheduled, birthday drinks via facetime instead if face to face. You are missing the freedom which perhaps we all take for granted, but think of the bigger picture here and remember this is not forever (dont quote me on this, cos who the fuck knows).

How often do you really get the chance to stay home and NOT have to feel guilty about it? Since being in “isolation” I’ve spent time thinking about how simple life actually is, and how we all forget this because we are so consumed with fast paced, 21st century life. Since staying home, I’ve laid in bed at 2pm on a saturday and read my book, when I’d have otherwise been out doing something or nothing, probably buying things I dont need, or forcing myself to go to the gym because staying home and reading on a Saturday afternoon is sinful! I’ve spent time thinking of new things to cook, ive also been eating ALOT but that’s another story. Ive been getting creative with home work outs and yoga in the park (2m apart) and I’ve actually managed to spend some “facetime” with friends who I havent seen properly in a while! This is something which brought me great happiness, and usually something I unfortunstely fail to fit into my busy schedule.

We are all quite conscious of the relationships we have with others in our life, so why do we neglect the relationship we have with ourselves? I want you to think about taking this time to consider the relationship which you have with yourself. Do you give yourself enough attention? I dont mean do you workout enough or do you eat healthily but do you actually care about yourself enough or are you too caught up with “living for the weekend” so you can brunch with your girls. I’m not saying these things are not part of a meaningful existence, of course they are! I’d give anything to go out for breakfast with friends and drink bubbles and forget about this strange situation we are in, but now is a perfect opportunity to stop being afraid of your own company. Spend time with yourself, real, meaningful time, so that when this is over, you can truly appreciate, not only the things we all take for granted, but you can appreciate a new found respect for yourself. And new, rejuvenated relationship with the one person you should look after the most. If you cant enjoy your own company, how can you expect other people to enjoy it?

I’m not saying we should all be a recluse from now on, or to never sit with others at lunch, just dont be adverse to spending some time on your own. Its not scary, and you shouldnt be embarrassed or afraid for doing it. Its actually incredibly healthy and hopefully this time in “isolation” will allow you to embrace it.

The world is in chaos at the moment but you have the ability to look after yourself, and treat yourself with kindness. You are stronger than you think!

Good luck during these strange and testing times.

The Blue Bird

A fairy tale tells two children “The Blue Bird stands for happiness,” and she orders them to set out to find the Blue Bird for her sick daughter. After many adventures, the children come home, unsuccessful- to find the Blue Bird waiting for them at their front door. 

“We have been searching miles and miles, and he was here all the time!”

 

Make of that what you will.

 

 

 

 

 

**Excerpt fromThe Happiness Project**

I made it through the week

**dramatic post alert. If you are afraid of drama, look away now**

The title of this post is both an admission and a revelation. Cue fist pump!

Firstly, its an admission because its not something I have openly shared with many about how difficult I have found the last couple of days, however, I have gotten better at letting people know when I am having a bad day, and trust me it helps. Writing like this can really help me to open up and get my feelings out, but this week has been such a struggle that I didn’t even have the minerals to muster up a cheesy blog… until now!

Another reason why I have been reluctant to share my week from hell, aside from not wanting to bore my avid readers with yet another ‘hey look at me on my new adventure in Berlin’ post, but is due to my overwhelming, sometimes unnecessary sense of pride (some call it stubborn… I call it something different, OK). This was my decision to make a huge life change and move to another country, leave everything I knew behind, so how dare I have the ordasity to do anything other than enjoy it? Its almost by admitting that things are not perfect all the time that I have failed.

So why has it been difficult I hear you ask, and hopefully many of you can relate in one way or another…

I have been missing home so much… who the hell would have thought I would ever say that! It is not the UK as such but its the familiarity. The known. The ‘norm’:

  • I miss the feeling of ‘home’. I took it for granted when I had it.
  • I miss familiar faces. Yes, even yours!
  • I miss the ease of being able to organise a last minute drink with a friend after a shoddy day at work and being able to drink it without making little or no effort.
  • I miss English service at restaurants or coffee shops, I promise never to criticise you again!
  • I miss going into a supermarket at home and buying all the groceries you are used to. As fun and exciting as it is going into a foreign supermarket, I am not in holiday mode looking for fanta lemon and a bag of lays, and at 8pm on a Monday evening I want to get in and get OUT.
  • I miss hearing quintessentially British conversations or words… but don’t worry I have been using the phrase ‘tits up’ a lot here, and it is catching on!
  • I miss carpet under my feet.
  • I miss my sister and my dad, as incredibly dysfunctional as we are. I miss having someone close by who I know I could turn to for something meaningful, someone who has got your back no matter what. Now you are not close by, I wish you were!
  • And above all, I miss my best friend, Ralph. I wake up longing for his big brown eyes to gaze up and me. And I go to sleep wishing he was gently snoring at the end of my bed. Getting home from work of an evening I have craved nothing more than to be back at home with my best mate by my side, feeling his soft ears on my face and his wet nose on my cheek. I would give so much to be back there.
  • I miss you.

I have felt like roadkill this week. Some mornings on my morning commute on the U-bahn I am sure I have even looked liked roadkill. It has been a pain in the A hole, and there was honestly a point where I questioned whether I would make it out the other side. I was ready to rewind and come back home. But I did make it! It has taken me from Sunday evening until Friday at 8pm to snap out of it. I reminded myself, along with the help of two good friends that no one has forced me to be here, this is my choice and it is an opportunity. It is something I have always dreamed of and to give up now would be a mistake. Opportunities wont last forever, but the UK will always exist… well, who the fuck knows. But home is always a place I can go back to. And home is also what you make it.

And finally, that is why its a revelation… I never expected that I, Jessica Roberts, would ever miss ‘home’. The self proclaimed Miss Independent who relies on no one but herself. In a bittersweet kinda way, maybe I needed this to happen. It has taken 27 years to feel homesick, and now I know.

To conclude… I have to keep going. Just like any of us. I cant just pack up my stuff and give up when I am feeling lonely. I cant just quit at the first sign of pain. We keep going day to day, and one day it gets easier than the last. And there will be other weeks like this, now I know what it feels like, and I know I will survive, even if it hurts like a bastard.

Nothing lasts forever, everything is temporary. Remember that, no matter what you are going through! We got this!

**my next blog will contain related stories from this week of hell and tips on how I managed to come out alive… If I haven’t lost you, keep your eyes peeled**

Know the things that pick you up

On hard days it can take a lot of effort, energy and courage to do anything other than hibernate. We have all been there right? Where you mold yourself into your comfiest of hoodies and lay in the same position for hours, only moving for survival purposes (food, beverages, maybe sometimes fresh air- though that can also be a challenge).

Last week during a conversation with my business coach she asked me ‘what are the things which pick you up on your most difficult of days?’. And for a split second, I had a moment of panic, what if I didn’t know what these things were? Or even worse… what if I didn’t have anything specific to answer that question, she is going to think I am so LAME!! Eek! And then it dawned on me, these things don’t have to be mountain moving or earth shattering, it can be something as simple as taking ten minutes out to make a cup of tea, in your favourite mug and sitting to enjoy it without any distractions. So after this conversation I was challenged to take some time to think about all of the things I have and all of the things which I do that can make me feel good, not just during the dark days, but any time in life, because we deserve to feel good every god damn day.

And I would challenge you to do the same. Think about the days where you have struggled to peel yourself out of that tracksuit… what could you do to lift your spirits just a little? You will be surprised at how simple it is, with little or no effort at all. Some things may require slightly more brain power, but that is up to you. You are in control of changing your day and heightening your mood in which ever way you desire.

If you are at all interested, here are some of mine:

  • Read something! Anything!- taking time out to read makes such a difference. It might be something fictional, transporting me to another world, allowing me to escape reality for a moment in time. It could be an article online, a blog, a book about self development (y’all know how much I dig those!). Reading can open the mind and give you some much needed time away from the real world. I never used to be able to finish a book, sometimes even starting one would be a challange in itself, I convinced myself I was broken but actually it was simply that I never really made the time. Now I have the time and it turns out i’m not as broken as I thought!
  • Go for a walk- and it doesn’t matter where, you don’t have to have a particular direction in mind, just walk! I have spent so much of this lock down just wandering the streets of my neighbourhood, finding new places which I never knew existed. Now I know these streets like the back of my hand. And having no specific place to be this gives you time to take everything in, no rushing, no distractions. There is something incredibly compelling in wandering the streets of a new city with absolutely no where to be. (It is not uncommon for my walks to include a beer or 2).
  • Make a tea- or a beverage of your choice and just sit and focus on drinking it. It sounds a little silly I know, but how often do we do things like this and forget to truly appreciate the simplicity of it, to take it all in. There is nothing better than sitting down and for a few minutes just having absolutely nothing to do other than enjoy your tea. It is also a great excuse to just take ten minutes out of your day, especially if you are working from home.
  • Cooking (and eating)- I told my coach how cooking makes me feel so happy. I actually look forward to making something, even if it is just for myself. We joked about the lady in Bridesmaids who makes a singular cupcake for herself, just because she wanted one, and baking made her feel good… why not?!
  • Exercise- okay, if you haven’t already switched off, I imagine this is the point where some of you will press X. But hear me out… its nothing new that exercise can make us feel good. All those endorphins swimming around like excited little tadpoles. It is scientifically proven to reduce lethargy and increase dopamine and serotonin (which are the chemicals primarily responsible for our mood, positively impacting anxiety and depression, for example). Also, I realised I can get my work out done in around 30 minutes, end to end. It really is no time at all. I have no excuse! How many of us have lay scrolling through Instagram for half an hour and the time just disappears?… try replacing that with something else which is guaranteed to make you feel a lot better than social media!

These are just a few things which I know will instantly life my mood and brighten my day. And im not saying its a perfect formula; some days I pick up a book and cant focus on the words, my mind is fluttering around to other places, and some mornings the thought of working out makes me want to crawl inside myself. So I don’t force it. These things should be go to things to make you feel better, not turn you off. Its not a test, no one is checking how often you are going out for a walk, or how good your cooking is… these things are unique to you, and should be done at the times in which they work best.

So ask yourself, do you know the things which you can do to pick yourself up? If the answer if yes, then I admire you and I hope you continue to do these things as much as possible. If the answer is no, I promise, the answers are not far away. You just have to look around, and muster up a tiny bit of energy and your whole day can be transformed.

.

Go and put the kettle on, you wont regret it!

I feel weird

I’m not sure how to describe how I was feeling yesterday other than ‘weird’. And not the quirky, cute kinda weird. But, the kind of weird where you can’t figure out what or why you are feeling the way you do. And as a result makes you feel ever weirder (is that a word?)… it is now!

I woke up yesterday after a glorious, undisturbed, 11 hour sleep (which NEVER happens to me) but I was still SO tired. What?! How is this possible? I promised myself I would work out this weekend so with that I dragged my sorry ass to the gym, where I hadn’t frequented in almost two weeks due to burning myself out. I had been feeling under the weather and been away in the UK for work so now was my time to shine! Look out gym goers, JR has arrived! But… my brain had other ideas. Whilst my body kindly cooperated. My mind had other ideas. It kept trying to convince me that I should stop, give up and go do something else. After fighting with an overactive brain for almost an hour, I had won the battle. Work out complete! Yet I felt somewhat unsatisfied, like I hadn’t fully been there.

As I walked the streets of Berlin in the pouring rain, the grey clouds smothering me like a pillow, I kept asking myself what was wrong. I couldn’t even describe exactly what I was feeling, but I just knew that I felt a little odd. Something was out of place. I gave myself a pep talk to see if that helped in any way. In the moment I was unsure as to whether it did or not, but looking back it didn’t do much other than drive me into a supermarket to ‘be productive’. Do something to take your mind off it, I told myself. Next thing I was walking back in the rain, my socks soaked to the skin, carrying a cardboard box full of groceries which I didn’t even really need. I crammed myself onto a packed ubahn, face smooshed up against the window, soggy cardboard box in hand, dying to get home.

Home provided a welcome sanctuary for my otherwise dreary day. I had a sit down shower (it was like a dramatic scene from an ITV drama) and I put comfy clothes on. I instantly felt better. I’m starting to realise things which I can do to improve my wellbeing and mental state. Just small things like light a candle, open a window, make tea, read a page of your book, clean socks, fresh bedding, eating a cold apple (I told you I was weird). But this is important. Its so important to understand the things which will make you feel that teeny bit better when you are having a difficult day. Obtainable things, not something out of reach, because trust me, that ain’t gonna help either! (we would all like to be on the beach in the Bahamas but lets be real).

I met a girl in a bar just before Christmas and we have been in touch since, so she kindly invited me over to have dinner and watch a movie (no, don’t get excited, not like that!!). She was incapacitated due to breaking her knee and as her boyfriend was out of town she could really use the company. Even knowing this I had spent a large part of my afternoon thinking up ways to not go. I wondered whether I could even say that my best friend in the UK has a cold and she needs looking after… would that work? After another round of pep talks, and the guilt of cancelling last minute setting in, I picked myself up, shoved on some comfy clothes and made my way back out in the pissing rain to spend the evening with a stranger.

During this back and forth internal monologue with myself I kept reiterating the fact that if i don’t make effort, how am I ever going to make good friends here in Berlin? I can’t keep making excuses, and with that I stopped off to pick up a bottle of wine and some cookies. Is this how you make friends as an adult?! Once I had arrived it was like we had known each other for years, even though we had only met once. We chatted about Berlin and work. We drank wine and I played with her cat (not a euphemism). We ordered burgers and fries and we binged on a Netflix series for 3 hours. Hey, this is easier than I thought! And I was going to cancel…! Just goes to show if you make abit of effort, put yourself out of your comfort zone then good things can happen.

I was excited to get back home to my abode. What an exhausting day- all this emotion and feeling and stuff! Takes it out of you! Travelling home I witnessed a deranged old man shouting at a random lady and a homeless man peeing on the platform before returning to his sandwich. Stay classy Berlin! But once home, I had chance to reflect on my day and ask myself why I was feeling the way I did earlier. And, I still had no answer for it. I tried to blame Brexit, which is actually a reasonable explanation and valid answer to why most things are wrong with this world, but, still, it didn’t really help.

So, I resided to the fact that maybe it was just one of those days. And that’s okay. Not everyday is going to be perfect. Life is hard, and feelings can creep up on you when you least expect it, even if we are doing okay. Some days will be more difficult than others, there is no rhyme or reason to why these things happen but the bad days and painful feelings wont last forever. I know this because today is Sunday, and traditionally I have always hated Sundays but today I didn’t. I woke up after another 11 hour sleep (say whaaat) and I felt light. I spent my morning doing things at my own speed and feeling not one ounce of guilt that I slept in, I was actually thankful for my body allowing me to so. I did laundry, made breakfast, had a mini spring clean, called my grandparents, read some of my book and went to yoga at 4pm (which was accidentlly 30 minutes too early). I killed time by walking the streets of Prenzlauerberg, my neighbourhood, which I love very much, scoping out new places to eat. A blessing in disguise that I got the wrong time. I went to yoga and meditated. And I walked back home (in the POURING rain) feeling free and relaxed and happy. What a contrast to yesterday!

What I’m saying is, if you’re feeling weird too, its okay. Feeling weird doesn’t mean you are. It will not last forever and you will come out the other side. Just give it time, and keep talking to yourself along the way. And figure out the things you need to make you feel that little bit better, trust me, it will be your saviour!

You got this!