Being productive is not something I excel in. I always try to put as little effort into something as I can. I’m basically a lazy sloth. You know those times when you have an assessment due but instead you decide to binge watch House Of Cards, that happens to me far too often. Hello, I’m Whitney and I’m unproductive. Trying to get out of this rut, I’ve got some handy tips on how to be productive and work better and make the most of your time. The key to productivity is focus. You can do it fellow sloth. We can all do it.
You’ve probably heard people banging on about how to practice self-care , but honestly it is important and necessary. View Post
I was having a conversation the other day with a friend and she told me that she was spending a lot of time with a boy she didn’t really like. Obviously, I thought that this was odd and wondered why she didn’t just stop wasting her time. She said that she was spending time with him for the company because she was lonely. When she said that I realised so many people spend time with people they don’t really want to because at least they have people around them. I don’t think being by yourself or being lonely is a bad thing; there’s a lot to be learnt in moments of solitude.
I really want to come to terms with how the world is the way it is and why we are the way we are as individuals. Introspection is a skill that I think is so useful in determining our place in this world and how we relate to other people. Having the ability to be deeply aware of your own feelings, emotions, thoughts and perception of yourself is something that I think is integral to leading a life of self-fulfilment and development. Self-awareness is key to unpicking the negativity in our lives, bettering ourselves and leading happier lives. With any form of self-improvement, it takes time and practice to truly see and understand ourselves clearly. If you are interested in how to become more self-aware keep reading and find out my 5 ways of doing so.
Constantly Evaluate Yourself
Throughout the day when you are engaging in thought and carrying out certain actions, evaluate the motivation for them and ask yourself why are you doing them. Explore how you are feeling in each act you are doing or why certain thoughts present themselves in response to any stimuli you’re presented with throughout the day. If you feel stressed at all or down or annoyed, try to find the root of your problem and evaluate why you have been put into these negative moods. Analysing yourself and becoming aware of your behaviours can help to prevent you getting into these moods or can help you make these moods short-lived. You will know what things you dislike and you may not react so negatively in the future.
Don’t Judge Yourself
Whenever you are feeling certain emotions or feelings, express yourself fully and ride the waves of these emotions without judging yourself for doing so. If you are frustrated or jealous even, don’t think to yourself that “I shouldn’t be frustrated”, “being in a bad mood is not good”, “I’m being a party pooper”. Be honest with how you are feeling, come to terms with it and evaluate it in it raw state. Don’t ignore your emotions, face up to them. You will gain a better understanding of the self and you won’t fly off the handle so often or be confused about your feelings. Your emotions and feelings are always valid, just because they may affect others or may not be ideal for a certain situation, it doesn’t mean you should just disregard them. Be honest with yourself.
Change Your Perspective
We all have a perception of things, such as the people around us, situations and events. People also have a perception of us and we have a perception of ourselves. With self-awareness the key is to making the various perceptions of the self equal. How you perceive yourself should match how others perceive you. Through self-reflection and engaging with other people in conversations about each other you can gain a deeper understanding of your inconsistencies and shortcomings. Put yourself into someone else’s shoes and evaluate yourself with a different perspective. What do you see? How do you come across?
Accept Yourself 100%
No matter what you discover on the route to self-awareness you need to accept. This is you. You may find flaws but this is what makes you you. Being able to identify them and make an effort to change them is a great way to develop and improve yourself. We are not perfect and so evaluating ourselves may not always bring about positive conclusions. Again, if you are feeling negative emotions, don’t ignore them or judge yourself, accept it and in time these will occur less and less often. Accepting yourself 100% will provide the perfect environment for you to grow in a healthy way.
Self-awareness is not a finite destination. You can’t give yourself a month to achieve it. It is something you will be consistently and constantly working at. Changing behaviours and thought processes take time and when you find a way to bring about change there will be new ways to improve. The path to self-awareness is a journey, you will learn new things about yourself through all the different interactions, events and situations you find yourself in throughout life. Self-reflection and self-awareness will become second nature to you with time and practice.
I haven’t quite mastered self-awareness but I’m definitely much better at it than I used to be. I feel quite carefree and unstressed in my daily life. Understanding myself more has allowed me to have better and healthier relationships with people and feeling frustrated is a rarity.
Do you think you are self-aware or do you have any tips on how to become more self-aware? Let me know in the comments or over on Twitter.
A great way to take time for yourself and engage in self-reflection is to exercise. Check out my post on it benefits in case you missed it!
It’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and if there’s a time to talk about mental health issues, the time is now. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and I’ve never really spoken about it because I find it hard to explain to people and I’m a little embarrassed. Do I consider it a disease or an illness no, and I don’t like to say it affects my life, but it does. It’s something I struggle with most moments of the day and I’m so used to it now that it’s like that annoying family member who came to stay at your house but never left.
You probably hear about OCD a lot, with people jokingly proclaiming “oh I’m so OCD” or “oh I’m OCD about so and so”. To be honest I wish OCD worked like that, like it was a feeling that was fleeting or something that is only temporary – but it’s not, it doesn’t work like that. OCD is an anxiety disorder which involves obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Obsessions can include unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. Compulsions are repetitive activities that you do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. I’m not the best at explaining things so read about it in more detail if you’ d like.
The illness affects as many as 12 in every 1000 people (1.2% of the population) from young children to adults, regardless of gender or social or cultural background.
My OCD is to do with contamination. Things that I consider dirty or capable of “contaminating” me will trigger obsessive thoughts and compulsions. My obsessive fears tend to be along the lines that a contaminated thing may cause illness, and ultimately death, to a loved one or myself. Something as little as pushing a “dirty” trolley in a supermarket can trigger these thoughts. A bit extreme. A lot annoying. Read more about the different types here. I used to think I just had weird tendencies or that everyone thought exactly like me when faced with things that could possibly contaminate them. People would laugh at things I would do and the extremes that I would go to in order to avoid contamination. I would laugh to. Of course I was just being silly and my behaviour was illogical. When I came to university – an entire change of scenery and environment, my OCD got more intense and exhausting and I knew that I had to speak to a doctor and check if I was okay. I mean I didn’t have the flu, my brain was just going into overdrive. At times I would be left with crippling anxiety unable to get out of bed for the fear of being contaminated in some way, shape or form. I would feel helpless, depressed and completely stupid. At this point I had no idea what was wrong and once I went to the doctor I was diagnosed with OCD. Initially, I tried individual therapy and then group therapy. However, for me they were ineffective (sadly) and only reinforced more strongly the illogical thought processes I would go through daily. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is the most common form of therapy provided and a lot of it is exposure to your issue and learning to deal with it. For me that was a no no. Trying to navigate university, deal with exam stress and deal with exposure to triggers was not an option for me. After, unsuccessfully trying individual and group therapy, I tried medication. This was the closest to dealing with my OCD but after a bad experience with medication, I completely stopped any form of treatment.
At the moment I just deal with the OCD; when it is manageable and when it is not. I’ve become very savvy at working at when things can trigger it and avoiding those situations; and when those situations are unavoidable I have my own ways of trying to deal with it – coping strategies. I’ve come to accept that I probably won’t be “cured” and I can accept that it’s just a part of me and who I am. I may do things a little differently and I may be a bit weird but I am dealing and coping well so I’m proud of myself. High five me! If you know me IRL, chances are you won’t have even known I have OCD, I’ve probably had a panic attack and you won’t have noticed (unless of course you know and you noticed haha).
In my family mental health issues weren’t really a thing and it’s only recently that I’ve been able to talk about my OCD with my mum. The problem is that it is entirely illogical in nature and so trying to make someone else understand is almost an impossible task. How do you explain something that you don’t really understand yourself. But speaking about it and making an effort to explain has helped my friends and family to support me and has definitely lifted a burden off my shoulders. I don’t feel so much like a weirdo and the more I can understand myself the more I can deal with it and navigate life.
I feel like I haven’t really said a lot but yeah OCD is not just a penchant for neat and organized things. It’s not just you liking to be a neat freak. If I had a pound for the amount of times I roll my eyes when OCD is used as a joke or an adjective, I’d be living in the Bahamas haha. It’s actually really exhausting, draining and affects simple day-to-day tasks. It’s definitely not a cute little quirk – it’s bloody annoying lol. But yeah I’m ending the blog here. I will probably write more about OCD because that was very therapeutic.