Sunday, 6 March 2016

The most important thing I've learnt...

The most important thing I've learnt...

At the end of 2015, I was encouraged by a friend to sit down and contemplate what I wanted to achieve through 2016. I stated the usual resolutions made (and forgotten within the first week of January) by the majority of people, such as; being skinner, having better hair, earning more money, etc. I assumed these resolutions were "normal" resolutions to make, to better myself in the up-coming year, but my friend really gave me food for thought in her reply - How are those resolutions contributing to betting yourself as a person?The simple answer? They weren't.

This friend made me realise that I was conforming to the public's view of what I SHOULD do to better myself, instead of what suits me. In order to better myself, I needed to do something personal to me, that I could challenge myself with and achieve in my own time. I also find it important that resolutions aren't something you give up within the first few weeks of the new year - I wanted these to be something that I could continue throughout the year, and perhaps further afield than this. I sat down and really thought about what I wanted to achieve and here is a little peek into my thoughts. I hope they may influence some of you to begin bettering yourself and really, just looking after yourself and putting yourself first.

Work - I am a member of the Open University, completing a degree in English Language and Literature. A big goal of mine was to complete the first year of this degree (which finishes in September) to the best of my ability, in the most organised way possible. I adore organisation, and I could spend hours printing, highlighting, sticky-noting and filing. Yet, when in a busy period of study, come assignment time, my organisation goes out the window. A key resolution for me was staying organised, as I find this the best way to achieve the highest grades and not forget where I was heading. I feel I have achieved this somewhat already, as its now March and my filing is up-to-date, I have completed all my study chapters and I have submitted my next two assignments. I feel calm and collected about my study and I hope to continue the hard work I have put into my studies since the beginning of October.
Health - I think 'Health' is something people put aside when it comes to resolutions, when in-fact it is the most important thing to focus on when bettering yourself as a person. I live firm by the fact that whatever you place into your body creates who you are, so my goal was to ensure what I was putting in my body was the best things for me. This included my biggest weakness - not drinking enough water. Being a Coca-Cola addict, water was just a boring drink which I would never pick over something sugary and tasty. However, I didn't realise the importance of drinking a simple glass of water to my body. It reduces fatigue, flushes out toxins, improves skin, improves the immune system and is a natural headache remedy. All this from a small glass of clear liquid? THAT IS FREE. I think its ridiculous of me not to start drinking it before when it has so many benefits for health.
Myself and my oldest friend, several years ago.
Friends - When I left Sixth Form to begin University, my fear was losing touch with the friends I had made there. In the first few months, I made a huge effort to keep in contact with this friends and work hard to retain friendships I had made over the last seven year. At the end of last year, I stopped trying so hard when the people who don't try hard for me. I've come to realise with the Open University, it doesn't matter how many friends you have. I have a select few who I know I can run to when I have a problem, need someone to make me laugh or even just need a conversation with. I was spending so much of my time and energy trying to hold together relationships I had created when I was 12 years old, and had continued due to the normality of being friends with those people. It wasn't until I left my secondary school, that I realised things were different. I have kept in contact with one friend from my secondary school, purely because we both continue to make an effort to keep our friendship alive. I could count my closest friends on one hand, but that's the way I feel it should be. I am content and happy with the friendships I have now, compared to the backstabbing, unrealistic friendships I used to have with many more people. I feel the friends around me encourage me to become a better person, and they are all I need.

Challenge - Those who know me, know I have suffered with crippling anxiety and panic attacks for 6 years throughout my schooling and social life. This has effected my every-day life, stopping me from just walking to the local supermarket, going on public transport or even sitting in a restaurant with friends. I have suffered with this for so long, that I felt it was time to take a stand and do something I should have tried a long time ago. To stop letting my life revolve around how I am feeling. Of course, having suffered for as long as I can remember with this, being put on medication and attending Psychological therapy at the hospital for several years, this hasn't been an easy process. Nor did I expect it to be, hence why this segment is called "challenge". I thought the best way to start with this, was to begin actually looking after myself, rather than hiding myself away, eating rubbish and sleeping all the time.

I began getting up even if I didn't feel like it, getting dressed and becoming presentable, rather than sitting in pyjamas all day feeling sorry for myself and my condition. Of course, several times I physically couldn't bring myself to do this, but I think that's okay within reason. I made sure that I began going out every day, even if it was just to walk my puppy or walk to work. Getting out and about actually helped me feel better and more human - a feeling I had been lacking for a very long time. Once I felt confident enough, I did something very rash and applied for a new job, as many of you might know. I forced myself into the interview with the help of my mother and a lovely cousin of mine, who was instrumental in encouraging me through this process. I was vomiting before the interview but I achieved it and managed to get the job!! This gave me a massive confidence boost - enough for me to sit in a 4 hour training session, something that is my worse nightmare, as I was taken out of the classroom environment in school to be by myself in a separate room. But I managed it and pulled through. Now I cannot wait to start my new job! But the moral is, unless you push yourself and challenge yourself, you will never know the strength you have inside yourself to achieve. Of course, I still suffer with anxiety and panic attacks, but they are reducing purely because I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone and also looking after myself for once.
Happiness - My last rule for 2016, which I like to think I am achieving due to a combination of the above rules I made, is to be happy. People rely on their happiness through other people, whether that be a friend, family member, boyfriend/girlfriend. But I like to call this 'fake happiness'. I think the only way you can truly be happy, is if you make the happiness yourself, and are confident in your ability to achieve. It's being grateful for everything life throws at you, and making the worst situations more tolerable. And slowly, I think I am learning that.

Love, Hannah

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