Did any of you honestly think that my unusually-lengthy streak of writing posts at sociable hours would last? Because you were wrong – of course you were, because of course I was going to find myself awake at midnight on the night before my first mock GCSE exam, listening to BBC Radio 4 and scrolling through Twitter, sat at my desk in a cozy onesie, unapologetically awake. It’s not the stress or the pressure that keeps me from sleep; at this moment in time, I feel neither of those things, but instead a remarkable feeling of inner peace and tranquillity, which in itself seems out of place. I’m not complaining though: one more night of calm – whether spent in the sea of reality which surrounds me, or floating above it all in blissful sleep – is one more night that I can savour and enjoy.
I published a post yesterday, about my mental health. Strangely, it helped to sit down and write – just write – about how I feel, and how I’ve felt for such a long time now. Talking to friends, family members and professionals is always recommended, and rightly so; I know so many people (including myself) who have taken their first steps to getting help by talking to someone they trust, or who can support them to get the help they need and deserve. Talking to people directly, however, can be quite difficult; I’ve found it difficult to talk to any one individual person about how I feel, because it’s direct, and I find that tricky and uncomfortable. Writing almost generically, on this blog, made the words more truthful, less affected by their audience.
What really struck me was the amount of truly lovely comments I received on that post, from all of you. Every time I say how much I appreciate each and every one of you, I worry that it sounds cliché, forced, as if by saying it, I’m merely checking something off of the ‘how to be a good blogger’ list. But, however you may perceive my words, please know that they are true: I love and appreciate every one of you, who read, like, comment on and share my posts, who take five minutes out of your day to visit my world, and care about me.
New year is a time for resolutions, apparently. It’s never the wrong time to start something new, so they say, but a new year provides closure, and a fresh start. 2018 has really made me think up some resolutions, however: for the first time, I am beginning to like the idea of making pledges to improve my life, and with 2018 (a new year) commencing at the start of a new week, there can be no better time to resolve to make changes.
And so, here are my New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Stay healthy. Throughout the latter half of 2017, I found myself becoming more and more aware of my physical health – I wanted to achieve that 10,000 step goal, I wanted to eat healthily, and I wanted to exercise every day. Spending time outdoors, or exercising indoors, always makes me feel better, too: I guess science does bring us some truths.
But health isn’t limited to the physical; I want to keep my mental health in order this year, too, by focusing on it. Rather than pushing problems into corners until they explode out like monsters that break free and takeover my brain, I resolve to communicate my thoughts, feelings and emotions, whether by talking, or writing – publically or privately –, or through whatever medium works for me at the time.
2. Mindfulness. I won’t lie: I used to think mindfulness was absolute bollocks. How could sitting still for two minutes, ‘focusing on your breathing’ do anyone any good whatsoever? Yeah, turns out it does – I’ve tried it. On my Apple Watch, there is an app called Breathe; it helps you take time out of your day to stop what you’re doing, and take some timw to just breathe. I’d heard and read of people using this app, and saying how it really helped them, and was producing noticeable differences in their day-to-day stress levels, so I have been giving it a shot over this last week. It really does help me to calm down, and I’m definitely going to keep using it as school kicks back in.
3. Have fun. This year – Year 11 – is such an important year for me: I take my GCSE exams, and, with any luck, start college in September, moving away from home for the start of my new chapter. Until the end of Jne, my life is going to be a whirlwind of studying, revision and exams, but within that, I want to make sure I take time out to smile. My academic achievement is one thing – one part of me –, but my mental health is another, arguably more important part of who I am, and I will not allow myself to sacrifice it for that extra push at the top grade in my gCSEs. I will make sure that, to the best of my abilities, I take time out for myself every day, to smile and laugh and spend time with those who I love, making memories that will last longer that the effects of those exams.
School is important, I understand and accept that. But so am I.
They may be a short list of resolutions, but they are an important list. Making a ridiculously long list of goals is setting yourself up for the unachievable, and if I can achieve three goals that will make huge strides towards my own happiness and positivity, then I’m satisfied.
What are your resolutions as we enter 2018?
Well, sleep beckons – I hope. I will now tuck myself up in bed, BBC Radio 4 on in the background – because I struggle to sleep in silence –, and prepare myself for exams. Happy 2018, all.