Every year seems to flash right before my very eyes and here we are coming towards the end of the first month of 2017. Can you believe it? I definitely didn't mean to go this long without blogging, but between work, my social life and waiting for good lighting to take photos, blogging had to take a bit of a backseat this month. I'm really excited to get back into it all again though! While everyone turns over a new leaf and strives to do better with their New Year's resolutions, I wanted to shift that focus onto the things I have accomplished. The feeling of beating oneself up for the things we didn't achieve is all too familiar and after a not-so-great 2016, I needed to bring in some positivity. It's so easy to get caught up in our failures, but as I began to look more closely, I realised that there were some small victories I accomplished that to me, are still worth celebrating.
Getting enough sleep
I've always had pretty bad sleeping habits. In fact, my mum likes to remind me that during the first year of my life, she got no sleep because I never slept myself (soz, Mum). By the time I reached university, my sleeping habits worsened again as I constantly pulled all-nighters trying to get assignments done on time, and although I finished uni quite some time ago now, those bad sleeping habits have continued on for years. I would go to work having only three or four hours sleep, come home and nap, and then not get enough sleep during the night because of said nap. It was a messed up cycle that my early-20s body could take, but as I've reached my late 20s, I now need a solid six to seven hours to function properly.
I've now learnt to switch off and go to bed at a reasonable hour for morning starts at work simply because I just can't put that strain on my body anymore. I'm still not a morning person, I never have been and I probably never will be; if it's a day off, you definitely won't see me waking up at the crack of dawn on my own accord, but the point is that I've started taking more care and listening to my body now. I kind of hate this whole stigma that you need to be a morning person to be a "proper" functioning human being (can we stop with the whole 'how to be a morning person' bullshit?). We all have different jobs and different creative processes, and there's nothing wrong with being a night owl. Sometimes I feel more productive the earlier I wake up, but other times, some of my best blog writing is done late at night. Sometimes it's the only chance I get to blog too. Either way, I get a good night's sleep most nights now and I don't turn up to work a hot mess with pillow marks on my face anymore.
Being on time
I used to be late for everything. Whether it was work or a social event, I was never on time, sometimes leaving my friends waiting for up to an hour! It used to stress me out so much constantly being in a rush and though my friends never showed any anger towards me, I soon realised how disrespectful and inconsiderate it actually is. If people can make the time for me, I should be able to make the time for them. I don't think there's anything wrong with being five or so minutes late, but I've now got my shit together and make sure I give myself enough time in the mornings to get ready without rushing around. It's just not a good way to start the day either. My mind now feels more at ease when I'm on my way to work and I'm not constantly looking at my watch hoping time is going to slow down!
Not feeling ashamed to call myself a feminist
A couple of months ago, a workmate of mine asked me if I was a feminist and I hesitated. A part of me felt nervous to say that I was, but at the same time, there was absolutely no way I could deny and say I wasn't, and so I answered, "I believe in gender equality, so yes". Despite getting the response of, "Feminists are too extreme" (this particular workmate is a guy, no less!), it actually felt pretty freeing to say it out loud and not give a shit what people might think. It's sad that people still associate feminism with man-hating, bra-burning lesbians who don't shave their armpits, but whatever. That's their concern, not mine. If I believe that no one owns a woman's body but herself and that she has the right to an abortion and to say no at any time during sex, that men should be able to talk about their feelings and wear makeup without feeling emasculated, in equal pay across genders and if I believe in the rights of LGBTI people, then I am a feminist. And proud.
Cutting out sugary drinks
I've always had a bit of a sweet tooth. I mean, I think I still do to a certain extent, but as my taste buds have changed overtime, it's definitely not as bad as it used to be and I really can't stand most sugary drinks these days. I don't mind a can of Coke, hot chocolate or a cold pressed juice (the supermarket ones are way too artificial tasting for my liking now) occasionally when I'm out and about, and even a cocktail or two is fun during a night out, but for the most part, I really only drink water and green tea these days. When I was younger, I used to think that water was boring, but there's nothing else that quenches a thirst quite like it. I can't even take sugar in my English Breakfast tea anymore! I never used to understand why my mum didn't like sugar in her tea, but since I started, I can't go back. I can feel less guilty when I'm craving chocolate now!
About a year ago, I began moisturising daily in an attempt to use up some products of mine and I've been moisturising my skin every single day ever since! Once I started doing it, it just became a habit and a normal part of my routine and even though it may seem high maintenance to some people, it's literally only an additional thirty seconds added to my nightly routine. Every night after I shower, I moisturise my body and use a foot cream while my skin is still damp to really lock in the moisture and to keep my skin smooth and hydrated. It really takes no time at all, yet my skin just loves it. Prior to this, I probably only moisturised once a week, but now I have supple, soft skin every single day and I love feeling fresh, clean and moisturised before I go to sleep. It's a little thing that makes me feel really good about myself.
Not being afraid to do things on my own
When I first moved to Melbourne just over two years ago, I didn't know all that many people, yet never had I lived in a city where there was so much to do and so much to see. I had only been living here for about three or four days before I decided to go to my first gig all by myself and now it's become such a normal part of my life here in Melbourne and I love it. I don't think it's something I ever would've done still living in Perth either (at least when my favourite musicians actually perform there!). Just last year, I even started going to the movies by myself too and though it does feel a little bit lonely when you hear crowds of people talking amongst each other, it doesn't matter whether you're in company or not when the band or the movie starts playing. Of course, it's always nice to be around friends during social events, but if your friends don't have the money or have different interests to you, why would you miss out just because of them? I used to wish I had friends with more similar taste in music to me, but I love my friends perfectly as they are and if I want to go to a gig, I just go! The reactions I do get from some of them are quite funny though - "Oh my God! You went by yourself?! That's so brave!". I mean, after two years of gigging it on my own, it can still feel a little daunting at times, yet doing things on your own feels so freeing and empowering. I've moved to two different Australian cities by myself now and one day when the funds allow, I can't wait to travel overseas solo. Yay to being an independent woman!
Not giving a shit about clean eating
A few years ago, I began following #fitspo and #cleaneating Instagram accounts as a means of inspiring me to get healthier, but soon enough, I unfollowed them all when I realised that they were actually doing the opposite and only making me feel bad about myself for not eating and not looking a certain way. I spent some time believing that I was eating badly and not treating my body right, but as clean eating has come under scrutiny in the past year or so, I now embrace a balanced diet without paying attention to what other people are eating. Sure, I love my chips, chocolate and eating out occasionally, but I freaking love my fruits and vegetables too and that's perfectly normal and perfectly healthy. I just don't care about this raw, plant-based and Paleo craze. It all seems like a trend more so than anything else to me. Food is meant for nourishing our bodies both physically and emotionally, and if you're having a rough day, eat that whole damn tub of ice cream. Food should be fun and enjoyable too and as I read in this article, it's even been proven that the more joy we get from our food, the more of its nutrients we actually absorb. Plus, how boring would life be if we didn't indulge every now and then? "Wellness" and "clean eating" bloggers don't actually know shit; they are not medical professionals nor scientists, so please ignore their noise and just listen to your doctor and to your own body.
What are some of things you accomplished in 2016 that made you proud?