2017: The Highs and the Lows - Mental Health, Canada and Squatting 70kg

New year, new me. The phrase suggests our past year has sucked and that we are unhappy with who we are. And there's probably at least a little truth there for all of us (hence the phrase). But if we continue to believe this saying, we will forever be waiting for happiness and the perfect year. The perfect year doesn't exist. It's all too easy to remember and focus on just the bad, but we need to regularly remember the good also and be proud of ourselves for how far we have come.

To do this, for 2017 I decided to write down a list of highs and lows at the end of each month in my journal. And you know what? Even when I felt probably my lowest low at points this year, the positives always outnumbered the bad things.

First, let's get the lows out of the way. I have definitely opened up on my blog in 2017, writing about my breakup from an abusive relationship at the start of the year and touching on how I've been let down by people I trusted, leaving my confidence and self-esteem shaken. I've written a lot about these events in my private journal which has helped immensely, and even braved a counselling session which gave me the hope and desire to work to get my usually positive mindset and good self-worth back. Anyway, I could go on and on about this, but for now I'm not sure if I want to share further personal information or not. But maybe it's something I'll touch on in future posts in 2018 regarding mental health.

The second and final low of the year which unfortunately occurred just before Christmas, was the passing of my Gran. She was a remarkable woman of 102 years and was always in high spirits. Two of her secrets for long life were porridge and honey - so I now have both every morning. Of course it is an incredibly emotional time for my family, but I find comfort in knowing she did lead a long, happy and healthy life. Her death has helped me appreciate life and my loving family even more, and I want to enter 2018 feeling grateful and with more compassion for others and myself.

Sometimes life can suck (see above two paragraphs) but we have to also hold onto the good parts and keep hope for future happiness. I am definitely going to continue listing highs of each month in 2018, in order to maintain positivity and hope. So here is a bunch of good stuff that happened this year too.

  1. Left an abusive relationship
  2. Receiving lovely messages from readers that my Breakups Suck post helped
  3. Stood up for and respected myself more
  4. Joined a supportive online community of women
  5. Passed second year of university
  6. Walks with friends like this one
  7. Full-time summer job selling Dior fragrance
  8. Got to work again with Silvia from Chouchou remotely on graphic design work
  9. Squatted 70kg - my record 1RM
  10. Continued my daily journalling for most of the year
  11. Had my nose pierced
  12. Attended my cousin and his now wife's wedding August 5th (and got to wear a fabulous suit)
  13. Wore this red dress and felt 10/10 for my friend's birthday back in Aberdeen
  14. Kesha released her inspiring & hopeful album Rainbow
  15. Managed to regain some of my self-esteem and realised other people treating me badly doesn't mean there's anything wrong with me
  16. Kept up a pretty good gym routine without getting obsessed or feeling guilty for taking time off when I had other priorities
  17. Moved to Canada for study abroad August 22nd - December 17th
  18. Met amazing, creative, inspiring, supportive and lovely friends in Canada from all around the world (from Fife to New Zealand)
  19. Spoke in front of Humber College's Board of Governors about the value of study abroad
  20. Saw a moose (in Canada, not Scotland)
  21. Saw Kesha (my idol) live in Toronto and had a thought-provoking evening
  22. I reached out for help and attended a counselling session - I am proud of myself
  23. Researched and tested out veganism a little more
  24. Created travel vlogs for my YouTube channel
  25. (add about 20 or 100 positive points of stuff I did in Canada)
  26. Met up with my best friend Emily on my first day back in Scotland - love you
  27. Had the best Christmas with family and red glitter on my eyelids
  28. Booked flights for January to visit my friend Lauren who has moved to Thailand to teach English
  29. Accepted for my first choice of university work placement for 2018 - I'll be working with The Herald & Times in Glasgow!!
  30. I learned to appreciate life even more, increased my emotional intelligence and grew new perspectives

So even though this year has felt like not the best at points (in fact it's felt like the worst at some points), the highs almost always outweigh the lows. And I'm choosing to let them.

Bring it on 2018.

If you happen to be feeling motivated for a smashing new year, I recommend reading these two articles. The first from The Guardian is about living in the present to become who you want to be, rather than setting massive goals and not achieving them because you are overwhelmed. The second from HelloGiggles is about lifestyle changes for 2018 you can incorporate daily or whenever you like (rather than rigid resolutions) including journalling, dancing and having an online support system.

Wishing you all the happiness in the world for 2018, as well as lots of exciting opportunities and amazing supportive friends.

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