How happy are you right now on a scale of 1-10? There are SO many reasons why we don’t always feel on the upper end of that scale- work, family, friends, relationships, failure, loss, loneliness. So many.

 

I was going to wait to write this post in a couple of months’ time. But the more I think about it and the more the scribbles in my notebook mount up I realised that actually the timing is great because I need to write this and take it all on board myself.

Over the last few weeks and months a few people have mentioned to me that I seem a bit distant and that I sound a bit sad, I was also asked why I was so MIA on Instagram, which I think is a bit weird.

There’s so many discussions about how our lives aren’t honestly represented on social media and I think this is true, up to a point. Only YOU choose to share what you put out there. I’m also a firm believer that if you’re feeling a certain way, or not feeling a certain way, why lie about it? You should be able to communicate what’s going on inside, and as a photographer and a creative I think this is what I do. A lot has changed recently, not just in terms of where I live and work but also in my personal life too. It’s not always easy to post smiling photos when you actually feel like crap, so why do it?

You should be able to reflect how you think and feel in your own way and you have the right to do so. Equally no one wants to see some form of Britney Spears-style break down all over their feed, and you should have more self-respect than to do this. There’s already too much pseudo-profound bullshit out there without sharing some meaningless quote pasted over an image of rainbow.  I think it’s funny how people judge you on social media. Maybe my tone has just changed recently, but whatever it is I’ve definitely had a few comments, which kinda got me thinking.

It appears I’m going through some weird transitional phase in my life. In September I moved to London. Away from my friends, family, horse, and the little comfortable life I’d got going on. To say it’s been odd is an understatement.I’m trapped in some kind of limbo right now and if I’m honest I’m not really sure what the hell I’m doing and I’m struggling with how to deal with it.I think when you’re in your thirties you feel like you should have your shit together, and I sort of thought I had. If you haven’t it’s a horrible feeling. Mentally I went from feeling like I knew where I was heading to suddenly BOOM everything changed.  Change can be a good thing. It was welcomed, and needed. I think unfortunately along the line I just lost my way.

 

 

I’ve been taking photos and making loads of notes of things ever since I moved here.  When I started to write this post I’d found a photo on my phone. It was taken not long after I’d moved to London. I was at such a low point. I think everything had hit me all at once. I was miserable, had no home (that’s another story and too boring and complicated for words), I felt lonely, isolated and just didn’t feel like me. Anyway, I was sitting in a car letting the tears roll and decided that I never wanted to feel like this again. I took the photo and it’s just awful. It’s so sad and I’ll never show it to anyone, why would I? It’s not an attention thing but I kept it for me and for what it means. It was like a landmark. I’d spent weeks trying to blame everything around me- work, circumstances, and people, for how I felt and I got to this point and thought fuck it. I don’t want to feel like this. No one should. But we all will and we all do at times.  It’s crazy how in this city of sirens, surrounded by almost 9 million people, I’d never felt more alone.

 

I’ve seen first hand people get into a REALLY bad place mentally and I never want to get like that. Feeling low is such a downward spiral and it’s so easy to just keep falling.  I was talking to one of my best friends recently. I said I shouldn’t complain- on paper my life is GOOD. I have a decent job, I live in nice flat in a gorgeous area, I have a boyfriend, lovely friends, etc etc blah blah blah. She said that was rubbish. Yes there’s some awful shit going on in the world but that doesn’t mean you lose the right feel down when you’re struggling. Everything is relative.  It’s so hard to feel happy and grateful when you just feel plain crap. Sometimes it IS insignificant and you have to metaphorically slap yourself around the face and remind yourself of this.

That’s why I took the photo. Basically to remind myself to get a bloody grip. Don’t get me wrong- I’ve not had any big revelations yet and there certainly wont be any ‘Transformation Tuesday’ posts from me, but I did make a vow then to do all I could to stop feeling like that. Which is why I started writing this.

I love writing. It’s so therapeutic. I always kept a journal when I was younger and now I always make notes- I have a bazillion voice notes, scribbles and photos all over the shop. If I can help myself feel better, maybe I can share this with other people too. Including the person in my life who needs it more than me.  I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life. I have a great support network and it’s important to not lose sight of this.  Any change is tough and adapting to change can be hard. Especially if you go somewhere expecting it to be a certain way and it’s not (FYI London is mental).  But these are the things I’m doing to get back on track, and I hope they help you too.

 

 

BE GRATEFUL

Firstly the best way to just happier in general is to remember all the good stuff you have and just be grateful for everything. I’ve listened to loads of podcasts and Tedtalks recently and one that really resonated with me was a talk by Brother David Steindl-Rast (which you can watch here)

Appreciating what you have goes a long way in putting a smile on your face.

 

GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA

I read somewhere that Instagram makes you feels bad about yourself and Twitter makes you feel bad about the world. This is so true. If you’re not feeling great social media is the WORST. I know people who are OBSESSED with it. Like addicted obsessed. If I’m honest the ‘Explore’ section on my Insta feed makes me want to vom sometimes. Also what the hell do I look at for these ‘videos you may like’ to be suggested!??

It’s impossible to have a realistic perception of anyone’s life through Instagram and we’ve all fallen down the rabbit hole of looking at stuff we shouldn’t or things that’ll make us feel crap. Block that shizzle and follow accounts of things you’re interested in instead. Get inspired rather than sad.

Step away and rather than looking at it just live it. I went on holiday recently and didn’t post a thing (apart from a horse photo obvs). It’s pretty liberating to not stare at that illuminated brick all the time.

 

 

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

This is hard one for me at the moment. I’ve given up a hobby I’ve been doing since I was 7 now I’m in London. I still have my horse but he’s retired now and he’s not up the road anymore. Yes there are stables in London, but it’s not as easy when you live miles away from them. Plus I don’t just want to be plodding around a school, when really I want to be galloping across a field! When you have a hobby you’re part of a community, its like family. I miss that so much. As I’ve not had an actual home since the end of July any kind of permanent gym membership has gone out of the window too, which is killer as I used to be there four mornings a week.

My point is whatever your situation, get a hobby! Do what makes you happy- gigs, films, theatre, whatever. Just get out and do it- even if it’s on your own. It’s another way to meet new people. I’m fortunate in that London has a bazillion classes. If I want to learn to be a fire-breathing pole dancer I can…

 

 

TRAVEL

It’s so good for your soul. Even if it’s not abroad book a train ticket, go and visit that person you’ve been banging on about for ages, or just jump in your car and drive somewhere different. There’s so much to see out there and travelling to new places is an instant mood-lifter.

 

 

EXERCISE

You can’t escape the fact exercise makes you feel good about yourself. You don’t need to join a gym or be an athlete. Dance, run, walk. Whatever. I used to always do this before work and it genuinely set me up for the day. I never had the energy after work and I get home so late now. Get up and get it done. You’ll never regret a work out. The feeling during a run can be torture. The feeling AFTER a run is glorious.

 

ONE FOR THE GIRLS

This is something I’m looking into at the moment- if you use the pill, implant, patch etc then do you actually know what you’re putting into your body? I changed mine a while ago and I swear the week before a period I have two days where I just want to hide from the world and cry into my Soreen. I swear when I wasn’t taking it I was happier, and possibly slimmer, but my mood was definitely different. Maybe this was relationship related but if you’re feeling low and stuffing yourself full of hormones this surely can’t be good. Make a note of how you feel and when. Then have a think about the alternative. My gorgeous BFF did a video on this, which you can check out here (TalkBeckyTalk).

 

IT’S DOWN TO YOU

Don’t rely on other people to make you happy. Find your own happy. The cliches are cliches because they are true- you’ll never be happy with someone else if you can’t be happy on your own. I’m definitely guilty of looking to other people for this. I moved to London to be with someone I love, but I’d hate for one second for them to feel responsible for my happiness. We were talking about this the other day how we both had a weird feeling when I found out I’d got a job here. If you’re making changes think really hard about them and why you’re doing it. Listen to your gut instinct.

Last year when I returned from Australia I genuinely thought my next move would be abroad, it’s a weird old life but it’s also short so make the most of it.

Steer clear of thinking ‘things will be better when X happens…’ they WONT nothing will change. It’s still your mind set just different circumstances, so do something about it.

Don’t always be looking forwards for something else to happen in order to act- have things to look forwards TO, but don’t be waiting for shit to happen. It won’t unless you make a change.

We all need friends and loved ones for support but at the end it’s down to you.

 

 

GET COSY

Whether you own your on place or you’re at uni make your space a little cosy haven you’ll enjoy being in. There’s no place like home after all, so you want it to be a happy one. Fill it with photos of anything that makes you happy, keep it tidy and clutter free and just make a space you’ll be happy to come back to every day. I can’t wait to have a more permanent residence, living out of suitcases and boxes for four months sucks. I’m so fortunate to live in such a lovely place now but it’s not my belongings that surround me and I have no control over what I can bring here. Roll on the move in November!

 

 

READ

This is quite new to me but something I now absolutely adore. Total and utter escapism, expanding mind and imagination. It took me four years to finish Eat, Prey, Love. In comparrison I’ve just read four books in three months. Not only does it make a smelly commute beneath an armpit more bearable but it keeps me away from emails and ALL the social media. If you can’t be arsed to read listen to a good podcast or audio book. Any recommendations send them my way!

 

MUSIC

Make a banging playlist. I had an amazing nostalgic drive home the other week singing my heart out (alone luckily) to all the tunes I used to love. Music is medicine for sure.

 

 

WRITE IT

I recently bought a little notepad and started writing down all the things that make me happy, even basic things. The stuff I love, things that I want to do, shoots I want to try etc.  In a nutshell anything that made me happy. Making notes and actually planning things inspires me to do them more. Getting things out of my head and onto paper feels awesome. I’ve written out shoot ideas and projects to work on. If you have a blog or just love photography get a load of people together and go and shoot some stuff. I miss my crazy Wolfpack in Nottingham and Leicester, we’d just set up random shoots and get cracking. It’s a lot easier to shoot when you have someone with you, so grab a pal and try something different. Get some smoke grenades, go somewhere random, or set up some random props. I’m definitely the Instagram husband in my relationship. My camera roll speaks volumes about my life at the moment, it’s just pictures of my boyfriend on his own and stupid memes!  Writing and photography has always been a passion project for me, and that’s the kind of shizzle that makes me happy. If you’ve got all your ideas on paper you’ll always have stuff to work on when you have the time.

 

 

I’ve written this post mainly for me, as a little reminder of what I need to do. Hopefully it’ll help other people too. Sometimes, even when you think you’ve got your shit together you’ll realise you haven’t, but that’s the joy of life- who knows what’s going to happen. Everything is an opportunity and we all have to make the best of what we have. Work out what’s making you sad and change it. This doesn’t really work if you’re grieving but you can still find so many ways to find a smile. Hitting a rock-bottom sadness makes it all the sweeter when you realise how far you’ve come when you reach the other side.

 

I’ve been absent from my blog for just over a week, which is pants.  About 9 days ago I managed to end up in hospital following a pretty bad fall from a horse.  It has been horrific, but I say pretty bad as it could have been a lot worse.  Moral of the story: wear a body protector!

Being in so much pain, damaged, immobile and TOTALLY reliant on others has made me really think about how much I take for granted and how grateful and thankful I really should be. In our lives it’s so easy  to moan and grumble about all
the ‘if onlys’ and the ‘I don’t have the time’ or ‘if I worked harder/had more money/was curvier/thinner…’ etc etc , we forget about all the good things we have.

Being injured made me realise all the little things I normally take for granted. The freedom to drive, go where ever I want, change a pillow case without crying in pain, walk up and down stairs, run, or even brush the nest that is my hair without hurting.  It also made me realise how amazing people are, family and friends, and my dearest Bear.

Moving away from beauty and food, this post is all about my reasons to be happy and the things I am most grateful for 🙂 So I challenge you all today to think beyond the doom and gloom and appreciate the little things in life that, without which, you would be as miserable as Dot Cotton during a tomato juice strike.  You might have a the mother of all bitchy resting faces, but there’s ALWAYS a reason to smile!

THE PEOPLE WE LOVE

Whether you’re single or not the people we love the most need telling.  Friends, family, housemates (I class mine as close friends), your partner, that girl/boy you’ve fancied since time began.  Tell them. When I lay in hospital freaking out it was my Dad and my boyfriend who made me feel safe and realise that, even though I detest hospitals almost as much as funerals, I was in good hands and I was ok.

We rely on our friends to be there for us and I don’t think we realise how much until we need them the most.  Heartbreak, death, birth, change.  The people we are closest to are the ones that get us through life’s highs and lows, yet are probably the people we take for granted the most.  They’ll always be there, right?  After Mum died I now always make a point of telling Dad I love him whenever we speak.  I wish I’d told Mum every day.  I’d have been lost this week without the Bear, my family, and my friends.  Nothing brings your relationship closer than your boyfriend stepping up to be your carer let me tell you!

I’d have been lost without all the lovely texts, notes, food parcels and little gifts from my chums. They made me feel loved when I felt really low and I hope that I can always be there for them when they need a friend in return.

FREEDOM TO TRAVEL

If you can drive then you will know how amazing you felt when you first passed your test.  Over time that joy fades into rush-hour frustration but for me this week I realised how much I rely on little Hugo (my car) to go everywhere I need to. This week also made me so grateful for all the holidays I’ve had, especially my skiing trip recently.  I wouldn’t have been able to do that in my current state!  We are so lucky in our society that we can just book a flight and get out of here, we can even move to another town or country whenever we fancy.

Visiting new places not only widens your horizons but you learn so much and meet so many amazing people, and I’m so grateful for all the holidays and experiences I have had.  Here’s to many more!!!

MY LITTLE BLOG

This week I got lovely email from a company I’d written about in a previous post and it made me feel so happy!  I don’t work for myself (that’s my dream one day…) but my blog is the one thing I create alone, I make time for it and I know it’s all my work.  When I get a nice comment, or email it feels amazing because I know I’ve achieved that- all on my tod.  I love the blogging community, there are so many inspirational, interesting people out there, and even though sometimes it’s easy to just look at other people on social media and compare myself I also know there’s a tonne of support and wonderful things going on and I’m grateful to be a part of that.

EXERCISE

Some people may scream at their screens, or laugh in disbelief, at my next sentence but it’s true so sorry. I miss exercise.

There I’ve said it. I totally hold my hands up though, I’m one of those people that when it’s cold and wet will have to force myself and argue in my head to run or do anything energetic but when the choice is taken away from you, it sucks.  I miss horse riding, I miss being able to sprint up the stairs, pick up my ridiculously heavy camera at work, and run until I can barely breathe.  When I came back from my skiing trip I was on such a healthy eating/exercise kick I was feeling so good about myself, and then my stupid accident happened.

Getting up early at the weekend to go to the yard does suck, but once I’m riding I’m in my happy place.  I am nervous about how I’ll feel when a horse starts tanking off with me again, but I miss being in the saddle and I miss riding my bomb-proof old pony Oslo.

Exercise makes you feel SO good about yourself afterwards.  The endorphin hype is real and even though it can be tough the sense of achievement afterwards can’t be matched.  If you can move, just do it! This time last year I was training for the London Marathon, this year I’m training myself to pick things up with crutches…

MY HORSE

What a wonderful animal Oslo is.  My pride and joy (see above, photo credit: Lee Wallis) I love him more than words.  Not being able to drive to see him, stroke his velvety, moleskin-soft nose, and sit on top of the old boy is killing me. He wasn’t the horse I fell off (I love that horse too) but he is my special boy and I’ve owned him for over half my life.  He’s amazing. Everyone that meets him agrees and he’s taught me, and so many others an awful lot.

He’s the gentlest sole but a real character and I’d be lost without him.  Sometimes being at the yard, especially in winter, when everyone else is busy doing something else makes me question why I do it but then as soon as I’m at the yard I’m so happy and as soon as I cuddle Oslo I know I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.  Having a horse is a massive commitment but I’m lucky enough to have a situation where other people look after him too.  It took eight long years to persuade my parents that having a horse would be a good idea, and I’ve never looked back.  Being away from him makes me realise how fortunate I am to have a horse, and the special bond that comes with it.

HEALTH

Recovering from an accident is a long process and it was good to know from my scans that, other than my current damage, I’m a healthy person.  This isn’t something anyone should take for granted.  My sight, smell, touch, ability to move, I’m thankful for it all and I’ve realised how important it is to look after myself.  Diet and exercise is cruicial, and even though I’m enjoying boxsets and chocolate, it’s made me realise how much I need to stay healthy- not just for my skin but for my insides too.  I love creating healthy meals and food can be so much fun, when you’re a child like me and can even turn your own breakfast into a bear!  Health isn’t just about the physical though, good mental health is vital and I really hit a low point last week and it’s easy to just fill your mind with sorrow and self-pity.  This is where staying active, surrounding yourself with positive people, experiencing new and exciting things, and travelling will keep you healthy in mind and body!

TIME

Anyone who knows me knows I live my life at 100mph.  I am always in a rush (usually late), and I’m always the ‘I don’t have enough time’ person. I would never spend a full day in bed, or lounging on the sofa, ever.  I don’t have enough time.

These injuries have forced me to do pretty much sod all, and I’m (sort of) grateful for this.  I also don’t want to waste it.  I think we waste so much time doing stupid pointless things, that we could actually spend doing useful things to help us achieve our dreams and goals.  I am 100% guilty of this.

My problem now is that I’m always saying how much I dream of time off work but now I have it I’m so immobile I can’t get anything done! So when I am back up and running I intend to spend less time procrastinating about what I want to do and actually get on and do it! Well, here’s hoping anyway… In the mean time I need to be grateful and thankful that I’ve been given time to think- about what I want to do with myself, my career, where I’d like to be and what I’d like to do.  Time is precious and it’s nice to spend time on your own, getting happy in your own skin. These are just a few things I’m grateful for, I could go on all day but no one wants to read that amount of shizzle and this is long enough as it is!

So get thinking about what you’re grateful for and what you probably take for granted, and don’t forget to tell the people you love that you do!

J xx