What’s Your Biggest Pet Peeve(s)?

Writing

This thought infiltrated my mind with the waft of a ‘ploughman’s lunch’ on the train during my early morning commute to work today. For anyone unfamiliar with this term ‘ploughman’s lunch’, you’ve lived a very sheltered childhood, a very lucky childhood. It’s basically a cheese (sewage) and pickle sandwich, and the scent and sight of it makes my skin crawl. 

 

Today my attention was brought to a rather ravenous commuter munching on his sandwich like he was attending the last supper. Which I found particularly revolting in itself, no hand sanitizer + grotty train = hepatitis by mid-afternoon. But little did I know the levels of grossness this guy would sink to had no limits. Once he finished (thank God), he proceeded to throw the sandwich foil on the ground and started picking his nose rather aggressively. I turned my head away in a knee-jerk reaction to this, but like we all do, when someone is doing something abnormally gross we have to keep peering back. Like, whenever we chop garlic and then can smell it on our fingers for days, we keep checking our fingers daily to see if the smell remains, don’t you do that? I peer down the train carriage at him as he digs for gold, my brow furrows even deeper the more he digs into his flared nostrils. Repulsive! Thank goodness I got off at the next stop, I can only fear what he would’ve done next!

 

It got me thinking, what’s your biggest pet peeve? For me the list is never ending but to save time I’ll have to go with these top 3 in no particular order :

 

  1. Loud talkers
  2. People who smack with their mouths while eating
  3. Queue jumpers

 

Let’s see what some countries voted as their top pet peeves courtesy of Forbes:

 

  • Americans get more irritated than other nationals by co-workers taking others’ food from the office refrigerator.
  • Brazilians are the most annoyed of any national group by excessive gossiping.
  • Germans are annoyed by dirty common areas (the community microwave or refrigerator) more than the rest of the world.
  • Indians react more negatively to irritating mobile phone ringtones.
  • Japanese are more peeved by office pranks than others.

 

Relate to any of the above?

Change

Writing

I feel like I’m in such a weird space at present, no sooner have I moved flat than I’m trawling the jobboards of everything from Indeed.com to Craigslist (ok maybe not Craigslist).  Being a seasoned veteran on these job sites is not something I’m proud of, frequenting them so much that Google ads now pop up with ‘need a new job?’ as I’m downloading a voucher off Groupon for a pair of discounted leggings.

What’s going on with me?

I just have this inbuilt element of restlessness, like the kind you get when you sit on a computer chair for too long and your ass starts getting really itchy. I have to get up and move, find something different. I truly think there’s something not right with me, I honestly get bored of things too frequently and too quickly. Tell me I’m NOT the only one who feels this way?!

This attitude has seeped its way into every aspect of my life, from where I live to what I eat. I’m a glutenous pig for chips, but I just can’t stomach any other food item repeated more that twice in a row.

This element of ‘change’ has sprung to mind in more recent times as I think about how much change I’ve actually went through since moving to London. Change to me is like a flame to a moth, I’m attracted to it but with dangerous consequences.

Jobs, housing, hobbies, hair colour! I’ve done it all! I seriously ask myself if I’m having some sort of identity crisis, a quarter life breakdown, perhaps? But these frantic thoughts and feelings are swiftly pacified by a session of binge eating and multiple episodes of ‘Botched’. But  I guess you can only suppress your feelings for so long, sooner or later they creep back out from under the woodwork. Manifest themselves in mysterious ways. If you’ve ever found yourself getting annoyed at the checkout lady in the supermarket for not scanning through your groceries fast enough then maybe it’s actually a sign that you’re internally annoyed at yourself for something. or if you find yourself crying after impulsively ending the short life of a housefly which landed on your homemade Victoria sponge, maybe it’s time for some self-reflection.

At least this is what I’ve found in my own life, frustration in myself can wrongfully be taken out on those closest to me. One thing I get frustrated about is this sense that we have such little time on this planet and it’s as if I change what I’m doing a little too often because in some subconscious way I have massive fomo (fear of missing out). Life is short I want to try as much as I can, I guess. But is this really the best attitude to have?

There’s really no point getting worked up about time, I know that but sometimes you can’t help it. When you see people your age travelling or enjoying certain experiences you can’t help but wish you had those too, right? That’s why I think social media on the whole isn’t a good thing for people’s mental health. We are being bombarded by a plethora of photoshopped pictures, and rented out rich lifestyles. Photos and opinions are liked and disliked, all of it a facade at the end of the day.

Apologies, I feel like I’m going off on a bit of a tangent, I just wanted to share with you this element of change I’m going through currently. I wonder if I’m alone with this, or have you went through change as frequently as I?

I’ll leave this with you, the words of Greek Philosopher Heraclitus (terrible choice of name):

change is the only constant in life.”

 

 

 

 

How Do I Get Over My Fear Of Public Speaking?!

Writing

If you’re only a few months into a job and your bosses bring you into a room and ask you if you’d like to do a presentation, do you honestly think you could say ‘no’ in that moment?

 

This was my exact predicament and now I’ve landed myself right in it. I’ve a presentation to do infront of 18 year olds who are potentially considering doing law at university/college and I’m having kittens about it! ‘Oh but they’re young therefore less intimidating’ you may think, I’m not that much older than them, I’m 24! Plus teenagers can be incredibly judgmental, so they’re gonna notice the bean stain on my shirt and my one grey hair before I’ve even finished my first sentence of the presentation no doubt. 

 

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I work for a TV  broadcasting company and with this comes alot of ‘compliance’ work to ensure songwriters and artists get their fair share of royalties for the music played on the broadcasted shows. Yes, I don’t blame you if you’re yawning by now, I really am too, but this stuff is important at the end of the day, it ensures the longevity of the music business for although you’ll always have people who will make music for the sheer passion of it, you do have those who need to make a living from it which is fair enough. So I think it’s a good thing to ensure copyright is enforced on people’s creative property to prevent theft and to give the creator credit.

 

Anyway enough of me going off on a tangent, how am I gonna present this info! If I can’t even keep your attention for very long how am I expected to keep teenagers?! Did I mention that I have to do it 3 times, back to back, 30 mins each! That’s it, I’m pulling a sicky! 😦

 

Just from the taster of music copyright above you can see that it’s quite a complicated topic to talk about, and lucky for me my knowledge barely skims the surface, so I’m pretty much f*cked it’s safe to say! One thing that does happen to me if I’m put on the spot and if I’m nervous is I go blank and of course if this info is hard to digest to begin with it looks like it’s gonna be a mime act from me next Thursday!

 

Oh wish me luck! I’m off to binge eat then write one whole sentence of the powerpoint presentation before watching netflix. 

Sexual Assault – Should We Be Allowed To Carry Weapons?

Writing

The air is frosty, I’m wearing open-toed heels as I briskly walk towards the direction of my house, it’s the small hours of Sunday morning, and a few seconds earlier I was saying bye to my friends at the bar. I only live 15 minutes away, heels are hard to walk in I tell myself, but, like a newborn lamb I’m determined to put a spring in my step and scurry home as fast as I can.

The darkened narrow road is lit only by the soft amber hues of the lampposts. I’m only ten minutes away now I tell myself. I try to walk with confidence, noone will approach me if I walk with conviction, I thought. I turn the corner of my road, now only minutes away and I hear a branch snap behind me, refusing to turn around out of fear of not wanting to see what was there, I pick up my pace and head straight for my door, as I put the key into the lock, I hear footsteps behind me……

 

This narrative is becoming concerningly more common each year, the number of rapes recorded by police has increased by 40% in the last 4 years. Relating this to the reminder that it is illegal to be in possession of a weapon here in the UK without good reason. It has me wondering where is the legal system going wrong? Is it the victim who should be restricted by the law or the assaulter to take advantage of it? By being in possession of a weapon I  by no means condone the use of a knife or gun, but what permanent damage can really be done by pepper spray? Temporary blindness vs the loss of someone’s esteem, or worse, their life. The possession of mace or pepper spray is illegal in the UK. So what can I use to defend myself? Wear a longer skirt?

 

Women are not the only victims of sexual assault, men are too. Infact it has been reported that men are more likely to be raped than to be falsely accused of rape.

 

With the statistics on sexual assault rising:

 

How can you defend yourself?

 

A Rape Alarm – these can be broken in a heartbeat, one stomp and it’s crushed. Besides, it’s hardly going to help me down a dimly lit alleyway with nobody around.

 

Or how about some ‘criminal identifier self-defense’ spray, what would you prefer maroon or rouge? I understand the premise if this, mocking pepper spray it could act as a deterrent and identifier of the attacker days later with it’s stain but at the same time I don’t have the biggest faith in it.

 

Yes, you could say just go to some martial arts classes, and that thought has crossed my mind, but then again you could be the next karate kid and be absolutely floored by the sheer weight of your attacker if caught offguard. Overall I have faith in the reliability of martial arts as a mechanism for self defense, but I just don’t think martial arts or self defense classes should be the only option I could rely on.

 

You could argue that if you were allowed to carry a weapon to defend yourself with there’s nothing to say the attacker couldn’t overpower you, turning the tables and use it against you. This is a fair point.

 

I’m not asking for a taser gun, knife or gun, just for the legalisation of pepper spray or its equivalent as a fast action measure to temporarily stun the person attacking me so I can at least get a few seconds to run away. As it stands, I hate the idea of leaving places late at night, I’m not paranoid, but if  am then I blame the news for constantly shoving statistics of assault down our throats.

 

I must clarify that I don’t encourage or endorse the use of weapons, I merely want to raise some thoughts on self defense with regards to sexual assault.

 

If you have been sexually abused, do not suffer in silence. Some supportive sources in the UK are:

 

How To Feel Better About Yourself

Writing

To help yourself – help others.

Today as part of the company charity day I helped out at Brixton Soup Kitchen, a service providing hot meals and clothing to those in need, including homeless people and people suffering with mental health issues. Of course my interest was to help those in need but strangely enough I found that by the end of the day of making pasta bake and repainting the walls of their open space areas, I found I was the one feeling better off – about myself by helping out others.

 

I would definitely say if you’re struggling with low self-esteem or motivation then even if you can’t bring yourself to do something for you, start by doing small things for others, you’ll soon begin to gain a sense of responsibility and esteem to a point where you can start to do you things for you. It’s annoying but I find that’s the case sometimes, where I’m more willing to stick my head in the fire for somebody else over myself which I guess is both good and bad depending on the circumstance. But I think the bottom line is even if you help out at a charity with the intended internal goal of helping yourself you shouldn’t feel selfish about this. Heck, I’d rather be ‘selfish’ doing something for charity than being selfish  in other ways, wouldn’t you?

 

It’s interesting because from the choices of charity I could have decided to work with today, I initially chose the ‘wildcard’ which was pretty much a lucky dip. Only late last week after the closing date of signing up to a charity did I come to find out that this wildcard option was only feasible for employees in the United States 😦 So it was by chance that a space was still available at the soup kitchen here in London.

 

It was a humbling experience, learning through others’ anecdotes was eye opening, one which hit home was  that you may have it all today and lose it all tomorrow. Suddenly this concept seemed alot more real coming from the mouth of someone wolfing down the pasta bake I made an hour previous. I learned that we should all be a  little more thankful for the jobs we moan about on a daily basis, for without them we would not have a roof over our head or food on our plates. Infact the main leader today gave that exact story of a man who was doing what I was doing today, lending a hand to only find that the tables would turn and that  he himself would be needing their assistant a few years down the line. Not to be negative but I guess you never really know what’s round the corner. I also noticed that you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover, some people who walked through the door looked dare I say it well put together, but obviously don’t let appearance fool you, the reason they are in need obviously isn’t clear to the eye. It’s hard not to judge, infact I believe it’s pretty much impossible, isn’t it natural for us to make decisions and rationalise based on our observations? But I guess, don’t be too quick to assume is better phrasing.

 

All I can say from today is maybe instead of beating yourself up about making a mistake or moping about in the house, do one nice thing for someone like help them with their shopping or simply hold the door out, or take it a step further and volunteer at an organisation of your choosing, you may just find that you get more out of it than you thought you would.

Bullying In The Workplace

Writing

Being bullied is never an easy thing to deal with, and compounding the matter is dealing with bullying from someone at your place of employment. In this situation you really are stuck between a rock and a hard place, for alot of us, we can’t just get up and move jobs or tell the bully how we really feel about them. Showing annoyance to the bully could make us look like the aggressor infront of other colleagues or just fuel their taunting even further.  So what to do?

  1. Try Ignoring It

This would be my initial advice, there are twisted individuals out there who get a rise out of making good people feel like victims. If you don’t show them the irritation they are looking for from you then in some cases the bully moves on.

  1. Try Reasoning With Them

The saying that ‘hurt people, hurt people’ is true sometimes, perhaps they are irritated with something about their own lives and they’re taking it out on you. Perhaps patience and trying to understand why this person is acting a certain way towards you may be a step in resolving the situation. It must be noted that this can’t be said for everyone in my opinion and in no way should someone’s past be an excuse for abusive actions. But trying to settle things by talking to someone may be alot easier than escalating the situation further. Ofcourse this depends on the kind of behaviour the bully is exhibiting. If they are assaulting you or being verbally abusive then reasoning may not be an option. Instead I would take step 3.

  1. Seek Support And Guidance

If you feel like the bullying isn’t ceasing up, you should  seek help. No one has to tolerate abusive behaviour from another person. I would seek advice from a manager, if the manager is the bully or just generally unhelpful  then I would suggest contacting Human Resources or an external helpline not linked to the workplace.

Being on the receiving end of a bully at work, I found it difficult on how to confront them in this environment while still defending myself. If you are being bullied do not accept it. Seek help.

The Struggle Of Trying To Eat Healthily

Writing

I would rather bite  my own tongue OFF than put another rice cracker with low fat margarine IN my mouth. You read that correctly, self-maiming seems like a healthier option as oppose to a life full of flavourless feeding habits.  I’m in no way against people being as healthy as they can be, I’m just somewhat reluctant to believe that I can summon myself to a life of carrot sticks and hummus.

Maybe I’m just not imaginative enough with my food choices, perhaps there are a million and one ways to make avocado and toast the reason you get up in the morning, but to me a fry up will forever be the way to my heart (quite literally)! I wouldn’t say I’m overly unhealthy, I indulge in the odd weekend takeaway, I have a biscuit with my cuppa, so where’s the harm in that?

Perhaps my downfall isn’t that I’m eating badly, it’s that I’m not eating enough of the good stuff. I wrote a post yesterday about how I feel tired alot and a big role to play in this is  mental well being, I also want to touch on a physical contributing factor to utter exhaustion – the nutritional value of our foods, or shall I say the lack of. It’s one thing eating enough but we also need to make sure we are getting enough nutrients.  That’s right a plate full of fried chicken, mash potatoes and gravy may actually lead us down a path of osteoporosis before we’re 30 if we’re not careful! So with that being said, where the f*ck can I get these damn nutrients from?!

5 of the most nutritious foods according to science at present (in no rank order, ain’t nobody got time for that):

  1. Salmon

All man may be created equally, but sadly the same cannot be said for all fish. When it comes to healthy oils salmon’s your knight in shining scales. With a dense packing of omega-3 fatty acids, you’ll be solving those crossword puzzles in seconds thanks to the beneficial effects these fatty acids have on brain functionality. Plus others here

  1. Garlic

I don’t care how pungent people find this clove, I f*cking love this stuff. So much so that I eat it raw each morning so that I get more personal space on public transport when commuting to work each morning. (joke). Truth be told, it packs a stench and alot of other mighty benefits also: studies have suggested that the smelly spice helps lower the risk heart disease and some cancers due to its sulphurous compounds. Coined the term ‘Russian Penicillin’, it’s antibacterial properties also help fend off skin conditions too. I’m a fan through and through.

  1. Potatoes

I’m not talking about chips, or mash made with 4 sticks of butter. I’m talking about the humble old potato with the SKINS ON (fibre for digestion and controlling blood glucose levels)! Packed with enough vitamin C to send off scurvy in a heartbeat, you can bet your bottom dollar that making a spud a staple on your plate and in your heart will serve you a world of good in the long run. They contain almost every nutrient you need, from magnesium and potassium to manganese and copper. These tuber treats are basically tasty periodic tables if you ask me.

  1. Seaweed

It’s about time a green veg made an appearance on my list but I’m not going for the predictable Kale or broccoli, which ofocurse are highly nutritious. Instead the weed of the sea gets a healthy high five from me. One of its notable beneficial compounds is its high levels of iodine. You may ask why is iodine important for the body?  Iodine is important for the body in making thyroid hormones. Our thyroid gland plays a major role in regulating many body functions through hormone release including metabolism, digestion and brain development. Specifically, for brain and bone development during pregnancy.

  1. Dark Chocolate

This list seems more bearable than I had anticipated, and no better way to top it off than with the topic of conversation being –  chocolate. But note, white or milk won’t give you the same effect as dark. This is because dark chocolate contains a higher concentration of cocoa solids than it’s milkier cousins (which contain milk solids in addition to cocoa solids thus diluting their concentrations down per bar). It’s in this original cocoa where all the nutrition is stored. One being ‘flavonoids’, very beneficial antioxidants to the body, they are naturally occurring plant pigments and can also help promote blood vessel flexibility thus improving overall cardiovascular functionality.  Your heart loves dark chocolate even if you may not.

Do you eat enough of the 5 above, or even any? I definitely don’t eat enough. But it’s never too late to change that. Hope you enjoy a balanced healthy lifestyle, because you deserve it.

bed cute dog female why am I so tired?

Why Do I Feel So Exhausted?

Writing

At the ripe old age of 23, it’s safe to say that fatigue should be a common occurrence, right? Wrong! Then why is it the norm for me to walk around like a zombie and  to fight to keep my eyes open by noon? Lots of us feel tired alot of the time but we’re no marathon runners so what’s the reason behind it?

Well, according to the NHS, psychological causes of tiredness are much more common than physical causes. Examples of which are stress, trauma, depression and anxiety.

How we can help to potentially relieve these:

Stress

  • Exercise – this sounds almost counter intuitive in trying to alleviate the feeling of tiredness. But it is a proven theory that exercise does indeed help lower stress levels in the body.
  • Sleep – another obvious one considering we are talking about tiredness! But studies have shown less sleep = more irritability which as a result increases the chances of a more stressful situation arising for you.

Trauma

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – an interactive psychotherapy technique , the therapist asks the patient to relive the traumatic experience while directing their eye movements. The validity of this therapy is still undergoing testing.
  • Support Groups – It may be difficult for people who have not experienced a traumatic event to truly understand how someone who has feels. This is where support groups offer a chance for people to get things off their chest and find emotional support in sharing the fact that they have all gone through a traumatic experience and thus can learn from each other,
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – this treatment aims to change how you think and act. It is a practical form of therapy, Read more about it here.

Depression

  • Exercise – according to the NHS, exercise can lower your risk of depression by 30%. Releasing endorphins and improving overall body confidence as the body becomes fitter.
  • Keep Social – when you’re feeling low, it’s easy to want to lock yourself in your room. This is exactly what you don’t want to do, instead going out with friends or family will keep moods from dropping and helps build relationships so that you can have someone to talk to if you’re feeling down at times.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – as mentioned above, it can be used as a treatment for a range of needs.

Anxiety

  • Breathing Exercises – anxiety can lead to a build up of tension and shortness of breath which can result in panic attacks. Trying to control our breathing (abdominal vs chest) is a common way to reduce tension and maintain control when we feel anxious. See here.
  • Yoga and posture – Harvard findings here

**Wikihow has some good tips here.

Ofcourse exhaustion could just be down to physical demands, be it from your job, your exercise regime or the burden of life (bit deep)! These are obvious things that make you tired but I think it’s important for us all to take time to reflect on our own mental well-being, for if looked after properly, I’m pretty sure all of our lives would be vastly improved beyond simply alleviating the feeling of tiredness.

Poem: Fight

Writing

It doesn’t matter what’s wrong or what’s right.
If you go left, I’ll go right.
I don’t want anyone to know I cry at night,
So that’s why I always put up a fight.

I’ll fight on a Monday, I’ll fight on a Tuesday.
I’ll fight when you choose-a-day,
Cuz for me, it’s never a -lose-day.
Atleast not in your eyes.
But perhaps inside mine.

See, although I try and hide it,
Truth is, I really am quite shy.
I really do get tired,
Of keeping up this lie.

See, I feel like you will feel I’m weak.
If I were to go weak at the knees,
Would you expect me to kiss your feet?

I dare not kiss my own self-esteem,
For fear of being seen as an obscene wannabe Queen.
But, perhaps I’ve got it all wrong.
To care for yourself is not vain or self-centered.
A love for thine self should surely be unmeasured.
Unweathered and treasured.
Or atleast I would hope.
But not merely know.
I would give anything up,
Just to give this a go.

The meaning behind the poem: In a society where no-one wants to seem big headed, where compliments are brushed off in a heartbeat, it can lead some of us into a downward spiral of self-loathing. Just as body dysmorphia can make someone unhappy with their external appearance, low self-esteem can make someone belittle themselves from within. My poem highlights my inner antagonism at a stage in my life where I truly didn’t like myself enough to even go to the shop to buy food. I sat on my bed and just wrote this from an honest place. I use to be a very angry person, angry at myself for not caring about my own well-being at all. I thought I’d hide my insecurities be being angry with others, being defensive so I didn’t appear weak. I’ve learnt the hard way from this and as a result have taken steps to better myself and most importantly be kind to myself so that I can be kind to others.