I decided to try the vegan way of life (in terms of foods) to test how beneficial this lifestyle change could be. Every vegan I know raves about being a vegan but I’m the type of person that has to try things for myself. As said in previous posts I could never go completely meatless however, I don’t need meat in my diet daily.
Prep day I made a weeks’ worth of chickpea curry with the best kitchen assistant…Pinterest. The prep lasted no longer than 15 mins and the same goes for the cooking time. I tend to not cook so much as I don’t enjoy the cleaning process but I actually enjoyed cooking this time and the clean up was very minimal. I made my mum a batch with basmati rice (somewhat of a tester batch)and she loved it so hopefully, this will keep me going during lunchtime at work for the week.
Day 1 On the way out the door for work, I picked up a doughnut and debated whether the V on the label stood for vegan and not just vegetarian. After scanning carefully, I was excited to know that breakfast was sorted. I’m not much of a snack person so I avoided crisps and chocolate but during a mini break at work, I had an orange to keep me going until lunch. Lunch 12.30 pm: was the ultimate chickpea curry but instead of rice, I went for pita bread (yes I checked it was vegan during purchase). 5 pm: Turns out I wasn’t as full as I thought; felt so starved and had a load of chips for early dinner. Day 2 I can feel my energy levels fading. Another day of chickpea curry; I’m not bored of it yet but I know I’m not taking in enough protein and nutrients as I usually would. Due to this my mood today has been pretty hit & miss. I’m happy, tired and stressed all at once. It’s only Day 2, I’m hoping tomorrow will be a lot better. Day 3 I’m feeling more positive, however, today is the last day of chickpea curry…probably a good thing. I’m not tempted by meat which is great however, I don’t like the limitations that come with this dietary option. This definitely isn’t a life change for me. Day 4 I don’t feel hungry as such but my stomach is shouting at me and telling me it doesn’t agree with this diet change. Usually, I avoid snacks but now my body is craving crisps and chocolate. I bought peanut M&M’s today knowing I can’t eat them but I just needed to know they were in my bag. I’m not feeling as weak as I did yesterday but I’m getting tired faster than usual, which is not ideal especially in my line of work. Only 1 day left! Day 5 The end is here! I feel vibrant this morning. Again still tired af but could be worse. I’m proud I have made it through the 5 days; at times I didn’t think I would make it. 5 days doesn’t seem like a long time but when you’re a foodie like me, it feels like a lifetime. I lost weight which I wasn’t expecting and managed to fight the will to snack which made me realise I’m stronger than I thought but vegan just isn’t for me. I’d happily go vegetarian if need be but that’s the most my body will accept. I applaud vegans for having the strength to check ingredients in products and devote time to this lifestyle.
As you can see that chickpea curry only made it to Day 3 but it made me get inventive for the last 2 days. Usually when I get home from work I’m too tired to eat a full meal however, on this diet all I wanted to do when I got home was eat. This isn’t a lifestyle change for me as I just about made it to Day 5 but I think we can all do with a breather from meat/fish based meals at times.
Recently I’ve been triggered and the old cold-hearted me is waiting to make an epic return. Over the past few years, I’ve been calm, composed and said yes or ok at times when really it isn’t ok. It’s now getting to the point I think I have ‘mug’ written across my forehead.
People have really forgotten I am a Queen.
The past few months have consisted of people calling, messaging, liking posts to get my attention and I’m really not here for it. If I don’t reply to you within a day, take your L’s and leave me alone, and in best case scenario…delete my number.
I’m done. I need new eggs.
People always want to come back into your life whether it’s been 6 months or 6 years. From my experience people tend to come back when they’re bored, looking for attention or curious and that’s what I don’t have time for. ‘I miss you’, ‘Hey, how have you been?’, ‘long time, no speak’. Is this truly necessary? If someone doesn’t want you in their life, take the hint and either give them space and they’ll come back to you or just cut ties completely.
I’m a good friend, partner, person, which is why I tend to give people too many chances. From now onwards everyone gets 1 chance. I’m too grown for the stress, aggro and time wasters. This is why I’ve been doing a lot on my own recently; I genuinely enjoy my own company and it’s refreshing at times. Truth be told, I’d rather be alone than surrounded by nonsense. Luckily, I have a close group of friends and family and that’s enough for me. People seem to take my kindness for advantage and in the world, we live in today that kindness gets taken for granted. Recently with better mental health, I’ve been able to see clearer and see people in a different light. Due to this, I’m having a life clear up.
If you’ve got bad eggs in your life I advise you let them go. Friends, partners, anyone. If they are no good and use your good spirit for evil, show them the exit. If you are the type of person that likes to unnecessarily creep back into people’s lives, the best thing you could do is remove the temptation and delete/block all communication.
I don’t remember when exactly I invented ‘Single Summers’ but I love it. I really do get excited over it.
It came about during a time when I realised all my friends and I were single at the same time. One friend was really down and out about being single and me using my charm and banter as always to be supportive thought, you know what, let’s go out and do what we want to do this summer. Whether its trying different beer gardens, going for brunch every weekend or travelling to somewhere new. I love spending time with my friends especially when the sun is out and this made summer worth looking forward to. Single summers isn’t as bad as it sounds. It’s not about being a hoe, chasing guys or trying to get attention; its the complete opposite. It’s about making the most out of being single before we are older and have families or other responsibilities. It’s about taking care of number 1 and not being the singles who sit around feeling sorry for themselves.
I’d be happy if one of my friends said they were seeing someone or had a girlfriend/boyfriend but for now this is something for all to look forward to and use to make memories together.
We must make the most of the time we have on this earth before it’s too late. Furthermore, we must make the most out of English summertime before it’s too late!
I’ll be sure to share what I get up to this summer on Instagram (Solobutterflyy). If any of you feel sad or pressured about being single, don’t let this hold you back. Go out there and live life!
Last time I posted I was 24 and now I’m here as a 25-year-old! I use birthdays more as a way to spend time with friends than to celebrate my actual birthday, however, this year I decided to go all out and have a party (as I’ve never had one and thought why not), go for dinner and basically spend the month doing what I want. 2019 is already a big year for me. Not because I turned 25 but because career and health wise I have accomplished so much and had much more developing to do. I’ve never cared so much about age but I asked myself would hitting the big 25 affect me?
Do I feel any different? Well, I feel and hear the biological clock ticking but I did too when I was 24. Now, I’m just more accepting of ‘what will be will be’ however, that’s due to maturity and being a realistic person. I don’t feel old or young, I’m just out here living.
Am I where I want to be in life? Well as I said in a previous post if you asked me years ago where I’d be now, I would have told you with child, with a partner and probably working in an office. My life is the complete opposite to that and I am honestly grateful for it. I’m 100% not ready for a child, especially with how excited I am to drink and travel this summer. I’m single but happy single; too busy to feel sorry for myself and job wise, I’m feeling better than ever. I finally found a job I love, I don’t even have an office and I’m constantly upskilling myself and gaining qualifications. Career and academically I have exceeded my own expectations. So overall am I where I want to be in life? well, my health and happiness have much improved over the years and that’s all I could ask for. Again, as I said in a previous post I have stopped planning my life, so I am not focused on relationships, kids, needing a mortgage right now…everything will come into place.
This leads nicely onto me asking myself what my goals are by the time I’m 30. Well, I’m no longer planning my future but I do tend to build on my happiness and do what makes me, me. When I’ve saved enough, I will get on the property ladder. If I see someone I like, I will shoot my shot. If I need a breakaway, I will go away or travel to the UK. Sometimes the unknown is an adventurous feeling and leaves some excitement in life.
Usually, when we feel like rubbish we are drawn towards rubbish food (all the fats & carbs), like heartbroken Bridget Jones with a tub of ice cream but realistically binging is the last thing we should be doing.
When you’re already feeling down and out fast food and snacking lessens motivation and changes the ‘can do’ attitude to a lazy why bother. From my experience, working constantly and having no time for myself I would grab a microwave meal or foods that were cheap and easy (McDonald’s, Burger King etc) but then I began putting on weight. So by this point, I wasn’t only stressed and negative due to work and other issues, I was then self-conscious, losing confidence and becoming anti-social because I was no longer comfortable in my own skin. This then turned into a cycle hard to break.
There are many studies out there that say junk food is linked to depression. If you think about it, fruit and vegetables provide our brain and immune system with the vitamins and balance we need whereas junk food have chemicals and we don’t necessarily know what’s in them; ingredients being somewhat addictive.
Healthy eating for me and many others I know have made a big lifestyle difference. I am currently trying a 1200 calorie diet for the month, which is not as easy as it sounds. On top of that, the cost of living healthy in comparison to cheap thrills is crazy. I know numerous people who have literally cut the crap, gone vegan and never felt better; glowing in fact. I can never go vegan. It’s really not for me but substituting takeaways and snacks for smoothies, rice cakes, salads etc has lifted my mood and made me feel a lot better within my own body. Foods like avocado, turkey, types of fish are proven to reduce anxiety, stress and depression (all foods I eat). They improve the state of mind, boost energy levels and are said to be positive for chemicals within the brain.
Changing your diet is incredibly hard; I’ve failed many times in the past but challenge yourself to a health swap for a week and see how you get on. If you can change your eating habits at least 2 days a week, you’ll be able to continue with a healthy life no problems.
I love to travel. When I was at University I made a Bucket list and was adamant on going to Iceland after graduating. I didn’t care who with or how I just knew I deserved it after all the stress and hard work. So I went to Iceland a few months after graduating and loved it. For over 10 years now, I’ve always wanted to go to China. I still haven’t pursued that trip but I’m sure I’ve got enough time to make it.
Personally, I like to travel on average 3 times a year, even if its a little work trip. If I’m in a different country enjoying myself, it’s a holiday for me. A friend and I discovered we liked to travel a lot, we get along well and we’ve been travel buddies for years (she’s also my best friend which helps). Over the years we’ve discovered it’s better to travel as a couple instead of a group, to avoid hassle and drama. Having a travel buddy is important; travelling, in general, is important for your sanity and mental health. The bother of travelling to and from work, work itself, family, relationships, life, in general, can be a strain but taking time out, whether it’s 2 days or 2 weeks makes a massive difference.
If you prefer travelling alone or would like to, I believe that’s highly beneficial. When you are with someone else you need to come to an agreement on what you’re both going to do, where you’re staying, where to eat, but when you’re travelling alone, you just wake up, get ready and go. Not too long ago I travelled to Amsterdam alone; my first solo trip that didn’t involve work. I absolutely loved it. Due to always being extra organised I went with a list of everything I wanted to see, restaurants to try and booked a few tours; with an extra person, I don’t think I would have seen most the things I did.
Most people don’t like travelling alone due to fear of being alone, looking like an obvious tourist or being too embarrassed to eat alone, get lost alone or try and speak a different language and feel stupid. Don’t let these emotions stop you from accomplishing something so life-changing. You may have anxiety travelling alone (like I did with my very first work trip) but I promise you will come home with such confidence and want to do it again. I started off small and would advise that at the beginning before venturing out towards long haul destinations alone, but with your travel buddy go anywhere and everywhere.
This is a blog that I’ve wanted to write from the beginning but it’s hard to discuss especially when I myself am not a man and it is also hard to find men who want to express their feelings. I’ve waited for guys to come forward and share their stories or opinions but this topic still such a taboo even though it’s recently been bought more to light due to celebrity deaths, statements on TV and social media overall. According to Safeline “76% of suicides are committed by men and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35 in the UK” (www.safeline.org.uk – worth a read!). In addition, in the UK, 12.5% of men suffer from common mental health disorders (mentshealthforum.org.uk, 2017). These are drastic statistics; so why has men’s mental health only recently come to light in the last few years? Passed from generation to generation men have been told what their role in society is, how to feel, how to treat others, how to carry themselves but this has led to suppression and it becoming natural for women to be seen as the sensitive, insecure gender in comparison to men. This is not okay. Times are changing and we need to support each other and adapt to these changes. Mental health is a silent killer whether physically, mentally or emotionally and speaking openly about this is the first step to making an awareness.
Below are statements from brave men who wanted to come forward and share their experiences and opinions:
-“Men are solution-based animals, talking about our feelings rarely helps us resolve the traumas we are experiencing, we want a route to getting out of it. Men’s problems right now stem from a lack of a strong support network which provides us with opportunities to progress in the areas of our lives which we have neglected or are suffering”.
-“This blog is a good thing, honestly you need to try and get through to young kids. I’ve lost a few friends over the years and there’s no one to talk to. You don’t want to talk to family because they will worry and send you to live with your nan or something. You can’t go to any of these charities or organisations because as soon as you tell them you lost your friend to a stabbing it feels like they don’t understand. There needs to be help for young men out there”.
-“I think that Men, in general, need to be more honest about it and stop being so dismissive of it too – check up on your friends if they’re feeling down or acting unusual because it could be a lot worse than it seems on the surface. Side note – being from an Eastern European background our culture is very dismissive of men’s mental well-being and any signs of mental unrest is seen as weakness, and we’re usually told to ‘man up’, which more often than not worsens the problem more than it does solve it. And in our culture, mental health issues aren’t really recognised as real conditions but just ‘phases’”.
-“It’s something I personally struggled with for 6 years and I felt lost, angry, alone & very sad throughout my time with depression. You feel you can’t speak to anyone about this either that you’re afraid to or you think it will pass by itself, this is not the case speaking out about it with anyone not just a doctor or a therapist can help immensely. For me, my sister helped me throughout a lot of it. For me it wasn’t seeking a therapist it was speaking to my doctor and taking being advised to take Citalopram. This helped me a lot with all my issues I had. I also started at the Gym which I think personally really helps, it keeps your mind straight & focused, releases stress and motivates you; not just for me but I believe this helps for everyone generally regardless of depression. So if you are struggling with this and you have thought about seeking help please do so. So that we can fight these issues together. Don’t be afraid”.
–“Men are raised to focus on their physical health and foster attitudes that society accept as manly; many of which contribute to poor abilities to deal with problems of the mental variety”.
-“Going through depression as a man isn’t something that’s often spoken about because men are inherently seen as strong/unemotional beings in society. I grew up without a prominent father figure and was often told to not cry or feel sad because I’m supposed to be strong for my mother and my siblings, as I’m ‘the man of the house’, this phrase stuck with me as it held so much weight. To me the phrase ‘man of the house’ basically means in hat context ‘you can’t be sad’ it was hard to not feel some kind of way about that, ironically, I got down and with the pressure of being ‘man of the house’ my feelings were never brought up and put aside for a long time until I finally broke, there have been times I’ve really thought about ending it, though, with a few people supporting me I got through it. Hopefully, we can change how sensitive this topic is for men”.
Some reading the above its clear their views on the topic are very similar. Lack of support and the need to break gender stereotype. This is coming from guys that you would pass every day and not once think to have any kind of issues. They continue with life, socialise, date, go to work and carry on; this is proof that you never know who is suffering or which men in your life come under 12.5%.
As a society, we need to do better and understand that the black dog exists. To understand what I mean by the black dog I advise you to watch the video below, but there are many simple things we can all do. Break the taboo on mental health and get talking; a simple hug can go along way, look into the hug movement on Instagram, they are spreading awareness of the positivity from holding someone close. Sometimes I walk around London and see people giving out free hugs; hugging reduces stress, improves self-esteem and boosts Oxycontin levels (also known as the love hormone).
Check on your friends especially your strong one every now and then and ask if they’re okay, hold meaningful group chats and social gatherings. Maybe it’ll be nice for a group to chill occasionally and talk about life instead of going on a binge every Saturday night. Make use of the research and charities out there. So far in this blog I’ve referenced different websites/organisations, the information is out there and so is the help. I am also available. This is something I am passionate about and could speak on until the end of time; I have an open-door policy on life and can provide that confidentially support you need. No one should be made to feel alone; sometimes it’s hard to speak to people close to you due to embarrassment or judgement but I can assure you there’s nothing embarrassing about opening up, if anything its courageous and inspirational.
I could talk about the ‘treatments’ such as the different therapy, counselling and medications but that is another story and something best to hear about from your GP or a Mental Health Organisation directly. I got help on an off chance; I went to see my GP for a completely different reason, made a ‘throw away’ comment and she picked up on it straight away. The GP gave me the information booklet for SLaM IAPT; I didn’t know what it was until I went on the website and I wasn’t expecting much. I didn’t think the comment I made was that deep but she managed to see that everything wasn’t as okay as I was trying to make out. This just proves how important listening is. If you pick up on something someone says and you think, hmm that doesn’t sound right and you’re not comfortable asking or digging deeper, just point them in the right direction. GP’s aren’t just for prescribing medication and referring you to Hospital, they do provide advice and professional, confidentially assistance. As I said previously no one should be made to feel alone. This blog may be about Men’s mental health but we all need to work together to make sure our men are okay. Be a good support system, be a good friend, partner, neighbour because you never know how your comments or actions can affect someone.
Thank you to all the brave guys who shared their views and stories for this blog x