Do not live and die by the judgement of others

Day by day I am noticing how much I constrain myself and tailor my behaviour through fear of how other people will judge me. I toe a line, telling myself that I am free and do not care about people’s irrelevant opinions when really everything I do, even down to what clothes I wear, is decided through the lens of what I know other people will find acceptable.

It is easy to pre-empt what other people will think and say. As long as you fall into line; dress, think and act like them, they will have no complaints. Do not challenge their view of the world and do not scare them by stepping out of place and becoming an unknown quantity. Do all these things and you will be safe. However, you will never be fully happy.

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”

– Sigmund Freud

Only as I am growing older, learning about new things, experiencing things outside of my small bubble am I realising the compromises I make in my daily life. The little decisions I make so as not to cause to ripples whilst telling myself that I am doing those things because I truly want to. Lie after lie legitimates my never reaching my full potential.

“None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Being purposefully inauthentic is so boring though. When you look at the person next to you and realise that you have morphed into a similarly brainwashed creature who has followed the pattern of other people’s beliefs without question or issue. You have fallen into line so quickly and easily you never saw it happening. The most exciting thing you can do now is be fully and unashamedly yourself. Follow your intuition and impulses which are intrinsically unique to you. Express yourself in the brightest ways you can think of no matter what. Indulge in whatever interests you, no matter if no-one else you know cares about the same things. More than anything, become someone you can be proud of, not only now but years down the line when you are reminiscing about your life. Did you do your unique nature justice? Did you follow your passions? Did you take a stand for the things you believe in?

“Expression is survival”

– Hayley Williams

 

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Another Gratitude List!

Things have been rocky lately (how many times do I start off a blog post with those words?!). In short, I have experienced some very unsettling mental health symptoms which are new to me and got me seriously concerned and fearful, I then changed medication and am waiting for my body (and mind) to adjust to these tablets. However, through the whirlwind of mental health confusion which has left me trying to catch my breath at times, I have seen glimpses of things I am so sincerely grateful for. Surrounding myself online with positive (yet realistic) accounts, whether that be on Instagram, WordPress or Twitter, has yet again realigned my perspective and made me give time, no matter how small, to the things I am grateful for. So, here’s a gratitude list from me to the world!

1) The seasonal change to autumn.
From the leaves changing colour to the crisp edge on the air, autumn is definitely upon us. I am thankful for this change of season because it has brought my attention back to nature. Consciously looking out for the changes in my surroundings, whether big or small, has made me undergo a whole new process of appreciation for the environment. When you can see the world around you as beautiful, it is one more weight taken off of your burdened heart and a way to look around you and feel some sense of hope.

2) Having access to mental health services
I retain the right to say that I firmly believe mental health services in the UK are critically underfunded by the government and so what they can offer people is curtailed by the lack of support they are given by the state. However, I am grateful that I do have access to support when so many people around the world are suffering completely alone in a whole variety of different, heartbreaking, situations. I am immensely grateful that I was able to get an appointment with a GP, talk honestly about how I felt regarding my medication and have him give me a way to reach out to the services I need. I want to say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to the people who work in our National Health Service, as time and again they tirelessly try against the odds to help us in anyway they can.

3) My dogs aka the lights of my life!
Being reunited with my dogs has undoubtedly given me a huge boost (as it always does). Their boundless enthusiasm for life, their endless love and devotion as well as the all-round silly and ridiculous things they do which make me laugh out loud, are the things which really keep me going sometimes. I could write for hours and hours about all the ways they have improved me as a person and given me a little chink of sunlight in my life when I have felt completely hopeless. However, for now, suffice to say that I love them both so dearly and genuinely see them as my best friends.

4) The ability to cook
For me, self-care always starts with looking after my nutrition. Eating properly gives me a foundation from which I can start to feel better about my day and show myself some compassion. Preparing my meals is therapeutic in itself, then actually appreciating the fact that I have made the effort to give my body a nutritious and healthy meal allows me to shift my perspective which usually focuses on my habit of self-loathing.

5) Music
Whilst my ears have probably suffered from my reliance on music, at least putting my earphones in and drowning out the world has given me some peace of mind at times throughout these past few weeks. As always, I am immensely grateful to Paramore, Twenty One Pilots and Dodie Clark for making such raw, honest and insightful music. The fact that they don’t dress-up life as an easy ride in their lyrics gives me so much comfort whilst the beautiful music which laces together their words affords me hours of escapism.

 

YOU CAN FIND ME HERE…

Twitter – @RyanBInNature

Instagram – @awalkwithnature00

 

Vegan Mushroom Risotto Recipe

After my post ‘My New Therapy’ in which I wrote about how cooking and looking after my nutrition has benefited my mental health, I thought that I would share one of the recipes which I have been using quite frequently over the past few weeks.

I firmly believe in making cooking a personal experience and allowing yourself a lot of freedom in the process, so feel free to go off script so to speak and make things fit your preferences and taste. Hence why my measurements are quite rough and unpriced, often I change little parts of the recipe day to day depending on whether I want my risotto more creamy or more veggie-heavy. Cooking is a very individual activity, everyone likes things slightly different, so try things out and don’t beat yourself up if things don’t work out the way you want them to – it’s all a learning process.

INGREDIENTS:

1)One shallot
2) Four open mushrooms
3) One clove of garlic
4) Vegetable oil
5) Three basil leaves
6) Vegetable stock (I use Knorr veggie stock pods to make the process quicker)
7) Boiling water
8) Brown rice
9) Salt
10) Pepper
11) Dash of soy sauce
12) 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
13) 1/4 a cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
14) 1 and 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
15) A handful of black olives (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pour a coin sized amount of vegetable oil into your deep frying pan or skillet and wait for the oil to heat-up.
  2. Whilst the oil is heating, dice the shallot, crush the garlic and chop the mushrooms.
  3. Add the vegetables to the pan, stir occasionally and wait until the veggies brown slightly.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and continue stirring for a few minutes.
  5. Add the amount of rice you desire according to your preferences and, at the same time, add double the amount of boiling water in relation to the amount of rice you used.
  6. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. After the 10 minutes the basil leaves, a dash of soy sauce and a quarter of a cup of coconut milk to the mixture. Also, according to your taste add a dash of salt and pepper, then re-cover and let simmer again for 10 minutes.
  8. Add one and a half tablespoons of all-purpose flour, then stir thoroughly for a couple of minutes.
  9. Add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and a handful of black olives, then stir for one minutes.
  10. Cover and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
  11. Stir and ensure that the risotto is no longer runny or watery, ensuring that the consistency is to your preference.

 

The Mental Benefits of Decluttering

1) It feels like you are rinsing away everything which no longer serves you

Decluttering can feel almost like a ritual cleansing of your life as you purge all of the things which do not actively contribute to your life. During the process, visualise washing away all of the things which do not have positive attributions attached to them and feel your quality of mental wellbeing flourish.

2) You no longer feel weighed down by miscellaneous possessions

When you have fewer possessions than previously in your life, you give yourself the ability to move accommodation more easily. So you do not feel tethered to the same spot or tied down where you live because you are no longer trapped by all of your stuff.

3) You give yourself licence to move-on from what has gone before

Things, possessions, products can all hold certain memories and act like anchors which keep us attached to our past whether we wish them to or not. Therefore, getting rid of things which remind you of memories and times which you would rather move-on from can release those ties which tether you to negative moments in your past. When possessions cause negative connotations to arise, get rid of them.

4) You give yourself more space to move and think freely

Your work and living spaces take on a new lease of life once they have been decluttered. An absence of superfluous possessions allows you to organise your work, think more clearly and have more floor and storage space. All of these effects work together to make where you live and work feel more comfortable and enjoyable places to spend time.

5) You remove the daily guilt of living messily from your life

Often when we see our living space looking messy and cluttered, we experience that sinking feeling of guilt, worry and stress which builds-up the longer we put-off decluttering. However, once the task is done you will probably wish that you had done it sooner because the weight of guilt will be lifted off of your shoulders, leaving you to feel happy when you look about your home.

6) Stress decreases when you can find things easily rather than have to look through clutter

Having less things about means that it is easier to find what you want, when you want. So, you will not have to endure the panic of thinking that you cannot find some important document or other. Organisation is a lot easier to implement when you only have the possessions you actively need or want.

7) Your possessions no longer daunt you as what is left are only the things which uplift you

When looking at piles of your possessions before you declutter, you probably resent the mess and all of the things which you wish would just disappear or dispose of themselves. However, once you have decluttered, you no longer have the task of living with all of those meaningless things weighing on you shoulders.

8) Daily maintenance tasks no longer weigh so heavy on your mind

Jobs around the house will stop feeling like such huge chores to accomplish. Cleaning, organising and tidying are all easier jobs once you declutter and you may even find yourself enjoying these tasks because you can feel proud of yourself for making your living space low-maintenance and clear.

9) You are no longer hung-up on superstitions

When I was younger I used to have items which I regarded as ‘lucky’ and I believed that if I did not have these things with me as I went about certain events or activities, then I would doomed to fail in whatever I was doing. This was an unhealthy way of living because I convinced myself that my actions contributed less to my success and path in life in comparison to material things.

10) You give yourself room to grow

Once you discard baggage and your attachment to material things, you can flourish outside of materialistic culture. Enjoy the feeling of being light and rid of those possessions which do not add to your quality of life. 

 

“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” – Nathan W Morris

How To Shop As A Minimalist

Being a minimalist does not mean that you have to avoid shops completely. Personally, however, I do not have much interest in going shopping (largely because crowds and large amounts of noise trigger my anxiety) but if my mum or a friend asks me to go shopping with them, I find that being a minimalist and trying to limit the stuff I am accumulating does not mean that I have to avoid shopping altogether.

There are some specific things to consider when you are out shopping and you are trying to balance your minimalist lifestyle alongside being sociable and joining in the experience with the person you have gone shopping with:

1) Do I feel a real attachment to the product?

There is no point in buying something if you merely like it or feel ambivalent towards it. Surround yourself with possessions that you actually love rather than buying products which you think are just alright. The likelihood is that if you buy products that you do not actually love, then you will leave whatever it is languishing at the back of a cupboard or wardrobe after a while only to find it years later and wonder why you purchased it in the first place!

2) Consider the longevity of your attachment to the product

Will you still love the product in a week, two weeks, a month or a year’s time? If not then the product definitely does not offer you good value for money because you will not keep or use the product for long enough to get sufficient wear or usage out of it. This point will help you avoid impulse buys which may excite you in the moment but once you get the product home you could soon find yourself questioning what you were thinking when you bought it!

3) Do I have space for it?

If you do not have anywhere to store the product then it will surely cause you more problems than enjoyment. Unfortunately, you can only work with the space you have and minimalist home interiors prioritise having clean, open spaces rather than clutter around the house. 

4) Is it practical?

Will the product have a function within your daily lifestyle? If it is not something which you actually need and will use frequently, is it really worth your money? A minimalist lifestyle includes only having products which will actively add to your daily routine and enjoyment rather than accumulating things on the off chance that you might get round to using them at some point. Essentially, everything you buy needs to have a clear function which you can envision for it.

5) Do you already have something similar?

Quite often I see something I like in a shop and then realise that I like it so much because I already own something that is similar! However, there is not much point in having a product which is nearly a duplicate of something you have anyway because it will limit the use you can get out of it. 

“It’s better to have extra time on your hands & extra money in your pocket than extra stuff in your closet.” – Joshua Becker