Health and Wellbeing, Lifestyle

A Reflection of 2018: Choosing to be Single, University, Mental Health… You Name It.

Hey everyone!

It’s fair to say this year has been a mad one. I graduated from university with a BSc, I’ve taken internships I never thought I’d get and overall, I’ve massively changed as a person. Until recently, I was someone who always put others before myself. This meant that I often became stuck in toxic relationships because I felt bad for hurting someone – basically, I was a massive pushover. 2018 as a whole has taught me how important it is to put yourself first and how vital it is to learn to love yourself.

Being single / Relationships…

One of the most important lessons I have learnt this year is how important it is to be single at least once in your life. Now, don’t get me wrong – this might not be for everyone. I have friends who have been in extremely happy relationships since year 9, friends who are now married and friends who have children, that’s all amazing! However, for me (and I’m sure many people my age), this isn’t the case.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m nowhere near getting married or thinking of children. I’m still studying, very much single and have way too much debt from uni to even consider these things right now. That’s just life.

As I briefly mentioned earlier, I’ve always been a people pleaser/pushover. At the beginning of this year, I was trapped in a massively toxic relationship that was extremely damaging to my mental health and general wellbeing. I won’t go into detail on how it was toxic or the events that took place as that would require its own post and trigger warning, however, it wasn’t good. Thankfully, I managed to get out of this relationship after only a few months – however, to my mistake, after only 3 months of being single, I was back seeing someone else.

Within any kind of relationship, it’s easy to become reliant on the other person. You tend to focus more on them and their happiness rather than yours. A lot of the time you can also become consumed in wanting to spend time with them that you forget about yourself and who you are. This is something I’ve always struggled with. In relationships, I’d tend to let my work ethic fall behind and stop doing the things that make me happy.

This is why a couple of months ago I chose to be single – at the time it was a hard decision to make, but I’ve recently learned that people aren’t as nice as they seemed and this decision was the best one I could have made.

By being single, I’ve managed to put my full effort into uni, work, and just doing the things I love in general. Without a doubt, my sense of self-worth has improved massively and I’m on full track with learning how to accept myself as I am without needing validation from a guy I’m seeing or worrying if I’m not good enough.

2018 has also taught me how positivity is key. If you take one thing away from this post, please do things for YOU. Get rid of toxic relationships, whether they be romantic or just friendships. I know it’s hard but you need to do it, rip them off like a band-aid and you’ll honestly grow so much as a person. Put all of your positive energy into doing things you love, making new friendships with people with the same attitude as you and treat yourself!

I’ve also learned to appreciate life so much this year. It might sound cheesy but there’s so much we take for granted and thinking about this has honestly changed who I am as a person. I now appreciate what I have so so so much more than I ever have, whether that be materialistic items, friends, family or just being able to see and breathe. This year has been a massive year for self-growth and honestly, I’m so here for it.

University…

2018 has also been a crazy year in terms of education for me. In June I graduated with a 2:1 in BSc Physical Geography, which has allowed me to begin my MSc in Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change which I am so happy about!

Despite this, there are a few things I’d have changed if I could. First of all, part of me wishes I had taken a year out before starting my MSc. This is mainly due to the fact that financially, masters degrees do not work the same way as undergrad’s do. In hindsight, if I could have worked for a year before doing my masters, I’d probably be in a way better place right now and way less stressed. However, I would also have missed out on being able to do my masters at Swansea with all my friends who stayed on from undergrad – so there are some positives.

I also know I could have worked way harder for my undergrad exams in January. This is in part down to the toxic situation I was in during January, however, I should have worked harder regardless. I’m currently doing really well in my masters though!

Social Media…

Finally, the last key realisation I’ve had this year is that taking time off of social media is KEY. As much as I love instagram, it can easily consume you – whether you become obsessed with posting, your feed and your account, or you become obsessed over looking at other accounts and their lives – it can be very detrimental. It’s also an important lesson to learn that social media isn’t real life. No one’s life is as perfect as it is online, no one’s. Everyone has personal struggles, bad days, days where they don’t want to leave bed or days where they don’t brush their hair – these days don’t tend to be shown though.

From here on, I’ve decided to take time off social media some days to spend time with myself, my friends or my family. To do the things that really matter.

Despite this, I’m super grateful for the year I’ve had with social media. I started this blog not long ago and I’ve been gifted so many amazing products to try because of it. Products I’d never have thought of buying have now become staples in my self-care routine and I’m now addicted to undereye masks.

To cut it short, 2018 has been the first year I’ve really grown as a person and learnt to put myself first. I now stand for no shit and ensure that I only have people in my life where the relationship is mutually beneficial and I’m so much happier because of it. Learning to put yourself first and be selfish is a hard lesson to learn and it takes time but it’s the best thing you can ever do.

Heres to 2019!

-Shannon x

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