Saying Goodbye to 2018!

Wow! Another year has gone by, and yet again I’m amazed how quickly it’s whizzed past and how much has changed. 2018 has been a year of many highlights, as well as a few challenges faced along the way, though I feel that these are important in helping us grow as people.

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Personally, for me, 2018 has been a year of self-reflection and self-development. Though this may sound very cringe-worthy, I’ve come to realise that the most important thing in life is to first make sure that you are happy within yourself before attempting to face the world.
Anxiety can often hold people back from going out and achieving their goals due to the fear associated. However, in the past year, I’ve come to realise that holding myself back has been doing just that! That’s mainly the reason I’ve only just got around to making this blog. Through my own journey of self-reflection, I have come to realise that “There is no health without mental health” stands very true. So during 2018, I opened myself up to new and exciting experiences, as well as developing my confidence and self-resilience and I feel I’m coming out the other end. Don’t get me wrong! I’m certainly not saying there is a quick fix to anxiety, and each and every one of us has our own ways of working through our experiences. It just so happens, that for me. Personally, for myself,  I actually need to throw myself in the deep end in order to develop myself as an individual, though this can take some time and everyone have their own ways to tackling life head on!

Another aspect of 2018 which was very important to me (though it has always been important to me), is religion. During 2018, I made the decision to begin attending Islamic classes in order to develop myself and my understanding of my religion, as you can never gain too much knowledge…Can I just say..BEST DECISION I HAVE EVER MADE! Honestly, I can not stress how attending these classes has changed my life for the better, both in terms of knowledge and spirituality. Finding peace within yourself is a hard thing to do, and combined with the self reflection and mindfulness, this has really kept me going through the challenges I have faced in 2018, and Inshallah, will help me continue to develop myself in the years to come.

Onto the more positive aspects of 2018 shall we!
So in 2018, I made a round trip back home to Asia for my cousins wedding. To be honest, I had been avoiding this for a long time, however as I was taking a gap in between starting my new role, I felt it was time I had earned a break (I haven’t been on holiday in such a long time! 😦 ). I can honestly say I had such a great time dressing up and enjoying the weather, though I was unwell for most of the time, being forced to have some me time was very refreshing for me as I don’t often allow myself to relax! Travelling in Europe and Asia was an amazing experience and I hope it’s something I can continue to do in the future.

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So as I just mentioned, I started a new job in 2018. I can honestly say it was an amazing experience, despite the challenges faced. I developed a lot, both personally and professionally, and I learnt a lot about the challenges faced both within mental health services as well as by individuals accessing the service. I was able to meet some amazing experience and develop my own skills as a practitioner. I’ve learnt to appreciate the individuality of each person and my passion for improving accessibility to mental health services has grown.

Another highlight (and probably one that always will be) is the support I have received from my family and friends. It’s great to have such a great support network around you, and I can honestly say, I don’t think half of my experiences would have been as amazing if I didn’t have them alongside. I am truly blessed Alhumdulillah. I’ve met some amazing people along the way and had some amazing experiences in 2018. It will truly be a year I won’t forget.

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Finally, one of the thing’s I’ve enjoyed most about 2018, has been going to the gym! I know that sounds very weird, but I’ve actually been going a lot more regularly and actually enjoying myself. I find that the ‘normality’ of regular gym’s was getting very boring for me and at some point I would stop seeing results. However, since I joined a new gym, which provides bootcamps and training sessions, as well as very a very good person centred approach, I have been seeing regular results. As well as this, the emails providing dietary advice and the regular support from the trainers has been great and I honestly feel like I have found an amazing gym for me! Anyone who knows me that a few years ago, gym wasn’t really my thing. However, it has totally become a core aspect of my day to day life and I would honestly recommend finding a similar gym out there for you, that will push and support you to achieve your goals.

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So what can I take from 2018 into 2019?
I’ve learnt of the importance of self care. As an aspiring psychologist, I have realised that often the stigma attached to mental health can be present in all areas of life, and quite often, people who work in mental health may not gain the necessary support as even in this day and age, mental health lacks support. Don’t get me wrong, mental health awareness has come a long way from where it was, however there still remains barriers in support and that is something I hope to challenge in the future! It is so important to have some work life balance, and I feel that pushing yourself too far can often make you lose perspective on life. You may lose out on amazing experiences or opportunities just because you don’t make time for it. For me personally, I have realised that living in regret is something I hope I do not have to experience and therefore, if it means just pushing myself that much more or pulling back in order to enjoy life a little, that’s okay. I think it’s important to remember to be yourself but also allow yourself to grow as a person, but never forget who you are and where you came from.

In a nutshell, I think 2019 will be a year in which I continue to develop myself as a person, and focus more on the things that make me happy. I have come to realise that not everyone out there will be there to support you, despite the faces that life shows you. I’ve come to realise that expressing myself on the things I am passionate about is very important, as passion paves the way for the future. It may sound cliche, but I honestly feel that if you are passionate about something, you will do anything in order to achieve your goals, or even surpass them!

Something else I’ll be taking forward into 2019 is learning to take the world at face value and stop overthinking! I often preach this within my role, however I am probably the most guilty of this (oops). However I’ve come to realise that difficulties often manifest by overthinking. I understand that the mind may wonder to dark places at times, however, it’s important to recognise that it’s all in your head, and just because it’s in your head does’t mean it’s true. So be more open! Being honest and open is one of the key skills you can learn in life. Care less about what others think and focus on the things that make you happy 🙂

In 2019 I’ll be taking out the things in my life that don’t bring out the best in me or have a negative impact on my life, and focus more on the things that make me happy. Life is too short to continue worrying for too long. I’ll also be going back to the things I enjoyed doing, like baking, travelling and of course, writing.

Onwards and upwards! Here’s to another year in the pursuit of happiness.

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