What I Mean When I Say I’ve Been in an Abusive Relationship Featuring an Open Letter to my Ex

What I Mean When I Say I’ve Been in an Abusive Relationship Featuring an Open Letter to my Ex

At some point last year, I found myself staring at a number of articles that read something along the lines of “signs you’re in an abusive relationship.” I scrolled down the lists of common signals, and started to cry. My boyfriend, who I loved completely, ticked every single box on the list.

Part of me was shocked. And yet, it made sense. I ran over some of the harshest moments of our relationship so far, only a few months in. I felt deflated. I couldn’t believe that I was in an abusive relationship. I had always had myself down as a strong woman. I never took shit from anybody anymore after experiencing some pretty crappy one-sided friendships. How had I let myself get into this situation?

The day that I Googled “how to tell if you’re in an abusive relationship” was the second bravest day of my life. The bravest day was the day that I told him I didn’t want to be in a relationship with him anymore.

Being in an abusive relationship isn’t always black and white. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love the person that you’re with, or that they don’t love you. It doesn’t mean that all of their traits are harmful, or that you’re always unhappy. In fact, a lot of the time my ex was absolutely lovely, and he doted on me. But that’s the messy part, and we’ll get to that later.

So, let’s start from the beginning.

I’m taking today’s list of abusive traits from Bustle. This was the first article I ever read about emotionally abusive relationships, and it’s also the article I had taken screenshots of to show my partner that his behaviour wasn’t acceptable. That, of course, went down horribly. But let’s get on with it.

1. The need to be right

This was the first item on the Bustle list. “If your partner absolutely refuses to take accountability for their mistakes and prefers to place the blame on others (including you), that’s a big red flag.” I had noticed that I was always the one apologising for things, even when I was the one in the right, and the one taking the fire. His anger was justified because I was always wrong and always messing up. He threw a toothbrush on the floor out of anger. It hit a glass. The contents of the glass spilled all over the floor. This, of course, was my fault, because I had been the one that had handed him the toothbrush and asked him to brush his teeth (he hadn’t brushed them for two days. I know, I know.) It’s never “I’m sorry that I threw the toothbrush on the floor,” it’s always “you made me throw this toothbrush on the floor,” and that’s the difference.

2. Putting you down

“Yeah you got a first at uni but you don’t actually work hard” or “your previous relationship wasn’t an actual adult relationship, you don’t know anything about real relationships” or “you’re a lazy piece of shit” or “you’re a fucking idiot”. I have thousands to pick from. Just ask.

3. Your opinion is invalid

My taste in music? Wrong. Pop punk or die, apparently. My political views which actually mostly lined up with his? Still wrong! Somehow, even when I was agreeing with him about something, he was arguing with me about it. Now that takes skill. But if you’re constantly being told that what you say or think is wrong, that’s exhausting and it makes you feel terrible. It’s also incredibly patronising.

4. Yelling and berating

I’m sure almost everyone has been in a shouting match with someone at some point in their lives. But yelling specifically to belittle and intimidate you is scary and, frankly, unacceptable. This is a common tactic in abusive relationships. It instills fear and creates a power dynamic.

5. Being compared to others

“Well at least she could please me.” I’ll say no more.

6. They withhold affection

After being signed off work for several weeks due to illness, he said, and I quote, “no cuddles no affection no help till you get a job” and “no money no meals.” That’s really something, isn’t it? Affection isn’t a prize and you don’t have to win it. If your partner is treating their love (or basic necessities such as food) as a prize to be won, that’s a big red flag.

7. Gaslighting

For those of you who don’t know, gaslighting is manipulating someone until they’re doubting their own sanity, and gaslighters will label you as crazy for remembering things a certain way. “You’re twisting my words,” he would say after I directly quoted something he said mere minutes earlier. He once put my problems with him down to “womanly bullshit.” Remarkably, I’ve got that one on video from a time that I secretly filmed him yelling at me. Incredible scenes here from a self-proclaimed feminist.

8. They place the burden of “changing them” on you

It’s not your responsibility to “change” an abusive partner. Even when me and my ex were splitting, he was still asking for my help and I was still offering it. I promised I would help him to get therapy and anger management – until I realised that he wasn’t my responsibility. “I can’t do it without you” and “I want to change for you, to make you happy” are old news now. Yes, you need help, but that burden is not the responsibility of your partner. Your problems are not my fault.

9. They isolate you

Cutting off your friendships is one thing, but imagine my horror when my ex tried to tell me that my own mum wasn’t good for me, that she was being selfish and possessive over me, and that she was making my mental health worse. He even sent her a big text in response to her lovely “let me know if you need any help with anything” message, saying she was a bad mother and that she should leave me alone. It was actually this incident that snapped me out of all the lovey-dovey stuff and made me break up with him. Imagine trying to end my relationship with my mum (AKA my bestie) and thinking you would win. Nice try.

10. They ignore your boundaries

Cancelling our Valentine’s Day plans last minute when I was already ready and waiting for him to come and meet me? Chucking me out of his house when I was staying over? Refusing to move the marijuana he was growing in his bedroom out of sight when my parents came to visit, and then calling me boring, a nark, and saying that he didn’t like me because of that? Deliberately ignoring my requests that he didn’t do cocaine when he was going to be around me because it made me uncomfortable? Screaming in my face when he had always promised he would never raise his voice at me? Boundaries crossed. And obviously I was the crazy one.

12. They have “good days” that are tactfully slipped in between the abuse

This is where things start to get really complicated. Most often, abusive relationships aren’t actually abusive all the time. Otherwise, it would be easier to leave. Abusive partners can be just as loving as any regular partner. They can give you everything that you want, buy you things, take you out, dedicate time to you, tell you that they love you. That’s when you start excusing their behaviour, thinking that they’re not really that bad, and that it doesn’t matter that they called you names or hurt you yesterday because today they made you a nice dinner and 90% of the time they’re perfect anyway. It starts to look like the abuse is just a one-off thing, rather than a pattern of events, and it confuses you.

Nobody’s perfect, we all know that. But there’s a difference between disagreeing with somebody, and shouting at them to make them feel small. There’s a difference between asking someone to do the dishes, and calling them a lazy piece of shit. There’s a difference between not understanding someone’s line of work, and belittling their achievements.

The first time I wanted to end the relationship (and did actually end it, though of course the split didn’t last) was around two months in. That was the first time that he really flipped at me and started the name calling. My best friend had come to visit, and me and my ex had been arguing over something that I can’t remember. I sat with my friend, trying not to cry as he repeatedly texted me purposefully hurtful and damaging words. But I had seen how loving he could be, and the way he looked at me, and how he would show me affection at all hours of the day. And I let it slide. And I carried on letting it slide for over a year, until he texted my mum that nasty message and refused to apologise. Sometimes it takes you seeing the abuse targeted at someone else before you really clock what’s happening. He walked in from work, said nothing but “fucking idiot” to me, and I tried to hold back the smile of freedom as I said, “we’re over, I don’t want to be with you anymore.” The thought of breaking up with someone that I loved so much and had made life plans with had seemed so hard until that moment.

Basically, no one is allowed to fuck with my mum. And now no one is allowed to fuck with me either.

My family never knew until it was all over. Of course, some of my friends knew. And some of his friends knew, too. And they would tell me to leave, and I would tell them it’s probably going to be fine and that I was used to it anyway, so what’s one more heartbreaking argument when you’ve already had 100? What’s one more nasty insult when you’ve already taken 10 more? At least he loved me. At least he didn’t hit me.

You won’t leave until it’s time for you. You can be told over and over again by people who love and care for you that you don’t have to face the abuse and that you can and should leave, but you won’t do it until the right time hits you. You come to that decision on your own, even if it’s later than it should have been. If you’re reading this and you’re in an abusive relationship, I can’t convince you to leave. But I can at least open your eyes to the fact that your relationship isn’t healthy, and that thought won’t ever go away, believe me.

I wasn’t the first person to be abused by this guy. I reached out to his ex the day that he threatened me with physical violence. I needed to know if he had hit her. We recounted our experiences to each other, and found that some of the situations we had found ourselves in were near-identical. This was a repeated pattern of behaviour from him, and that was even more terrifying. With her help, advice, and encouragement, I put my foot down and escaped. Thank you, A. You were the only person that ever fully understood what I was going through, and your support was unrivalled.

An open letter to my ex

If you’re reading this, then hey man what’s up. No you can’t sue me for publicly announcing I was in an abusive relationship. By the way, while you’re here, thanks for that message you sent to my sister to pass onto me after we broke up – your master manipulation tactics don’t touch me anymore unfortunately, and the message has been discarded. You urged me to remember the good times. Sadly those don’t stick out in my memory as much as you calling me a spineless weasel (or a crazy bitch, or a stupid shit, or a boring human), saying you don’t like me, abandoning me in the middle of town after shouting at me in a busy street, all the hundreds of times you told me to fuck off, saying there was no point in being with me, and threatening me with physical violence through an open window before just stopping yourself from hitting me when you grabbed the duvet from me and threw it at the wall. Maybe you should have thought about that when you were actually abusing me, but whatever. And no I really, really didn’t cheat on you, but nice try at making me look like the bad guy instead. Gentle reminder here that you did actually cheat on A. Get help. Stop smoking so much weed. Open up to your friends. Have an honest conversation with your mum. Start brushing your teeth every day. Also, post my degree certificate to me already.

You once said to me, “try and find a boy who treats you better I fucking dare you.”

I will. Thanks for the advice.


If you’re in an abusive relationship and you need help, please click here.

My Tips for Coping with Bipolar Disorder

My Tips for Coping with Bipolar Disorder

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder almost a year ago now, but I knew for many years that I was struggling with it. Here are a few of the things that have helped me to balance things and cope a little better.

Find medication that works for you

This is a trial and error process. The first medications I was put on were a mixed bag – I liked my antidepressants, but the antipsychotics/mood stabilisers weren’t really doing what I needed them to. I’ve just started on a new antipsychotic with less side effects which I hope will work a little better for me, but it’s going to take a while of waiting to see how it goes. If you’re not happy with the medication that you’re on, see if you can try something else. There are a lot of options out there for you to try.

Get a routine

I find that keeping a consistent routine is really good for my mental health. It allows me to fill the time in my day appropriately and organise everything really well. As much as I like every day to be different, I find that my mental health is more consistent when my routine is consistent too.

Keep busy

When I have too much free time on my hands, I don’t feel very good, and I enter a depressive episode pretty easily. When I have a lot of things to do and I keep myself busy, I don’t have the time to wallow and I feel a whole lot better. It’s important to me to find a balance between keeping myself busy and taking on too much at once and becoming hypomanic, and sometimes that’s hard. Right now, I work full time hours Monday to Friday, so my weekdays are already pretty full. On the weekends, I like to clean, hang out with people, wander around the shops, or just treat myself to a pamper night. As long as I don’t spend too much time sitting around doing nothing, I’m golden.

Stay active

I’ll be real with you, I haven’t been to the gym in about a year. I haven’t done any intense exercise for months. But since living in Brighton, I do a lot more walking than I did before and that makes me feel a lot better. Just the simple act of walking, listening to music, and knowing that I’m keeping my body moving makes my mind feel a lot calmer. I might even stretch to a run at some point soon, you never know! Keeping the mental and physical in harmony makes all the difference for me.

Find things that relax you

Take time out to relax at the end of the day, and make sure you really do wind down to keep everything feeling steady and calm. You might do this through meditation, yoga, reading, or whatever else might work for you. Just keep it as part of your daily routine to feel calm and refreshed.

Keep your doctor updated

I regularly check in with my doctor so that we are on the same page. A doctor can recommend other things that might help me, note if I need changes to my medication, and help me to keep things balanced.

Communicate with the people around you

Talking to the people close to me about my current mental state is vital. It’s important for me so that I can tell people what I need from them and make sure we are on the same page, but it’s also important for the people around me as they can communicate any difficulties or worries they might be having about me. Sometimes other people notice changes in my mental state more than I notice them in myself, so it’s important to keep that line of communication open as it works both ways.

If you have any more tips to suggest, please do let me know what works for you!

6 Reasons to Move to Brighton

6 Reasons to Move to Brighton

For those of you who don’t know, I moved to Brighton this summer. It’s an amazing place to be, and here as just some of the reasons why I love living here.

1. The beach

This is an obvious one, but the beach really is a great perk of living in Brighton. Yes, it’s a pebble beach, but it’s still lovely. In the summer, it’s lovely to go for a dip in the sea and swim about without a care in the world, visit the pier, and bask in the sun on the smooth stones. Living just a few minutes from the seafront is one of my favourite things about being in Brighton.

2. Independent shops

I love small and independent businesses, and Brighton is full of them. There is so much to fall in love with, with an array of shops to suit everybody peppered throughout the city. You can find big stores like Topshop and H&M anywhere, but finding one-off pieces for your home or wardrobe in a little independent shop is truly unbeatable.

3. The food

There are so many amazing restaurants and cafes here, and they cater to everybody. The amount of vegan found in particular is just overwhelming. I never thought I would be so spoilt for choice with cakes, donuts, and ice cream as a vegan, but I really am. The vegan choices here extend far beyond falafel and hummus, and there are so many delicious and unique dishes to try everywhere you look.

4. Lack of social pressure

Since I moved to Brighton, I’ve binned off bras, makeup (except for special occasions), and regular shaving. Because the thing is, nobody here cares. They don’t judge you for those things – everyone is just doing their own thing, and all social pressure just falls away. I no longer feel the need to cover up my unshaven legs, cake on the makeup, or wear an uncomfortable push-up bra every day. It’s liberating, and I’ve never felt so comfortable in my own skin.

5. The people

As a northerner, I typically found southern cities pretty hard to adjust to purely because southerners aren’t really ones for talking to strangers. But Brighton is different. Everyone is genuinely nice here. They talk to each other and help each other out. It’s like the north, but on the south coast.

6. It’s close to London

I’m not London’s biggest fan, but I can’t deny that it’s convenient to live nearby. An hour on the train gets me right to the centre of London, which is lovely for a day out, a gig in the evening, museum trips, or even shopping.

I can’t deny that Brighton isn’t the cheapest city to live in, but its pros far outweigh the cons, and I don’t think I’ll ever be bored of living here.

Any questions? Drop a comment below or send me a tweet if you want to know anything about moving to Brighton!

Best Finds: Wilko Home

Best Finds: Wilko Home

Yes, Wilko is the land of cheap toiletries and cleaning products, but it is so, so much more than that. The home section will have you swooning, and with everything being so darn cheap, it’s hard to say no to all their lovely items. I’ve pulled together a list of fab finds that I’m just yearning to get my hands on, all for prices that won’t break the bank (or your heart).


This bedding is right up my street. Grey, geometric, cheap. The bedding of dreams! A double set is only £14 (did you gasp just then? I gasped) so grab yourself some fresh sheets without feeling guilty.


I knew my youth was over when I started to get excited about lamps. But this one is just so sleek. The marble trend shows no sign of dying, and I’m here for it. Pick one up for just £25 and jazz up your living room, bedroom, hallway, everywhere.


These wire grids are so handy to keep on your desk to add notes to, or hang up pictures and drawings. They’re so simple, and you can personalise them to add whatever you want – it’s an easy way to perk up any room. For only £4, you may as well give it a go.


Storage. None of us ever have enough of it. This unit is only £22, and though it may not come with the boxes, that means you can customise what kind of boxes you want to pop in there, or you could even use them as shelves to stack up books, plants, whatever you fancy.


I just cant resist a potted plant. These fake ones are a dream at only £4, and you don’t even need to remember to water them. Pop them on top of the unit above with a picture frame, and that’s decoration made simple.


Blankets look great draped over the side of the sofa, at the end of the bed, or wrapped around you like a tortilla. I would pay way more than £8 for this – it really is a bargain. The grey is so on-trend, and the tassels are calling my name.  This one is high on my wish list.


A whole 12 piece dining set for just £20 seems to good to be true. But it isn’t. Yes, I’ve added more grey items to this list. No, I absolutely don’t regret it. This set comes with everything you need, and it’s so sleek.


Everybody loves a mug, right? The colours on this one are gorgeous, and I love the kind of messy look. Make this mug your new favourite, and get excited about cups of tea again.

If I haven’t convinced you that Wilko is your new favourite place, then I have failed. Next time you go in to your local Wilko for shampoo or laundry detergent, remember to check out the home section, too. You won’t regret it.

How to Cope with Side Effects from Medication

How to Cope with Side Effects from Medication

Coping with side effects can be an absolute pain in the neck. I really struggled with the side effects that my medications were giving me for the first few weeks of taking them, and it’s taken a while to get used to them or find solutions for them. So I’ve compiled a little post of how to deal with all those nasty little problems that can come hand in hand with starting new meds.

For those of you who don’t know, I take Sertraline and Quetiapine, which both come with some pretty nasty side effects. For the first couple of weeks of taking them, I felt like I had every side effect on the list. Most of them died down after a few weeks, but some of them stuck around, so I know how hard it can be to adjust to these kinds of things.

Make a list of the side effects that you notice

It can help to take a look at the (usually extensive) list that comes with your medications. List off all of the ones that you think you might be experiencing, and keep an eye on them. They might go away after a few weeks, but if they’re still lingering after a couple of months of taking your meds, you might be stuck with them for the duration of your course of medication.

Weigh up whether or not these side effects are worth the problems that the medication solves

Are the problems severe, or relatively minor? If they start to impact upon your day to day life, then the medications you’re taking might not be for you. But if they’re things that you can easily deal with, or things that you think are worth putting up with, then stick at it and see how you get on. Don’t give up too fast, because sometimes it takes a while for meds to start to do their job.

Are there ways that you can help to alleviate side effects?

Some side effects can be helped by other things. If you’re constipated, you can opt for laxatives (or even an adjustment of your diet for a more long-term solution!); if you get headaches, there’s always paracetamol or ibuprofen. Some problems can be helped – if you can’t figure out a home remedy, pay another visit to your doctor and see if they can suggest anything. Try your best to make the experience as comfortable as possible for yourself.

Adjust to fit your needs, and know your limits

Sometimes starting new medication means adjusting the way you do some things. For example, I know that I get short of breath easily and my eyes black out when I stand up, so I have to take these things into consideration when I’m getting about or doing activities. I also know that after I take my meds, I get sleepy and my body becomes very uncomfortable to be in – so I have to be in bed. They’re minor things, but they still take some getting used to, and it’s important to learn what your body needs (or doesn’t need) when you’re putting something new in there. Remember that some medications might not fit right with your body, and that’s okay. So if things get too much, talk to your doctor and see if there’s anything else that they can do for you.



Getting Over ‘Summer Body’ Anxiety

Getting Over ‘Summer Body’ Anxiety

It’s been pretty warm in the UK lately. Alright, “warm” might just mean anything over 10 degrees for us, but still. We’ve had a little bit of sunshine and summer finally seems to be on its way. For a lot of us, that means getting our limbs out, or, to be more frank, our cellulite and stretch marks. That can be pretty scary.

As a fully grown 22 year old woman, my legs are full of cellulite, stretch marks, stubble, and scars from various activities (falling off a swing as a child, cutting myself shaving in the same spot 24 times as an adult), and my arms are hairy, pale, and absolutely not toned at all. When I was younger, I was an actual twig. 14 year old me had smooth, skinny, scar-less limbs that tanned easily, and I was all too eager to whip out the summer dresses at the first glimpse of sunlight. I had no shame when I lay out my little flat body on a beach in a bikini. I had nothing to hide, because I had a child’s body. Then I put on weight, AKA grew into my womanly body, and things changed. Cue the sudden worry about purple marks, orange peel thighs, and a slightly protruding stomach.

I wasn’t used to all of this. Being a slim child, I’d never had to worry about this kind of thing before. Adulthood sprung upon me suddenly and mercilessly. It took me a long time to understand that as an 18 year old, I wasn’t supposed to look the same as I did when I was just hitting puberty. Boobs were inevitable. My hips were bound to get wider, because that’s biology. My metabolism slowed down, but my eating habits didn’t. I still wanted to fit in the dresses I loved when I was 16, but my body just wasn’t the same shape and size anymore. I eventually realised that that’s just the way that things are, and I couldn’t have possibly maintained my childhood body no matter what I did. That’s not how life works. We grow into adults, and with that comes a few marks and scars.

I am fully aware that my body is perfectly healthy. I am not overweight or obese, but you don’t have to be either of those things to have cellulite or a podgy tum, and it’s normal to be self conscious about these little things.

But at the end of the day, that’s all they are: little things.

Yeah, my legs have dimpley fat-pockets. They have scars and spots and cuts. They have shaving rash, and big patches of hair that I missed while shaving. But who’s looking that close anyway? And what does it matter to them?

I am about to tell you something absolutely groundbreaking: nobody will die, or be sick, or cry, at the sight of your bloated belly or cankles. Really! They will not run away from you, because you are not a monster. They will actually carry on with their normal lives around you, maybe buy an ice cream, and get on with it. They’re probably worrying about their own wobbly bits, or that one weird toe that everyone can see in their flip-flops, or that they forgot to shave their armpits while they’re wearing a sleeveless top. Everyone has got their own things that they worry about, and nobody looks like a Victoria’s Secret model that’s been edited and airbrushed for the cover of a magazine.

In case you haven’t heard, websites like ASOS have given up editing out stretch marks and the like. Taking a quick peek at the swimwear section of their website, you can see that even the most toned, slender models have got stretch marks. It’s part of growing, and it’s normal. Having them doesn’t make you fat or ugly or undesirable. They make you a person with skin. You won’t catch these things on the cover of Vogue or Glamour, but even celebs and models have got wrinkles, discolouration, and stomach rolls. Don’t be fooled by their supposed perfection.

Here’s the good news: you grew a body! It reached adulthood. Your adult body looks different to your childhood body, and it’s supposed to, because it develops. Your body might have grown a whole human being in there and pushed it out, or it might have run a marathon, or it might have been the hand somebody held while they got a really scary injection, or it might have done none of those things and just really enjoyed eating slices of cake like mine has. Anyway, as long as you’re healthy, it’s fine. You have a body that is alive and functions and loves you. It keeps you alive by doing things you don’t even notice, like making new cells and attacking viruses. So maybe treat it to some sunshine and an ice lolly.

Bodies are gross, but not for the reasons you think they are. They’re gross because they make weird smells and your skin cells shed everywhere all the time. They’re not gross because they have a few scars. And if somebody thinks that your body is gross because of that, then maybe you should point them to the whole skin cells thing. That might give them some perspective.

I may not leap at the chance to put on a pair of short shorts like I used to do in my teenage years, but I’m still going to whack on a dress without tights (wild, I know) when it’s hot out, because, well, it’s hot out, and I don’t want to get all sweaty and uncomfortable. FEEL THE BREEZE ON YOUR KNEES! ACCIDENTALLY DRIP MELTING ICE CREAM DOWN YOUR FOREARM! EXPOSE YOUR SHOULDERS TO POTENTIAL WASP ATTACKS! But wear sun cream, that’s important. If you’re getting out all of your appendages, they do need to be protected from the sun.

To sum it all up, it’s okay. Bodies on the beach are okay. Bodies in the park are okay. Bodies with minimal clothes on are okay. Bodies with lots of clothes on are okay. Bodies, in general, are okay. Enjoy the sunshine, friends, because your body is okay. Over and out.

18 Things You Can Do If You’re Feeling a Bit Crap

18 Things You Can Do If You’re Feeling a Bit Crap

Hello there. I’m feeling a bit rubbish.

After a few months of feeling gloriously good, I appear to have hit a little bit of a wall and have been feeling, to put it bluntly, a bit crap for a few weeks now. At first I thought it was just PMS, but two periods came and went and, well, here we are.

So instead of moping about and digging myself into a little hole, I thought I would share with you some of the things that I’ve been doing to make myself feel a little better while I wait for the wave of sadness to pass over me. Because we all know it isn’t going to last forever.

Self care is kind of a subjective thing, so all of these things might not work for you. But I know that the one-size-fits-all “just put a face mask on and relax” approach is a bit tiring for me now, so here’s a few fresh tips to try out if they tickle your fancy.

1. Make quick, easy comfort snacks

Sometimes I just want to curl up in bed with a bowl of cake and watch cat videos. So that’s what I do. I’ve found a really easy vegan recipe for a cake that takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and make, and I highly recommend giving it a go if you’re craving some comfort food.

1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons of hot chocolate powder

3 tablespoons flour

3 teaspoons sugar

Pinch of salt

A sprinkling of baking powder

2-3 teaspoons oil of your choice (coconut oil is a fab one, but vegetable oil works too)

3 tablespoons milk of your choice (chocolate oat milk is delicious, as is almond)

You can add in flavourings too, it’s all down to your taste!

Whack all the ingredients into a microwavable bowl, mix them all up, and pop the bowl in the microwave for a minute and a half. And that’s it! It’s super quick and easy, and really delicious too.

2. Start a bullet journal

Bullet journalling has honestly made the biggest difference to my organisation, and my mindset. Planning out everything that I need to do every month, week, and day has helped me to tackle all tasks, no matter how big or how small, and it really helps to keep me motivated when I don’t feel my best. Plus, it’s really fun to get creative with my spreads each week, and it gives me some quiet time to myself while I plan and decorate.

3. Delve into a good book

When I started to feel down, I was plodding through Nabokov’s Lolita. As much as I was enjoying it, it become a little heavy going for me once I started to feel low, and I stopped reaching for it. I was craving something a little more lighthearted, so I switched it up. Books are a great comfort if you can pick the right ones for your mood. If you’re curious, the book I’m currently digging into is Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres – I highly recommend picking up Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by de Bernieres if you haven’t given that one a go yet, too. They’re great summer reads to dig your heels into.

4. Spend time with animals

Animals aren’t like people. They will happily sit there in silence while you weep on them or tell them all your problems, and they never ask any questions. Luckily for me, I have two snuggly guinea pigs on hand, but if you find yourself lacking in the animal department then there are some things you can do. Borrow My Doggy is a website where you can sign up to spend time with other people’s dogs, or you can always find out where your nearest animal shelter is and spend some quality time with the animals there.

5. Disconnect for a little while

Time away from your phone and social media is a cleansing experience. You don’t have to cut your phone out of your life completely, but reducing your time online can be really helpful sometimes.

6. Keep something soothing on hand

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by day to day life. I’ve found that having something small that I can distract myself with has made a big difference to my anxiety levels. This kind of thing will be different for everyone, and it might be something as simple as a little token that brings you peace, a bobble you can fiddle with, or an app that works on calming you down. I’ve tried a lot of apps targeted towards soothing anxiety, but one that I’ve found works the best for me isn’t actually made for anxiety at all. You’ve probably heard of Neko Atsume, the cat collector game. It’s available on Android and iOS, and it was kind of a hit a while back. Though I didn’t jump on the kitty collecting train the first time around, I found myself thinking about it a few days ago and decided to give it a go. The cute little animated cats and chirpy music are somehow a great comfort to me, and I’ve found solace in this strange little game over the past few days. Their faces are just so darn happy!

7. Make a list of things that you’re looking forward to

This helps me to think forwards rather than letting myself get lost in my current low mood. Don’t worry if the things that you’re excited about aren’t monumental or life changing, and don’t put any pressure on yourself to think of an exact number of things. Right now, I’m excited to start my new job, move in with my other half, and graduate, but I’m also excited to have pie for tea at some point in the near future and to use my Tesco Clubcard for the first time (yes I am a boring adult, why do you ask?). The little things can be just as exciting as the big ones, so don’t skip out on listing them.

8. Let yourself cry

That’s it, let it all out. It’s all absolutely fine. Remember that it’s okay to cry and to get frustrated, as long as you can acknowledge that this feeling isn’t going to last forever. Trying to shove these feelings to the back of our minds and pretend they’re not there isn’t helpful. Understand that your mind is having a bit of a wobble, and let it do its thing.

9. Find your comfort show, and watch it

We all have that one TV show or film that makes us feel a whole lot better when crap starts hitting the fan. For me, that’s Bob’s Burgers (it’s an adult cartoon, but without being rude. A real feel-good show you can watch with your mum), but you can throw on whatever you like. Just surround yourself with comfort from all angles.

10. Wash your sheets

Everyone loves the feeling of fresh sheets. Need I say more?

11. Don’t be tempted by sad songs

My default when I’m feeling sad is to shoot straight for my sad songs playlist, but they actually make me feel a whole lot worse. Putting on something that’s soothing but not so tear-jerking, or skipping out on the music altogether, can really help. Don’t allow yourself to sink into listening to Radiohead on repeat – I tend to gravitate towards my friend Ezra’s Proper Mellow playlist, because it’s chilled out but not sad. An all-round good combination.

12. Set small goals that are easily achievable

Giving yourself little things to achieve throughout the day, week, or month can give you something to work towards, and make you feel great when you accomplish them. Whether it’s deciding that you’ll wash up all the plates you’ve left in your room today, finishing a book by the end of the week, or saving up enough money to buy the jumper you’re lusting after by the end of the month, taking little steps towards doing the things you want to do actually add up, and can help to boost your mood.

13. Have a social media cleanup

Delete, unfollow, and unfriend. Having a declutter of your social media sites and removing all the people who you’re not in touch with anymore, make you feel a bit rubbish, or you compare yourself to can lighten up your feed and your mood. It feels like a big weight has been lifted off your shoulders when you whittle your Facebook friends list right down, trust me.

14. While you’re at it, declutter your wardrobe

Get rid of all the things you don’t use anymore. There’s no point clinging onto things that have only been sat in your cupboards and drawers for months on end. Clearing out your belongings can give you a new lease of life, I’m telling you. Get your stuff to the charity shop, or sell it if you’d like. You can use the extra cash to treat yourself to something nice.

15. Communicate your needs to others

Whether you’re gently letting your friends know that you need your space and alone time, or if you’re asking for specific help, it’s important to let the people around you know what it is that you need from them, if you need anything at all.

16. Try to go outside, or at least open your windows

Fresh air and sunshine are underrated. Even if you’re just popping into the garden to eat your breakfast or nipping to the shop to stock up on more biscuits, you might feel a real difference.

17. Keep your mind active

Even if your body isn’t up to doing much, try your hand keeping your mind active. You could try learning a new language by spending five minutes a day on a site like Duolingo, or start a free online course in something you’ve always wanted to learn. Distractions are good, and you’ll feel even more productive.

18. Don’t feel bad if the sad feelings don’t pass as soon as you’d like them to

You can follow every rule of self care in the book and still feel low. Let these feelings have their time, understand that sometimes these things are beyond your control, and just do the best that you can. There are heaps of things that can contribute to low mood, whether it’s hormones, diet, stress, or whatever else, and there’s no magic wand you can wave to make all those things disappear. Ride the wave, because it won’t last forever. You’ve got this.