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Thursday, 10 September 2015

WRITING || Learning Not to Overthink.

Hands up if you're a chronic overthinker? *inserts the waving female emoji - the blonde one of course because I actually like them to look like me lols*  Yes, this is going to be one of those posts.
Today I wanted to write a response to an article I read in the October edition of Elle - in true Lydia fashion ha - basically along the lines of what 'femininity' means to me. But whenever I broach a tricky topic on the blog (see here and here for details), it always takes me ages to articulate exactly what I'm trying to say for fear of a potential reader seeing a fault in my argument. Which is actually pretty silly when I type it out because there are always going to be counter opinions whatever I end up writing! Nonetheless, my thoughts get all frazzled and I usually have to take a break and come back to it later. Or in this case, feel inspired to write a whole different kind of post.

I've been an overthinker for as long as I can remember. In fact, thinking about when I started to overthink is causing me to overthink. I wonder when I started caring so much about what people were thinking? Why did I care? Was I unhappy at the time? Does overthinking make me unhappy? Why can't I escape my own thoughts?! It usually goes something like that.
Personally, I've always been a head-in-the-clouds kind of girl. Give me a chilled-out playlist and a long train journey and I'm content to sit back and watch the world go by. But when I'm in a bad mood - either I've had a bad work day, feeling stressed about uni, getting fed up of boys, or just boring old money issues - any kind of headspace can cause me to spiral with my own thoughts. And it doesn't just stop there. This negative, grumpy mood will endure while I'm trying to sleep, read, shower, catch the bus, or any second I have alone to myself on the shop floor. I'm the kind of person who goes over her own thoughts until she almost feels dizzy from it all.
I'm not perfect by no means - I've said it a million times before but I think it's so important to include these kinds of posts of the blog. Because this is my life. I stress about my finances. I often want to scream at customers but somehow manage to internalise that frustration and vent to the nearest person I can find. I often get scared that I'm not clever enough to be at the wonderful university that I'm attending, or capable of succeeding in the challenging degree I've chosen. As much as I love this blog, I do occasionally compare myself to other bloggers who have been doing this for half the time I have and are enjoying enormous success. And hand on heart, I write this blog for the sheer love of having a creative space to escape to - but I'd be lying if I said it doesn't get stressful at times. Sometimes I feel like the biggest fluke.
I feel like overthinking is a problem that affects women more than it does men - not once has one of my guy friends ever come up to me and just exploded all his thoughts all at once. I can't count the number of times I've met my girlfriends for coffee and this has happened. Without indulging my feminist tendencies completely, girls are pressured into 'having it all' - the perfect group of friends, the perfect partner, an exciting career, all while looking like Cara Delevigne  - it's not going to happen! There's not enough time in the day! I'm only 20 and even I can see that this isn't achievable. But that doesn't stop my thoughts spiralling as to why I haven't achieved this 'perfect' balance.
It's all fair and well for people to tell me to stop overthinking - I can see that it's a negative habit I have. But it's so much easier than done! So I've developed some silly little tips to help get myself out of a funk. Bring a book or a magazine along for your daily commute - even the trashiest weekly can navigate your thoughts in a positive direction. Or just simply distract you from dwelling on that really annoying thing your colleague said at work today. Diffuse the situation! Force yourself not to think about it. If that doesn't work, ride it out until you get home, run a bath, and watch something funny. And use a face mask - cleansed skin makes me happy, don't judge.
I'll always be an overthinker - it's just my personality. And this doesn't always have to be a bad thing, it shows you care. For me, it's just about reigning it in before I thoroughly ruin my day. But you know what, sometimes it gives you some great blogging inspiration so it's not all bad!


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