Saturday, 7 March 2015

30 Day Challenge

30 Day Challenges are the new Lent. Or at least they seem to be. I've seen many bloggers starting new resolutions, new goals and challenges to improve their skill base, exercise more, boost their mood and re-discover old passions over the past few weeks.

So having been nominated myself to do a 30 Day Challenge, I accepted. But it took me a long time to work out what to do.

Exercise was out. No way could I guarantee exercising every single day for a month. Rest days (or often weeks) are essential to my 'fitness' regime.

Reading. I wish.

Writing. Boring, I do that anyway.

Learning a new language. Irish is only starting to come back to me now that the scarring experience of Higher Level Leaving Cert is leaving my memory.

Self-Esteem Journal. I do want to keep that up too, but not as a challenge!

So in the end, I picked Connecting.


It's super vague, often immeasurable and differs for everyone.

But my 30 Day Challenge, started 01st March, is about connecting to people in my life; re-connecting to old friends, chilling with my housemates, keeping up-to-date on what's happening in my best friends' lives around the country, or even in other countries. Yes, I titled it 'Mind Your Mental Health March' - there is nothing like alliteration. 

I am a self-confessed loner. I love alone time, even when it's becoming an unhealthy habit. I'd prefer an evening under my duvet with Netflix than trying to strike up conversations at a bar. I don't even care if that is not considered normal behaviour for a 22 year old. I like my comfort zone, and I'm not particularly fond of leaving it. Thank you very much.

But is sending a message to check up on a friend, or writing a letter, or meeting someone for coffee really that much effort?
The answer is no.

For the past week I have been 'connecting'. It can be as simple as a Facebook message or a Tweet. But preferably, it's about connecting to people offline. I spend all day in front of a screen in work, the evenings and weekends should provide a break from that.

So what does this actually mean for me?

- Well, for one thing, less alone time.
- Less time watching TV. Sorry Gotham, I shall catch up with you in a few weeks.
- Not keeping things bottled up. More time spent with friends means more communicating.
- A happier Zoe.

So far...
I actually am a lot happier. This sounds a bit ridiculous after a week, I know. But the reality is that it's been hugely healthy for me to spend time not on my own.
And okay, so some of it was by accident. I did not know my best friend would be making the trip up to Dublin until the last minute, but it meant I got to spend a precious few hours with her. And I hadn't planned on heading to the cinema with my house mates until the last minute either. But that doesn't matter. They don't have to planned, the important thing is that you spend time in the company of others.
Feeling connected, feeling that you are not alone is a HUGE, HUGE step in recovery. Especially when you are prone to isolating like I am. And I have loved every minute of this 30 Day Plan so far.

So, here I am on Day 7. And every day so far has been spent this month has been spent 'connecting'. By March 31st, I could even be a changed woman. Who know?

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