Brighter Days…

Welcome to Brighter days, the place I write towards better mental health. Here you will find wellness, self-help tips along with some all round positive, funny stories to make your day a little brighter!

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Getting back to reality.

 Some motivational tips for coming out of lockdown from Kayleigh R Bradshaw.

Woman, Silhouette, Sunset, Beach, Sea
Image from Pixabay.

Going into lockdown was strange, and for some people, coming out of lockdown is going to be just as strange! I don’t know about you, but when I’m watching something on the TV these days – since there’s nothing else to do – I’m usually presented with a film set in a club, restaurant, or some crowded bar, thinking, ‘Ooh! Wouldn’t be allowed to do that now!!” Now, when I see old photos of me and my friends without masks on it makes me uneasy and nostalgic for days before the pandemic. I imagine life before face masks, social distancing, and unemployment when I had a social life and could go see my loved ones. I remember what it was like hugging friends and family, I remember all that time I took for granted and it feels weird!

Lockdown was a huge change! Most of the world had never been through anything remotely similar. People were losing businesses, jobs, and even worse, loved ones! The shelves were empty, people were fighting over toilet paper and pasta, eventually, the shops made us queue to buy rationed food. Non-essential shops were forced to close, along with any kind of fun activity and before we knew it we weren’t allowed out of our homes unless absolutely necessary, we lost physical contact, and we lost our freedom.

We adapted though, we got through the dark times, created new ways to contact each other, different ways to keep ourselves entertained and happy until eventually, lockdowns were normal, as became face coverings and social distancing. We have slowly fought this virus and are equipped with the hope that things will reopen, people will connect again, socialize, work, just LIVE!!! While the majority of us are excited that excitement comes with a mix of fear and worry. Even though it was once normal life it’s not anymore and it’s something we all have to get used to. We’re slowly getting back into a routine – say goodbye to lounging around in your tracksuit bottoms. Say goodbye to unhealthy diets, smoking, drinking, and messed-up sleep patterns that have been the go-to for a lot of people during the pandemic.

We’re about to face early mornings, large crowds, work, and responsibility. If you’re worried though you’re not alone, in fact just a couple of days ago as I was working at the University Covid-19 testing site and a woman came into the booth for testing. And before I could even give her instructions floods of tears broke out, her body started sweating and shaking, and hyperventilating – she was having a panic attack!! At first, I thought she was concerned about the testing procedure but after I calmed her down and we spoke, it turned out she’d not been out of her house since November! This lady admitted she found it strange and scary to be surrounded by people, the University she once loved working in felt really and going back was going to take some getting used to.

I chatted with her, reassured her how there’d been no positive tests for weeks, and how students had started appearing in the hallways, full of smiles, excited to see things back to normal. We spoke about how out of lockdown, the weather would be warmer, the spring flowers would be blossoming, and morning skies would be blue (when we didn’t have that cloudy England weather). She did her test and left with a smile on her face! In case you’re a little worried about coming out of lockdown I’ve put together a few self-help and motivation tips to get you back to reality!

Ditch the bad habits!

Research shows cigarette and alcohol sales have experienced a massive increase in sales throughout the pandemic! In addition, people have adopted some pretty unhealthy eating habits. Some people haven’t had the tools, money, or motivation to cook a healthy well-balanced meal every night, others miss the restaurants and took advantage of takeout. As you’re slowly coming out of lockdown – get more active! Not only do scientists recommend 30 minutes of daily physical activity for many beneficial health reasons but it also helps with mental health such as anxiety and depression and helps you get motivated – not to mention it’ll help you fit back in those tight pre-lockdown jeans! More physical activity outside in nature and fresh spring air means less time sat on the sofa boozing!

Plan and schedule!

Make plans and goals! Plans give us something to look forward to and goals help us work towards achievements. Maybe book a trip! Sure, it’s daunting with the way of the world at the moment, but it’s also something to look forward to and now we’ve learned how to make things safer. So whether it’s next month or next year, get yourself some plans to look forward to!! Goals! We’ve had a lot of thinking time on our hands! I know many people who have found new hobbies and even changed careers after some forced time out, so use the next few weeks to set yourself a goal to work towards, whether it’s the job you’ve always wanted or the sport you’ve always wanted to try! Do it! After over a year of being stagnant, set yourself a new challenge, work towards it, and watch your skillset grow!

Connect!

Don’t hide away behind the curtains or in front of the tv, nip social anxiety in the bud by connecting with everyone and anyone! With tons of ways to socialize virtually, it’s accessible to almost everyone. Talk to people, tell people how you’re feeling, tell them you’re a little nervous about work. Send a co-worker you wouldn’t normally talk to an email. Now is the time to talk to people online, it’s safe, it’s easy and there are so many ways to do it. You’ll more than likely find somebody who is feeling just as nervous or even as excited as you are. You can grow bonds and go back out into reality together!

Take nothing for granted!

Remember the long days at work when we were tired and we wished for a day off, a lazy day on the sofa! How times changed! Or the times you were too tired from working all week, so you cancelled your plans for a night out. The plans you’d cancel with friends, grandparents, or loved ones because you could go another day. Time is precious and so is life! Take no one and nothing for granted! After a lot of time and life lost, you go to every event, meeting, or whatever it is you do! GO! Enjoy yourself, one thing you can never get back is time, so enjoy every minute!

Be kind!

Everyone’s had a tough year in their own way, so be kind to people. You don’t know what’s really behind anyone’s smile and after such a rubbish unsocial year, let’s be a little kinder to everyone. Say hi to a stranger, smile at someone on the bus, talk to your Uber driver, ask your waiter how they are, tell your co-workers you missed them, compliment a stranger…spread the joy!!

Remember to be safe, be cautious…

And last but not least enjoy yourself!!! You have your freedom back, go live and enjoy every single second of it!

The power of gratitude.

A little self-help tip from Kayleigh R Bradshaw.

Morning, Sunrise, Woman, Silhouette

(Image from Pixabay)

It’s no secret that this year has been hard on everyone physically, mentally, and financially. There’s no denying that everyone has felt some type of stress since the beginning of the pandemic. Mental health overall has seemed to deteriorate due to isolation in multiple lockdowns, and it’s hard to stay motivated. Some of life’s little complaints or everyday inconveniences seem to have grown into huge burdens. There is excess stress and anxiety over things that didn’t seem as stressful before, but that’s normal. It’s only human to go through ups and downs. So, whether you suffer from anxiety or you’re just feeling a little low, I found through research and personal experience a self-help tip that can help pick you right up.

A Gratitude Journal!

A gratitude journal is pretty self-explanatory. You keep a daily log of things you are grateful for. Start by naming at least three things you’re grateful for every day and watch your mood change for the better! This practice of gratitude and recognizing your blessings allows you to take stock of your life and come to realize you’re luckier and more blessed than you think! Often, when we are feeling down, it’s because we let negative thoughts rule our day causing us to moan and grumble about everything. What if we stopped and listened to the things in life we do have?

For example,

“I’m tired today”.

How about saying – ‘I’m grateful I woke up this morning’.

“I can’t be bothered with work”.

How about saying – “I’m grateful I have a job”?

“I’m bored”.

How about saying – “I’m grateful for another day alive, what will I do with my day?”

These are just a few examples of everyday complaints. Some of us don’t even realize it, but we wake up daily with these tiny bits of negativity that can cause us to have a bad day.

Research shows many benefits of gratitude. The first obvious benefit is positivity! Paying attention to what’s good in your life will improve your outlook on each day. Gratitude journaling also increases your psychological well-being. It can help with depression, anxiety, and it even reduces envy. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all get jealous of other people’s lives from time to time. But when we focus on the good in our own lives, we stop caring about what others have. Taking inventory of what you are grateful for can also improve your relationships. Improving and taking care of yourself enables you to care for those in your life better. When you’re grateful, you become grateful for the people in your life too and start to treat them better which in turn fuels their gratitude as well.

There are many ways you can record your gratitude – you can be as creative as you like. The most common way is to journal, but you could say it out loud, paint it, or draw it. This is not a cure-all, but it is something everyone can practice to keep life’s disappointments in perspective.

After personally practicing gratitude journaling, I noticed my mood improve. I realized how much I actually had. My days would typically start with the usual…”Urgh, I can’t be bothered with work, I’m tired, I ate too much last night, I feel fat in these jeans, my friends are annoying from time to time, I have nothing to wear tonight, I wish I had more money,” and so on, but this was soon to change. I logged all my thoughts – this made the gratitude list easier. I’d turn each moan into a positive. Then after a few days, I would add more positives about things that I’d not even complained about. Eventually, I was grateful for everything – waking up each morning, taking a warm shower with clean water, having food on the table, going to work, and even hanging out with my sometimes ‘annoying’ friends.

My gratitude journal taught me that in life, it’s the little things that matter! Even if you’re not a writer, say it! Sing it! Draw it! Think it! Whatever works for you, try it out.

After writing about my blessings every day, I became grateful for everything. I felt more positive, more productive, and saw everything in a different light. It gave me the motivation to start seeking out the little everyday things that I had wanted to try before like experimenting with new coffee orders in the morning or taking a walk around my neighborhood. I started waking up in a happier mood. I began to feel, show, and share how grateful I was every day, and that’s why I wanted to share it with you. I am forever on a mission to make people’s days a little brighter!

I hope you have a grateful day today! 

The eyes above the mask.

Kayleigh R Bradshaw.

Scam, Hacker, Security, Virus, Fraud

(Image from Pixabay)

How many of us agree, personality over looks? How many of us who agree actually mean it though? Seems like we have no choice now, thanks to covid-19, physically all we have left to see are eyes, and hair – and let’s face it, with all the salons closed, hair is probably not the best thing to go off of right now!

How much can the eyes tell you about a person? You can look at eye colour, shape, long or short lashes, beautifully styled brows, but we really don’t get much outside the mask, do we?

Let’s hope you mean it when you say you choose personality over looks, but the number of men that told me they saw a set of beautiful eyes in the bar or the times my girlfriends locked eyes with a sexy blonde, blue-eyed stranger – only to find out when they pulled down their mask that they had been mask-fished! Therefore, dating and relationships must be hard during the pandemic, right? After a strange year of being forced to spend hours, days, and even months constantly with their partner; I could name dozens of friends, associates, and relatives who are rethinking their relationships.

I mean, let’s be honest… it’s not natural!

But it’s not all doom and gloom! This pandemic has also brought a lot of people closer together. With nothing to do at home, video calls, zoom, and social media have hit an all-time high in terms of followers and subscribers! Business meetings, work calls, and catch-ups with your friends happen online – technology was what held us together this last year, and continues to do so…

People even started online dating, not just swiping, matching, and messaging, I mean actual video call dates started! People are having first dates on camera. When I heard this, I thought it was crazy! Dating was nerve-racking enough, I’d had enough awkwardness in person, never mind a video call with bad angles and rubbish Wi-Fi connection!

But then, something strange happened to me! I met someone! I spent the whole first lockdown doing just that, talking, texting, and video calling for hours on end. I’d barely managed to get a date pre-lockdown and now I live, love, and own a cat with him in less than a year!! Okay, so I’m not totally crazy, I already knew the guy, in fact, we had been good friends for a while. Naturally, we were bored in lockdown, so we spoke – A LOT! As the days passed and our conversation flowed, he became the highlight of my lockdown days! As weeks passed, I woke up every morning to a text, anticipated a phone call through the day, and a video call every night.

Eventually, without even knowing it we dated! I’d make the same food as him, we’d drink the same wine, we’d send photos to compare meals, we’d call each other to finish a bottle of wine together. All while talking for hours and really getting to know one another, from our favourite colours to our wildest dreams. We slowly learned everything about one another and then it became apparent – all these years, we weren’t just friends, we loved each other! Coming out of the first lockdown, we didn’t waste a second, we’d known each other so long, we loved each other’s company, we didn’t want to go back to our pre-lockdown lives, we wanted to start a new one with each other. In the last week of lockdown, we found our first apartment, moved in together, and a year later we are still living happily ever after. Cheesy I know, but it’s true! Who knows how long we would have continued to be just friends if we didn’t have all that time to get to know each other, after being in each other’s lives for so long with no intention of having anything more than a strong friendship!

Now he’s my eyes above the mask!

It’s a crazy thing when you stop for a while, actually, stop, and take time out to find yourself and listen to your thoughts without the busy hustle and bustle of everyday life. My point being – while the world’s taking a break, instead of stressing, or moping about, take a break too and see what’s waiting for you!

Readers, this is me

An open book.       

Kayleigh R Bradshaw     

Image from Pixabay.

Welcome to my blog, the place where anything goes! This is the place where I will talk about everything and anything. If I’ve heard it and I have permission to share, I will write about it.

I am a creative writer, aspiring author, and barber.

After years of success in barbering and writing, I decided to combine my two favourite skills to create something new and different for my readers.

The Barber Diaries

I bring you short stories every two weeks, fresh from the barbershop.

All the gossip, the ups and downs, the secrets, and the hilarious stories from inside the barbershop all written by me, a real barber with real stories.

I give all of my stories a ‘buzz’ for your entertainment. Not only will I share gripping (sometimes slightly inappropriate) stories and feel-good reads, I’m going to use my space to talk about some of the important things in life that we seem to forget or avoid.

I’m a big believer in working towards a better version of yourself. That’s why I will share self-help tips, motivation posts, and some all-around positivity to make those tough days a little easier.

I will post on a Thursday – ready for a weekend read. You can find my free weekly blog in the ‘try before you buy’ section.

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I’m creating a social blog with a friendly barbershop feel where everyone can chat and feel good, and I can’t wait for you to join me.  

To all my fans, supporters, new and old readers…

WELCOME TO THE BARBER DIARIES!

Happy reading.