The past year and a half has been transformational for everyone. Many of us have had to adjust to working from home – not much of an adjustment for me since I was already working from home pre-pandemic.
But our relationship with clothes have changed. Whether you’re in your pyjamas all day or you buy clothes you don’t really need online, there’s no denying the change.
Since the start of the pandemic, I have decluttered my makeup collection and have done the same with my clothes. I have come to a less is more phase in my life. At the same time, my taste has become a bit more refined. I have also come to realise that I don’t need many things, I just need a few of the right things.
The thing is, you don’t need to wear head-to-toe designer clothing to look stylish or put together. Because style is a personal thing , it is an expression of self.
Personally, I think of real style as quiet. When I think of a stylish person, it’s less about what they’re wearing and more about their overall appearance and how they carry themselves. To me, style is a quiet confidence. It doesn’t matter whether you only shop at Harrods , shop to the rich and famous, or at Mr Price like the rest of us. A stylish person has a Je ne sais quoi that money can’t buy.
My taste in clothes now is such that I would rather splurge on a quality jacket than have 10 cheap ones. I have learned that just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean I have to buy it.
I often say to my dad. who is the most stylish person I know, that my taste does not match my budget. It can be terribly frustrating when that happens but believe it or not, it’s a challenge that has helped me. When you don’t have the luxury of buying anything you want, you think twice -maybe three times – before you buy anything even if is on sale. No matter your budget, here are some of my top 6 tips to help you look effortlessly stylish.
1. Have a yearly shopping budget
Are you an impulsive shopper? Keep a yearly shopping budget. Depending on what you can afford, allocate a certain amount to shopping for clothes. This budget includes any sudden wedding guest outfit purchase. Having a budget will keep you disciplined and discerning about what you buy. It will prevent you from buying clothes you may only ever wear once. Smart!
2. Create a personal style uniform
What’s an outfit that you can wear to work, out with your friends and maybe to your partner’s parents house? Make sure you have at least 3 of those. In different colours if you like. For me, that would be something like an oversize shirt and jeans or pants. Easy, effortless style.
3. Don’t wear an outfit that’s too tight
When your outfit is too tight, you are uncomfortable. Definitely not a good look. Comfort is always key when it comes to style. When you’re comfortable, you feel confident and that instantly makes you look stylish.
4. Avoid trends
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, avoid trends. I love a good trend just like anyone but since I started to pay attention to my style and after having gotten rid of many trendy pieces in my wardrobe, I came to the realistion that they just aren’t worth it. Opt for classics like blazers, an A-line dress and other pieces that fit your lifestyle and will remain a staple in your wardrobe.
5. Do iron your clothes
I know I said style is about how you carry yourself but unironed clothing is not a good look. Not unless it’s linen, and not everyone can pull it off. Ironed clothes make you look polished and commands a certain level of respect that creased clothing does not.
6. Let your clothes reflect your personality
Dressing like everyone is no bueno. Even if you shop at the same place as everyone, add a touch of your personality. For me, when I wear a monochromatic look like all-black, I tend to add a pop of colour. Because even though I love an all-black look, I also like bright, bold colours. So add your flair to an otherwise simple outfit that gives people a glimpse of who you are.
Remember that your style is people’s first impression of you so dress with confidence and shine sis, shine!
Jessica Molebatsi – fashion designer and founder of the JessicaJane label – is taking this winter by storm with her 2021 winter range. Her garments shine brightly in acid yellow and cerise pink and exude a much-needed message of positivity that amplifies the brightness of the women who wear them, expressing their true value and feminine beauty.
Carving a niche for herself in Feminine Couture, Jessica’s passion is helping women feel confident, beautiful, and valued; this ethos shines through every sequin in this energetic collection. Designed specifically with go-getting superwomen in mind, this collection was created to help women easily slip into a comfortable outfit and look meticulously put together, especially where they don’t have the time to fuss.
“The essence of this collection was about enabling women to express their individuality. I wanted to empower the femininity within each of us, not to impose my idea of femininity onto my clients, but for the woman who wears them to remain their beautiful selves – just with an extra confidence boost,” says Jessica.
Influenced by the romanticism of french aesthetics, this collection strikes the perfect balance between vivaciousness and vintage. Inspired primarily by her extraordinary clients and her own life as a working mom, this collection empowers women without having to make them fit a specific mould and be uncomfortable in the process.
This winter range jumped into being when Jessica’s was transfixed by an acid yellow roll of sequin fabric. Jessica’s love for sequins glistens all over her Instagram so it is no surprise she bought the whole roll immediately.
“I thought the colour was so interesting, specifically in a sequin and it all snowballed from there. I loved working with these bright energising colours versus the standard autumnal hues,” she explains.
Drawn instinctively to texture, Jessica loves winter fashion and finds it far more interesting and creative because of the textural combinations you can achieve with layers.
Jessica dreams of one day taking this collection internationally and feels like Spain would be a perfect fit.
“As South Africans, we tend to be more timid with our fashion choices. The Spanish on the other hand are wonderfully unafraid to take risks and try things out. And with this collection, I am proud of its boldness and practicality.”
In this range, the acid yellow sequin trench coat exudes happiness and is the item Jessica is most excited and grateful to have made. Its oversized structure and unmissable fabric provide a burst of happiness when you see it. Not to mention being quite warm since it is fully lined and sequins are a great insulator.
When she designs Jessica begins the conceptualising process by shutting everything out and focusing; then allowing all the different pieces of the puzzle to fit together. She is exhilarated by watching as the range comes into being. Really considering the fabric – not just about thinking about what you are going to make in isolation – is essential to her process.
Jessica warns though, that the challenge of balancing being a creative and a business owner is not for the faint of heart: “When you are the business owner you are often so busy working in the business that stepping outside of it, to be this creative for however long it takes, is not easy. With some ranges you can dedicate focus and others you need to work under pressure. And sometimes limitations on your time can actually feed your creativity just as much as taking the time to be meticulous.”
Jessica believes that designers put the initial energy to bring garments into existence from a concept and then the garments take on a life of their own. They change form according to what they interact with, like what stitch and what fabric is used.
Her combination of colour, classicism and clever cuts has JessicaJane really heating things up on the fashion scene this winter. Perfect for the polished professional supermom, it offers a much-needed reprieve from the labour of dressing so that they can go forth and conquer the world in fabulous comfort.
Some exciting news for vegans and lactose-intolerant latte lovers; NESCAFÉ GOLD’s plant-based mixes range are now available to the conscious who prefer plant-based diets and for the sensitive lactose-intolerant.
Curated using a blend of the highest quality Arabica and Robusta coffee beans, the lattes are said to be delectably smooth and creamy soluble drinks. They come in three variants, each with its own discerning flavour, Coconut Latte, Almond Latte and Oat Latte. The one – cup sachets are easy to prepare by simply adding hot water, stirring & enjoying.
If you want to start making money as an influencer then keep reading. Because in this post, I’m going to share tips to help you book brand deals as an influencer.
Working with brands via Paid Partnerships is every influencer’s dream. But paid partnerships are not the only way to get paid to work with brands. Check out this post to find out what a paid partnership is, and the different ways to make money as an influencer.
As content creators, we often get stuck in this cycle of constantly creating content with no sustainable strategy.
There’s a misconception that the more content you create, the higher your chances of getting noticed by brands, WRONG!
What will get you noticed by a brand you love is not the amount of content you produce but the right content.
What do I mean by the right content? This is all-encompassing of these three things;
Does your content speak to the brand’s target audience?
Is the quality of your content up to the brand’s standards?
And are you a good brand ambassador for the brand?
If you want to work with a brand in the fitness niche, post fitness related content. It really is that simple.
I used to think that to book brand deals, I need to just post content and the brands will come calling. How naïve!
Although I have had collaborations this way, it is better to reach out to the brand. By doing this, it provides the flexibility to choose who you work with instead of just taking anything that comes your way.
Taking anything that comes your way is never ever a good idea and may cause long-term damage to your brand. There should be alignment.
If you want to book brand deals, here is a list of things you can do:
Reach out to the brand on social media and send a DM expressing your interest to work with them.
Post content relevant to the brand that you want to work with. This will come in handy during your pitch to the brand.
If you’re looking for ways to make money as a nano influence, or you’re just curious about how influencers make money then this post is for you.
Hello and welcome to the beginning of what I hope will be a year of growth and many amazing opportunities.
2020 was tough and even though I don’t think 2021 will be any easier, I know that we are strong enough to overcome any and all challenges that may come our way.
We live in an age where having multiple streams of income is a necessity. It’s not enough to only work 9 to 5 anymore, you should have at least one or two other side hustles.
If COVID-19 taught us anything, it is that life is precarious. You have to be flexible and adaptable especially when it comes to making a living.
In South Africa today, according to Statista, the unemployment rate is over 30%. This means that the job market is fiercely competitive, and now more than ever, we have to create jobs for ourselves.
Monetising your skill/s has now become a necessity. Gone are the days of having a hobby. We’re now looking for ways to monetise what was once a hobby.
My Personal Journey
Last year was one of the toughest years for me financially. I left the stability of being an employee, the security of a guaranteed salary every month to become self-employed.
For all of last year, I barely made money. With a degree in Corporate Communications and Sociology, Almost 8 years of PR agency experience, and a Postgraduate degree in Strategic Brand Communications, I struggled to monetise my skills.
The year forced me to look at other ways to make money outside of the typical way I’d grown accustomed to. How can I make money doing what I already do as a nano influencer.
But what is a nano influencer?
There are different types of influencers on social media. A nano-influencer is a person with influence in a particular niche. They have built an audience of supporters that are interested in what they say and share. A nano influencer has between 1 000 to 10 000 followers on social media.
But you don’t need to have hundreds of thousands of followers to make money on social media. I’m going to share some of the ways you can make money as a nano influencer in this post.
How To Make Money as A Nano Influencer in 2021
1. Paid partnership/promotion: You are paid an amount, based on your rate, in exchange for creating and sharing content on your social media platform/s. Depending on your following and engagement, you can charge between $25 to $1500 per post. This will also depend on the type of content. Is it a video or a picture?
If you are reviewing a product for a brand – or an experience – this will be provided at cost to the brand, in addition to your standard rate.
This ensures that you are able to talk about the product/experience with confidence and authenticity. I would highly recommend this personal trial before sharing with your audience.
I also always disclose if it is a paid partnership. Check out this post to see how I disclose paid partnerships.
2. Sponsored post/ad: Some people lump a sponsored post and paid partnership together as one and the same but they are different. A sponsored post may or may not involve monetary compensation.
Depending on your agreement with the brand, they can either offer payment in the form of money or a voucher. For example, I received a R1500 shopping voucher from Superbalist in exchange for this blog article.
Or you may receive your favourite skincare product in exchange for a mention on your skincare review list. You typically have more autonomy in creating content for a sponsored post or ad than you would have when it is a paid partnership. This is because some brands prefer to control their narrative.
3. Trade Exchange: There is no money involved in this exchange. A brand may give you a product or service – at an agreed valued – in exchange for exposure on your platform. This is the most common way for smaller brands with little budget to work with influencers. An example of a trade exchange I did is with the LadyBossBlogger. I was offered a free course on how to make money as an influencer valued at almost $400 in exchange for exposure on my blog and Instagram page.
4. Affiliate advertising: This means that you earn a commission for every product sold if the buyer uses your unique link or code. You can approach any brand with an affiliate program to do this.
A few of my affiliate partnerships are listed below. If you make a purchase using any of the links, you get a discount for some and I will earn a commission, without any extra cost to you. So feel free to check them out at the end of the article as I only recommend products or services that I have personally tested and highly recommend.
5. Brand Ambassadorship: This would normally be a contract between the brand and influencer lasting a few months, 6-months or more, in exchange for free products.
Some brands pay you a commission for every product you sell or they pay you for every piece of content you create.
There are certain rules and regulations that you would have to adhere to; For example, if it is a fragrance brand, you may have to sign a contract not to wear any other fragrance but that brand’s for a year. The terms you agree to would be based on what you’re comfortable with.
6. Event Hosting/Appearance: If you are a thought leader in your niche or perhaps you have a large following of people that a particular brand wants to tap into, the brand will then pay you to host an event or to make an appearance. Club appearances, Masterclasses and Beauty events are just a few of these.
These are just some of the many ways to make money as a content creator/influencer. Content creation is not something you get into if you are looking to make quick money. It takes hard work, dedication and consistency to get some of these opportunities. It is not as glamourous as it looks.
You may have to do a few trade exchanges before you get paid promotions. You also have to be discerning with your collaborations. Working with brands that don’t align with your personal brand just to make money will only hurt your brand in the long run.
Work smart, be patient and everything will fall into place as it should.
Check out my post on Instagram @thediscerningstylist to learn how to price yourself as an influencer and get paid your worth.
Get 40% off a LadyBossBlogger course and start making money as an influencer today! Use code TEJUMADE at checkout.
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Get 15% off when you shop at Rightland. Use my discount code TJSTYL15 at checkout.
Did you find this article useful? Share with any aspiring influencer you know.
Disclosure: If you make a purchase using any of the links, you get a discount for some and I will earn a commission, without any extra cost to you. So, feel free to check them out as I only recommend products or services that I have personally tested and highly recommend.
How To Create Content on Instagram That Everyone Will Love
If you’re coming from my Instagram page then you’re likely confused by the title, How to Create Content on Instagram that everyone will love.
Please bear with me, I chose this title for a specific reason; it is impossible, and if you think it is possible then you definitely need to read this post.
No matter how marvellous and talented you are, you cannot please everyone. It is mission impossible and will leave you constantly miserable if you keep trying.
Jesus was a saint on earth and even his own people wanted him killed. Of Course, you and I are not Jesus, and there’s no comparison, I’m just saying. It’s an exercise in futility trying to please everyone.
Everyone talks about how to beat the Instagram algorithm, how to gain more followers, but how about how to have peace of mind? How to be a content creator without any of the mental health issues that come from our use of Instagram.
You cannot create Instagram content that everyone will love, but you can create content that you are proud of.
I used to get really bad anxiety, I felt like a failure each time my posts didn’t do as well as I expected them to. It wasn’t healthy, I was miserable.
It was awful, but now I barely get anxious, if my posts don’t do well, my life goes on. My mood has little to do with how badly or well my posts do.
It’s miserable being in that negative headspace and I want to help – if just one person – to have a healthier relationship with social media.
Here is a list of 3 things that have helped me:
1. It’s not about you
This is quite literally the most important thing you need to know.
It’s not an easy thing to come to terms with, because naturally, you are invested in your craft, you are passionate about it. You like it, so you want everyone else to. But we all have different world views, even identical twins don’t have the same interests. Siblings who grew up together, had the same life experiences don’t enjoy the exact same things. So, why would you expect people you don’t even know personally to like the same things as you? Why should your measure of what is ‘good’ be the same as theirs?
Once you realise that it’s not about you, once you make that shift, you stop taking things so personally. Once I made that shift, I’ve become a lot happier. So whether someone thinks my content is good or bad, my emotional state is neutral. I don’t always succeed, I am human after all, but I am working on it.
Asking my audience what they like and what they want to see also helps. Because it’s not about me, it’s about them.
2. Focus on what you have
It is easy to become caught up, focusing on what you don’t have instead of focusing on what you do have.
I know what my limitations are, and budget constraints is a big part of it. I’m not even going to bore you with the details of some of what I have to go through to put out content, but I also know that there are others that may be worse off, yet they make it work. They say necessity is the mother of invention so maybe you don’t have the latest iPhone but you have a Nokia 3310. You technically can’t create digital content with a 3310 but my point is, make it work for you.
Learn about the different ways you can use it. It’ll never be an iPhone or produce iPhone- worthy content but there’s a lot of power and a feeling of content that comes with knowing you are doing the best that you can with what you have. As Oprah says, when you know better, you do better.
3. Know Yourself
It’s easy to get lost among the throng on social media if you’re copying everyone. It’ll also never make you happy because there will always be people that do it better than you. But no one can do you better than you. Find your voice, what is your message to the world? Don’t do what you think will get you more followers because imagine going viral for something you’re not so clued on. You’ll feel like a fraud. Knowing who you are is a journey of a lifetime because we change, we evolve. But spend time figuring out who you are and what you want to share because then you will never feel like you’re competing with anyone but yourself.
I hope these have helped you. Being true to who you are is the ultimate win and it’s how I’ve found peace of mind. You can’t make everyone love your content but you can build a strong community of like-minded people when you are just you. That means accepting yourself and shutting out the noise.
If you found this article useful, please leave me a comment to let me know which bit resonated with you the most. You may also share your own social media journey and what has helped you.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments. Share with someone else that you think needs to read this.
There are so many free and paid resources out there but it can get overwhelming filtering through the best one for you.
I only started to take my content creation journey seriously this year. I didn’t realise how little I knew but thought I knew. Brands I love were reaching out to me so I thought I must be doing something right.
If a brand reaches out to you without you having to make the initial introduction, it’s a good sign. It shows that you’re on their radar, but any wrong move and they quickly lose interest.
You want to stay on their radar and cultivate a relationship.
I didn’t think beyond the present and I did so many things wrong.
I made several mistakes. Mistakes that I don’t want anyone else to make.
If I had known about courses like the LadyBossBlogger’s How To Make Money As an Influencer, things would have been a lot easier and I would have secured paid brand deals even with just 1000 followers instead of only now slowly starting to get some paid collaborations with just under 10 thousand followers.
The thing is I like freebies, who doesn’t? So often you think watching a Youtube video and reading a few tips here and there is all the strategy you need to make it as an influencer, WRONG!
The best thing you can do for yourself is to invest in a course. But not just any course, there are so many out there that charge a lot of money but don’t offer real value.
This course is the second course I’ve taken this year on personal branding and it is by far my best and most informative for making money as an influencer.
Here are 3 Reasons Why you Should Invest in the LadyBossBlogger: How To Make Money as an Influencer Course
1. It’s affordable.
Although this influencer course may seem pricey, it is worth it! You get 40% off using my discount code TEJUMADE which is almost half the price and way more than I spent for my initial course which although informative didn’t have all the information I needed to approach brands and monetise my influence. This will be the best investment you make if you want to level up and make money as an influencer.
2. It’s informative.
Just in the introduction which is the first section of the lecture you learn:
I don’t email brands as often as I should but working in PR, I know how to pitch myself to a brand. I even wrote a blog article on Brand Collaborations; How to Make it Happen, but it wasn’t until I used the LadyBossBlogger email template and saw how quickly the brand I pitched to responded with interest to work with me that I knew I had a winner on my hands.
The LadyBossBlogger course is affordable, informative and it works!
I recently decided to take my content creation journey seriously. I have been blogging for about 7 years now and have had my Instagram account with close to 9 thousand followers for 4 years. But I haven’t actually made any money from it.
Sure I’ve had some PR products sent to me and collaborated with some of my favourite brands with sponsored posts here and there but nothing that’s made me feel like I can turn my passion into a profitable business.
That’s definitely my fault though. I haven’t until recently realised how what I’ve been doing has been hurting instead of aiding me on my journey.
How do I grow my following?
This is really what I was most concerned about; How do I grow my following?
I had no real strategy and posted content most times at whim. I didn’t apply the same discipline and commitment I do to my full-time job and that only hindered my growth.
Never having invested in a course that would develop my skills and help me monetize my influence, I decided that this is what I was missing. And even though I hadn’t budgeted for it, I felt like it was now or never. I wanted to learn from someone or someones already doing it and killing it. So I invested in a six-week course with my objective being to book my first brand deal during or at least the first two weeks after the course.
Let’s just say that things didn’t go as planned. I completed the course and even though the content was great, it wasn’t really anything that I didn’t already know as a marketer and from all the Instagram tips out there that I had read so it was disappointing for me in that sense.
So just when I had resigned myself to figuring it out on my own, I got offered this wonderful opportunity to take this course: How to Make Money as an Influencer with LadyBossBlogger. The course is sponsored and even though I am only on lecture 2 of 8, the things I have learned thus far are mind-blowing. ‘
The level of detail in the first two lectures is more than I got in the first 4 weeks of the other course I took. Everything you need to know whether you’re just starting out or you’re like me, finally trying to get this influencer thing right.
Want to know THE best part? I’ve partnered with LadyBossBlogger to host a giveaway to win a course of your choosing! Details at the end of this post.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself but I can’t express to you how excited this makes me. To be able to give you something as valuable as this for FREE is so exciting.
When I asked my supporters on Instagram what they struggle with the most when it comes to style, quite a few listed finding their style as a challenge.
And so, today’s post is dedicated to you. If you struggle to find your style and need some help in that department then you are in good company. Because in today’s post, I’m sharing 5 ways to find your style. And by the end of this article, you’ll leave feeling more confident and in tune with your personal style.
But first, what is style?
“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn!” – Gore Vidal.
“Style is very personal, it has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever.” – Ralph Lauren.
“Style is a way of saying who you are without having to speak.” – Rachel Zoe
These are just some of my favourite quotes defining style. Style is not about designer labels, it is an expression of self. It is an evolution of self. I dress according to varying factors like my mood, weather, occasion and so much more.
I don’t believe in limiting myself when it comes to my style. Today I may be modestly dressed, covered from head-to-toe and tomorrow I’m wearing the skimpiest outfit you’ve ever seen. I may wear all black today and tomorrow wear all the colours of the rainbow. My style is just an extension of my personality which is adventurous- within reason – but consistently stylish.
I also want to stress that style does not buy into fashion trends. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good trend. I have in fact disliked some trends when they first came out and grown to like them.
The off-shoulder look, choker necklace and dad sneakers are just a few trends I didn’t initially care for but over time, I bought into these trends. However, trends come and go and it is why you shouldn’t give in to them if you are still trying to find your style.
Here are 5 Ways to Find your Style
1. Know your body shape
Are you pear, hourglass, apple, rectangle, athletic shaped or somewhere in between? There are quizzes online that you can take to help you find that out if you don’t know or you can just click here after you finish reading this post. Knowing your body shape will help you in figuring out what is most flattering for your body type.
2. Identify which colours inspire you
Colour has a huge impact on our mood. It can inspire and uplift or it can do the opposite. Colour can also flatter your figure depending on the colour. Knowing the colours that inspire you can help you to feel empowered, motivated and confident. I love an emerald green colour and I feel beautiful, sexy and confident in it. It also suits my skin tone. What colour(s) gives you that feeling and is flattering against your skin tone?
3. Define your personality
Are you reserved, outgoing or a little bit of both? Knowing your personality is key to finding your style. I mentioned earlier that I’m adventurous. I don’t like to be tied to a particular style or colour. Which reflects in my style. You may be the opposite, take Anna Wintour for example, she has her own unique style. It’s a uniform look consisting of a printed dress, a necklace and a pair of heels. It is impossible for you to miss her even if you don’t see her face. Her uniform style tells me her personality is the direct, confident and straight-laced type. A uniform style, although boring to me, saves you a lot of time especially if you’re a very busy woman.
4. Make sure the fit is right
Have you been to the shops and saw something that caught your eye but it’s not in your size. You want it so bad because it’s on sale. You even make a promise to yourself to lose weight to fit into it. Rewind, pause.
Look at yourself in the mirror and look at the item again. Will you really lose weight to fit into it? Do you really want to put that kind of pressure on yourself, sis? Is it really worth it? Save your money, don’t think of the price of the item. If you can’t fit it now, there’s no point. Because even if you do manage to lose weight, it may not fit your curves right. It is important to wear clothes that fit. An ill-fitting item of clothing does not make anyone look stylish. Fit is everything when it comes to style.
5. Keep a style board
Whose style inspires you? It may be one person or more than one person. Keep a style board of your style inspiration/s. I would even suggest creating categories. So gym, work, dinner etc. When you’re clear about what you like for different occassions, then most of the job is done.
What I love the most about fashion and style is the freedom of expression it allows. Be creative, have fun. If you were meeting someone for the first time, what would you want their first impression of you to be , before you introduce yourself or say anything about who you are and what you do? Now dress the way you would like to be addressed. 🙂 I’m sure I saw that somewhere.
I hope you found this article helpful and you can now go on to create your personal style which is unique to you and you alone. Remember, don’t copy. Be inspired.
Please leave me a comment if you found this post useful. Also, let me know what other style challenges you have so that I can a(d)dress them. See what I did there?
I know that I am not alone when I say my mental health has taken a beating during this period. I have gone through a range of emotions from relief, anger, despair, overwhelm to mental exhaustion.
As a content creator, creating has been an outlet for me. Something to make me feel excited, something to look forward to doing because there is not much I look forward to doing these days.
While I don’t have a child or children to look after, I feel like my list of responsibilities is just as overwhelming. I have so much to do that I try to multitask but that ends up with me not doing anything 100% right because my attention is divided. Do you get that feeling too?
You would think a lockdown would ease my list of responsibilities but I don’t think I’ve ever been busier. My Monday to Sunday is the same not because we’re on lockdown but because I’ve always got something to do. Even sleep is a luxury I don’t always get but I make time to catch up on some of my favourite shows :). That is the one reprieve that doesn’t require any effort from me. Just simple enjoyment.
Even if you’re not angry and frustrated with having so much to do, you’re bound to be frustrated at having nothing to do. Or even angry at living every day for the past 2 + months indoors.
If that is you, you’re just angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, one minute at peace, the next minute low, then your mental health has naturally taken a beating.
But with these 10 steps that have helped me, you can get some semblance of control back.
Acknowledge your feelings
Often times, we are made to feel like saying, “I’m not okay” to a how are you question is complaining. How many times have you been asked, how are you? And your automatic response is either to say, I am good or I am okay when deep down you are anything but. Acknowledge your feelings. Sure it’s not everyone who asks us how we are that we feel comfortable being vulnerable with but be honest with yourself. If you can be honest about what you’re feeling then you’re closer to being better than you know. Maybe you don’t want to share but you don’t have to lie either. You can say, I am not okay but I am working on it. And if someone cares enough to probe, share, be vulnerable. The person may be in a position to help you or even offer words of advice. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem solved.
2. Ask yourself WHY
Because you are honest with yourself, you have acknowledged your feelings and are not living in denial. You are sad, you are frustrated, you are angry. Why? Why are you feeling that way? This is how you get better by asking why. No one is in your head, no one will know, now be honest. It could be one thing, it can be a myriad of things but once you acknowledge what is making you feel all these negative emotions, you can work towards resolving it. You may find that you haven’t been sleeping enough, you haven’t been eating well, you may be feeling inadequate. Or it could be all of the above or none of the above, only YOU know. But the rest of the steps below will help you a great deal once you have completed steps 1 and 2.
3. Practise an attitude of gratitude
You’ve probably seen this quote make the rounds on social media of late, it says; Be thankful for what you have, you will end up having more, if you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough. Oprah Winfrey said that.
Write down a list of things you are grateful for every day. It can be five things. It can even be words you say to yourself every day in the mirror. I am thankful for my family, I am thankful I have a place to lay my head at night. I am thankful I have the sense of sight, smell, touch etc.
4. Listen to music & dance a little
Listen, there is scientific research out there that highlights the power of music. According to Harvard, research conducted between 1994 and 1999 showed that music therapy “reduced symptoms of depression. A 2006 study of 60 adults with chronic pain found that music was able to reduce pain, depression, and disability”. A real-life example of this is me last week listening to Same Script by Deborah Cox and Whitney Houston. I bellowed the lyrics while animatedly dancing to the song in my room. My dad’s room is just next door to mine, he must have thought I had lost the plot but I didn’t care, it felt GOOD. I reenacted a very tame version of it in a video here on my Instagram page. Do it, it works. Not Same Script but dance and sing along to your favourite song.
5. Set Goals
Setting Goals gives you something to work towards especially when you make it specific, measurable and achievable. Something as simple as assigning yourself a book to read and complete before the end of the month or even weekly goals; finish two chapters of a book each week. Slow, steady but achievable tasks that won’t overwhelm you.
6. Connect with family/friends
This is something I have been doing a lot of lately. My two siblings and mum are in different parts of the world but I speak with my sister and mum if not every day but every other day and it has been so good for me. Usually, my sister and I don’t get to speak as often because of our different schedules sometimes clash. But even though we are both still busy, we are busy at home so there’s hardly ever a time I call her or she calls me that I’m not able to answer. If not family, speaking to friends can also be very good for your mental health. I have very few people I call friends and I’m a call a friend once every few months kind of person. Not proud of it but it’s how I am but I’ve connected more with friends these past few months and knowing they too are just doing their best to get by helps. Having people to talk to and vice -versa, people to talk to you is very therapeutic. No one should feel isolated during this period.
7. Learn a new skill
I’m a little obsessed with learning. Mostly to do with my work as a content creator. I am currently registered for a course to help with that and I keep looking out for more upskilling opportunities. Between my studies, keeping a home without help, this new course and creating content, I am all over the place but the one thing I have been enjoying is learning new skills. It honestly just makes you feel good about yourself. There is no worse feeling than the feeling that you are lacking certain skills/knowledge/experience and not doing anything about it. Learn. If you can’t afford to pay, there are free courses. Youtube is also a great resource. It can be cooking, learning how to take your own pictures. Anything, just keep learning but don’t overwhelm yourself.
This one I don’t love, I’m not even going to lie. In fact, I have missed out on three days of exercise but it does help. That feeling of rage, sadness, despair, overwhelm can be better managed not only by acknowledging them and asking yourself why you feel those emotions but you can exercise them away. Exercise releases endorphins which are your body’s natural pain killers. Imagine that? You don’t have to suppress your pain with drugs, you can exercise them away. Sex is also a good substitute.
I have found that lack of adequate sleep has been affecting my capacity to function optimally. I honestly can’t say for certain which of these steps have helped the most but I noticed that when I get more than 4/5 hours sleep, I am happier and more at peace. This is something I’ve had to learn about myself. I know I like to sleep but I didn’t know all those weeks of getting max 5 hours sleep was having a negative impact on my mental well being. People are different. Some people are fine on just a few hours sleep, I AM NOT. So when I wake up in the morning after only less than four hours sleep and my body says, bitch, I ain’t ready. I listen and go back to sleep. This has helped my general mood and I find myself more emotionally sound.
10. Take social media breaks
Social media can make you feel shitty about yourself if you let it. For me, it is seeing other content creators’ work and feeling like my content is either not as good or is better but doesn’t have as much engagement. Either way, it can be torturous. Taking time off social media is good for your soul. I think right now people may be bored with more time on their hands than normal so they turn to social media but take the time off, sis. Learn a new skill, sleep, exercise, watch motivational videos do whatever but get off Instagram and Tiktok. I should probably take my own advice, but it is my job so even when I say I am taking time off, I am still online because I have to post to my stories.
Which of these steps have you been practising? Or, which will you adopt and adapt? I implore you to practice all 10 and let me know how you get on.
Take each day as it comes. Plan but be flexible but most importantly, do what makes you happy. Life is too short to focus on things that zap your energy. Worry has no place in your life and I pray that starting today, you take the steps necessary to get yourself towards a more positive and sound emotional space.
I am here for you if you need to talk. DM me on Instagram @thediscerningstylist or email email@example.com. I am not a therapist but I don’t want you to feel alone. A problem shared is a problem solved.