Beth Brown, Girl on Pause
I went for a walk with my mum today in one of my favourite places. It’s a little lake just outside of York surrounded by pine trees and muddy puddles; the only sound for miles is the occasional flutter of the resident swan’s wings on the water’s surface. As we put the world to right under the intermittent flashes of sunshine, the peaceful morning got me thinking. I hadn’t been there in a while, not since winter and, though the trails were the same, I felt like a very different person from the last time my wellies had walked that earth.
I’ve seen a lot of people doing the ‘6 month challenge’ on social media in the past week, mainly on TikTok (please don’t judge me for being a 22 year old on TikTok - lockdown has been tough on all of us). In the spirit of my realisation, I thought that I would do one of my own. For me, this 6 month challenge is less about a box of hair dye and an ASOS haul and more about a change in mindset.
We’ve all heard the age old adage: “time heals all wounds”, and, in this case, I’ve got to agree. 6 months ago, in January, I was in a very different place, a place rife with uncertainty and anxiety. It all started when anxiety came back to bite me just after my 22nd birthday in November, and held on with the vengeance of a rabid dog.
My boyfriend would take me to the little lake every day and let me ramble on about my worries, using him as the sounding board I desperately needed, often for hours at a time. Walking those trails, being out in nature and weaving through the trees, it helped hugely with my anxiety, as I’m sure many people can relate to. Those hours in the fresh air offered refuge from the worries of the day and eventually gave me the clarity that I needed. It sounds like I’m undermining anxiety and oversimplifying the healing process by saying that walking and talking made such a monumental difference to me, but in reality it took many different methods and steps to get me to the place I find myself in today. Those hours in my wellies did make a difference though, they helped me to exorcise my thoughts in order to make those healing steps.
As I pressed pause on my Fitbit at the end of today’s walk I took a moment to reflect on how far I’d come in the last 6 months. The difference in the two photos in this post isn’t just a few less inches of hair and some summer freckles, it’s peace. At the end of my 6 month challenge I find myself happy; sure, I still have worries and fears but I don’t wake up every morning with feelings of dread. I’ve gained the clarity to be able to see the future as an adventure that I’m ready to dive headfirst into and to see life as something I can do with what I want. I’ve made steps that I’m proud of and even writing this blogpost I’m giving myself a little pat on the back.
But, if you’re still in that place, please hold on. I hope that, with time, you’ll get there and you’ll find what you’re looking for. Who knows, maybe in 6 months you’ll be okay and you’ll be looking back at these days with a smile your face.
Until next time.
You can find more from Girl on Pause at www.girlonpause.com or keep up to date with my attempts to romanticise every-day life on my Instagram: @girlonpause