4 tips to fix any bad day

Have you ever had one of those days where it just feels like everything is going wrong? Or where all you want to do is go home and curl up in your bed? Yup, we’ve all had those days. It sometimes comes from stress, fatigue, or just certain circumstances. I’ve recently been having some of those days, where one thing goes wrong and then everything else just cascades into a downward, stressful, overwhelming spiral, and it’s so hard to pull yourself out of it. For me, it’s because of stress, it’s a really busy time of year for me at the moment, but I’ve managed to come up with four tips that can fix any bad day for me.

Number one: Schedule in an ‘away time’

This is something that I do a lot if I’m having a day where I just know that I need a break. Sometimes when you’re having one of those days you know you just need to stop, because if you try and do more or carry on at this point you’re not going to gain anything from it. When I’m super stressed out, I always ask myself: am I really going to get anything done in the next 20 mins, or would I be better off giving my brain a break? If the answer is the latter I stop what I’m doing. Sometimes you reach that wall where doing more of something is actually detrimental. So I’ll take 20 mins and talk to a friend, watch a youtube video, or go for a walk or a run. Getting away from the thing that is stressing you out or upsetting you allows you to come back with a fresh and clear mindset which is so much more effective than struggling through it.

Number two: Treat yourself

I know you hear this phrase a lot, but it is really useful! If you’re having one of those bad days do something that you know will instantly put you in a good mood. For me, that will sometimes mean eating a specific food, listening to music, or going to a specific place, whatever it is, schedule in something that will make you happy and cheer you up. Once you’ve done that one thing, your mood will hopefully rise, and you’ll be able to carry on your day in a happier way.

Number three: Gratitude

This one might not be very obvious, and sometimes when you’re having a bad day this is the last thing that you want to do. Taking a few seconds to be grateful for what you have and where you are, actually grounds you and brings you back to the present. It can stop you from falling into the overwhelming spiral.

Number four: People

The people that you surround yourself with are one of those things that can instantly lift your mood. My family and I eat dinner together every night and sometimes when I’ve had a really stressful day, that time spent laughing and talking with them instantly changes my mood. Surround yourself with people who will make you happier instead of bringing you down.

I hope that some of these tips can help turn your day around, or make it that little bit better! Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of them, or if you have any you think should be added to this list.

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat

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Learning to go with the flow

I’ve always been a stickler for the rules, someone who lives by a schedule, and someone who likes everything to go according to plan. Okay… that makes me seem a bit lame and scary, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like organization and precision.

I’ve never been one of those last minute people who are able to just go with the flow. I always feel as though there’s always something I should be doing or something I could be doing, that if I just stopped and didn’t work according to a plan, I would be missing out on something else. This is often annoying as it is frankly impossible to do EVERYTHING in life and to do it all to a high quality. While you’re too busy trying to be perfect you miss out on the small things in life that are quite special.

This is something that I vowed to change about myself last year. After finishing the last school year, I was sick and tired of always feeling like I had to stick to a schedule in order to get everything done. I wanted to take some time off, do whatever I felt like, while still being productive. I wanted to re-program my work-style into a more sustainable one – a schedule that didn’t stress me out as much, and one that was flexible based upon how I was feeling or if I wanted to do something special that day.

You see, with sticking to a schedule, I always felt like I was missing out on something. Maybe it was time I wanted to spend with my family or time I wanted to spend face timing a friend abroad, I always felt as though if I strayed from my planned out schedule I would not get everything done. Living like this was exhausting, not to mention draining. This is why I wanted to change it this year, and I have to say I am happy with the progress I’ve made.

I may not be in a perfect place yet, but I am still proud of how far I’ve come. I have more work than ever before to do this year, but strangely I don’t stick to a schedule as tightly as before. I realized that you’re never going to have everything finished, so you might as well integrate your work with something fun, and take yourself less seriously, otherwise, you’re never going to be able to let go.

Now, I can only speak from my own experience, and perhaps, this only applies to teenagers like myself, I’m not sure. But I know that constant worrying and stressing does nothing. It gets you nowhere, and you always feel like there is more to be done. Recently I’ve been trying to be more flexible with my work and take it wherever I need to go. Sometimes if I know I’ll be spending a lot of time in the car, I won’t let that stress me out, I’ll just make sure I have some work to do while I’m there. Or if my family decides that they want to go to the beach in an hour, I won’t say no just because I haven’t got it scheduled in my diary. I’ll assess my situation and take the time off and enjoy myself for a bit. Of course, this isn’t a rationale for slacking, but it’s a reminder that you need to take a breather once in a while and just go with the flow. Do something based upon how you’re feeling because after all a bit of spontaneity is good for us.

Next time you let your stress get the better of you, just remember that nothing will ever be 100% perfect, just put all of your efforts into it, and also take some time for yourself to do something you enjoy. What do you think about this? I would love to know, share your ideas in the comment section.

See you next week!

Little Miss Expat

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How to stay motivated

Do you ever get those nights when you’re lying awake in bed listing out all the things you have to get done tomorrow? When your head feels like it’s going to burst with all the odd jobs and to-do lists kept in there? And when you know you have endless amounts of things to do, but you just can’t bring yourself to actually do them?

Yup, we’ve all been there. It’s not a nice feeling, knowing you have so much to do, but just being unable to find the motivation to start. I feel like we all lead such busy lives these days, that we hardly ever have time to take a breath. And at least for me, when I have a giant to-do list I just want to get everything over and done with, but it’s so hard to make that first dent in the list. To actually start. To find that motivation.

So in today’s blog post, I’m going to share a few of my tips for gathering motivation. Whether it’s motivation to start your homework, do a workout, or even get out of bed in the morning I hope these tips will be able to help you!

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Give yourself something to look forward to

Sometimes when I really don’t want to do something I like to give myself something to look forward to. For example, when I’m really tired in the morning and I have to get out of bed, I think about what I’m going to eat for breakfast (cause I love food!) or something exciting I have going on that day. Or when I need the motivation to do a piece of homework which is especially grueling, I tell myself that once I finish it I’ll make myself a smoothie or eat a cookie. (only now am I realizing that all my motivation is food, oh no…) But you get the point, give yourself incentives and be strict with yourself. Make sure you fulfill the task you set before giving yourself that treat!

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Get your setting right

Sometimes your motivation can be affected by your surroundings, and once you change these you’ll notice such a big difference! For example, lying on your bed in a messy room is not going to get you motivated to start something (well, at least not for me). Clean up, open a window, and get some air! Changing up your surroundings makes such a huge impact. Before I start my homework I always like to make sure my desk is clean and sometimes I’ll have my window open so I can hear the birds, maybe I’ll light a candle, just to get into a pleasant mood and mindset, and from this everything just comes much more easily.

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Make a routine. Give your body signals

We respond well to routines. Establish healthy routines for yourself, and you’ll find it easier to find that motivation. Sometimes I really don’t feel like running or working out. But I have a set of stretches and a small jog that I do every time before I workout and since my body is used to this, it gives me the signal that I’m about to start working out. Usually, once I finish this I feel much more energized and motivated because this routine has queued my body into knowing that it’s time to work out. The same goes for any other activity. Routines let your body and mind know that it’s time to get working, and means that it’s less of a struggle to find that motivation because it starts coming naturally.

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I think I’ll leave it there for this post! I hope that these three tips can help you gain that motivation to tick things off your to-do list, to go workout, or get up in the morning! Let me know in the comments section your ways of finding the motivation to start a task.

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat

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Becoming more independent

Two weeks, in a new place, where I didn’t know anyone, studying in a college class, was definitely a huge step leap out of my comfort zone.

I am someone who lives by their planner, I write out every hour of my day and how I’m going to spend it; my day starts with my morning routine and ends with my night routine. I’m not a boring person! Trust me, I keep busy, but I like to know what’s coming next, I like to know what’s happening in my life. So maybe you’ll understand why spending two weeks in a completely different continent to the one I live on, knowing no one, and being truly independent for the first time was really daunting for me! Maybe, this is normal for other people, but for me, this was my summer of becoming more independent, and I want to share it with you guys.

For those two weeks, the only thing I needed to make sure I did every day was to attend my classes and lectures. It was so different from being at home where there’s always someone there, where there are always a few things I have to do in a day. I could wake up when I wanted, get breakfast where I wanted, I had to walk everywhere myself or take the train into the city, I could go wherever I wanted: Basically, I could do whatever I wanted (within reason). While all these possibilities sound amazing, believe it or not, it was kind of daunting! Yes, I suddenly could spend my day the way I wanted, but at the same time every day was completely different for me, I could never plan out exactly what I was going to do.

I think it also made me realise how much of a people person I am, but also how much of an introvert I am. I love being around people, I like chatting and laughing, but then at the end of the day sometimes I need that 30 mins or hour to read or watch TV by myself, that’s my way of recharging. And with being so independent, it was hard to balance these two things. Everyone was sticking by their own flexible schedule, and you weren’t going to be with someone every second of every day. For me, being so far out of my comfort zone already this was hard, and sometimes I felt very lonely. You see, I’m fine with spending time by myself at home, I’m doing it right now writing this blog post. But when I was already in a place with so much independence, and no one checking in on me, it was so weird to be by myself! And I feel like this taught me an important lesson.

You can take some you-time! You don’t need to live by someone else’s’ schedule. Sometimes I think people, especially people my age, think they have to do the exact same thing as someone else! And if you’re not with someone for every second of every day you’re not doing it right. But that’s not true. Sometimes you need to just do what you want, and that doesn’t always mean doing it with someone else. For example, if one of my friends wanted to go shopping in the college town, and I wanted to go to the library and finish my homework, it’s okay to do what I wanted, even if it’s not the same as them! But I found that concept so weird at the beginning! Because I was by myself in this new country I was kind of scared to be by myself and to be alone, but slowly I got used to this and I was more comfortable being by myself and doing what I wanted. I’m really happy that I learned that because I feel like it’s an important life lesson.

While it was really hard at first, and something completely new for me. I’m grateful that I got the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone this summer and become more independent. What about you? What was your first experience being more independent?

Little Miss Expat

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It’s that time of the year again… ‘Moving Season’

Hi guys,

As the school year draws to a close, and the summer holidays are getting nearer, I for one am super excited! But for any expatriates, it ushers in this dreaded time of year, the moving season. For anyone who lives abroad, or goes to an international school, the end of the school year means saying goodbye to some people but also meeting a lot of new people in September.

I for one really dislike this ‘season’, it will always be really hard to see friends leave, and any expatriate will know the struggle. Especially in a place like Dubai where a lot of people only stay for around 2 years before they move onto their next home. And for someone who’s used to being the one leaving, it’s hard to be the one staying behind and saying goodbye.

Last year one of my really good friends moved to Paris, I still miss seeing her every day, but I’ve been lucky enough to visit her. I thought it might be interesting to get her input on this topic and ask her a few questions about what it felt like when she moved. Here they are!

What did you find the hardest thing about moving?

Honestly, the hardest thing about moving was adapting to a new city. Since I moved to Paris, at first, it was really difficult for me to speak French when ordering coffee, or shopping around. My mom or friends would have to order food for me! Eventually, I had to start speaking French and doing things myself. I just needed the confidence! Another thing was socializing with new people. I found it really awkward to start conversations with new people (despite being very talkative) because I was scared that they would judge me. But don’t hesitate to start a conversation with someone! They might end up being one of your really close friends.

How did you feel in your first few days in your new home?

I don’t think I’ve ever been more stressed actually! When our boxes arrived, we had 168 of them! Everything was all over the place! I felt the most stressed with my own stuff because I had to find my school supplies, arrange my room (which was a complete disaster), and figure out where to place everything. A few days later, all the boxes were gone and we could finally enjoy our new home! I really love our apartment now and feel completely relaxed when I come into my room.

Looking back now, are you happy where you are now and that you moved?

I am really happy that I moved. However, it did take me a few months to actually realize that I wasn’t going to move back to Dubai. I was really sad and down at the beginning of our move (despite being in Paris!), but I knew that I was going to visit Dubai and keep in touch with my friends 24/7. I’ve learned so many things about this city, and have had so many new and fun experiences! Paris is a really amazing place to live in, and I am beyond lucky to call it my home.

What’s one thing you will always miss about Dubai?

This sounds super cheesy but my friends! I’ve known some of my friends there since I was in 4th grade, so it was really hard to leave them. I had the best memories ever there and I am so so lucky and grateful that I get to keep all of those souvenirs with them.

Is there one piece of advice you would give to someone moving?

Get out and about! When I first moved, everyone kept inviting me to go places with them, but I was so nervous because I didn’t know the city. Looking back, now I regret not going out with those friends because I’m sure we would have been much closer now. Some tips: download some apps for your city! Apps such as CityMapper: tells you when the next train, bus, or metro arrives. Dojo: a great app to show you all the new restaurants, and activities to go to in multiple cities! Bandsintown: tells you all the artists playing in your choice of city! These apps are essential especially when you don’t know what to do or where to go!

A huge thank you to my friend for answering all of these questions! And I hope her advice is useful to anyone moving abroad this summer! As the friend who was not the one moving, I also wanted to give you guys a bit of advice, as I know it can be really hard.

One thing that’s really important to remember is that you’re not just going to completely fall out of touch with your friend. Sure, you won’t see them in person as much as you used to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk with them any less. You can still call, facetime, message, snapchat each other weird photos, or send each other funny memes on Instagram. Just because a friend is moving away it doesn’t mean the friendship is over. It just means the friendship will take a new form. I still talk to my friend all the time, and we were even lucky enough to visit each other. (some of you might remember my Paris blog post, that’s when I visited her)

Overall, I think it’s just super important to remember that life is what you make of it, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control the way that you deal with it and what you make of the situation. People moving away is one of those situations which is sad, but also exciting as it’s the start of a new adventure for the person moving. And as the friend staying behind, you also have to support your friend with this new chapter in their life. Don’t view moving as something bad, shift your focus, and see it as the start of something exciting and different.

I hope this advice helped some of you! And let me know if you liked this format of this post with the interview. Another massive thank you to my friend and all her advice in this post, I really hope you guys enjoyed it!

Little Miss Expat

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The Most Important Life Lesson I’ve Learned

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to sit down and write a really important post for you guys this week. I feel like I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to really share my thoughts with you in a while, but I finally have a little bit of time to talk about this. Today I want to share a lesson I’ve learned through experience and a lesson that I think everyone needs to know. And that is the lesson of staying true to yourself and your values.

This week I’ve experienced the power of this lesson once again, and I feel like it’s something that affects your life no matter how old you are.

In this world which is constantly changing, where your popularity seems to be based on your follower count, where people no longer have the connection to talk to each other anymore, and where everyone seems to be ‘following the crowd’, and doing what’s ‘trendy’ instead of what they believe in. It’s hard to stay true to yourself. It’s hard to say ‘no’. It’s hard to catch hold of what you really believe in without being influenced in a negative way. But I’m here today to tell you, you aren’t alone, I for one will always do my best to stay true to myself and my values.

It’s a daily struggle of mine, and sometimes I feel like I’m the only one doing it. But as I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, the best decision I’ve ever made was to stay true to myself and let my own values guide me. What do I mean by this? I’m a High School student, and every day I see people being influenced and changing what they believe in to fit in with others or to fit in with the ‘right’ crowd. And it sucks. Because that is not what I believe in. And it’s hard, don’t get me wrong. It is hard to stand up for what you believe in, and sometimes it means saying goodbye to people, but being true to yourself is honouring yourself and your thoughts. In 20 years time, we will regret changing ourselves just to fit in with the popular crowd in High School, your own values will be so trampled upon that they will no longer be able to guide you.

Your values, your beliefs, and who you are, are the most important gifts you have, and you should treasure them. They are what makes us unique, allow us to move forward, and enjoy what we do. And that’s why it makes me sad when I see people tossing away their values every day. Because I believe in all of us. Every single one of you that reads my blog. I believe that you are all special in your own unique way, and I think that you should just keep being you, no matter what everyone else is doing. I believe that every single one of you should do what makes you happy, not what ‘looks’ best to the crowd. Let your own values guide you, and don’t do something you wouldn’t do if others weren’t there watching you. Because in the end, that’s the true way to finding happiness.

For me, over the years I’ve had the opportunity to change myself so many times, to do things I don’t believe in. And looking back I am so happy I never did them. Instead, I did what really makes me happy: I watched more sunsets, I ate good food, I went for long runs, I helped others, I spent time with my family, I made great friends, and I couldn’t be a happier person now. Sure I have those days as well where I feel left out or like I don’t fit in, but don’t we all get them? I’m just content with being who I really am, and it’s refreshing not to have to pretend to be someone I’m not.

So to all you High School students out there, this is my message to you. Do not change yourself for anyone. Do what makes you happy. And let your values guide you down the path you were meant to take. I believe in all of you, your own unique personalities, you’re all special.

What are your thoughts on this?

Lots of Love

Little Miss Expat

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