17 Ways Your Weekends Start To Change Once You Hit Your Mid-Twenties

Thought Catalog

trendsandtolstoy    trendsandtolstoy

1. You no longer feel flustered when you don’t have any Friday night plans. Rather, you feel flustered if you do have Friday night plans. All you want to do is come home, put on some sweatpants, and bask in the glory of doing nothing for hours at a time. Five years ago, that would have been a nightmare. Today, it’s a ~*dream*~

2. You actually feel excited to do household chores and hit up other things on your to-do list. Granted, doing laundry and cooking your meals for the week isn’t necessarily fun. But the feeling of being productive and getting shit done is awesome.

3. If someone texts you to come meet them at some bar or club because it’s “insane,” all you want to do is stay as far away from that place as possible.

4. When you’re hanging out with your friends, sometimes your conversations…

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Why your health is the most important thing in your life. Always.

Your health is the most important thing in your life. Always.

Everyone has that friend who claims they never get sick. The ones who smugly pronounce they haven’t had a cold in years, as you plow through your second packet of cough sweets.

But even these human anomalies cannot hold off the plethora of viruses that surround us forever. Eventually they succumb, amidst croaks of surprise and anguish.

The lesson is simple: everyone is susceptible to illness – whether temporary like a cold or the flu, or a permanent life-long or life threatening condition.

Most of the time in life people get sick for a little while then bounce back all sunny and rosy. But there are plenty out there for whom this does not happen. They get struck down by a disease and pinned there.

Here are just a few of the ways in which poor health can impact your life.

It impacts on your job

If you’re not out on sick days, you’re sat in a meeting unable to concentrate on anything other than how terrible you feel.

And that’s if you’re even capable of holding down a job at all.

It impacts on your hobbies

Love hiking? That’ll be difficult when you’re struck down with chronic fatigue. Ditto, if you want to play any kind of sport, be part of a society or even hang out with friends.

It impacts on your ability to travel

In ways you wouldn’t normally imagine. To manage my condition I have a restricted diet including no wheat or sugar. Most foreign hostels don’t usually cater for gluten free, no sugar diets, meaning any exotic location I dream of is now tampered by logistical food restrictions.

It impacts your relationships

Your true family and friends would never leave you if you got really sick. But there will be days you get frustrated and upset that, no matter how sympathetic the people around you are, no one really knows what you’re going through.

It is impossible to truly understand how someone feels unless you have been there yourself. It’s no one’s fault but that doesn’t stop the sense of loneliness from creeping in.

Of course no one can predict getting sick and it certainly isn’t your fault if you do – sometimes, that’s just the card life deals out. But what you can do is take steps to allow your body the best chance of coping with whatever might come your way.

Whether you’re already living with an illness or still healthy, there is some wisdom that we could all do with following:

Diet
Eat healthy, yes but more than that, learn about food. Take time to really discover what goes into food items these days and how much fat, sugar or chemicals you’re consuming. Don’t just blindly follow a diet someone gave you, create your own! Each body is individual, so everyone should have their own tailored diet plan.

Stress
Minimise your stress by figuring out how to spot the signs. In today’s world everyone is constantly moving – partying, gossiping, working – but very rarely fully relaxing.

That feeling you have, like you’re constantly on edge or buzzing with adrenaline? That’s not normal. Our bodies are designed to use the stress hormones as temporary measures. If you find yourself hyped up more often than you’re relaxed, you need to schedule some immediate down time.

Who you are is right in front of you

We all know the stigma around the millennial generation: we are self involved, anxious and giving new meaning to the term ‘identity crisis’. Us 20-somethings claim to not know who we are, to need deep journeys of self discovery to find ourselves. But I think there are actually lots of little signs right in front of you that tell you exactly who you are, you just need to learn how to spot them.

For example, I have a ridiculous amount of tea varieties at work. We are a tiny office – there are three of us. Before me there was two types of tea: normal and Lady Grey. When I started I needed decaf – I’d been off caffeine for years. So, then there were three: normal, decaf and Lady Grey.

Two years later, this is what our tea station looks like:

Normal/decaf
Lady Grey
Decaf Earl Grey
Decaf green tea
Peppermint & Morrocan mint
Apple & blackcurrant
Lemon and ginger
Raspberry and apple
Chai
Decaf coffee

All of these additions are because of me. I am not a person who can stick to one thing for any period of time. It isn’t because I don’t like the original anymore – I always have at least one cup of decaf regular tea a day – but I like variety and, often, the regular tea isn’t what is best for me at the time; sometimes I need peppermint to sooth my stomach or some chai for a placebo sugar fix.

At the end of the day, I am someone who needs variety in my life in order for me not to become complacent or bored.

So what little clues are around you that might point you down the path of discovering who you are? I guarantee they are there but if you’re not convinced, look at your bookshelves.

My room is full of books – I have read most of them at least twice. When I find something I like, I will keep it around. I go over it again and again, loving all the details that I already know and delighted by new ones I discover. On the flip side, I cannot ‘persevere’ with a book – either it catches my attention or I’m done.

I’m a person who knows very quickly if something is right for me or not and I don’t force things if it isn’t a good fit.

Have a look around and see what you find. You don’t always need a therapist or soul-searching trek around Asia to discover who you are. Sometimes you just need to look in your cupboard.

Morrocan inspired chicken and rice

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Last year a friend and I went to Marrakech. Our hostel offered a cooking class and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip and definitely something I plan on doing at every new destination I go to in the future.

We learnt how to make a traditional chicken tagine. This chicken and rice recipe uses the same spices but it’s cooked diffently since I don’t have a tagine of my own (sneak tip: despite the clay tagines being traditional and ‘authentic’ the metal ones are more commonly used now in restaurants and homes in Morocco as they work better!)

Personally I think the secret to making this dish so good are marinated lemons but you can leave these out and it will still taste good.
You will need some pre-planning for this as the lemons need to be soaked in salt water for at least a month. They end up smelling like lemonade but are deliciously salty – and I’m not a massive fan of adding salt to food!

Ingredients: (serves 2)
2 chicken breasts or thighs cut into strips
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 salted lemon cut into quarters (add about 3 tbsp salt to 1 litre water & as many lemons as can fit in the jar)
1/2 courgette cut into strips
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
Handful of spinach
(These vegetables are interchangeable. Use whatever you like)

Mix the spices in a bowl and coat the chicken strips evenly (you can use straight away or leave covered in the fridge for later).

Put the rice on to cook.

Add the chicken to a frying pan on a low heat followed by the courgette and mushrooms. Turn the chicken over half way through to cook evenly.

When the vegetables start to soften add the lemon followed by the spinach. Stir until the spinach is cooked and wilted.

Drain the rice and serve everything up!

This dish is super simple and just really good. My flatmate always seems to really enjoy it when I make it so I have backup when I make this claim!

Are you hindering your own recovery?

This is my bold promise for 2015: I will do everything in my power to recover from Fibromyalgia. I am under no illusions that it might not happen but I know that it is possible and if I don’t try it will go down as a huge regret later in my life.

Treading the path to recovery isn’t easy. It isn’t linear or smooth and because of this there are some thoughts and frustrations that can crop up and become road blocks in their own right.

  • Only focusing on what you haven’t achieved

I’ve been told twice lately how much better I seem from a month ago (this is following starting my no-sugar diet). Thinking objectively they are right – my pain is much less. However, at the time I hadn’t thought of this. All I had been noticing was the digestive trouble and disturbed sleep cycles that are still issues. I was so focused on getting 100% better that I was blinding myself to all the good progress I had already made.

It’s important to stop and take stock of progress and congratulate yourself on any progress you have made.

  • Seeing relapses as colossal failures

I have a lot of digestive issues. I’ve had them for almost a decade, so it’s no surprise it’s such an issue with my Fibromyalgia. However, having cut out wheat, sugar & alcohol it’s very difficult not to get frustrated and disheartened when it plays up; it causes me to obsess over the stress it is placing on my body. It’s hard not to be thinking, ‘what more do I need to do here?!’

At times like these it is important to remember that recovery is not a linear process. There will be little – and large – pitfalls and set backs. The disfunctions in my body did not appear overnight so putting things right is also going to take time. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still making progress.

Remember the mantra, two steps forward, one step back.

  • Not believing in yourself

I believe I can recover from my condition. I wholeheartedly believe that to be true. I am strong enough to do it because I am also stubborn enough to take my health back. Whenever someone asks me about my goal I tell them that though I may not get 100% better I will do everything to try. I believe in myself enough to have the confidence to turn my life upside down if I have to.

In terms of your health, life, career, love life, etc you are your greatest champion. People may find your goals, path or ambition ludicrous; they may try to gently persuade you out of it for fear of your failure. But it is you who knows the best path for you and only you know whether you can get there. And what the best way is for you to get there.

Yummy sugar free granola

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http://www.sarahwilson.com/2012/08/sugar-free-granola-the-most-popular-recipe-from-my-cookbook/

My favourite cookbook at the moment is I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson. There are so many delicious looking recipes that I have to restrain myself from doing them all at once!

I made this granola recipe as a break from my usual eggs and bacon for breakfast and I’m a big fan! I love granola anyway but having found out how much sugar is in cereal brand granola (hint, a lot!) I needed an alternative.

I have mine with full fat plain yogurt and about 1/4 – 1/2 banana depending on the size. These are naturally very sugary so I try not to have too much.

Stress Management: don’t sweat the small stuff

NOTE: it might be worth reading this article about the negative effects of stress on the body before reviewing this post: http://www.womens-health-advice.com/dangers-of-stress.html

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? It can be about anything but make it something that impacted your life.

Mine was from my mum. Simply, “don’t worry about things you can’t change.”

Sounds fairly obvious right? But I’ve found, as a society, we seem to have extreme difficulty in putting this principle into practice.

I was once on a train that was delayed by two hours; a tree had fallen on the line. Opposite me was a woman. As the news broke that we would be delayed she became quite distressed: constantly looking at her phone, texting, calling, stopping the ticket operators to find out what was happening, getting up and down to find more information, etc

When it became clear that we were going to be very delayed, she was in tears.

(Looking back, I hate to think that there was a huge emergency that was causing her such distress, e.g. a family member dying. Just to clarify, this post does not refer to any situations of that kind of magnitude)

As I watched her on the train all I could think about was my mums advice. There was nothing anyone on the train could do to make it start moving again, so why get worked up about it?

Take a look at the following situations. Think back to how you may have reacted to them at some point:

  1. Stuck in a traffic jam
  2. In a long queue at a store
  3. Waiting for a response from a client
  4. Waiting for a friend to show up

I’m going to guess at least a few times you got stressed – yelling at the other drivers or pointedly sighing at the person in front. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there.

But we shouldn’t and that’s the point of this post. 

Training yourself to accept that sometimes things don’t go to plan is difficult. This is because we automatically focus on the consequences that will follow: if you’re stuck in traffic, you will be late to the theatre and late arrivals aren’t admitted. If you’re in a queue at the store, you’re parking ticket might be about to expire, etc.

Consequences suck but they exist with everything we do, even our planned decisions (I will go into detail on how to minimise consequences in a later post)

Things happen – don’t let external events control you!

I believe unforeseen situations stress us out so much because we can’t control them or the consequences that stem from them. And we do not like not being in control.

The irony is, our ability to deal with, and subsequently manage these situations is hindered the more stressed we get.

When you’re worked up, you aren’t in control. Why do you think people are given a time out at work when they’re clearly stressed and overworked? It’s because they’re not functioning at their best any moreThink about it. Your body is being flooded with adrenaline and cortisol and that is never healthy – your immune system, your gut and your brain function are all being affected. And, in some cases, for no good reason. 

Now you have no control over the situation or yourself.

Keep calm and take a deep breath

As difficult as it may seem, train yourself to accept that occasionally things, like the train breaking down, happen. It’s life, we can’t govern everything, as much as we’d like to. But what you can manage is how you choose to respond to things.

Reprogramming how you react is a conscious choice, one that you will have to make every single day.

You have to train yourself to accept that, yes, you will miss the play and, yes you will lose money on it but it doesn’t matter. In the grand scheme of things it is NOT WORTH STRESSING ABOUT.

As a final note, here is a situation that happened to me recently…

For New Year I was supposed to fly to visit my friend but my alarm didn’t go off and I missed my flight. Combining flights and train tickets I lost roughly £150. Was I disappointed I missed my flight? Of course. Did I get worked up about it? No.

I know the effect stress has on my body and at the end of the day it causes me to be in pain. In terms of my missed flight, there was literally nothing I could do about it so instead of berating myself or cursing my phone to hell for not waking me up, I took a deep breath, texted my friend and snuggled back under my duvet. After all, it was freezing outside and at least I had a warm bed and a good book to enjoy instead.

Remember, the inconveniences and unforeseen circumstances will always be right around the corner. That will never change. What can change is how you deal with them.

You’ve forgiven others, now forgive yourself

A few years ago I fell prey to the ‘fantasy relationship’ syndrome: the degrading situation of creating a romantic situation where there isn’t one.

Sadly, this situation seems to exist far more than any of us would like and is even acknowledged in Hollywood – remember Gigi in He’s Just Not That Into You? She spent the majority of the film constructing a relationship that didn’t exist anywhere, except in her head.

Now, it’s Hollywood, so of course her situation ended happily with the guy actually falling for her. But this is far from the case in real life.

I built a romantic yarn in my head around a complete fallacy. I took tiny things – like him sending me a message on facebook – and blew them out of proportion, convincing myself that it had a deeper meaning.

Any rational mind wouldn’t have found anything in it but mine did.

Inevitably I was used and humiliated. I’d basically offered it up to him and, unsurprisingly, he took it without giving anything back; as much as we wish everyone had the moral compass of Ghandi, most people don’t.  To be fair, I had walked right into the situation and though I did finally say, ‘no, I have more self respect than this’ I had still constructed this thing entirely on my own in the first place.

There was the time of hating him and cherishing the thought of him being sad and alone forever but I did finally manage to let go of my anger and resentment toward this person.

Instead I started blaming myself.

I would randomly think about it and be reminded that I had created such a stupid situation and the silent and semi-subconsious self bashing would begin.

But blaming myself wasn’t better.

We are human, we make mistakes. We hope for the best and dream about what we don’t currently have. We live in a culture where romance and meaning is arguably dead so I don’t find it at all surprising that girls (and guys) seek something real. And sometimes this yearning slips into fantasy.

That is why we fall prey to this situation. Because we want something beautiful and perhaps, we’ve gotten a little tired of waiting. We want someone to cherish and love us. It’s not a crime.

But, if you have made this mistake, it’s okay. Despite what the other person might say, you are not crazy or psychotic*. You’re a human who makes mistakes. Learn from it. Forgive yourself. And accept that sometimes a ‘hey, how you doin’?’ is just a standard greeting.

*Of course, if it seems like you do this with every guy/girl you meet, there may be other underlying issues that should probably be addressed. Doing this once is a mistake. Creating fantasy relationships from every interaction isn’t – that is a problem.

Roasted red pepper & tomato soup

When people find out I’m now on a wheat, sugar, caffeine & alcohol free diet the standard reaction is “you won’t have anything left to eat!”

Though my consumption of eggs and avocado has increased there is still a lot of other food I can eat. And I’ve finally begun developing an interest in cooking.

So in this blog I’ll be including foods that I can still eat despite my restricted diet.

1) Roasted red pepper & tomato soup

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http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/roasted-tomato-and-red-pepper-soup-3238

This is a Nigella recipe and is lovely! It’s creamy despite having no added dairy, though it’s also nice adding cream cheese.

To keep it wheat free have it with ryvita or gluten free bread.

The difference between supressing and genuinely letting it go

This post is about holding onto a grudge when you feel someone has done you wrong.

I think everyone has had a moment where they wanted to tell someone to just let. it. go. We all know what it means: forget about it, get over it, move on. Stop bugging me about it.

Of course we’re all upset for a time when someone wrongs us but there is a time where the anger and self indulgent self pity needs to stop.

I once knew a guy who was still wrapped up in his bitter hurt over his girlfriend who broke up with him 5 years before in high school. It is painful to lose your first love but there comes a time where dude, you really need to get over it.

Not for anyone else’s sake but for your own.

Quite often people will convince themselves they are over something/one when in reality all they have done is suppress the feelings.

The difference between suppressing a grievance and genuinely letting it go can be explained in two stages (let’s stay on the theme of breaking up with someone):

1) When you THINK you’re over a person. When the person who hurt you is not around you genuinely convince yourself your fine. But you start actively avoiding going to any situation where you might run into them. You don’t want to have to deal with the feelings and emotions that will resurface if you see them because you haven’t really moved on. You’re just avoiding any kind of confrontation so you can convince yourself you’re done.

2) When you’re truly over them. AKA the random epiphany moment. I love this moment. It can happen anywhere – one friend of mine experienced this whilst waiting at a bus stop – and it appears unexpectedly, in quiet acceptance. A literal ‘huh’ moment, where you suddenly realise you genuinely don’t care anymore. Time actually worked and at some unknown point you let that person go.

Of course, this situation isn’t solely for break-ups. Being bullied at school, childhood sibling rivalry, that person who screwed you over at work, any situation where you felt wronged can plant this seed of resentment.

A couple years ago I was at a point where I was cocooned in resentment from grievances years old. Friends and family told me many times I should get over it but I didn’t want to. I reveled in my anger, my open disgust of those who had mistreated me. I believed that if I let it go, I was somehow losing. As if by holding people accountable in my head I was punishing them. Let me tell you, I was not.

It wasn’t until I nearly crashed my car during a rant that I realised how stupid holding onto my grievance was. It was a penny drop moment. Why was I still pent up about this? Was I helping myself in any way? No. Not even slightly. It was making me hateful and resentful and annoying the people around me.

Whatever sweet delight there is in holding on to your hate, it isn’t worth the eventual effect it will have on your personality and relationships or your health.

When you hold onto these past hurts, you’re giving them the opportunity to reappear at any point and cause you stress. A stress which your body can really do without and is entirely unnecessary.

So let those people and those hurts go. You’re only hurting yourself and suppressing who you really are.