I talk quite a bit on my blog about seeking discomfort as a way to push against anxiety, but those posts are always rather lengthy. To approach the same topic in a different, more succinct way, I wrote a poem a month or so ago to try and describe why I think it’s so important to seek new opportunities, including ones that scare you.
When I first started blogging, Bexa from Hello Bexa was one of the first people who actively encouraged me and made me feel less intimidated by the whole putting-your-life-on-the-internet thing. We’ve connected over a lot of things: from our adventures abroad and our journalling processes, to studying with the Open University, just to name a few. Bexa writes with a lot of passion about travel and creativity and always takes perfectly arranged photos for her posts. I honestly don’t know how she does it.
This is why, when I started looking for bloggers to collab with, I directly emailed Bexa. I knew there would be many areas we’d both be able to write about and that I’d be interested to hear her perspective on, whatever topic we chose. We decided to talk about comfort zones today, or more specifically, challenge ourselves to do something outside our comfort zones and writing about what we learnt from the experience.
“I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t-”
It was week four into the running challenge my mum had convinced me to follow with her, although I’m sure this particular dialogue could’ve been plucked out of any week so far, and I felt like I was going to choke on carbon dioxide. Or like I was going to collapse. Or die. Or possibly all three at once.
A revelation I’ve had since starting this running thing, aside from the fact that I seem to be a dramatic runner who catastrophises everything, is that I should’ve done this sooner. I haven’t left it ridiculously late in life to start, and I know many people take up running when they’ve had a lot more birthdays than me, but the thought does tend to linger in my head as I sweat it out on the seafront.
We all have a comfort zone: some are small and particular whilst others are bigger and encompass a lot of experiences. Some have thick walls constantly under guard whilst others have more lenient borders. As I’ve grown up, my comfort zone has stretched out in many ways – for example, my independence, ability to travel alone and slower heart rate when making phone calls.
Yet, in a lot of other ways, my comfort zone has shrunk as I’ve become more self-aware, and as a result of this, more self-conscious. My comfort zone in terms of putting myself out there, doing sport and self-confidence have all diminished; sometimes it feels like the walls have been built up higher and surrounded by a moat. This is something I’d like to change.
Today is an exciting day, and not just because it’s January 1st. It is also the first day of Veganuary: a global, month-long challenge for people to change their eating habits by following a vegan diet. This means that a person’s food consumption is plant-based, and doesn’t include meat, fish, dairy, eggs or honey. That can sound extremely daunting to a lot of people, because ‘what am I going to eat?!’ and ‘how can I possibly be healthy?’.
But you shouldn’t worry, many vegans now living happy and healthy lives also experienced concern when facing these questions, amongst a catalogue of others, yet still managed to make the change. And if this is something you want to do, it is totally possible and plausible, it just takes a little education, experience and support.