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  • Clothes

    Clothes

    Today, I will take a flyer on this blog and talk about clothing and mental health. I ride BMX, and to support the culture; I’ll wear clothing by brands I identify with. Sometimes, I feel that this raises expectations of my abilities. I know this is in my head, and in reality, nobody cares. It still, though, brings anxiety. Today I went to a local park and looked like I was going to a funeral. I felt zero expectations and had the best session I’ve had in a while.

    Clothes and liberating mental health

    It was an epiphany. I had never thought about clothes and that I might subconsciously make myself more anxious. It is also something I might never have thought about it if I hadn’t experienced today’s session. I would have said, “You are not what you own.”

    When I looked into this idea, I saw that most people talked about clothing and body types. How different body types look better with particular designs and styles, and how picking the wrong style and looking in a mirror can be a negative choice.

    I can empathise with these dilemmas as, over the summer, I shot a few clips. I never released them into the world as I felt uncomfortable about how I looked in my clothes. Today though, I will focus on why I created anxiety thanks to brands.

    Branding

    When we are involved in a hobby, we can get into brand tribalism. If you become a member of a brand tribe, you are above an average consumer and effectively become an advert for that brand by looking like a billboard for them.

    With many BMX brands offering similar products, we will pick the brand whose marketing most aligns with our aesthetic. There is nothing wrong with this. If you look at skateboarding and how brand X has an 8.5″ deck, people will swear it is better than brand Y’s, even if they have identical specs and are made in the same woodshop, and the only difference is the graphic on the bottom. It is a well worn path.

    I am probably a brand tribe member for brands that I deal with through work. I then have bikes built by their parts. Have their apparel and possibly even their stickers on my helmet. It also helps me to feel like a member of the larger BMX tribe.

    The flip on clothing

    Now, I’ve described the sort of positive reasons I dress the way I dress. Last week, though, I changed how I dressed and received a pretty positive reception. I hadn’t, though, gone BMXing, and everyone expected me to dress like the BMXer I felt I was when I went to the skatepark.

    Today I didn’t.

    Crazily, I felt more at home than I had in years. I felt more in tune with myself and thought I was riding better than I had in a while. People mentioned I was riding better, which helped my self-esteem. The big turning point was that I felt free and that no one was judging me negatively for having all the gear and no idea.

    This is weird because I have the idea; it is my day job. It was strange to realise that I was putting expectations and anxiety on myself because of how I dressed. It was also freeing to go, “Fuck this; I’ll dress how I like.” I no longer felt I needed to be a tribe member, I could be me, and you could like that or not. It doesn’t matter.

    Which is pretty freeing.

    I am still amazed that I managed to pile a load of anxiety on myself because of how I dressed.

  • Burnout Sucks

    Burnout Sucks

    Burnout, it often seems like the modern world is determined to make this a characteristic of our daily lives. Recently I’ve been giving myself a little bit of imposter syndrome. I work and teach people about mental health while at the same time letting mine dive off the side of a cliff. Sometimes we forget about self-care.

    I realised that I had let myself go when I went out mountain biking. Things I would never have given a second thought to before were suddenly out the window. I realised that I was facing a mountain, the wrong way, so to speak. I was swamped, overwhelmed, and I was emotionally a wreck. It was all too much, and even simple things were a nightmare.

    I needed to find a way to reset.

    What is burnout?

    Burnout is a state of physical and mental exhaustion.

    Burnout does not just happen overnight; it builds up over time. It is a multiplier effect. Stress has to grow and pass through chronic stress to become burnout. With stress, we feel like we have too much to do; with burnout, we feel we have nothing left. Burnout is our body trying to protect itself after being hyperactive or stuck in a fight or flight system for a long time.

    Burnout has symptoms similar to those of stress and anxiety. Your sleep will be disrupted, and insomnia will appear; you’ll feel fatigued, and as such, you will change your appetite and caffeine use. You’ll be ill more often, and your body will spend a lot of time feeling tense. You’ll be way more irritable and feel very apathetic and numb. Sarcasm will come to the fore, and with it, a lot of self-criticism and an almost debilitating self-doubt. You’ll procrastinate and isolate yourself. Numbing may be through the use of substances or by diet; you will no longer enjoy life.

    At this point, I’d like to point out that I am just someone typing words online, and if you need help, you should seek professional help. No one will judge you for asking for help. Use what I’ve written here to make yourself realise that you are not alone, and in a minute, we’ll talk about some solutions you can try as you await an appointment.

    Speak to your doctor or counsellor. If you can’t speak to them, talk to a friend or work colleague whom you trust.

    What did I do?

    I talked to people around me and let them know what I was going through. The most dismissive person of myself, at this point, was me; which is a good sign of being burntout. I then knew I had to try calming activities; I went back to reading. I took time to go and ride my tracklocross bike, as it is a style of cycling that is not connected with work. It can be a bit of a nightmare when your hobbies are also your work.

    I started to make sure I prioritised time for myself to go through mindfulness practices. A small meditation in the morning and then used the various activities I have talked about on this blog before sessions, and slowly I started to turn the tide.

    I also spent less time answering emails, invoicing, and dealing with work. It now has an allotted time, and I work to that. The problem for me is it easy to allow a business you own to overtake everything.

    Overcoming burnout and the associated evils of stress and anxiety is not easy. A simple blog on the internet will not give you all the answers. I can show what I did and be honest and say I’ve made mistakes to let you know that life is not all plain sailing even after you prioritise your mental health.

    Let us try and defeat burnout, feel free if you want to private message about your feelings.

  • Excited to Be at the Skatepark

    Excited to Be at the Skatepark

    In a previous article, I discussed being anxious about going to the skatepark; today, I’m going to look at the opposite end of the spectrum, being too excited. Being ready to rush straight in can have some unintended consequences, and taking a moment before jumping in can save you from a bad experience.

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  • The Two Wolves Inside You

    The Two Wolves Inside You

    There is a story, often attributed to Native Americans, about people having two wolves inside them. In some ways, it is now a cliche to talk about them, but I still find people who have missed the tale, and I feel it is worth a look.

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  • The Power of Maybe

    The Power of Maybe

    You’ve probably heard the idea that everything happens for a reason. Pedantically we could say it does. The window broke because the ball hit it, and the ball hit the window because someone kicked it. The statement is not meant this way, though. It is a comforting statement that things will get better during bad times. We could argue that this is a trick we play on ourselves and what would be better would be to say, “Maybe.”

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  • You Should Mindfully Wake Up

    You Should Mindfully Wake Up

    So far, in the other blog posts, we have talked of exercises to try when you are out of the house; what about one to try in the house? Mindfully waking up is a great way to get yourself ready for the day, no matter what you are going to do.

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  • Fear of Failure? Conquer It

    Fear of Failure? Conquer It

    Fear of failure is a natural part of the human experience. So much so that, like every other phobia, it has a cool Latin name, atychiphobia. Admittedly to be diagnosed with atychiphobia, you will be at the extreme end of being fearful of failure. Today we’ll look at some strategies to help you beat these feelings.

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  • Be More Aware: In Praise of the Small Things

    Be More Aware: In Praise of the Small Things

    We’ve looked at small mindful exercises that we can do when out at spots or the skatepark; today, we’re going to try one that we can do anywhere. Mindfulness is described as being in the moment. To be in the moment, we have to be aware of the moment. Let us then become more aware.

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  • What to Do When It Goes Wrong

    What to Do When It Goes Wrong

    BMX can be as safe or as dangerous as you want it to be. You’ll learn to know what you can do and what you can do to progress. Sometimes though, it doesn’t all go to plan. That is why today, we are looking at the five senses exercise.

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  • How to Mindfully See at the Skatepark

    How to Mindfully See at  the Skatepark

    Today we are going to look at the idea of mindful seeing. When you turn up a new spot, skatepark, ledge, rail, or trails, it doesn’t matter; this is an excellent way to bring yourself mentally into the game.

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