Posted in mental health, musings

How to become popular and why best friends are the best

I am genuinely interested in what it takes to become popular, both in the real world and online. I’m also interested to know why some people can get so popular that others hate them.

Followers, stats and insights

These days, because we have social media, we can easy fall into the trap of measuring popularity by the number of followers we have. However, it is also a feeling; our perception of how popular we are maybe relates more to how engaged people are with us, and us with them. You can know many people and at the same time you can be lonely.

Mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety can twist the truth about whether people like us. Low self esteem makes us feel that we are not worthy of friendships. It is important to seek help to deal with these feelings. Speak to your doctor or a qualified counsellor, especially if you feel that the world would be a better place without you. You can also find help immediately in your area by searching “where to get help in a crisis” or by contacting your local hospital emergency department.

Hellooooo! It’s Me!

To become popular, people need to get to know you, so, first you need to have a presence. People need to know you exist. They need to be able to see you. It is incredibly difficult for some people to establish an online presence, because you need real life friends to help get the ball rolling, but that’s easier said than done. This is the same for any persona you choose to portray.

Image from Pinterest

Find your online audience

Start with a hashtag or join a group of similar minded people. Ask them to help with the sharing. Don’t just drop a link and run though. At least introduce yourself a bit.

Hello I’m Marie and I blog about papercraft, crochet and knitting over at craftowlblog.wordpress.com 😊 Please let me know what you think and tell me a little bit about yourself. If you like what you see then I would be so happy for you to share it with others. Thank you!

What’s in it for me?

Some people will try to raise their online business profile by organising a “giveaway” to increase their engagement. My friend Lavrax goes into that in more detail in her blog post HERE. The basis of the giveaway theory being that everyone wants something for nothing. Many don’t realise that they’re actually giving away their contact information in return for the chance to win something.

Become an influencer

Genuine fans like what you do and want to do it too. Show them how to adopt that lifestyle. Marie Kondo springs to mind.

Believe in yourself and what you are trying to achieve. Your enthusiasm will shine through and people will be inspired.

Birds of a feather and all that

We all know that people are really only going to stick around with people who share the same interests. Some interests overlap, but just because I’m a blogger doesn’t mean that I want to read every blog. So it’s about finding that niche and tapping into it.

The same with real life. Make friends with people who like what you like.

Best friends

These people are a different kettle of fish altogether. My best friends have grown up with me, and we don’t necessarily have everything in common, but we have a lot of history. Those shared experiences are so precious. We have a deep understanding of each others lives.

I also have close friends online, mainly parents of children with cancer, because we have a mutual understanding of that experience.

Meanwhile, back in the real world

You have taken the advice of others and turned up at the local knit and natter and you are desperate to make a good impression. Well done for just getting there, by the way, that takes courage and effort.

Chin up then! Here we go! … Make sure that people know you’re a nice person by being genuine and approachable.

  • Smile and make eye contact.
  • Say or do something nice, but not too creepy – obviously! If there’s a roll call for making tea, offer to help hand the teas round. Pass the plate of biscuits y’know.
  • Ask questions and try to remember the answers! If you can’t remember the conversation, just remember a few names and faces. Then you can be ready for when you see them again with, “Hello [person’s name], do you remember we sat next to each other last week …?”
  • If your memory is bad then use a notebook, diary or your phone.

Today I went to knit and natter. I sat next to Marjorie. We ate chocolate biscuits and talked about her three grandchildren.

It is important to go back to that club or whatever more than once. You can’t just visit and expect a million messages and phonecalls after that first introduction. You have to establish yourself! This does require a lot of confidence if you suffer from those feelings of being unpopular I mentioned earlier. Those inner voices will try to reinforce feelings that nobody is going to like you and stop you making friends. I would recommend you read this post by Alison at Little Blog of Positivity if that last sentence sounds like you.

Becoming beyond famous

Some celebrities are good at what they do, and some have just been lucky. Most sit on a see saw, rocking between love and hate. We put these people on a pedestal and then knock them down, or they behave in such a way that they fall off by themselves.

I can’t help but think of Princess Diana, who knew how to use the press to her advantage, but ultimately it seemed that the paparazzi chased her to her death.

Or more recently, certain contestants on Strictly Come Dancing who fell out of favour with the public because they were “too good” such as Ashley Roberts.

Who do you admire and why?

My final thoughts

With popularity comes responsibility and pressure. You have to keep on giving in order to maintain or increase your popular status. Unless we are talking about best friends, where you just pick up where you left off. That is why, at the end of the day, best friends ultimately are the best! It is better to have a few really good friends than thousands of followers, because they will always be there for you when the going gets tough.

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Posted in mental health, musings

World Mental Health Day 2018

I have missed updating my blog every day, but I’m also enjoying taking a step back so that I can read all the fantastic Blogtober posts.

I wasn’t going to post anything today as I am still catching up with comments. Then I thought perhaps I should have my say on the subject of WMHD.

When I started this blog I thought I would write lots about my mental health. However, I have decided not to share anything too personal, but instead to use writing as an aid to my recovery. The thought of being able to share anything in my little blog space is empowering, but also comes with a responsibility.

Therefore, while nodding in the direction of my depression and anxiety, I am actually trying to use this blog to forge an identity for myself, to absorb the sense of belonging you find in a good blogging community and to leave a legacy for my son. I want this to be a positive space. A creative space.

I also think there are bloggers out there who do a far better job of writing about mental health than me, so I am going to leave it to them. I will always help out by retweeting and sharing what I can.

Finally, there are two things I think are most important:

1) Be nice – always – because you never know what someone else is going through.

2) It is ok to not be ok – don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ve all had a good day

Marie-Céline


Photo credit : Pexels via WordPress free library

Posted in mental health, musings

New habits and how to make them stick

This is a good read if you find it easy to start a new habit, but have difficulty making it last:

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/3-tips-for-anyone-whos-tired-of-trying-to-make-new-habits-stick/

The basic idea is that you give yourself a time limit. The theory is that any amount of time spent on your new habit is not wasted time, and that we should celebrate what we have achieved instead of dwelling on the fact that we have given up soon after we started!

For example, you may decide you should do more walking. If you say that you will go for a walk every day for a week, it may be easier to stick to that plan rather than try to go for a walk every day for ever more. At the end of the week you may decide that you will try for another week, but even if you give up, you will still have walked for a week. On review, you may decide to have a break and then take up your new habit again next month – this doesn’t matter – just celebrate your achievements.

Thanks for reading

Marie-Céline


Posted in mental health, musings

Music for Moods

Without a doubt, music is very emotive, and it can change your mood before the song has even ended. It can remind you of a time, a place, a person and stir up all the feelings associated with those memories.

I exercise great care when listening to music, because the wrong tune will just turn me into a big blubbering mess. In fact, most of the time I actively avoid listening to the radio, because I am not in control of what is being played, and therefore cannot predict my reaction to certain songs.

Finding suitable music for YouTube has been a challenge. You have to find something which is Copyright Free as well as suitable for the mood you are trying to convey in your film or vlog. YouTube has it’s own free library and it does offer a variety of music, and it is certainly the easiest way of finding a soundtrack, but you have to listen to quite a few before you find what you like.

You can download and save music from the YouTube library and I do find myself listening to it when I need some “neutral” sounds to combat an anxiety attack and to try to calm down.

Ambient sounds and ambient lounge music is probably the safest thing to listen to, but even that can be irritating sometimes!

I wrote about my favourite music a while ago – read all about it here.

If you can recommend some great music, what is it and how does it affect your mood? I would love to know. Please leave me a comment below.

Marie-Céline

Posted in mental health, musings, news

The sad news of the fire at Primark, Belfast

Hello! I wonder how many people have noticed that I did not publish this morning? The reason for this late post is that I had nothing drafted or scheduled for today, and so I thought it would be good to see how the day developed and write about whatever thoughts came into my head.

One thing that I have been thinking about a lot is the recent fire at the Primark store in Belfast. I don’t pay much attention to the news generally, just giving the headlines a glance at lunchtime is about my limits. However, this was different, as it so easily could have been me.

Having worked in retail, I know this is one of the nightmares a shop assistant hopes they never have to face. As part of health and safety, staff are trained on how to evacuate the store. Every time the fire bell is tested there is a sense of relief that it is only a test. Tuesday was a very different day for all those working in that Primark store, and thankfully the store was evacuated successfully with no loss of life and no injuries.

Unfortunately, the store has been gutted and a historic building has been devastated. Alongside the losses of the company, and losses to the town of Belfast, approximately 350 people are left without a place of work and currently not knowing whether they will get paid or redeployed. Those workers would also have suffered personal loss, as they would have left the building without being able to go back for their coats, bags, mobile phones, etc.

I really do feel for those members of staff who went in to work that day, just an ordinary day, only to watch everything burn and by the end of the day have nothing. As I said, it could have been me, it could have been anyone! As someone who suffers with severe anxiety, I will worry about being a customer in this situation in the future. I would now definitely prefer to try on clothes at home rather than risk being stuck in the fitting rooms in an emergency.

However, there have been good news stories since the fire, and I do try to focus on them …

In a bad situation, always look for the helpers … there will always be helpers!

There are reports of charitable donations, a baby bird saved from the smoke, people offering support to the emergency services in attendance and other businesses offering to help the Primark staff caught up in this traumatic day.

I am just grateful that nobody was hurt, and hope that it doesn’t have a bad effect on the people that did experience the emergency first hand.

Thank you for reading

Marie-Céline

Posted in blogging, mental health, musings

Rant Alert: Technical issues between mobile and desktop

I had to have a quick late night edit of one of my published posts recently.

I had originally gone back in to the post to correct a grammatical error. When I updated the post, horror of horrors, my automatic numbering (ordered list) was all over the place. I have had this happen once before with the plain bullet points (unordered list).

It seems to be an issue between creating the post on the desktop version and then editing on the mobile version, and vice versa.

Has anyone else had this problem? Please drop me a comment below.

I create the majority of posts on my phone and keep the formatting simple usually. The mobile app has basic features and has mostly been ok up to now. As the ordered/unordered lists are included in what is available on the app I would expect them to work.

The graphic I have made for this post is me poking fun at myself, but it has a serious note too. In one of my therapy sessions it was noted that perhaps I was a bit more cross than I was letting on!

That said then, I do need to find some more descriptors about exactly how cross I was …

In the case of the messed up formatting, it was a massive inconvenience. I was tired and agitated that I had to work quickly to resolve this problem and save further embarrassment late in the day, when I should have been winding down.

I was annoyed with myself because I had failed to notice the error in my grammar before I published. Then I was annoyed that correcting that problem had created another.

It was a post that originally I had been proud of, but it was now showered with disappointment because it was no longer perfect in my eyes. I worried that my readers had seen my mistakes and laughed or thought I was a failure as a blogger.

I know that a lot of that would be classed as over thinking, but my blog is supposed to be making me feel better, not worse. At that point, my blog was not doing that job, I had let myself down and my blog had let me down.

Grrrr! Rant over!

Marie-Céline

Posted in blogging, childhood cancer, craft, mental health, musings, photography, travel

5 Reasons Why I Blog Every Day

I have read lots of ideas about how often to post and when. Many suggest that you can post too much, and that blogging every day isn’t always a good thing.

Here are my main reasons for blogging daily

1) I have a lot in my head that needs to be vented

This blog is one way that I can express myself. I feel that this is a positive thing to do. I am a creative person and writing is just one way that I can be creative.

2) I write about different things and spread the posts across the week

I post about craft on a Monday, photography on Wednesday, my favourite something on a Friday, once a month I have a Social Saturday and every Sunday I share a short video clip. In between I post about any subject I choose.

3) It gives me a routine

In addition to the above number 2 reason, it gives me something different to do everyday. It doesn’t overwhelm me when I am unwell because I make use of draft posts and scheduling. It helps distract me if I need a distraction. Part of my routine is reading other blogs and commenting as well, so I feel like I am part of a community.

4) My blog is like my notebook

If I think of something I want to write about, I can quickly open the WordPress app on my phone and start a draft post. Sometimes that might just be the title, just so I don’t forget an idea. I will come back to it later and add the detail if it is something I want to share. That is exactly how this post started.

5) It’s my blog and I’ll write if I want to

Although this is number 5, it is probably the most important one. I blog, because I want to. I write everyday, because I want to. I am not trying to monetise my blog, I am not trying to go viral, and I am not after hundreds of subscribers. I read blogging tips and I decide if they are relevant to what I want to do, rather than thinking I should do XYZ because ‘A Famous Blogger’ said so.

Thank you for reading this, I hope that it makes sense to you. If you are a blogger, please let me know a bit about your blogging schedule. I would love you to have a look at some of my other posts. All my posts are catagorised, so you can search by topic. Please use the search bar or click on a tag below.

Happy blogging!

Marie-Céline


Have you seen my earlier post? ~ Can you blog too much?

Posted in childhood cancer, mental health

Childhood Cancer | Finding the positives

There is no doubt that having a child with a life threatening illness is one of the worst things that can happen to a parent.

I am well aware that my posts about Childhood Cancer are not full of positivity and there is a reason for that …

I am still trying to process all my thoughts and feelings, still trying to come to terms with it, and I can definitely say that it’s not been the highlight of my life!

However, there were a few positive things that happened during that time. So it does make sense to talk about them too.

The main thing that happens is that people will want to help. All sorts of people. There will be support workers and charities that are there to help, that is their job. There will also be fellow parents who will be very supportive, and parents who you will be able to offer support to as well. There are also celebrities who will also want to use their status to help make life a little brighter.

I wrote about camaraderie in my post about Great Ormond Street. The fellowship amongst the parents is unique and special, and I am extremely grateful for the friends I have made along the way.

There are several charities that help by granting wishes. The one that made a dream come true for my son was MAKE A WISH. They spoke to my son about what he would like and then they organised the whole day and included many extras to make the day even more special.

We also attended a celebrity Christmas Party at Hard Rock Cafe, organised by the hospital. The celebrities we met were just lovely. They made time to speak to all the families and the memory is one I treasure.

These things only happened because my son had cancer, and I am sure that other cancer families will agree that they would rather have a healthy child than dine with celebrities etc, but it is an important part of the healing process to look for these positives.

Thank you for reading this post, if you leave me a comment I will respond, or you can message me privately via my contact form.

I would also like to remind you about the Ziggy Zoo Radio page on Facebook. This page is managed by my husband, and it is a place where you can share your own experiences of Childhood Cancer.

Marie-Céline

Posted in mental health, musings

The juice of 5 limes

I had big plans for today, but, when it came to it, all I could do was squeeze some limes into an ice cube tray.

They weren’t ordinary limes. They were 5p a bag in Sainsbury’s. You did not read that wrong. 5p a bag … because they had reached their sell by date.

If it wasn’t for my poor mental health, those limes would probably have ended up in landfill or as compost (depending on the local council’s recycling policy). However, although I have to avoid the crowds, nipping into the supermarket just before closing is not beyond the realms of possibilities, as there’s often no other shoppers at that time. If it wasn’t for my avoidance of people we would not have leapt upon the reduced items like they were the very finest treasures, before swiping them through the self serve machine, head down, don’t make eye contact, phew, finished, out!

My husband has gone out separately to purchase an ice cube tray. We are stuck in a heatwave. Ice cube trays sold out everywhere. I cannot go on a hunt around our shopping centre.

The new ice cube tray is ENORMOUS.

It leered at me from the worktop for days. “Haven’t you dealt with those limes yet?” “I need rinsing before you use me!”

Me: “You’re in a packet dammit. You do not need rinsing!”

“Yeah but how many times was I touched before I went in the packet?”

Me: “Okay, you win!”

And so, the limes were squeezed, eventually. They filled maybe a fifth of the mammoth, all singing all dancing, half plastic half silicone ice tray. Lime juice is in the freezer. No idea what will happen next. But a little part of me is ok because I saved the limes from destruction.

Thanks for reading

Marie-Céline

Posted in blogging, mental health, musings

Remember why you started a blog?

My blog is now a month old. Well done Me!

I started blogging (again) because I hoped that writing would help me cope with my mental health problems.

I also wanted to have a blog that would encapsulate all of my previous blogs, and be my “blog of blogs” instead of one for each topic. This blog is going to be like an identi-kit of my life.

The name of my blog, and my tag line, was very important. I wanted an easy URL (I was done with trying to be unique and clever) and decided that a simple version of my name worked well.

In order to capture all my topics in one place, I have a routine and schedule my posts around my own daily prompts. I then fill in the gaps with my musings.

  • Monday is for craft
  • Wednesday and Sunday for photography
  • Friday is for favourites, reviews and recommendations etc
  • Saturday is for being social

I feel that my system is working well for me. I have some followers and I have found some blogs I like to read, and I regularly comment on other blogs too. The blogging community has been very welcoming so far, and I am grateful for that.

If you’re new to my blog, please have a look through my archives and see what grabs your interest. Alternatively, please start from the beginning by reading my first post on this blog.

As always, thank you for visiting. I do read the comments and appreciate your feedback.

Marie-Céline