Ever wished there was an instruction booklet on growing up? Millie Smith has written one.
We’re supposed to have life figured out as adults, but if most of us are honest we’re simply winging it and hoping for the best as body acceptance and mental health advocate Milly Smith (@millykeepsgoing, 164k Instagram followers) knows.
She’s written The Adulting Manual, ‘an interactive manual for when being an adult is a bit too much’ to help anyone struggling navigate adult life.
Aimed at adults with a ‘messy mind’, it covers everything from small talk to self-image and what to do in a crisis.
It’s fun and bright with illustrations and lots of scope to doodle and deliberate as you go.
‘I wanted it to be interactive because I’ve never seen anything that’s targeted at adults in an accessible way with colouring, jokes and stickers,’ says Milly who lives in Hull with her husband and young son.
‘The focus is making you aware of how you think, who you are, and what benefits you. Life can be beautiful, but it’s also hard. When adults are presented with mental health advice, it’s always so serious.
I wanted to present it in a way that provides humour. And the book’s broken down into bite-size chunks, so you can dip into it depending on what you’re struggling with.’
Here, Milly shares 10 lessons worth remembering, especially at times like these…
Small talk isn’t compulsory
I can make small talk when the time comes, but it’s something I do feel anxious about.
I overthink it and overcompensate sometimes. I worry about what I’m going to say at the time and if that person’s going to think I’m silly, and analyse what I’m saying but in reality they’re probably not listening that much, or they’re feeling the same.
Ask questions if you’re a better listener. If you’re at the hairdresser’s, tell them you prefer to be quiet and relax. You’re allowed to leave a situation whenever you like. Just say you’ve got somewhere to be, but it was lovely chatting.
The world doesn’t end if you say no
A lot of people have such a hard time saying no, whether it’s working late, or going out when they don’t feel like it.
It’s perceived to be the polite thing to do, but when we don’t say no, we don’t set boundaries, instead we’re creating a toxic environment for ourselves and others.
You might worry someone’s going to dislike you for setting a boundary, but that’s not your problem.
Be courteous, but you don’t have to give an explanation. Practise saying no in front of the mirror, write or text it and stand firm in your decision.
Comparison is pointless
I don’t know one person who doesn’t compare themselves to others. It’s such an easy thing to do, but it only ever leads to disappointment and low self-esteem.
Celebrate other people without comparison and be proud of your own achievements. We rarely spend time reflecting on what we’ve been through, so take a moment to write down your progression.
It could be things like you left a toxic relationship or work environment, or you moved out on your own. The journey doesn’t have to be the traditional one, and we can praise our own for the highs, and lows.
Eat like a toddler
If it wasn’t for diet culture, intuitive eating would simply be eating, but diet culture thrives on feeding lies.
I remember watching my son when he was a toddler and he just ate what he wanted and stopped when he had eaten enough. He listened to his body and didn’t have restrictions.
Life is busy but try to enjoy your food in peace and pay attention to every mouthful, and don’t think of food as ‘naughty’. Enjoy it – you’re allowed to.
Thoughts aren’t facts
When we talk negatively to ourselves constantly, we start to believe it. But what the mind conjures up isn’t always fact, sometimes it’s just self-sabotage. Realise what’s real and what’s not.
When I start overthinking things and spiralling into negativity, I take a moment and remind myself they’re fleeting, hazy thoughts, not facts.
When you have that realisation, you can let the thought float out of your mind, rather than cross examine it.
Consent isn’t confusing
Lots of adults don’t know what their rights are, or whether they’re being bullied during a sexual interaction.
This book reminds people what the requirements of consent are, like making sure your partner’s freely and enthusiastically participating.
It’s not persuading, pressuring, or tricking someone into it, and consent can be withdrawn at any time and any point. Asking for consent, or how to look for it, can help you with your own confidence and boundaries.
Don’t waste your energy on worrying
Being an adult is full of worry, but you can end up tormenting yourself. Ask yourself, “Can I change the thing I’m worried about, or can I do anything to ease it?”.
If you can’t, worrying makes no difference. If you can change the situation, take small steps to do so.
It’s worth remembering that when we’re worrying about something, we’re thinking of the worst-case scenario but in any situation, the best-case, or non-eventful, scenario, might also happen.
Self-acceptance is everything
Accepting your body, its fluidity, and its right to change is an attainable, long-lasting and happy goal.
Say kind things to yourself, and others, write down a few notes about yourself that aren’t related to your appearance, exercise for the endorphins and embrace yourself, literally, with a hug or scalp massage, which releases serotonin, the happy chemical.
Self-awareness and self-acceptance are the two things I want people to take away from the book, or to at least begin to accept themselves as they are.
Whether it’s to do with your body, your mind, or how you treat other people, it’s absolutely key.
The Adulting Manual by Milly Smith with illustrations by Katie Abey (£12.99, Studio Press) is out now.
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article