We're only 4, nearly 5 months into 2016 and already I feel it's shaping up to be a fairly good one. My family and I have had a rocky start with general life stresses, but my mentality towards myself and my life has changed dramatically in the past few months, and now I feel so much more positive.

I've struggled with my self-esteem and my attitudes towards myself for years. I've always been in the mindset to look after others before myself, and I'd rather have to go through something rubbish than actively make someone else go through it. However, over the past year in particular, it's been made clear that some people just do not think the same and like to take advantage. This has been like a trigger to a whole lifestyle re-shuffle!

I've stayed away from toxic people, and this has only made my life much happier and healthier, and I feel like it's ok to put myself first again. I've not done this properly without worrying what others think for a very, very long time, and it actually feels very good! It's definitely important to surround yourself with the right people, and these people will present themselves in the right situations; they'll always try, and they'll always be there when you need them. If not, they weren't meant to be there, but you can learn something from the experience.

I have experience of mental illness, in particular, depression (which I won't go into in detail here) but it's made me have this negative view of myself, like I didn't deserve to look after myself, or that I wasn't worth bothering with. In the few months that I've been unemployed I've had A LOT of time to think about things, to re-evaluate some decisions, and to make some changes, and finally work out what it is that makes me happy, and it's like my entire outlook on life has changed. I've had to deal with some very 'down days' as I like to call them, and keep afloat, so I've found a lot of things that make me happier.
I go to Pinterest to find some motivation whenever I feel rubbish about something - whether it's the fact I have no job, or if someone has upset me, or if I just generally feel crappy. It may sound cheesy but I actually find after reading through a bunch of quotes or looking at lots of positive images on there, it does actually make me feel better! I'm also challenging myself to adopt a healthier lifestyle by exercising more and eating better in 16 weeks (you can read these posts here) and while this is slowly but surely happening, I still do have days where all I want to do is order a pizza, and have a Friends marathon, and just not move all day long. I am certainly more than happy to do this, just not as often as I'd like - balance is key! To keep myself motivated, I created a motivation book for myself, just filled with lots of positive and inspirational quotes and pictures that I can turn to when I need persuading to keep going; it sounds simple, but it works for me. I also find it cheers me up to look through my 'Likes' on Twitter - I tend to 'like' tweets that promote a strong or positive message, or even if they just make me laugh. A lot of them have links to articles or images that inspire me; whether it's about self-improvement, travel, food....you name it, whatever I'm interested in! You can check my likes out by going to my Twitter page - www.twitter.com/maevewaite - and clicking on my 'Likes' tab. I've got a couple thousand things on there at least!

I also like treating myself to little things when I've got the money, so occasionally I'll buy myself a cheap, small bunch of flowers to put in my bedroom, or a pair of earrings, or a book that I've wanted to read for a long time. I love to buy Lush products too; they're inexpensive, and I love to take a bath and relax using them - it always makes me feel more pampered and looked after properly.

Lastly, like the rest of my family, I get a lot of happiness from music. I have playlists on my iTunes for different reasons: whether they're seasonal playlists that remind of that time of year, or from a trip I took, or just a particular mood. I've piled together some songs that always make me feel positive below:

The Positive Playlist:
- the middle - jimmy eat world
- soar - christina aguilera
- generation - states
- flawless - beyonce
- elevation - U2
- shake it off - taylor swift
- don't stop me now - queen
- shut up and dance - walk the moon
- dancing queen - abba
- greatest day - take that
- what you waiting for? - gwen stefani
- let's go ft. ne-yo - calvin harris
- spice up your life - spice girls
- after the storm - mumford & sons
- begin again - colbie caillat
- happy - pharrell williams
- really don't care ft. cher lloyd - demi lovato
- born for this - paramore
- man! i feel like a woman - shania twain
- survivor - destiny's child
- we r who we r - kesha
- ho hey - the lumineers
- belong - joshua radin
- the long way around - dixie chicks
- hella good - no doubt
- so what - pink
- knee deep ft. jimmy buffet - zac brown band