my favourite parts of Autumn

2021

Hello!

Autumn is my favourite time of year, second only to Christmas – there’s lots of lovely things about summer; the warmth on my skin, the light evenings, barbecues with friends! But then the burning heat, being sweaty all the time and working inside while I can hear kids screaming in paddling pools in the garden down the road. Pros and cons!

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about, but I’ve been enjoying writing little positivity lists so I thought I’d pick the 10 things I’m most excited about for the change in season!

  1. Sweaters. Long sleeves, knitwear, feeling cosy and warm. It’s my true form.
  2. Blankets! I have one in basically every room but my favourite one is the one with sleeves that I sometimes wear as a cape because I can.
  3. Dark evenings with the fairy lights on. They always make me feel magical ✨
  4. Rewatching Harry Potter. It just comes with the time of year.
  5. Warm winter foods – is there anything better than getting the slow cooker out and making something hearty and filling the whole house with the smell?
  6. The leaves changing colour – we don’t always get those beautiful orange shots you see in American hallmark movies, but when the does come out and the leaves crunch beneath my feet on the ground, that never gets less exciting.
  7. Wearing my Dr Martens – I’m not very good at sticking to one ‘look’ or style but putting my Docs on with anything makes me feel a bit more badass than I really am.
  8. Cadbury Snow Bites – I’m not one for celebrating Christmas too early (because otherwise I’ll run out of momentum) but I won’t complain about the Christmas chocolates. Snow Bites are my favourite and they are my weakness.
  9. Hot chocolate – Costa hot chocolate is my favourite but I got pretty good at making my own at home last winter (though I’ve deliberately never calorie counted them).
  10. Snuggles with my boy – yes, I had to get soppy at some point. Whether it’s on the sofa watching TV, under the blanket as we fall asleep watching George Clark’s Amazing Spaces or standing in the kitchen making dinner, the worst bit about summer is feeling too warm for hugs and cuddles.

There are good and bad parts to every season and after such an unconventional winter last year, I know many people are concerned about seasonal affective disorder and I don’t to belittle that by pretending everything is pretty leaves and cosy drinks. Some fairy lights aren’t going to make up for how much darker it is, however magical they feel.

However cheesy it sounds, it’s remembering that the sun will always rise again – there’s always another tomorrow, summer will always come back, take Vitamin D supplements if you need them and see your doctor if things feel too hard.

Change is hard and weird, but although the seasons change and the weather’s unpredictable, like most thing’s in life – they won’t stay the same forever.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Stretch Goals for 2021

2021, goals

Hello!

I love goal setting, but it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve given myself the flexibility to adapt my goals when my interests or perspective change.

I’ve watched Hannah Witton make videos about ‘Stretch Goals’ for the last few months of the year and I thought I’d give it a go – a few of my goals are no longer relevant to me (and/or I was too optimistic about how long lockdown would go on for and how confident I’d feel in a post-covid world). So I’ve written a few adaptations to my original 2021 Goals and I’m going to see how far I can get by the end of the year!

Professional Goals:

The one I’ve still got left to do: Finish my portfolio website and Instagram

My New Stretch Goal: Start New Job Part 2! – my nine-month contract in my current job finishes at the end of the month and it’s time for something new. Not so much of a goal as a necessity but it takes me a little while to process big changes like a new job and this helps. And it’s exciting too!

Personal Goals:

The one I’ve still got left to do: Finish my first cosplay costume

My New Stretch Goal: Give handmade Christmas gifts – a nice combination of saving money and using all the craft supplies I’ve been collecting for 18 months. And it’s an excuse to work on lots of craft projects!

Home Goals:

The one I’ve still got left to do: wedding planning and saving!

My New Stretch Goal: Have a trip to Southampton with my fiancé – it’s where we met and we haven’t been back in ages – this year is our last anniversary before our wedding day and I think it’s the year to do something special.

‘Bucket List’ Goals: (I need to find a new name for this)

  1. Read 30 books (upped from my current goal of 25)
  2. Writing challenges – 45,000 words in September / 50,000 words in November
  3. Monthly date nights with my fiancé
  4. Get a tattoo
  5. Finish 1SE video

Even just writing these out, thinking about and evaluating my focus on these goals has been really refreshing and helped me feel more focused. Every time I look over my goals I feel like I’m learning on how to make smarter goals that are more beneficial to me in the long run.

I’m aware of how ‘hustle culture’ this makes me sound – working on goals in my own time outside of work, using words like ‘evaluating’ and always aiming for productivity, but actually my intention is the opposite. I want to be more mindful of how I spend my time – I’ve come to terms with expecting myself to be ‘productive’ for 16 hours a day isn’t healthy or beneficial for me or anyone around me, some I’m trying to maximise my efficiency so I make time to chill out, get enough sleep and do things I want to do as well! I’ve just started dance classes again and it’s an hour round trip to get there and back so I have to be more mindful with my time.

Having these stretch goals is a great way for me to figure out my priorities and plan out my time in the wisest way for me.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Hopes for 25

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

Today is my 25th birthday and I’ve had the loveliest day – very lazy morning, taking time to put on make-up and my favourite dress, a little video call with my mum and sibling and opening their very generous presents, then my fiancé took me to a local reservoir for a walk and some lunch, then a trip to Hobbycraft to buy supplies for my new toy (he bought me a cricut!) and an afternoon of playing with the new toy before dinner at the highest rated restaurant in Banbury, which was actually fantastic.

If you’ve ever read any of my posts before, you’ll know I’m a massive goal setter – I love New Years for setting new yearly goals, I love setting monthly mini goals and consistently evaluating my progress, adapting to fit my current desires and pushing myself to develop in the ways I care about most.

I thought about setting myself a few little goals for things I want to achieve before my 26th birthday next year, but if we’ve learnt anything from 18 months of pandemic is that life is unpredictable and sometimes we don’t have control over what we do and don’t achieve.

So rather than setting anything so rigid, I thought I’d set myself a little list of aspirations. Not 26 things I want to achieve in a year, not 3 huge life changes, just a few things I’d be pleased if they did happen!

  • Travel somewhere internationally – having worked in Italy for five weeks for the Euros, my fiancé has somewhat been bitten by the travel bug and we’d both love to go somewhere new and explore, but also to be somewhere hot near a pool and read. We went to Paris in 2019 and had so many ambitions to explore countries further afoot but that cheeky pandemic made it slightly more difficult, so it would be lovely to get away in the next year!
  • I’d love to feel more body confident – I think I’ve been at war with my body since I was about 12, always feeling too big compared to all my friends and just in the last couple of weeks, I’ve started dance classes again and it’s the closest to consistent exercise I’ve been since I was doing Couch to 5k last year. I’m hoping this can help me work towards a healthier lifestyle – losing weight would be optimal, but just feeling happier in my own skin would be lovely.
  • Go to the West End again – I love musical theatre with all my heart and soul. I took my fiancé to see ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ over the summer and I’d love to be able to go more frequently but wow theatre tickets are expensive. I’d love to see the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical ‘Cinderella’, I’ve heard amazing things about ‘Six’ and my favourite ‘Les Miserables’ is one I’d love to take my fiancé to see as I adore it so much, but there’s also ‘Frozen’, I’ve never seen ‘The Lion King’ and I really want to see ‘Come From Away’. Conclusion: more theatre required.
  • I want to be doing a job I really love – what I’ve learned from my current job is that even though I won’t always have the opportunity to work in my dream industry, I can grow to really love what I am working on, whatever that may be. I never thought I’d be so proud working on an inaugural tech festival this year but now I’m actually really disappointed to not be working on next year’s festival if it’s approved. So yeah, I’m still building up my career but to be doing something I actually enjoy is really important to me.
  • Do more little things that bring me joy – buying myself flowers, using nice products in the shower, wearing my favourite clothes even if it means I’m ‘too dressed up’ – life is short! Buying myself a bubble machine this summer to just sit and watch the bubbles in my garden was one of the best things I did because I didn’t let myself feel bound by ‘things for children’ and taking that mindset forward with me can only be good for my mental health, right?

Having had a wonderful birthday, I’m feeling incredibly content right now and I’m looking forward to continue making little tweaks to my day to day life to maintain that. Life is short, we’ve got to make what we want from it, and mine includes bubbles!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Approaching 25 / Accepting Me

2021, lifestyle

Hello,

You know how on every birthday, everyone asks you ‘do you feel old?’ and the answer is usually no because it’s just another day that just happens to mark another year around the sun, right?

When I turned 20, I actually did feel older. It felt like a big step – finally shunning the teenage years and officially entering my twenties; the decade of potentially the biggest changes of my life. Graduating university, starting my career, getting married, buying a house, having a baby? I don’t know if I’ll do all those things but it’s a pretty monumental decade!

I feel like 25 is going to have the same impact, because I’m officially halfway through.

And I could write about ’25 Things I’ve Done by 25′ or ’30 Things I Want To Do By 30′ but life is simultaneously short and long – things I’ve done are for me to celebrate with my friends and family. If I’d made a 30 by 30 list when I was 20, half the things I wanted then wouldn’t be relevant now. I’m five years older, on the brink of a neurodiversity diagnosis and I’m starting to understand that wanting a routine and to be in bed by 10pm isn’t a ‘flaw’ I need to push myself out of, but what my mind and body needs and works best with.

I wouldn’t say I’m a completely different person, but I’ve grown in the best way. I took a phone call last week where someone I’d never spoken to before described me as ‘confident’ – that whole sentence was a ride from ‘phone call’ to ‘confident’; look at any of my school reports and I don’t think a single one of them will praise my confidence because I didn’t have any. I’ve really grown and though I’m not ‘there’ yet (wherever ‘there’ is), I think I’m really starting to accept myself and I feel like that’s what, subconsciously at least, I’ve really struggled to do so far.

I’ve always thought of myself as weird or wrong; not quite fitting in, always looking like the odd one out in everything from my height and weight to my interests and the way I think and talk.

But I can’t hold myself to other people’s standards – to neurotypical standards if I’m not, to looking like a 5’7 size 8 model on tiktok when I’m not, to being a ‘night owl’ who doesn’t sleep till 3am when I love falling asleep at 11 and getting eight hours sleep.

I spent so long desperate to be something I wasn’t – naturally skinny, naturally musical, naturally social etc etc – when actually, if I can spend the rest of my life accepting myself and not sacrificing my boundaries for the sake of others; doing what I feel comfortable doing, then I think I’ll be doing okay.

Here’s to my last week of 24, and to not squeezing myself into spaces I don’t naturally fit.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

September Goals 2021

2021, goals

Hello!

Although I can’t believe we’re 8 months through the year, we’ve arrived at my favourite month – my birthday month, the start of a new academic year and the time where I will always get excited about a new pencil case despite the fact I haven’t bought a new pencil case in years and I am never going back to school again.

(but the stationery hype is always real)

A new month means new monthly goals and August was generally good, but I’m really motivated for September – the big event I’m part of at work is on the 7th-8th so I’m excited for that (both because I think it’ll be a great event and because it’ll be over) and I’m turning 25 which feels oddly significant and has been on my mind for about 6 months since I got my letter about booking my smear test (which I did, don’t you worry!).

So here are my September mini goals:

Writing challenge – 45,000 words

My fourth writing challenge of the year in the run up to November’s NaNoWriMo – 1500 words a day, seems like a reasonable ask to me as long as I’m dedicated and manage my time. I really want to focus on writing original fiction rather than falling back into fanfiction like I usually do. But if I do, hey ho, it’s about having fun and enjoying writing rather than making it feel like a chore!

Cosplay costume work

I’ve been slowly working on this costume all year but I’m struggling at turning this bigger project into smaller achievable tasks and going from just about knowing how to use a sewing machine to making actual clothes. This month I’m going to buy part of the costume on Etsy and make another part, because I figure for my first cosplay costume, a balance of both is a fair place to start.

Wedding planning

As we creep closer to November and the wedding will be less than a year away, it’s starting to feel more and more real – I don’t even know what I have left to plan but also I feel like I have everything left to plan. This month I want to make a mood board of any of the decor I want to make myself, I want to think about designing our invites and planning what our wedding favours will be. These all feel like little things in comparison to the venue and the photographer but I think they’re going to take more than I expect!

Review Yearly Goals and make stretch goals

With only four months left in the year, I want to make time to evaluate my goals and see how I can adapt them to fit what I want now. There are a few goals that aren’t relevant to me anymore and there’s definitely time to squeeze in a little more before the end of the year. I might do a whole post on evaluating my goals and resetting them, because apparently I have to post all my goals online!

Project 333 Update

I started trying this Project 333 thing over the summer and I never quite made it down to 33 items, but I had a big sort and it’s made me think a lot about what I’m wearing, how adaptable my wardrobe is and how I want my clothes to work more cohesively together.

I think this will take a few more cycles to truly figure out how to make my wardrobe work with only 33 items (it’s meant to include jewellery and shoes but I think that’s potentially a bit excessive). But I can say for sure I’m excited about getting my cosy jumpers out again for sure!

Along with my recurring monthly goal of reading 2 books, putting money in savings and having a date night with my boy. My reading goal is very much on track with only one more until I reach my goal for the year, but then it’s just seeing how far I can get by the end of the year!

I’m looking forward to this month, I think there’s going to be lots of big changes this month and I’m kind of excited about them.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Treasured In… August 2021

2021, Favourites

Hello!

Another month, another list of things that got me through the month! August has flown by in a heartbeat and I’m sure I spent 90% of it working or thinking about work – it’s been manic busy and I’m actually kind of glad it’s nearly over! September is my favourite month (not just because it’s my birthday month…), I love the back to school vibes and soon it’ll be cold enough for me to be snuggled under a blanket at basically all times.

But before I get lost in cosy autumnal vibes, here’s what I treasured in August.

What I bought

August was a big month – my phone contract was up for renewal and even though I haven’t ‘bought’ it, I’m still counting it. I upgraded my three year old phone to a shiny new one that doesn’t have a headphone port (and I’m still bitter about it), otherwise it’s basically the same and I’m realising I’m way less bothered about having the latest tech than I used to be. The fancy new Hasselblad camera is very nice though.

The big purchase of August was my beautiful new Macbook Pro – my previous one lasted a solid 5.5 years, but it couldn’t get me through my days of video meetings anymore and considering I use my laptop predominantly for work, I needed an upgrade. Hence, shiny new Apple product that I know is ridiculously overpriced but:

  1. It’s pretty
  2. I edit videos using Final Cut Pro which is exclusive to Mac
  3. It’s got the cool touch bar thing at the top of the keyboard
  4. It’s pretty

Don’t judge me 🙏

What I cooked

I’m still on that HelloFresh hype (hit me up if you want to try a free box!) but my favourite recipe hands down in the cheesy oven baked risotto with rocket salad – I’ve never enjoyed a salad so much in my life, the risotto is so good and being oven baked means I don’t have to hover over it for 45 minutes. And it always cleans really well, no burning to the bottom of the pan! So delicious, thoroughly recommend!

What I snacked on

I’m going through a cake phase, and the mini Victoria Sponge cupcakes from Sainsburys are second to none. Otherwise, I’ve very much been enjoying a kitkat.

What I sang along to

What I watched

I’m knee deep in medical dramas at the moment – when my partner’s home, we’re watching Grey’s Anatomy for the first time (we’re halfway through season 2, I’m aware we have so much to catch up on) and when he’s not home, I’m binge watching The Resident on Disney+ at a probably unhealthy rate.

I don’t know why, I’m just loving a medical drama right now. The Resident is more serious, Grey’s Anatomy is more sitcom-y and if I want a proper comedy I’ll catch an episode of Scrubs but I’m having a great time with my TV viewership this month.

Wedding planning update

Last month it was fake flowers, this month it’s fireworks – not a huge update, I asked a company for a quote and I haven’t heard back yet but I’m hoping Bonfire Night this year will serve as great inspiration.

What I read

This was a much slower reading month for me – I started with the 500 page sequel to last month’s read Adrenaline, The Last Minute by Jeff Abbott which was really good but not quite as gripping as the first one, so took me a couple of weeks to finish.

Next up was The 39 Steps by John Buchan – written in the early 20th century, I’m not usually one for reading books of that era but I have a personal mission to read everything on my shelf and it was only 150 odd pages. 1 star read – it was fine, just not to my taste.

And I’m currently reading The Shelf by Helly Acton – I started it literally last night and read 99 pages in one sitting. It’s like reality TV in words and I’m lapping it up. Full review will be on my Instagram before the end of August I reckon!

I’m also currently listening to The Magpie Society: One For Sorrow by Amy McCulloch and Zoe Sugg – with the occassional two hour round trip to work and back becoming more frequent with starting to work in the office again, I figured I’m going to have plenty of time to listen to books! I’m almost halfway through this book and the acting is somewhat terrible, the story predictable, but a post private school murder mystery is funny to me – very easy listening YA.


Every month I wonder if these posts sound really fake and cringy and every month I absolutely fly through writing them because I love writing about things I enjoy! All the more reason to keep doing it!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

we’re all stories in the end

2021, writing

Hello!

Today, I actually went into work and spent the day working with my colleagues. It was the first ‘normal’ work day I’ve ever had in this job, having worked from home since my first day in January.

It’s about an hour to drive into work and usually I’d listen to my favourite podcast, but I’ve caught up on all the episodes and they’re on hiatus, so I needed something new for my journeys and I don’t fancy music at the moment. So I’m using my Audible free trial and I’m giving audio books a try – I redeemed my free tokens on two books that I really wanted to read and I listened to 8 chapters of ‘The Magpie Society: One For Sorrow’ today and now audio books are all I can think about.

But I can’t write a blog post about the two hours of audio book I listened to today – I can do a whole post about audiobooks when I’ve been listening for a year, but I think I’m getting a little bit overexcited.

It got me thinking though – I’ve been toying with the idea of a podcast for a while, but I’m not famous enough nor do I have enough friends to do a chatty, interview style podcast (which is my favourite kind of podcast to listen to) but audiobooks are kind of like long, fictional podcasts right? And I started fleshing out an idea that could be a short, fictional podcast and I felt so inspired.

I love storytelling. So much. I love listening to stories, reading stories, hearing people’s stories, making stories, writing my own (both in the literal sense of writing something for other’s to read and the more existential, pretentious sense that I’m writing my own history in living my life) – I love it. It’s the basis of everything I do – I studied journalism because I love telling stories and but I didn’t want to study them like I would if I’d picked English, I wanted to write them, make video stories, audio stories, tell stories with photographs. Granted, news stories aren’t my favourite stories but I got to tell them either way (my favourite one was the video about a new KFC burger, what a highlight).

Whether it’s games, TV shows, reminiscing over a drink with friends or writing a Christmas card to someone you don’t see much anymore, it’s all stories.

I was thinking about it the other day – I love performing, and I often think about what my life could look like if I’d properly devoted myself to dance, or music, or theatre, and I thought about what I spent my night’s off doing when I was teenager; I wasn’t practicing dance, I wasn’t practicing music, I was writing. Every spare moment of my childhood went to writing whether it was original fiction, fanfiction or talking to other fangirls on the internet, my priority was writing and storytelling.

So that’s my end goal – it always kind of was anyway, but I’m fired up and ready to do something about it. I do a fair bit of copywriting at work, but I’m going to flesh out this podcast idea, I’m going to find another original fiction idea that I really care about and write another book; this is what I love, telling stories and using what I love and my individual writing style to share that joy with others.

There’s a quote from Doctor Who that says; “We’re all stories in the end.”

Whether we leave behind a legend or a whisper, it’s all stories. And I’ve got a fair few to tell.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

#plantybois

2021, goals

Hello,

When I asked my fiancé what I should write a blog post about, he said gardening, which is actually a semi-sensible suggestion – he said I should talk about my gardening goals, I said I was better at ‘house planting’ (obviously a real word) and he said ‘yeah, house planting and gardening goals’.

Then he suggested the title should be #plantybois and I knew everything was okay, because there’s no way he could make a sensible suggestion without saying something unquestionably weird.

But I’ll go with it regardless!

I really wanted to have a garden full of homegrown veggies this year – tomatoes, courgettes, carrots, peppers, maybe even some herbs like thyme, rosemary and oregano.

That didn’t happen…

I had plans of digging up the existing plants around the border of the garden and replacing them with more manageable bedding plants and finding some cute garden furniture to put all my pots on so my garden was pretty. What happened is the astroturf managed to grow weeds and I spent £70 on two garden loungers for the decking.

I’m much better at house plants! My Monstera plant is flourishing and my fiancé is mildly concerned about the amount of new leaf tentacles it’s growing and I’ve got a bunch of plants that I bought when they were in teeny tiny pots and now they’re triple the size and I really need to pot them on but I haven’t got round to it yet.

Conclusion: inside plants – thriving, outside plants… alternating to between burning to a crisp and drowning thanks to the Great British Summer!

So here’s what I want to work on to prepare for the vegetable garden of dreams I’m going to have next summer (I’m manifesting, okay?).

  • Dig out the plants around the border of the garden – there’s a big old tree that’s try to grow that isn’t meant to be there so I don’t want it to knock out the wall (the wise words of my gardener Dad). I think I’ll wait till next summer to replace the bedding plants or I might see if I can get some slate or gravel to match the existing slate around the property.
  • Sort out the weeds – I really need to spray them with the weed killer and pull them all out but it sounds like a really boring job and I’m lazy. I have no other excuse.
  • Collect old plastic containers to start my vegetable collection next year – my dad always starts his tomatoes in his old milk cartons so if I’m using plastic containers I might as well find ways to repurpose them!
  • Find some furniture or beds to display or store my potted plants next summer – currently I just have an array of pots on the floor. Outdoor furniture is really expensive so it’s figuring out whether I can weather proof some indoor shelving, find something second hand on Facebook Marketplace or buy a drill and repurpose some old pallets or something.
  • More garden furniture – whilst our two loungers are lovely, it would be wonderful to have friends round and be able to spend time outside when the weather’s nice. I’d love to have a rattan sofa with a little table for summer evenings with ciders and card games (maybe even plugging in a lamp and staying out after dark!).

I like to think I’m a bit of a gardener but I’m still learning – the fact I got even a little tomato that didn’t grow to full size this year is very exciting for me, so I’m definitely going to try and do what I can in the Autumn to be ready for a more bountiful crop next summer!

All gardening tips and tricks are much appreciated.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

when the world feels heavy

2021, mental health

Hello,

I haven’t really had any inspiration to write recently and that’s usually a subconscious sign that I’m hitting burn out. I’ve been running on empty for a little while now – getting out of bed approximately 10 minutes before I need to start work, doing my 9-5 from my home office, cooking dinner and sitting on the sofa until bedtime.

Now that I’ve recognised that I’m running on empty, I’m giving myself permission to step back from the manic, productive life I’ve prescribed myself – putting basic self care tasks like showering and emptying the kitchen bins on my to do list and not worrying about things like blog posts and instagram posts that aren’t essential.

But it still feels like a lot – I feel like everything is blurry, like I have a long list of everything I need to do but I can’t focus on it. There’s a weight on my chest and an ache in my knees and I can’t sit still but everything wears me out. It’s one huge paradox of wanting to be better and productive and make time to really relax, but feeling like I’m trying to walk through water and everyone is speaking to me in a language I don’t understand.

I need to do this, I need to be here, I need to remember to do that, I have to be an ‘adult’, I have to buy this and save for that and more and more and more.

And the thing is – I’m not special or unique or alone in this; everyone is busy, everyone feels weighed down and everyone has it hard. Everyone’s been through ‘a lot’ – everyone’s lived through trauma, but that doesn’t mean we all have to handle it the same way.

The world may weigh the same but that doesn’t mean everyone can carry it.

Paired with the relentless news of global despair, waiting for my second vaccine dose and the impending 25th birthday that feels oddly significant, it’s all feeling like a lot right now. And I’m struggling.

But what is helping is knowing where to put my priorities – I can’t afford time off work right now, so most of my energy goes to that. After work I wind down by cooking dinner (I’m still super hyped about HelloFresh – click here if you want a discount!) and watching whatever American medical drama I’m in the mood for (if my fiancé is home it’s Grey’s Anatomy, otherwise I’ve just started The Resident and I dip into House and The Good Doctor every now and then) whilst I try to potter on my laptop with whatever gentle task I’ve set myself – recently it’s been researching fireworks for my wedding or looking up dance classes to start in September.

Then I go up to bed regardless of how early it is and generally I read my book till I fall asleep. Then I do it all over again.

So far, I haven’t recuperated any energy at all but I haven’t had a full on raging breakdown so I consider that a success.

Sometimes the world feels heavy. Sometimes a bath and a face mask isn’t going to solve everything. But learning to listen to your body is a journey and every step is progress.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

things you might not think are anxiety

2021, mental health

Hello,

I’ve not written a post for a week or two and for someone who attempts to maintain a two-post-a-week schedule, it’s not what I was hoping for.

I thought I was run down from work, a bit uninspired and prioritising playing video games with my fiancé but after a little reflection, I’m recognising that my anxiety is worse at the moment and I have less energy and most of that is going on work – work, eat and sleep is pretty much all I’ve been doing at the moment and I’m slowly learning that this is okay; it’s all I’ve got energy for and I have to reserve the energy I have for what’s most important, which right now is getting through my last few weeks in my current job.

Taking this time to self reflect and realise how my anxiety is impacting me in ways I didn’t consciously realise, I thought I’d collate a list of a few symptoms of anxiety that aren’t always super obvious, even to the person suffering them. I always try to disclaim when I write about mental health – I’m not a medical professional and I can only describe my own experiences, so read with a pinch of salt I suppose.

Not being able to shower

Sounds gross, but it genuinely isn’t a choice. Lying in bed before another day of working from home and trying to find the energy to get out of bed early enough to have a shower feels ridiculous – I lie there thinking about how there are no physical limitations of me going for a shower; I can get out of bed, turn on the shower and do it, but then the mental barrier becomes a physical barrier and it’s impossible. It’s hard to describe but it’s like my body and mind are too heavy to get out of bed until I absolutely have to (i.e. something with consequences, like not going to work). That’s another thing…

Not getting out of bed or not moving off the sofa

It’s not about laziness or comfort, often it isn’t comfortable at all – when I’m lying in bed or on the sofa it feels like I’m physically trapped; the thought of moving and doing something productive or useful (like showering) makes my chest ache and sometimes I feel like I could burst into tears because it’s just so much.

But then there’s the cycle of feeling so ridiculous – for something as simple as standing up and doing something else makes it hard to breathe? Rationally, it sounds so stupid but it’s not – anxiety makes mental barriers become physical and the choice or intent of the person is another thing to fight.

Being tired all the time

A phrase (metaphor?) in the disability community is not having enough spoons – in it’s simplest terms, say everyone has a set number of spoons to get through the day, for someone without anxiety or a disability etc, it’s one spoon to get out of bed, one spoon to shower, one spoon to make breakfast and so on, but for some it takes three spoons to get out of bed, five spoons to shower, and then all the spoons are gone. So we have to choose how we spend our spoons wisely because we don’t have many.

So you can either look at it that we have less spoons to work with or everything takes more spoons, hence very little energy and being careful about what we use our precious spoons for.

Not having the energy to cook

Cooking a full on meal can take be a source of relaxing, winding down at the end of the day, but it can also be a massive chore and require more brain power than I have. This can either look like ordering too many take outs, only ever eating frozen food or something simple like pasta with cheese that takes minimal effort.

This is a really nice one to help with if you notice a friend in need – whether it’s getting some nice easy ready meals that might be a bit healthier or going round (if they want company) and cooking for them, having a nice experience of cooking together and a bit of social interaction and love may really help!

Stomach aches, acid reflux, dietary problems

One thing that is barely talked about with anxiety is the physical symptoms – the anxiety stomach pain, the headaches, the way your food just doesn’t seem to agree with you in any way, the nausea – it’s a lot. It can increase anxiety around food which it a never ending cycle of making it worse.

As anxiety ebbs and waves, these symptoms often get better or worse with no pattern or cause, but if you know someone who’s suffered from anxiety and ‘appears fine’ but mentions stomach pain, needs to go to the toilet more frequently or is hesitant around food, be mindful of them.

Not being able to sit still, feeling achy and restless

More physical symptoms, though I’m not 100% sure this one is anxiety or just my grandma joints. My fiancé calls me the Fidget Queen because I can’t lie the same way in bed for more than about 10 minutes, I’m always having to change how I’m sitting on the sofa and more recently with working from home, I have to get up and move just to stop my knees from aching under my desk all day.

I don’t know if it is anxiety, but the restlessness seems to match feelings of uncertainty and I wouldn’t be surprised if not being able to sit still was a part of that.

But it might just be my creaky knees. The point still stands I guess?

There is a lot of stereotyping around anxiety – which on the one hand isn’t a bad thing because it means a lot more people are aware of the biggest symptoms, can look out for their friends and be mindful and knowledgable about how to help if they can. But there’s so much that isn’t talked about.

Anxiety is mental illness, but that doesn’t mean all it’s symptoms are emotional – I think generally if someone thinks of a person with anxiety they think panic attacks, struggling in social situations and trembling hands, but I think those are more representative of a person in anxiety crisis than day to day living with anxiety.

The thing with anxiety, as it was anything, is to just be mindful – check in on the ones you love when you have the mental capacity, share your spoons where you can and be considerate; being human is hard, but we’re all doing it together.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx