handling anxiety when working from home

2021, mental health

Hello!

There are so many stereotypes about anxiety but like any other mental illness, everyone experiences symptoms differently. Not everyone’s anxiety is a racing heart and shaking hands. Not everybody’s anxiety is feeling stuck in bed and not getting dressed. It can be completely zoning out in a conversation, looking at a document on a screen and feeling like you can’t see the words or even looking at your calendar and feeling like you have absolutely no time do to anything you need to, thinking you’re a complete failure and wondering why you were ever hired in the first place…

But that’s not true, despite what your brain tells you.

I’ve only been working from home for a month, but starting a new job in lockdown is daunting and scary in completely different ways and even on my team I know I’m not the only one feeling overwhelmed by everything that’s going on. So I thought I’d collate a few of the things I’ve tried out in the last few weeks to help ease my anxiety when I’m working from home and need to get stuff done.

  • take a 5 minute break

I have a mode on my phone called ‘Focus Mode’ which disables select apps and notifications during work hours. So if I want to go on Instagram, it asks me if I want to take a 5 minute break and I think this is a great way to have a moment to step back. I let myself switch off for a little bit, I know that I won’t get distracted for hours and the app will automatically close and lock itself again unless you tell it otherwise.

Even just 5 minutes of scrolling mindlessly I find calms me down enough to feel ready to tackle whatever it was that was overwhelming me. It’s not a lot, but just that moment to step away can be enough to re-centre and feel more in control.

  • organised your workload

Whether it’s writing everything out on post-it notes, using highlighters or just making a new to do list, sometimes re-organising your workload can make things seem more achievable and less anxiety inducing.

If you’ve got a really big task or project, write down a step by step guide to define what you need to do to get it done. Put a deadline on each task if you know that will help you feel more comfortable with doing it or if your department needs things by certain times. Put them all on separate post it notes and pile them on top of each other so you only see one task at a time if you think that would work for you.

There are so many organisation tips and ideas online, even spending 5 minutes looking for new ways to organise your workload can make it feel less intimidating.

Maybe organisation doesn’t help everyone’s anxiety, but it definitely helps me to feel more in control when I know exactly what I need to do and when.

  • don’t work out of work hours

This isn’t particularly helpful when you’re in the midst of feeling anxious, but I’ve found being very rigid about not looking at my emails after 5pm and not working on anything over the weekend has made it easier to relax in my off time.

This is much easier in some professions than others – I work in marketing so it’s relatively easy to keep work time as work time and my personal time as time for me, but in other industries or other companies that might be much harder; whether you’re working with people that continue to exist outside of work hours or whether your boss is much more demanding and less respectful of your personal time.

For my anxiety, I know not letting myself work on anything whilst I’m not being paid for it makes it easier to look after myself in my personal time. The fact I spend most of my personal time pushing myself to ‘achieve more’ with blogging and my bookstagram account and constant to do lists is beyond the point…

  • treat yourself to a nice drink or snack

Now we’ve all been subjected to the ‘new year, healthy eating’, ‘the diet starts on Monday’ mentality and whilst we’ve been at home, not snacking all the time is a real challenge.

But enforcing this self-set ‘rules’ on yourself when you’re already mentally struggling isn’t going to make anything easier. And if you’re anything like me it just means you think about it more.

Whether it’s a nice homemade hot chocolate, a packet of biscuits or a late afternoon packet of crisps, just letting yourself snack on what you want when you’re anxious can sometimes make the craving go away and make it easier to concentrate.

  • have an anxiety combatting activity to hand

When I had a really bad day a few weeks ago, I ended up sitting with a work conference on in the background and colouring. I was still paying attention to the conference and what was being said, but I was borderline anxiety-attack and I had to prioritise myself for a moment.

I keep feeling guilty about not working 100% in my working hours but 1) 100% is exhausting and 2) if I weren’t working from home, there’d be natural breaks in the day – chats after meetings, tea breaks, day to day desk chatter – this is what I don’t get working from home, so taking a few minutes for myself to sit back and not work for a second is fine.

If I felt anxious in the office, I’m sure my manager would be okay with me taking 10 minutes to calm myself down and feel okay again.

So sometimes, when I feel really on edge, I’ll take a few minutes to do some colouring. It helps clear my mind and focus on one, inconsequential thing for a little while and it can make all the difference.

Anxiety is hard enough to navigate in the ‘normal’ world, but during a pandemic? That’s been going on for nearly a year? Everyone’s feeling the strain but your feelings don’t need to be valued against someone else’s – you are allowed to feel however you feel and handle that however you want to. Give yourself a break – you’re doing okay!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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self care tips for when getting out of bed is hard

2021, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I’m not qualified to give advice on mental health, but I have been living with a mental health condition that has been somewhat deteriorating as the pandemic goes on, so I thought I’d collate a list of tips and tricks I’ve been putting into practice over the past few months that can make day to day life a little bit easier, when life is already hard enough.

  • if you need to shower, have a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner so you only really need to use one product and it feels less intimidating. It’ll only take a few minutes (depending on how efficient your shower is) and hopefully you’ll feel better for being all fresh and clean (clean, new pyjamas are always wonderful after a shower too).
  • sticking with the theme of washing, doing dishes is one of the things I find so hard when I’m feeling low but the longer you leave it, the more it piles up and the worse it feels. If you do feel up to do anything (no judgement from me if you don’t), fill one washing up bowl, fill it with hot water and some bubbles and make your way through that one bowl. Put on some boppy music, get the washing up gloves on and just get through the one bowl. I find having a definitive end makes something much easier. If you’d rather, set a ten minute timer and do whatever you can in ten minutes – even doing a little bit is better than nothing.
  • You’ve got to eat even if you don’t feel like it, but this one is worth a bit of preparation on a good day in advance – either, batch cook and freeze a portion of something easy that you can defrost and microwave or have some microwave meals or easy frozen food like chicken nuggets in the freezer, that way you know you can feed yourself without it becoming a big hurdle to climb over. If it’s got vegetables in, that’s a bonus, if you just need some oven chip potato-y goodness, you do you.
  • Download a habit app for the basic things – not only will it serve as a physical reminder to do them every day, but ticking it off can be a great hit of endorphins when you really need them! I have reminders every day for brushing my teeth, moisturising and taking my medication and it’s useful not only to remind me to do those things, but it lets me know when I’ve stayed up too late as well.
  • Little tasks like watering any house plants, painting your nails or writing a new to do list are smaller things (at least for me) that feel more achievable and avoid doing the ‘big scary tasks’ for a little bit. If you’re feeling a bit more motivated (or want to do another one of those productive procrastination tasks like making lists) maybe you can take the ‘big scary’ task and break it down into smaller ones to make it feel more manageable. Then if you want, set a timer for an hour or so to work on whatever it is you need to do, but know that end he end of that hour you’ve achieved something and that’s enough!
  • Change your clothes – even if it’s from pyjamas you’ve slept in to clean pyjamas and taking your hair down, brushing it and putting it back up again can make you feel so much fresher.

These are only little things, but on days where you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed till the late afternoon, little things like this can make all the difference. The psychological impact of feeling like we need to be on it 16 hours a day is so damaging and so hard to get out of.

When I drafted this post I wasn’t working a 9 to 5 job from home and now that I am, this kind of self care on bad days is much more difficult to implement. But I think taking it slow, communicating with your managers or whoever when you need to, and just doing what you can is enough to get through it.

Being gentle with yourself is the only way anyone can get through a pandemic – take it one day at a time, do what you can and advocate for yourself when you need to. You can to this – this will end.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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trying to maintain a routine with bad mental health

2020, mental health, organisation

Hello!

Small disclaimer – this post is about mental health and although speaking from experience, I am not a trained professional and what works for me will not conclusively work for everyone. If you are concerned about your mental wellbeing, please book an appointment with your doctor or if you’re in crisis contact one of these support agencies or call 999.

When someone says they’re going through a low period with their mental health, the stereotypes suggest that person is finding it more difficult to find joy, doesn’t leave their room or house and doesn’t want to socialise. Whilst these can all be true, what people don’t often talk about are the more physical responses that make mental illness incredibly difficult to live with – stress headaches that painkillers don’t help, digestive issues, constant feelings of nausea, not sleeping well or sleeping too much at the wrong time, alongside the lack of motivation to even to basic things to take care of yourself including showering, cleaning and making food.

When someone is in this state of mental illness, one thing they often crave is feeling normal again – wanting to feel more productive, wanting to not feel the need to burst into tears and the thought of the washing up; wanting to feel like themselves again. Creating a normal routine when you’re not in a normal headspace can be incredibly challenging and needs a lot of patience and gentle encouragement that someone feeling that ill often doesn’t give themselves.

But there are little changes you can make that are small enough to not feel overwhelming but big enough to hopefully make you feel a little bit better each day. I’m still figuring out what works best for me, but these are a few things I’m trying to make part of my new routine.

  • make a list

I’m a big list maker and I appreciate that not everyone needs to write down everything to have a sense of what they’re going to achieve each day, but when your brain feels like absolute mush, having a list can help take circling thoughts and make them feel more concrete. Even if that list is brush teeth, eat breakfast, shower, eat lunch, eat dinner, brush teeth then it serves as a visual reminder to do those things and you know that you’ve taken some basic steps to look after yourself even when you really don’t want to. Good job!

If those kinds of things don’t work for you (personally it makes my list feel way too long and overwhelming), try making a three point to do list – one high priority task, one medium priority task and one low priority task. For me at the moment, my high priority task is job hunting (but I only spend an hour doing this otherwise it gets too much), my medium priority task is doing my daily writing for NaNoWriMo and my low priority task is a craft activity, because doing something physical but inevitably inconsequential is really relaxing for me!

Making lists that work for you can be a massive learning curve, but give yourself permission to learn from what doesn’t work and start small and build up – things will get better!

  • turn that list into a schedule

Again, potentially a little niche, but the one reason I find myself continually going back to education is that I like the structure of having a timetable and knowing when something will start and end. When I was working on my dissertation I found it really useful to schedule an hour or two and know that after that time I could stop but I’d still done an hour of work and that actually made me work better in that hour.

If I’d done this the five months before my diss was due I definitely wouldn’t have needed an extension, but we learn from our mistakes or something.

But a schedule works really well for me! I’ve started using an app called Tiimo, as recommended by Paige Layle on tiktok, which is a scheduling app that has cute little icons and is really easy to use, as well as sending notifications to both my phone and my smart watch about what I’ve planned for when.

My favourite thing about tiimo as that I don’t see it as a concrete schedule – I get notifications about what I should be doing things but sometimes I need to laze on the sofa and play Animal Crossing and maybe have an accidental nap. But tiimo just assumes I’m doing what I’ve scheduled and congratulates me when I’ve finished a task! Having a schedule that doesn’t feel concrete and feels more like gentle guidance I’ve found is really great for me mentally and gives me the freedom to choose whilst also giving me the structure of a routine if I feel ready for it.

  • don’t spend all day sitting in the same place

Speaking of spending all day on the sofa – if you feel mentally capable, try and move and do different tasks in different places. Even if you just sit and watch YouTube or Netflix in different places, I guarantee that not sitting on the sofa all day will make you feel less sluggish by the end of the day.

I try and start my day sitting at the table I use as a desk, maybe sitting on the sofa for lunch or in the afternoon and then even going up to bed early with my laptop and sitting up there for a bit I feel much better than if I’ve sat on the sofa in the morning and not moved until I go up to bed.

Obviously if you live somewhere bigger than a one bedroom house, it’ll be easier to find some variety but make the most of what you’ve got – if you feel up to it, rearranging your space can be therapeutic too!

The step up from this is actually going for a walk outside or maybe even doing exercise, but when you feel physically ill with headaches and tummy aches the thought of doing anything too physical can just make it worse. Work up to it.

  • have regular mealtimes (and try and eat at least 3 fruits/vegetables a day)

Having regular anchor points throughout the day can break it up a little bit and making getting up in the morning feel a little less intimidating. I’m a creature of habit and though I don’t always eat breakfast, I usually start making lunch at 12pm and aim dinner for 6pm not because I’m hungry (though I usually am) but because that’s when I expect to do it.

Listening to your body and knowing when you’re actually hungry is a difficult skill to learn, especially when your body can tell you you’re hungry when in fact you’re bored, thirsty or procrastinating.

Eating healthy and preparing food isn’t always easy, but things like peas and sweetcorn can be done in the microwave, many green beans only need to be boiled for a few minutes and most vegetables can be laid on a baking tray in the oven for 20 minutes and taste amazing with a bit of seasoning. There are lots of ways to eat healthy with little preparation and cheaply and although chucking more chicken nuggets and chips in the oven or a ready meal in the microwave feels easier, if you can, putting in a little effort will do wonders in the long run, even just to prove to yourself that you can do it.

  • give yourself time for a routine before bed but don’t put any pressure on yourself to sleep

Many people have trouble with sleep regardless of their mental state, but when you’re low and you can’t sleep, everything feels worse and it becomes this awful cycle of looking at the clock, wishing you were already asleep, lying with your eyes open and starting the circle again.

Having a routine and giving yourself time to wind down, whether it’s a skincare routine, reading a book, watching YouTube videos or playing mindless phone games, the change of pace will hopefully help.

When you do eventually settle down to sleep, don’t put pressure on yourself to fall asleep by a certain time and if you don’t have to, let yourself compensate in the morning. I know I’m fortunate, in a way, at the moment to not be working or have any reason to get up at a certain time, but sleeping until my body needs me to even if it’s much later than I really want to is more important for my mental and physical health in the long run than forcing myself to pretend to be this super productive morning person I can’t be at the moment.

 

Mental illness is unpredictable and bloody inconvenient at the best of times – but it doesn’t last forever. It is an episode and it will end, however much it feels like it won’t. Learning to deal with your new ‘normal’ in the present, especially in a pandemic – is all anyone can expect from you, including yourself. You are not alone and things will get better.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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mental health in a pandemic – 6 months on

2020, mental health

Hello!

Writing about mental health is always incredibly subjective – there’s such a broad spectrum of symptoms and each person who lives with mental illness handles it in incredibly different ways that often contradict each other, so bear in mind that when I write about mental health I’m writing about my experiences of mental health and cannot speak on behalf of anyone else.

Lockdown has been a ride, hasn’t it? In the UK more and more places are going into local lockdown, thousands of new cases are being diagnosed every day and ‘young people’ are getting the blame for eating out to help out, going back to work and supporting the economy. Amongst so much uncertainty, it’s not surprise that the anxiety that craves control is going haywire.

At the beginning of lockdown, personally I flourished – all of my uni assignments got pushed back and adjusted so I had plenty of time to work on them, my boyfriend was home from work for the longest time since he started and I felt so in control of everything that was going on.

Then the first ‘three weeks’ of lockdown turned into months, I had less assignments to work on and the ones that were left feel big and intimidating and overwhelming, my boyfriend being home meant that he just played video games all day and gazing out the window felt too much like wishing for a life we couldn’t have anymore.

Normal has changed. The uncertainty of not knowing what ‘normal’ is anymore is the worst feeling. And we have no idea how life could ever get back to a ‘normal’ where we don’t wear masks and we don’t sanitise at every opportunity and glare at people who don’t understand the concept of 2m apart or following arrows on the floor in public places, especially in a world where there are people who ‘don’t believe’ in vaccines (which will never cease to baffle me); ‘normal’ feels like a very far away concept.

On the surface, I’m doing okay – my boyfriend (fiancé? He’s put a ring on it now so I should really get used to calling him that) has gone back to work and whilst at first I was nervous to be on my own, I now make the most of being as productive as I can whilst I don’t have the background noise of video game commentary and too many 5 minute crafts videos (he has an obsession). But underneath, I’ve been getting these ‘nausea attacks’ (I don’t know how else to describe them) and there’s this tight feeling in my stomach and I don’t know if it’s anxiety or a bug or a new intolerance and it keeps me up at night and wakes me up at ridiculous times in the morning. I’ve had more panic attacks in these moments in the last few weeks than I’ve ever experienced in such a short time frame before and it’s really hard, to be honest.

But assuming it is subconscious anxiety and not anything physical, I’m doing all I can to keep my mind occupied – I’ve been listening to a lot of instrumental music to fill in the silence without distracting me from whatever I need to be focusing on, I’ve been making more of an effort to meditate using the Headspace app and trying to make a sense of routine with my daily to do lists and regular meal times.

With no end in sight to this pandemic and a looming second wave in the UK, coping mechanisms are always changing and however much it goes against everything I know, we just have to ride the wave. The waves are going to wash over us anyway, resisting them won’t change the tide.

Well that was potentially a bit deep for a random Tuesday in September, but I’m a bit pretentious like that – I love a water related motivational quote!

Whether or not you suffer with mental illness, living through a pandemic that has touched every single one of our lives was never going to be easy. I hope that you are feeling okay, because okay is enough! It’s okay not to be okay, but it’s okay to just be okay too.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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keeping my mind calm when I’m nervous

2019, mental health

Hello!

This week is a nervous one – my driving test is this week and for some reason, I’ve been feeling the effects long term anxiety for a couple of weeks now. It’s things like not being able to sleep, being unreasonably ratty and finding it difficult to concentrate.

And to be honest, it’s exhausting – it’s the heavy weight in my chest and the racing thoughts as I’m trying to fall asleep, so here are a few of the things I’m trying to do to combat it.

1. The Alphabet Game

If I’m struggling to fall asleep, I’ll play the Alphabet Game and go through baby names or films or food. I find this helps as a way to distract my brain and slow everything down – to stop the racing thoughts, try and lift the tightness in my chest and slow the heart rate down.

Also this is a fun family restaurant activity waiting for food!

2. Give yourself a little time off to do something you enjoy

Whether it’s turning off your computer, doing a little face mask or playing Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu for a whole Sunday afternoon (guilty) – giving yourself time to do something just for you, guilt free is a surefire way to keep yourself distracted and calm you down.

3. Have a morning or two with no alarms if you can

I know I’m fortunate to be in a position where I work very flexibly part time and at the weekend I don’t have any pressure to be up at a certain time. Sometimes, it’s not even necessarily that you sleep for much longer in the morning but waking up without the sudden panic of an alarm makes mornings feel much more chilled out and peaceful I think.

4. Try Headspace!

I know it sounds like a complete gimmick but meditation really does work – I’ve been using some of the sleep programs on the Headspace app (I’m sure there are others out there but it’s the only one I really know about) and I find them so relaxing – they help me breathe more deeply, I feel physically more relaxed and I feel like I’m more in control of how I’m feeling. It proves to me that I do have the power to control what I’m feeling and that’s really reassuring.

5. Apologise when you don’t mean to be angry

I’m quite a self aware person and sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in my own head screaming ‘I don’t mean it, I’m sorry!’ but I just can’t stop snapping and acting like a grumpy teenager. The best thing I’ve found is to be honest – to apologise and say ‘look, I’m really nervous and stressed about this thing, I don’t mean it’.

If, however, the person you’re talking to is making you justifiably angry then let loose.

6. Focus on what you can do and not what you can’t

Managing concentration when you’re stressed is a pretty good way to make yourself more stressed – looking at all the things I have to do when most of them are computer based and my eyeballs feel like they’ve been replaced with cotton wool is just the worst. But, focusing on what you have done or what you can achieve is important – getting one thing ticked off a to do list is better than none. Do what you can without pushing yourself because anything is better than nothing!

At the end of the day, the thing to remember is that life has a path – I’m halfway of the mindset that everything happens for a reason and halfway that life isn’t that scheduled, but the part of me that believes everything happens for a reason is often proved right.

For example, I was absolutely devastated when I failed my first driving test but when I upgraded my car and the transition from diesel to petrol was harder to adjust to than I expected, still having my ‘L’ plates on made me feel so much more secure because I had the safety blanket of everyone around me knowing I was new to the car!

I’m hoping for the best for my driving test, but if I don’t pass, there are ways around it – it will all work out in the end! Good luck for whatever you’re nervous or stressed about – it’ll work out in the end!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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top 5 self care tips

2018, mental health

Hello!

I’ll be honest, this week has already been tough and it’s only Wednesday – I won’t go into details but it has made me think about what I need to do to look after myself, and I’m working on listening to my body more and making sure I was doing something that wasn’t detrimental for me in the long run.

The thing with self-care is that it’s all very personal – you can watch a hundred different self care videos and read blog posts but none of them will be a quick fix or perfect for you, not quite anyway. But they can give you ideas – something to try that maybe you hadn’t thought of, different things work for different people but sharing what works for an individual might be useful for someone else, which is why we should share!

I’ve made a video on this before – it was about a year ago and things have changed since then which is why I want to talk about it again.

(But here it is in case anyone fancies a watch!)

So this is my new list of self care practices that I’m using right now!

  1. Properly resting – not keeping myself busy, or trying to tick something off my to do list. Not necessarily sleeping but taking time to just watch TV or YouTube without doing anything else – not trying to multitask. Giving my brain a break and not trying to max out productivity at all time. And also sleeping more regularly – I go to bed about 10pm and get up between 7am and 8am and that’s working quite well for me at the moment.
  2. Spending time cooking – I find cooking really therapeutic and when I’m making something that doesn’t involve just chucking it in the oven and serving it, when I really cook and make something from scratch it’s just so satisfying. Especially where I’m really trying to focus on my diet and losing weight at the moment (which is proving quite the challenge for my mental health, I’m incredibly self aware of dark though patterns, it’s draining) so cooking with lots of vegetables and knowing exactly what’s going in to what I’m eating and it makes the diet a bit easier on the brain. But spending an hour so a night on making dinner just really helps me focus and relax.
  3. Talk to someone supportive – this is quite a personal one, as I’m aware that not everyone is lucky enough to have someone supportive in their circle that they trust to talk to when they’re feeling down, but I’m so glad that I have someone that does. But there are some people that are the opposite of supportive – they make you feel like a literal pile of poo because they don’t understand, saying things like ‘it’s fine just calm down’, ‘just cheer up’ or even ‘you don’t have depression or anxiety, stop attention seeking’ (all real life examples) and those people 1) aren’t worth your time and 2) when you’re feeling low anyway, just don’t surround yourself with these people if it’s possible. Seek support in the people that really love and care about you.
  4. Spend some time outside – a gentle walk (as opposed to an exercise walk, I’m very unfit so walking is exercise for me), just sitting in the garden or even sit near an open window if that’s what works for you but just being near fresh air, taking a deep breath and having a few moments of calm can be really beneficial, especially if you’re in a moment of panic. Maybe meditate if that’s your jam! I’d like to be at a point that exercise is my go to when I’m feeling low or anxious but I’m not there yet, because I’m very unfit but the wheels are in motion and it’s officially a work in progress.
  5. Listen to your body – sometimes, all you want to do is lie in bed and sob uncontrollably and not have dinner because you messed up a new recipe and the thought of eating is scary and makes you feel physically ill (cough cough), this probably isn’t the healthiest tip but sometimes, you need to just let yourself be sad. The important bit of this part is if you’re going to let yourself wallow, is that you don’t continue it – it’s a short term thing! Let yourself be sad and not eat (just, an example) for that one night or one day and then the following day, eat properly, get some stuff done, get back to it. Letting yourself wallow in feelings isn’t a bad thing as long as you know it’s temporary and short term. Maybe you won’t feel better the next day but the wallowing is done.

I’m not a mental health professional and I don’t recommend that anyone takes any advice from this, I know that I like engaging with content like this because talking about mental health is important and should be talked about. I don’t know if this will help, but I’m trying.

Mental health is a tricky topic – it’s incredibly individual and what works positively for one person might not have the same effect on someone else, so it’s about working on listening to your own body and figuring out what makes that ache in your chest go away.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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unfitness – when the going gets tough, listen to your body

2018, lifestyle

Hello,

I’ve gotten into a habit of blogging about something when it happens and then I become less interested or I find it harder to motivate myself and then in three months the cycle starts again. I’m determined not to let that happen with working out.

I wrote this unfitness post about starting a few steps back a couple of weeks ago and I was really excited, I was doing well at getting out of bed really early (well like 7am, that’s pretty early right?), doing 30 minutes of walking at various speed on the treadmill then having a shower and having a good productive day.

But hi this is bad mental health and it’s here to ruin your motivation to exercise!

Last week I managed one half hour yoga session which didn’t feel like it did a whole lot and one morning where I did ten minutes on the treadmill and ten minutes on the rowing machine. I didn’t even manage the ‘three times a week’ goal I set myself.

This is going to sound really melodramatic but hear me out: I feel like there is a hand around my heart right now and whenever I try to take a deep breath it closes a little bit. It’s an anxiety thing, I get it quite a lot but it makes exercising really hard, because whenever I try to push myself or do anything too strenuous breathing becomes a struggle and exercise is meant to make you a bit breathless but this is another level.

So I’m trying not to let this extended bout of anxiety stop me long term – I managed two sessions last week and it’s Tuesday as I’m writing this and I’ve just done my first session of the week and it was another ten minutes on treadmill/ten minutes on the rowing machine because I just can’t face doing any more.

(EDIT: I managed one more session that week (which was a 6km walk) and this week is looking more promising, follow me on Instagram if you’re interested in more immediate updates!)

But I did some. And at the end of the day I think that’s what matters – a part of my body is trying to tell me that I shouldn’t do the thing that’s good for me but I’m doing it anyway. It’s not a lot but it’s something and anything is better than nothing isn’t it?

I feel like I need to learn more about fitness and what I should be trying to like actually see some results but for now, I think I’m going to carry on doing what I’m doing and maybe one day I’ll be able to afford some Personal Trainer sessions. But trying is better than nothing and not only is it working out which is good for your body but it’s also proving you’re better than your mental health, you’re defying it!

It’s hard, but it’s worth it in the end.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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Life after uni – what’s next?

2018, lifestyle, student

Hello!

At the beginning of May I handed in my final university project, next week I’ll receive my final results and on July 10th I will be fully gowned up and walking across that stage to collect a fake scroll (to get the real one in the post three months later).

And for the first time in my life, I don’t know what’s next.

Sure, when you’re picking your GCSEs you think the possibilities are endless, and the same when choosing A Levels or Sixth Form or College. Then when choosing a university course and a university and whether to go to university and sure those are all big decisions, but it was a natural progression – from Primary School, to Secondary School, to A Levels, to university it’s all been a fairly easy ladder to climb. Now I’m at the top and there’s isn’t an obvious step but if I don’t pick one I’m falling on my ass.

It’s scary – I’ve been in education since I was 4 years old and at 21, I now have to make a life for myself. There was a point where I found this exciting but now it’s absolutely terrifying.

But I’ve got to do something about it – I’ve got about five weeks between now and graduation and I’ve got to balance sorting out the details of moving home, deciding what stuff to put into storage and what I need to take with me, alongside building my portfolio on instagram and my blog (both a work in progress but I’ve put days of work into this thing so far) alongside applying for jobs and trying my best to get myself started on life in the real world.

I’d hoped to not have to move home – where I’m from is in the middle of nowhere and I know I’m going to have to move out again whenever I do get a job but it’s just not worked out that way as of yet. My boyfriend is just waiting to hear back from a couple of companies about potential jobs and I’m waiting back to hear from a bunch of applications but currently not holding out a lot of hope. I have so many ideas of projects I’m so passionate about but they’re just not an option right now.

So what’s next? It’s a waiting game – doing everything I can to build a portfolio that’s truly reflective of me and my skill and make a dent in the worlds I’d love to be a part of. I have a lot of big ideas and I feel I could really make a good addition to a creative, digital media team but I just need to find something that’s fit me and that I fit in to. A waiting game and a work in progress.

It’s all very scary – I’m feeling very overwhelmed and lost by the whole situation which then makes it even more difficult to feel motivated to keep applying and keep doing the best I can. There’s a lot going on in my brain right now and I’m trying to work through it – I’m making lots of blog and YouTube content and this portfolio is going to take another week or two to finish. But I think there’s progress. At least I hope there is.

If and when I do get a job, I’ll probably post about it on Twitter or Instagram first so be sure to follow me there if you want to know as soon as. My socials are always linked down below!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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This is my Uniform

2018, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello!

So I’ve talked in outfit posts before how I have a funny relationship with my body and the clothes I wear – when I started uni I was the lightest I’ve been (in my adult life) and now I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’m starting a new workout routine and trying my best to eat as healthily as I can (we can but try and I really like biscuits) but my relationship with clothes is as rocky as it’s always been.

It kind of hit me all at once the other day – it was just as it started getting really warm in the UK, I don’t presently have any shorts that fit me and all my dresses were in the wash because I’d already worn them that week, so I pulled this outfit together.

I was intending to take a picture of me in this outfit but I got too nervous about it so I made this image instead… [ new look jumpsuit ] [ boohoo jumper ]

The trousers are actually a playsuit I picked up in New Look a couple of weeks ago and I thought a v-neck oversized jumper made it a bit less formal and a bit more convenient.

But I got scared, put on the leggings I feel safe in and one of two band tees I actually feel comfortable wearing outside the house, even though it was so hot and wearing black probably wasn’t a good idea.

tee: Busted merch / leggings: ‘Cosy’ from Primark / hoodie: my boyfriend’s wardrobe (also Primark, I think)

I would have been more comfortable in the yellow outfit, but I was so put off by the idea of wearing something different to usual and more out there that I could bring myself to do it.

That’s quite sad and a little bit pathetic, let’s be real.

By why do I have this uniform that I’m so scared to step outside of? That’ll be because experimenting with fashion or trying something a little bit different may draw attention to myself, which isn’t something I’m massively concerned about. But it would also draw attention to my body and, to me, my whole body is a problem area so in my head trying something a bit different is like inviting people to scrutinise my big ol’ problem area.

Again – sad and pathetic. I know it’s dumb, I know no one’s scrutinising my body as much as I am and if they are they should probably reevaluate their priorities. But I’m so self conscious I just can’t help it.

Though I’m not sure I want to change it – I love the idea of having a capsule wardrobe, but is a capsule wardrobe meant to conform to this ‘uniform’ I’ve given myself or is it meant to be a series of really adaptable pieces that all fit with each other? I feel like it’s meant to be the latter, so it doesn’t feel like a uniform but it’s still minimalistic.

Maybe I’ll start being braver, I think this starts with getting rid of more of the clothes that don’t fit me and finding clothes that are a step out of my comfort zone but still make me feel comfortable because they actually fit me. Who knows – I’m sure I’ll still have days where I stick to my uniform (because leggings and a tee s a staple, let’s be real).

Whatever happens, I’m sure I’ll document it but this is my declaration – I’m going to try and step away from my uniform.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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taking a break – disappearing from the internet

2017, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello,

It’s been a long time since I last uploaded a blog post. In fact, I didn’t upload anything at all in July – the last post I wrote was about the 24 hour gaming marathon I did at the end of June and then July just got away from me.

I felt like I needed July – June was so manic busy and I just thought July was going to be my month for myself. And in a way it was because I didn’t blog at all in the month. But it was because I was quite busy and I had a lot going on in my head and I just couldn’t focus enough to write a blog post.

I needed space – I’ve talked about how I’ve been having a bit of a blogging crisis recently and most of it is because I gave myself a schedule of uploading three times a week and whilst the regularity was good for me at the time and it made me upload consistently, I felt so detached and ingenuine in what I was writing. Everything felt formulaic and as if I was doing it for followers and that’s not what I want from my blog and I’ve figured out a way to try and combat this.

Rather than making a list of ideas and allotting them to specific days and uploading three days a week and sticking rigidly to a schedule, the way I’m going to try having a list of post ideas and just working on them one at a time – writing one out, playing around with the draft and making it the best it can be and making sure I have good pictures without giving myself the time limit or the deadline of getting it up by a certain time on a certain day.

I want my posts to be more genuine and be a truer reflection of me – I feel like my blog and the words on it aren’t an expression of who I am and I want to spend the time on my blog to make my words mean something.

I miss writing, even writing this post feels a little bit like coming home and I’m glad to have got the ball rolling again. Having a month off was completely unexpected, but I think I needed it to reach a conclusion, make a plan and find the focus to want to get my love for blogging back.

I’m not sure any of this made sense, but I’m excited and glad to be writing again.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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