an accidental week off, but that’s okay

2018, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

This week has been my biggest week since I finished uni – I’ve barely been at home and I’ve definitely not had the time or energy for creative projects as usual.

So days went on and the weekly vlog hasn’t been uploaded, I didn’t post a blog post on Wednesday, I couldn’t film, edit or upload a second YouTube video and my usual Saturday blog post was a mere dream.

I wanted to post something just to acknowledge it – I don’t think anyone’s on tender hooks waiting to see why I haven’t uploaded but on two sides I wanted to say something and I needed to write about it for my sake and for anyone reading.

I’ve felt a bit flat this week, but I always do when I don’t feel productive and I don’t get everything on my list done, but I need to train myself out of it because at the end of the day? Not forcing myself to write, film and edit late into the night was better for me in the long run and practising the self care to not be bothered is more important than beating myself up about missing deadlines I set for myself.

Obviously if you’re at uni or work this isn’t as flexible because deadlines are important, but similarly if something goes wrong and things have to change, deadlines need to get shifted then letting yourself be emotionally invested and be negatively effected by those things isn’t worth the heartache.

I’m still astounded by the positive impact the mentality of ‘everything is hard, make it worth it’ and the coil have done for my mental health and positive outlook – months, even years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to decide not to let anything effect me like this but with positive mental practice, I’ll be able to take changes like this in my stride and won’t beat myself up for it.

Especially over a hobby like blogging and my YouTube channel – this super busy week has shown me what a working week might look like and has shown me that maybe I won’t be able to sustain this creative outlet when I do get into working full time but being aware of that and allowing myself flexibility is a good step for preparing for that. But that’s more of a 2019 problem!

I’m excited for the new year and applying my new mindset to what I do – 2019 is going to be the year that everything changes and I’m not going to sit around and wait for it to happen.

And I’m not going to waste my time getting hung up on missed blog posts and dwindling subscriber counts! (Still working and not caring about that one, but it doesn’t matter and that’s what I need to remember)

Give yourself a break, you’ve achieved a lot.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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friend break-ups

2018, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a while and then yesterday, I uploaded my ‘things I’d tell my teenage self’ video and I touched on this subject and I wanted to make a full blog post about it, because I have a lot to say.

I want to emphasise this with obviously this is only one side of the story – there’s always a part of my brain that when I talk about friends I’ve lost that screams that maybe I’m the one in the wrong, maybe I’m just an awful friend and the problem here is me. I’m aware of this, but with that said let’s get on with it.

Losing a friend is the worst – there are songs and films and books about relationships and break ups but if you really listen to the message of those mediums you’ll find that in most cases you can empathise in a similar way about friend break-ups.

I seem to make friends with a lot people who don’t put the same effort in as I do or don’t reciprocate or value my friendship in the same way I do, maybe it’s because they just don’t like me that much and yeah that crosses my mind a lot. But it’s when someone tells you that they love having you around and then still don’t really show it is when I start to get upset.

And this is the point where I test it. So maybe ‘testing’ friendships isn’t the healthiest approach, but the way I test it is I stop being the one to reach out first – I don’t start a conversation, I’m not the one to arrange going for a coffee or whatever. And that’s when I know that testing it was worth it because I never hear from that person again. Maybe they’re just grateful that I finally stopped bugging them but in some cases, years later, they’ve messaged me again and said ‘it’s been years since we talked!’ and I’m like yeah, I wonder why that is. At that point I don’t reply.

On the other side, sometimes a ‘friend’ will message me first but it’s only when they’re sad or something bad has happened and they want someone to boost their ego and I’m happy to be a person to talk to, but in a world of mental health problems if they’re going to lean on me so heavily when they’re sad I need to be able to lean back and I couldn’t, so I was ignored and I crumpled.

(that metaphor went surprisingly well)

But this isn’t a pity party! I’m not trying to say that I’ve never had a good friend, I do have friends that are very close to my heart and I’m very grateful to call my friends. I’m not trying to evoke sympathy or portray myself like a victim or anything.

What I’m saying is if you’re the person being leaned on – stop letting them lean, don’t use your precious emotional energy, passion and love helping someone else feel better when it wouldn’t even cross their mind to do the same for you. Focusing on the people that really care about you will be so much more fulfilling and make your heart so much happier.

Letting people go is hard, really hard, especially when they turn to you in dark times and leaving them there feels like the worst thing in the world and makes you feel like an awful person but you’re not, sometimes for your own sake you have to prioritise yourself.

It hurts, and you can justify mourning a lost friendship in the same way people mourn relationships – sometimes it’s someones fault, sometimes it’s on mutual terms, sometimes for your own sake you just have to let them go but just like relationships, it does get better. You don’t spend your entire life being sad about that person, you find new people, better people and life goes on.

Just to disclaim again, I’m aware that every story has two sides and whilst on one side this is how I’ve interpreted it, I could be wrong and my brain tells me basically every day that I’m an awful human and everything’s my fault anyway ha ha #lol (covering up my sadness with sarcasm as per).

I do have a handful of incredibly close friends and I wouldn’t trade them for anything – I know I could message them whenever and I hope they feel the same about me. I don’t want them to feel invalid because of what I’ve written about other people in this post so to clarify: I don’t think this of all the people I at one point or another called friends.

Thank you 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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Is blogging ‘dying’?

2018

Hello!

As someone who is looking for a career in social media, I’m quite analytical of how I and others use social media and what different platforms are offering.

I read a really interesting article (or it might have been Hannah Gale’s insta stories?) about how ‘microblogging’ on instagram is becoming more popular, both with creators and getting more response from an audience, in terms of writing longer captions that have a theme and may or may not be in any way related to the picture it’s captioning.

The primary difference I find between my blog and my instagram is how much more immediate Instagram can be – stories are instant and in a way people have started using it to daily vlog, Instagram TV looks like it’s trying to rival YouTube (though I’m not sure how well that’s going…) and making posts and writing out long captions is a way of short form blogging.

A lot of people use Instagram in different ways – some people post fun pictures of good times and don’t think too much about what they post, it’s like a scrapbook or a memory. As opposed to the more ‘blogger’ or influencer approach, where photos fit with a theme and whilst making creative content is important, it’s also about reaching as many people as possible by making the photos fit well together (like having a theme), engaging with the human experience in the caption and making the most of hashtags and reaching people that don’t follow you yet as much as captivating their followers too.

That’s not to say that there will be a day where we can say ‘ah yes, blogging is officially dead, RIP blogging’ – there will always be a community of people who like to blog, in the same way that people still read newspapers and listen to the radio. New media and old media are often in competition and trends come and go, but so far it’s all somewhat balanced in their audience size.

I don’t think blogging will ‘die’ so to speak, not in the way snapchat did anyway, but it’s interesting to see how the medium develops and where the majority of an audience is. Instagram is a huge marketing tool for brands, businesses and even content creators that are just starting out. The rise of the influencer started on YouTube and Instagram (to my knowledge, anyway!) and lots of companies and ‘#ad’s are on Instagram as much if not more than they are on YouTube, because audiences are potentially more likely to engage.

Obviously I’m not a marketing expert (yet, I’m looking for courses), this is just coming from my own observations and interest in social media, but I’m really intrigued – what do you think? Are you still a big fan of blogging or would you rather scroll through Instagram’s multitude of content? I’d love to know!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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blogging vs youtube | creativity crisis #2

2017, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello,

Having been running my YouTube channel for nearly 4 years and in September, I will have had my blog for three years. In that time, maintaining both platforms has been somewhat of a challenge – to have them compliment each other without stepping on each others toes or overlapping isn’t easy.

But recently, I feel like I see YouTubers who started at the same time as I did sky rocketing into hundreds and thousands and millions of subscribers and I just don’t know if bloggers are getting the same hits? Or maybe it’s just my blog?

In the first two years of my YouTube channel I steadily built a following of nearly 600 subscribers, it’s diminished a little bit recently but in my nearly three years of blogging I find I have a much more consistent audience on YouTube. Is YouTube where I should be putting my focus? To my understanding (and from what I see on social media) people seem infinitely more interested in video content than blog posts, articles and words. It’s easy to watch a video but reading takes that little bit more concentration so if I want to pour my heart and soul into one of my platforms surely I should make it the one that’s more likely to be more successful?

Is YouTube more influential than a blog? Does it matter? If I like making both forms of content should I just carry on doing both? Or do I sacrifice one to put all of my heart into the other?

This is literally the entire point of the ‘creativity crisis’ series – so that I can have a ramble about things that stress me out sometimes.

I really love YouTube and I really love my blog, for a very different set of reasons – but it’s so disheartening when I work so hard and put so much of myself out online to be put to shame by those who spend more time putting repetitive flatlays with open lipsticks and fake flowers lying on a rug on Instagram (I refer you to creativity crisis #1: social media).

Maybe I do need to focus more on social media, or maybe I need to make more of an effort to post content more regularly, or maybe I take a step back and work on writing, filming and editing what I feel truly expresses my creativity.

The conclusion to all of these creativity crisis rants I feel is going to be I just need to stop freaking out and make what I want and whilst everyone can say ‘it doesn’t matter about views’ or ‘it doesn’t matter about subscribers and followers’, it’s also hard not to notice when you’re so invested in what you make and you want it to do well and you want to show it off to the world so it can be stuck on the metaphorical fridge.

That took a different turn to what I was expecting, but what I mean is that I love YouTube and I love making videos and I love editing but I also love writing with all of my heart. I love how I could make a video and a blog post about the same topic and it would take such different turns and be presented in such different ways and to such different communities and I think that’s what I like about being a blogger and a YouTuber – that I can try and bring those communities together.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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how to find your niche

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

I’ve been really thinking about blogging recently and what I want to do, hence why I took a week off last week, so I’m going to make more of an effort to make more lifestyle themed posts, not just a rubbish online diary.

I’m now classifying myself as a lifestyle, music and travel blogger and that’s where I’m sticking! The lifestyle is going to be more prominent than music or travel because those are more reliant on gigs or releases or actually going travelling and lifestyle is a bit more accessible for me.

But I’ve only recently made this decision of where I want my blog to be, so here are some ways I found to change up my style a little bit!

  • Read a lot of blogs!

It’s hard to know what kind of blog you want to be without knowing what’s already in that genre and what the genre (or niche) is! It’ll give you ideas and make you feel super inspired.

  • Google ‘how to be an X blogger’

It may feel a bit ‘granddad on the internet’, I know, but if you’re feeling a bit lost or overwhelmed, as I definitely was, it can be a really good place to start to get a feel for the genre, to get post ideas and to find new bloggers, which helps with the first point!

  • Try and brainstorm a bunch of ideas

You’ll realise you have more to talk about than you think and hopefully it’ll certify that this is the niche you want your blog to be in. Or, on the other side, it can tell you that it’s not the kind of blog you want to be writing before you start.

A blogging crisis was a bit distressing to me – I’ve written nearly 500 posts now and to realise I didn’t really know what I was doing shocked me a bit but having that week off to do a little bit of research and make some post ideas and figure everything out a little bit was really good for me – I’m in the process of trying to adapt the design of my blog too so if you’ve got any tips or can redesign websites, please let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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