September Goals 2022

2022, goals

Hello!

I love September.

Is it the childish part of me that loves the month my birthday is in? Probably. Is it the nerdy part of me that always looked forward to going back to school? Probably. Is it the maybe-autistic part of me that craved routine and structure that school and education gave me so this time of year will forever be associated with new pencil cases, a new timetable and a new start? Almost certainly.

But a culmination of all of that means that I love this time of year – it’s cooling off, my jackets and cardigans start to get some use again and we’re creeping towards Doc Martin season, I love it.

This year, things are very different – I’m two months away from getting married and starting to feel the wedding planning stress that everyone talks about, for the first time probably ever I haven’t been counting down the days till my birthday and it’s snuck up on me and my mental health is pretty shaky right now. I’m in the process of changing over to a new medication and honestly, I’m kind of terrified of how it will effect me with so much other stuff going on, but I have the support of my wonderful family and friends and some surprisingly nice doctors so I’m letting myself trust them (because if I trust my gut, then my gut is full of anxiety and it’s not very reliable).

My August goals were very mixed – I only achieved one goal fully and that was to choreograph a tiktok which I did in approximately thirty minutes. The rest were kind of half finished and in progress with fitness goals, wedding prep and a writing challenge that I absolutely wasn’t prepared for.

I didn’t even finish my reading goal! It’s been a long, stressful month.

But a new month is a fresh start, I have new goals and I’m working on being more forgiving with myself. The key part being ‘working on’.

M Y S E P T E M B E R G O A L S

Start a new morning routine
I’ve been using this weight loss programme called noom (which was a massive waste of money, but that’s for another time) and one of the psychological tricks it’s taught me is ‘habit bundling’, which is taking a habit you already have a training yourself to associate another one with it.

So I want to make time for stretching more (because although I’m not a dancer in any way, shape or form, I still want to work on my flexibility for my ballet classes) and actually doing some body skincare and moisturising my skin every day, so I’m bundling those with brushing my teeth and taking 20 minutes in the morning to do something that’s for me and off a screen! As I’m writing this it’s September 2nd and I’m 2 for 2, so a strong start!

Wardrobe update
I had a go at the 333 challenge last year some time (33 items of clothing in 3 month rotations) and 33 items just isn’t achievable, I don’t think, but I really loved having a seasonal wardrobe and I’ve found it’s been great for making me wear more of what I already have and feeling like I get a ‘new’ set of clothes every few months.

Hopefully we’ve seen the last of these horrible heatwaves, so I’m going to be going through my most summery items, donating the ones I haven’t reached for, packing away the pieces I’ve loved and getting out the warm cosies!

Research ‘producer’ role and find out more about working in TV/Film
Do I see myself working in TV or film in the future? Realistically, no, but that is where the hierarchy of job roles within video media was forged so I want to learn more about it. The thing with working for a start-up is that I’ve been given the role of ‘Media Production Executive’ and the founding member of the media team, but I think having more of a TV like structure could be beneficial for us and I want to figure out more about what the role entails and what I could go on to next in my career, as right now I’m pretty clueless.

Wedding tasks
My wedding is approximately two months away and wow the stress is hitting me really hard at the moment. Here’s the list of things I need to sort this month:

  • confirm bridesmaid’s dresses
  • confirm plans with venders and suppliers
  • go for a dress fitting and schedule alterations
  • buy guest favours
  • write ‘personalised promises’ (non-religious vows)
  • book manicure/pedicure

Alongside appointments for a make-up trial, a florist check in, a fashion show with my bridesmaids trying on options, getting our matching wedding converse embroidered (I know), getting our guest book, sorting my partners shirt, shoes and ties, booking the ushers suits, sorting their shirt, shoes and ties, having a trial manicure, a hair trial, meeting with the coordinator at the venue (twice) and lots of crafting bits and bobs for centre pieces, order of the day signs and a photo board!

I think this explains why I’m stressed.

And my monthly goals that I aim for every month are to read three books, have a date night and do a craft project (which I’ve not successfully completed once this year, but I can dream!).

It’s getting manic and I’m very much looking forward to our mini-moon in Dorset by the sea in November, but for now I’m riding the wave!

And still trying to get used to the concept of calling my silly boy my ‘husband’ and having a different surname!

Lots of big things happening, but it’s exciting too and I’m trying to savour it all.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

trying to survive burnout

2022, mental health

Hello,

This past couple of weeks have been a bit of a challenge – the commute to work is feeling harder for some reason, I’ve had lots of evening and weekend plans and it’s been hard to sleep well with these heat waves, which has all added up to feeling like I’m running on empty and wow burnout is exhausting.

But do I have time to rest and recover? Not really – even if I have a weekend with no plans, I’ve got lots of wedding stuff to be doing or errands to run or my mental health takes such a nose dive that I can’t bring myself to get out of bed. Both are pretty inconvenient honestly.

Although I have basically no energy all the time, there are a few things that I’m doing to try and make day to day easier so I thought I’d make the most of being burnt out and get some #content out of it.

  • I choose my outfit for work the night before

I usually do this anyway, but it makes such a difference when getting out of bed is so hard that I can just get dressed without thinking, pack my lunch, get in the car and go. The perks of the warm weather is that generally I just wear a dress and I don’t need a jacket of anything.

If I’m planning on going to the gym and I know I’ll look for any excuse not to go, sometimes I’ll wear my gym wear to work because we don’t have a dress code, it’s very comfortable and I feel like I can’t not go to the gym, because it would be a waste of wearing the clothes to not exercise.

  • plan easy dinners that don’t take too much work

The thought of cooking when you’re burnt out and there’s a heatwave? It’s not the one, in any way.

But I’m also super tight with money and trying to eat healthily, so I’m not ordering takeout every time I can’t be arsed to cook.

Here are three of my favourite easy options:

👉 Microwave rice and frozen vegetables – make the most of your microwave and your freezer – you can get frozen veg that takes two and a half minutes in the microwave, another two minutes for some rice, bish bash bosh! You can add some seasoning or some sauce, have it plain if you really don’t have the energy – easy peasy.

👉 Sausage, mash and peas – sausages in the oven for half an hour – easy. Microwave mash – easy. Microwave frozen peas – easy. If you’re feeling it, you can make some gravy. Low effort, really filling and there’s still some greens on your plate!

👉 Batchelor’s Cheese and Broccoli pasta – basically, I like anything I can cook in the microwave. All you’ve got to do is add water, milk and butter and you have a decent meal – it’s not the healthiest, but it’s not the worst and it’s filling so you won’t feel like you need to fill up on snacks.

  • at work, I write down the most urgent tasks on a post it note to make sure they get done

Being productive when you have nothing to give is so hard but I’m huge for planning out my day and assigning time blocks to all my tasks so if I’m behind or feel really overwhelmed, I’ll look at what I need to do and evaluate what needs to be done before I leave for the day. Prioritising that means I know that it’ll be less stressful for my future work days and being able to tick something off is such a good feeling when you don’t feel like you’ve achieved anything. Then even if you get nothing else done, you’ve done the most important thing and the other tasks will get done when you’re (hopefully) in a better mindset.

Being burnt out is so hard to navigate, especially with how it feels like every headline is piling bad news up to the sky and the thought of giving yourself some time to recover feels impossible. But it will pass and things will feel easier again – be gentle and kind to yourself.

Maybe one day I’ll take my own advice.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Practicing the Work/Life Balance Thing | May Goals ’22

2022, goals, mental health

Hi there!

Another month means another set of goals to work towards.

April was a very mixed bag with my mini goals – I think I’m finding work very overwhelming at the moment and between that, bank holidays coming out my ears (I find not knowing which day of the week it is very confusing) and trying to main some semblance of a social life (badly) is burning me out and I’m only just managing to keep up with everything I have to do day to day, let alone something I want to achieve over the course of a month.

But I’ve reevaluated how I make my to do lists and I’m trying to reframe my mental attitude to not fill every moment with doing something – being ‘productive’ or pushing myself too far. It’s clearly a work in progress because I went to a drive through car wash and whilst my car was being cleaned, I did my daily Duolingo lessons so I could tick that off my list, but I am working on it!

So I took this approach when setting my monthly goals – I took the time to figure out what was actually achievable and what would help to benefit me in the long run. This is what I came up with:

Pick a new Professional Goal – one of my professional goals for the year was to learn a software called AfterEffects so I could include more animations and graphics in the videos I produce at work. But since then my role has adapted and now that we have more editors on the team, I don’t actually edit videos anymore (which absolutely suits me and my strengths, I want to clarify I am not complaining about this 😂). But as my role has adapted and this goal isn’t relevant, I want to decide on something else to aim towards by the end of the year that is relevant, beneficial to my career and achievable. Rather than just picking a new goal out of thin air, I set this goal so I can dedicate the time to research the skillset around the career path my job is now taking and figuring out what can help me learn and be better at it!

Wow, that was a bit long winded.

Make one piece of content a week for a new project – I’ve been meaning to try something new for a really long time and I know now that if I don’t set myself actual deadlines than I will not do the thing, so I’m aiming to make one piece of content for a new project I’m working on a week and I’m hoping it’ll inspire me to make more content more regularly going forward.

Wedding – rings and invites – My wedding is now less than six months away and I still can’t say the word ‘husband’ without feeling like I’m playing pretend. This month’s goals are to buy our wedding bands and send our invites – the invites have been ordered we just need to finalise the guest list and write them all. There’s also a couple of extra bits like getting in touch with a make-up artist, getting in contact with my florist and planning anything that I’m going to make for the day but those are just chugging along in the background.

Plan museum/concert/new place trips – Another instance of planning to plan a goal – on my ‘bucket list’ goals for this year is to go to a museum, go to a concert and go to a new place but it’s easy to say those things, but actually doing them is another thing entirely! At the end of last month we booked our mini-moon for after the wedding (we’re going to go on a proper honeymoon when it’s not November and the weather will be nicer) and it’s a place neither of us have been before, so that’s the planning for that one ticked off! The concert, I’ve not seen that any artists I’m particularly interested in are touring, but there’s still time! And I really want to go to the Victoria and Albert museum, so just need to plan a day that my partner and I are both free to take off and go to London for the day!

And my monthly goals are: read three books, save money (done), date night and do a craft project. I’ve nearly finished my first audiobook of the month so I do feel like I’m slowly creeping out of my reading slump!

I can’t believe we’re five months into the year and I absolutely can’t believe that I’m getting married in six months – how mad is that? Time is absolutely flying at the moment!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

I have nothing to write about

2022, writing

Hello,

Don’t get me wrong, I really love my little blog – I haven’t committed to anything for this long probably ever, maybe the dance classes my parents paid for before I went to uni. But the inspiration is low, even though I’m only writing one post a week instead of the two I managed for most of last year.

Every time I think of something I could write about – how I’m adjusting my routine to spend more time on basic self care, my experience with mental health and body image at the moment or even how I turned being the burnt out bright kid who didn’t finish any of her A Level English Literature texts to reading 45 books in a year, but it all feels so fake. Who am I to write about any of those things as if I am in a position of authority? I have no advanced experience in anything to share or educate with anyone and I’d be writing for the sake of it.

Which is exactly what I’m doing now… But we’ll gloss over that one for now.

Part of me thinks it’s imposter syndrome – who am I to think anyone should listen to or read anything I have to say about anything? But then I think that thinking it’s imposter syndrome is pretentious because assigning that term to myself implies that I believe I really am an authority on any of those things and I’m just having a moment of self doubt. Can it be imposter syndrome when I’m just right in that I’m not qualified to write about anything and I should stop writing a blog as if I’m important enough or knowledgable enough for someone to read it.

I’m really proud of the fact that over the last couple of years, I’ve stopped trying to ‘commercialise’ my blog – I did my time using trending hashtags and posting every couple of hours about my latest content and trying to be an influencer. I’ve stopped sharing my content as much, I don’t put my social links at the bottom of blog posts anymore because I write the things I want to look back on and if there is anyone else reading my posts, I’d rather they engaged with the content than followed me on Instagram.

I love writing – getting this all out has felt really nice and sitting with my laptop and just typing is a comforting feeling. Like when I’m creative writing and I’m working on idea or a moment and the story is almost telling itself – there’s several moments where I’ve been writing and I’ve almost been surprised by the words on the page because it almost feels like I’m not writing them, or the characters have started building a relationship I didn’t intend for and it just makes sense. I love that feeling.

I think I’m tired and burnt out. I think a full time 40 hour work week is too much for my neurodivergent brain, so piling on dance classes three nights a week, wedding planning, maintaining the bare minimum of a social life and desperately trying to make lifestyle changes to lose weight isn’t really helpful. There isn’t a solution at the moment, just hoping for a full nights sleep and a better week next week.

But the blog block is real – I now plan for roughly four posts a month; the last of each month is my reading wrap up and the first is my monthly goals and whilst I prefer the idea of keeping the middle two to be less structured, maybe I need themes and guides to take out the element of decision making that comes with not knowing what to blog about.

My two most popular blog posts are ‘there’s no songs about turning 24‘ and a creative writing piece called ‘if you had three wishes, what would they be?‘ and I can’t explain why they’re still consistently my two best performing posts when they were written two and five years ago respectively. But they’re examples of two more things I really love writing – personal rambles and creative writing. Maybe my four monthly posts could be my goals, creative writing, a personal ramble life update sorta thing and then a reading wrap up.

It’s my blog, it’s always been for me, I’m lucky if I get a few hundred views per month, let alone per post, which leads me back to ‘why am I writing this’ and ‘nobody cares’.

I don’t know why I’m writing this, and I don’t know if anybody cares. But I know I’m not the only one who feels like this, even if I don’t really see anyone else talking about it. And I do like the idea of saying things that others won’t, no matter how vulnerable it makes me feel.

Thank you for reading if you are, I hope you don’t mind my content ideas,

Sophie xx

what is self care?

2021, mental health

Hello!

I feel like I know what self care is, right? It’s women on Instagram having a pamper night with a sheet mask, a bath bomb and a partner who’s prepared to take arty photos in the candle light. It’s taking time away from social media and listening to what your body wants, whether it’s a Netflix binge, a long walk or a cupcake.

Maybe it’s taking some time for yourself, maybe it’s having a shopping spree and buying something new, maybe it’s having a healthy routine and meditating and getting enough sleep at night.

This week has been stressful – I finished my contract in my previous job and didn’t know what was coming next. I’m not good at handling change and I’m really not good at knowing what to do with myself when there is an expanse of nothing with no end date – I was excited about having some time off, but my mental health dive bombed and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’ve been applying for jobs all week in between not being able to get off the sofa, really having to convince myself to eat proper meals, not making it through the day without a nap and then not sleeping until the clock reads ‘am’, which I haven’t done for a long time.

(I did get a job on Friday though, so the ‘never ending expanse of unemployment’ was only a week, which is nice)

But that’s not what I want to write about – I’m trying to listen to my body, I’m trying to figure out how to help myself. I’m going to bed early, I’m making an effort to eat vegetables and not eat all the chocolate and drink all the coca cola I’m craving. I’ve spent time doing my cross stitch project while watching a lot of House MD on Amazon Prime. I’m making to do lists and trying to do something ‘productive’ each day because I know it helps me feel like I’m doing something more meaningful. But I feel more dissociated and distant than I’ve ever felt before.

Self care can’t just be face masks and bubble baths and meditation? Surely there’s got to be something I can do to make myself feel better, right?

I mean, reading a book about a teenager being stalked by a serial killer and demonstrating her somewhat terrifying knowledge about crime scenes whilst suffering from severe PTSD about one of the previous cases she solved in the other books in the series probably isn’t helping, but I also just want to finish it so it’s done and I can read something a bit cheerier.

I’ve seen lots of tiktoks recently about the chronic failings of the British government in the middle of a mental health crisis – a crisis line that suggests baths and meditation and doesn’t help even when people ask to be sectioned and admitted for mental instability. It feels patronising.

So, what’s the point? What is self care? Does it even matter when the medical professionals we’re meant to be able to confide in and trust are prescribing having a wash and lighting a candle to do some breathing exercises?

I think self care is an overrated term – I know that making an effort with my sleep, not engaging with media and entertainment (and books) that mess with my brain and giving myself some structure will help me feel more control. Baths make me feel vulnerable, I find walks boring and meditating makes me think too much. A sheet mask isn’t going to help my physical anxiety symptoms, painting my nails won’t help me cope with change and writing in a journal about my feelings isn’t helpful right now.

Sometimes you’ve just got to ride the wave and remember that you’ve made it through this before and you will do it again.

(but any and all suggestions of things you do to feel better than you need ‘self care’ are more than welcome please)

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

life is a rollercoaster, and I want to get off

2021, mental health

Hello,

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like time is moving far too fast at the moment – a lot of us are still stuck in March 2020 when the most unusual event of (probably) our whole lives kicked off, but I swear it was June yesterday and now it’s nearly October?

I like being in control (read: control freak) and to feel like I’m losing time doing who knows what makes me feel quite on edge – I keep trying to think of ways to feel more present, but I just can’t make time for journalling or meditating in my routine right now. I feel like I’m tripping through life and while I’m just settling into the fact it’s September, next week is October and I constantly feel like I’m playing catch up.

I started to type ‘there’s a lot going on in my life right now’, but before I’d finished typing it I realised it wasn’t true. I have one big thing going on, but it’s a significant change and I’m finding all aspects of it difficult. I received some good news yesterday, after a relatively rubbish week (including a very kindly delivered job rejection phone call and my HelloFresh box just not arriving), and my partner congratulated me and asked me why I looked like I was about to cry.

It was because it meant the change was real. And I have a big decision to make as to whether I want to accept it.

But I can’t even cry – I’ve been struggling for a few weeks now and I really feel like there’s a big emotion I need to get out, but for whatever reason (maybe my meds or some other mental block), I just can’t get it out.

The rollercoaster of my analogy is going way too fast – the wind is whipping through my hair and I’m desperately trying to process it all but I just can’t keep up.

By 25 I thought I’d be more settled than this. Three years out from finishing my first degree (which makes me sound way more intelligent than I am), I thought I’d be more comfortable in my job and my income, I thought everything would feel more stable but I feel like there’s lots of spinning plates and I’ve already got shards of broken crockery at my feet. Everything feels broken, but even I can see objectively enough to know that it’s not.

I’m tired. I feel like I’m fighting to get through each day and then when I get to bed I can’t even get to sleep despite being exhausted all the time.

The one positive I can find, is that although I know I’m in a subconscious depressive low right now, I know it won’t last forever. I can’t force it – I can’t pretend a bath and a face mask is the ‘self care’ I need, because I don’t even know what I need right now, but I know that it will end – my sleep will get better, getting out of bed won’t feel so tough and good news won’t make me nearly-cry (at least, not in a bad way).

I keep trying to figure out what my blog is right now – I think it’s just me in each moment. It’s the happy lists, it’s the emotional rambles, it’s the favourites posts and the goals. I’ve been writing this blog since I turned 18 in 2014 – I just turned 25. Although at my core I like to think I’m much of the same socially inept, closet nerds with ginormous dreams, so much has changed and I’ve grown in the best way. I don’t think I’m someone my 18 year old self would be proud of yet, but one day.

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

the illogical curve of progress

2021, lifestyle

Hello,

Being someone who loves setting goals, tracking progress and analysing data (except my step count, we don’t talk about that), writing challenges like NaNoWriMo suits me down to a tee with word count tracking, you’re actual average word count per day and an estimation of when you’re likely to hit your word count.

But in looking at the two graphs that monitored my progress, I noticed something that made me think.

This is the graph of my word count per day – I was aiming for 40,000 words, but more importantly I wanted to write a little bit every day, even if I didn’t meet my goal one day and I had to write extra the next, those were my two priorities.

This graph would suggest that it was a pretty steady curve up to my goal, consistent progress, falling behind on a couple of occasions but catching up, even getting ahead a couple of times towards the end, but relatively steady progress.

Then you compare it to the graph of how many words I actually wrote per day.

I wasn’t writing consistently at all – some days I wrote 2000 words, most days I wrote about a thousand, on my worst day I barely wrote 100. Although my progress appeared linear – a predominantly straight line from Step A (0 words) to Step B (40,000 words), there were 31 steps in between with good days, bad days, busy days, quiet days, sunny days, rainy days and everything in between.

And it got me thinking about the bigger picture – perhaps a bit existential, but life is just one long (short?) journey from the Beginning to the End, a supposedly linear experience from childhood, to adulthood to old age and ‘The End’, making consistent progress in growth in every aspect from education, relationships and physically growing.

But it’s never going to be a straight line from one point to the other – life has ups and downs and good points and bad points; it always feels more like the second graph than the first one.

So I have two points to make;

  1. If you feel like everyone around you is living a life like the first graph – a solid, straight line from Point A to Point B, it’s more than likely you can’t see the behind the scenes that looks like the second graph. Life is full of nuances and struggles and things people keep off their instagram profile, so the picture they paint online isn’t necessarily the full story!

(side note: I fully believe Instagram as a highlight reel is a okay, because having a space full of happy, positive memories is lovely, it’s just changing the user perspective to remember that Instagram is just a highlight and not someone’s complete story!)

2. If you feel like you’re stuck in the second graph, feeling more lows than highs and not sure whether you’re making any ‘progress’ at all (though, who decides what progress is and whether we’re making it??) – remember you’re seeing your life zoomed in, the bigger picture probably does look more like the straight line, but you have to go through the ups and downs to get to the bigger picture that is the end of the graph. The second graph with it’s wobbly line and all it’s peaks and troughs is the zoomed in detail you don’t see from the first graph and you’re doing a okay.

I don’t know if any of that really made any sense, but I found it comforting and a nice reminder to zoom out sometimes – everything’s okay really.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

things that make me happy

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

Life is a lot at the moment isn’t it? I know lockdown has been lifting for a while but it feels like I’ve spent six months in restrictions, the weather’s been nice but I live quite far away from any friends or family now so haven’t been able to see many people and my work life has been very hectic… So spending a little bit of time making a list of things that make me happy is going to be a good therapeutic exercise and a nice thing to look back on!

In no particular order:

  • the smell of grass after it rains in the summer
  • reading in the garden on my new sun lounger
  • lighting a candle I’ve been saving for special occasions
  • dance parties to Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat with my boy
  • my house plants
  • the light in our living room first thing in the morning
  • redesigning my island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • binging all the YouTube videos on my Watch Later playlist
  • picnics with friends on sunny days
  • game nights with friends on rainy nights
  • knitting my ‘scarf’ which is just lots of rows of the same stitch over and over again
  • watching tiktoks and not minding losing 1-3 hours of my life
  • reading in bed while the sun is still up
  • playing ‘ready, steady, cook’ with whatever food we have and accidentally making something really delicious
  • keeping my bullet journal up to date
  • when I’m in such a good writing flow that I feel like the story is writing itself
  • sewing a cross stitch kit
  • talking to my mum
  • reading whilst cuddling with my boy
  • bubbles
  • ordering spontaneous take out
  • trips to The Range, B&M and/or Wilkos
  • 2am giggles with the person I want to spend forever with
  • music by All Time Low
  • buttered toast
  • rewatching every film in the MCU… again
  • rewatching the entire Harry Potter franchise
  • live music
  • going for long walks (and playing Pokemon Go… I know)
  • an empty laundry basket
  • reading a book so good that you can’t put it down
  • having at home spa nights with face masks, foot masks and properly moisturising
  • using my sewing machines to make face masks
  • buying myself flowers
  • chocolate
  • fidget toys
  • my bear factory bear (yeah, pre-Build a Bear)
  • coloured pens
  • stickers!
  • lying on my bed and listening to music
  • giving my loved ones surprises
  • picking pictures for my photo wall
  • scrapbooking
  • decluttering the house
  • fairy lights
  • Lucas, my fiancé person
  • the music in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • space and galaxy themed things
  • a Tescos meal deal (chicken salad sandwich, a kinder bueno and Ribena)
  • tap dancing
  • sitting down after a busy day having ticked off everything on my to do list
  • the opening notes of Les Miserables in the theatre
  • doing paper crafts in my bullet journal at the start of each month
  • potatoes
  • summer evenings – the cooler air, the colours of the sky when the sun sets, BBQs and fire pits with friends – just the best

Many of these things are summer themed because that’s what’s making me happy right now, but I’m sure I could do a cosy winter version too!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx