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

anxious body, absent mind

2021, mental health

Hello,

There’s no shortage of people talking about mental health at the moment, especially with the mental strain the pandemic has put on everyone. We’re at a point where Mental Health Awareness isn’t important anymore – everyone’s aware – mental health support is what people need right now.

But one of the scariest things about mental illness, is that even for people who’ve suffered with it for years and years, anxiety, depression and other disorders can always take on new forms, presenting symptoms in different ways.

How my anxiety presented itself when I was a teenager and how it presents itself now are totally different – when I was younger, I had anxiety attacks when I tried to fall asleep, now that’s not so much of a problem.

What I wanted to talk about today are feeling symptoms of anxiety without feeling anxious in your mind – or not recognising your anxious feelings at surface level. But let’s take it back a few steps.

At the beginning of the month, my partner flew to Italy for work, where he will be staying for just short of five weeks. It’s the longest we’ve ever been apart, it’s the first time he’s ever been on a plane and he’s working on a global sporting event so we were both nervous! I spent weeks, if not months, in advance of his flight planning my time to break up how long I was alone; seeing friends, seeing family, staying different places to get out of my house etc, etc.

When I left him at the airport, obviously there were a few tears because it’s a big change, but I hopped back in my car, listened to my ‘At Home With Anna and Lily’ podcast and jumped straight back into work. Since then, I’ve felt okay at the surface level – I’m getting lots of updates from Italy, I’m using the time on my own to focus on myself and spending my time catching up on hobbies and my YouTube Watch Later playlist and work is really busy so I’m actually really well preoccupied.

But everything I eat doesn’t seem to be reacting very well, I’m getting a lot of stomach aches and I’m finding it more difficult to get to sleep.

I’m feeling the physical symptoms of anxiety whilst mentally I actually feel okay. Or at least, I thought I did.

So I’m taking even more of a step back – trying to get in touch with my body to understand the subconscious feelings that are causing physical symptoms that my surface level brain either can’t or won’t recognise.

Am I doing this by meditating? Exercising and going on a diet? Absolutely not. But I’m trying to be more intuitive – listening when I need to take a minute away from my computer at work and stretch my legs, leaving more time between finishing my dinner and reaching for dessert to figure out if I actually want it; making more time for reading even if I go past the time I should go to sleep!

It’s not perfect – I still experience anxiety symptoms, but I don’t struggle to get out of bed as much anymore. I can have a shower without having to spend half an hour psyching myself up. I can look after myself and keep everything clean and tidy. It may sound trivial and easy but these are things I’ve struggled with and even though I’m still figuring out my mental illness and move towards overcoming it, I am making progress and taking those little steps.

Eight months ago, I was so anxious and depressed I couldn’t stand the thought of being home alone while my partner went to work for the weekend – I went to stay with my mum and had some of the most intense panic attacks I’ve ever had in my life. From there, working with my doctor, I altered my medication and started taking steps to get control of my life back, because it may sound melodramatic but I was terrified. I felt like my capability to be independent had been taken away from me and at 24, that’s not something I ever thought I’d be feeling.

But all those months, two lockdowns and finding a therapist later and I’m back on the right track. I’m not at the destination yet – I don’t know if there is a destination to reach – but I’m on the track and I’m putting one foot in front of the other.

That’s all I can do.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

trying to feel more present

2021, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

Something I’m finding a bit difficult at the moment is feeling present in the moment – I appear to have blinked and it’s May! I sometimes genuinely forget it’s 2021.

But it’s things like being thrilled it’s the weekend and then suddenly it’s Monday and I feel like I haven’t made the most of my time off at all, I don’t feel refreshed and I’m dreading running on empty for another week. I’m struggling with feeling present and it’s a mix of constantly feeling like I’m waiting for the future or reminiscing about the past and I really want to spend more time focusing on living in the now.

Some of the things I’m going to try and do to work on it is by having shorter to do lists and not trying to cram as much into my precious time off, spending time at home because that’s where I find it easiest to recharge and getting away from the screens – not having my laptop over for the sake of it, listening to music instead of watching TV in the background and trying not to lose hours scrolling on tiktok!

Especially with the weather getting nicer, I’m trying to get out in the garden more, but then also spending time doing crafts, writing in my bullet journal and reading! I hit a reading slump in April and didn’t read more than one chapter in the whole month, but I’ve already read two books in May and I’m so excited to spend the summer outside with my books. My mum’s given us a sofa bed which we’ve put in the extension downstairs and sitting under the skylight and looking out in the garden with a book or with my knitting is so lovely.

It sounds silly, but I hope I can feel more present in my life to make the days feel longer! Thinking about how many weekends I’ve spent in bed till midday because it was the only way I could recover from a week of work just feels like such a waste. Hopefully being able to relax more and slow down will help me sleep better and it all be a nice positive circle of feeling less exhausted and more relaxed in my day to day.

Before work yesterday, I managed to wake up and get out of bed, go to the post box, get pastries from Sainsbury’s, journal and meditate before work and it felt great! I’d love to feel that refreshed and productive before I even start work, but the day before I turned off my 8am alarm, fell back to sleep because I was so tired and woke up again at 8.45am to start work at 9am. It’s a habit I’d love to break!

I’d love it if I could maintain a routine, but I always go through cycles of sleeping well, feeling more present and productive and then there’s times were I sleep for 8 hours and feel like I could sleep for 8 more and I feel like that’s normal? Anyone who maintains a daily routine forever is a robot I swear!

Once you count out work and sleeping, there’s approximately six hours an evening during the week and fourteen hours in the weekend days – but then there’s cooking and cleaning and tidying and doing a weekly shop and other boring grown up things there’s not a whole lot of time left in the week! A lot of our working lives are lost to the boring adult stuff so the time we have left over is precious, so being more intentional but how I spend that time will hopefully make me feel much more present.

But as lockdown lifts and there’s discussions about hybrid working and going back to the office, it’s hard to remember that working from home is actually exhausting mental and physically – I’ve spoken a lot about productivity culture being really toxic and taking that work mentality and bringing it into the home that’s meant to be our place of relaxation is tough!

If you need a sign to prioritise yourself and have a self care weekend, this is it!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

I’m taking a break from YouTube

2021, creativity, mental health

Hello,

Since I started my job back in January, I’ve managed to keep up blogging – I find words come naturally to me and I love typing away a couple of times a week (even if I don’t always post it), but I’ve managed to post three videos since the new year on my YouTube channel…

Thought I have continued to plan content – I’ve scheduled myself the task of making a video every week and sometimes I’ve even filmed, but when it comes to the weekend, the thought of editing and uploading feels like a waste of my precious non-working hours so I haven’t prioritised it.

Thinking about the content I made, what I want to make and what I watch, I just feel like I don’t have anything to say that’s worth sharing at the moment. I like talking about books but I’m not making the time to edit the videos, I’m thinking about getting into making covers again but they were never anything special, just something fun for me.

I have nothing valuable to contribute and that’s fine – I’ve got seven years of memories on that YouTube channel and I’m still pushing myself creatively with the editing I’m doing for work. I’ve been editing Reels, writing scripts, doing podcast interviews and editing the podcast too and I’m really enjoying it. I’m using my creative energy in a different way and when I think about it all incredibly pretentiously, I think that’s why I started my channel in the first place – to be able to use my skills in a working environment; now I’m getting paid for it!

I love the vlogs I’ve uploaded and soon I’m sure I’ll treasure watching them back (it’s too recent for me to feel nostalgic about it yet!) – I might carry on making vlogs in the future, I’m making another ‘One Second Everyday’ video this year so I’ll definitely upload that, but I want to be more selective; remembering to film is surprisingly difficult and it means I don’t feel as present in the moment of whatever I’m doing. I want vlogging to be capturing memories rather than making me feel like I’m not living my own life (though that sounds way more dramatic than I intended).

I’m not a YouTuber; I’m not an influencer; people don’t value my opinion on anything and I don’t have anything insightful about skincare, beauty or fashion to share; I don’t have any great opinions on books and I’m not a comedian. I’m just a girl who likes making videos and music and writing stories. I like making things, but YouTube isn’t the platform for me right now.

I massively addressed my relationship with social media about three years ago and noticeably stopped tweeting and Instagram story-ing my every last feeling (often the negative ones) and now I just don’t feel the need to share publicly as much – the people I care about and that I know care about me get the pictures I take privately. If there’s something worth sharing I’ll put it on my stories but I really don’t share as much as I used to and I think that’s healthy for me.

Stepping back from YouTube seems to be the next logical step. I’m not saying I’m ‘quitting’ and deleting my channel and being all dramatic about it – I love a project and I’d love to work on something more long form or planned in the future, like a series or a mini-documentary or something, but right now I don’t have the time and it’s not a priority, and that’s fine.

I’ve had a lot of fun on YouTube – if it weren’t for starting my channel with Vlogmas in 2013 I wouldn’t have realised I wanted to study multimedia journalism and I wouldn’t have gone to Solent or met my now-fiancé or any of the steps that have let me to the life I have now, which despite all it’s challenges I’m actually pretty fond of!

I’ve done some cool things…

And everything in between! This channel has seen me from cautious 17 year old through three degrees and I’ve just moved into a house that feels far too grown up with the love of my life (I know, we’re disgusting) and I’m actually kind of grown up and self sufficient.

It feels a long way back to look at 17, but so much of my best times are on my YouTube channel and whilst it’s hard to look back at some of it, there is so much happiness immortalised there. I’d like to keep it as more of a scrapbook than a diary.

Thank you if you’ve ever watched one of my YouTube videos – although the views meant something to me, they never had any real impact on anything other than my ego so the fact anyone spent time watching what I created means the world.

And thank you for reading – I’ve not lost momentum with blogging yet, but who knows where the future can take us! I’ll still be sharing my words for a while to come yet.

Sophie xx

a life update, but not just the highlight reel

2021, lifestyle

Hello!

I wrote a few weeks ago about going through a creative block with my blog, but I thought I’d climbed over that hurdle… and then I’ve been stumped every time I tried to write this week.

I don’t know if it’s an anxiety thing or if I’m just a little too close to burnout for comfort but I felt like I couldn’t read the words on my screen, let alone write anything cohesive. To throw an extra spanner in the works, WordPress has updated it’s user interface and the post writing section is completely different – as someone who doesn’t like change, I hate it.

Like, I know I’ll get used to it and then they’ll change it again and I’ll wish it was back like this but still… Give me my old editor back please!

On Tuesday I tried to write another book themed post about how I organise my ‘to be read’ books, but the answer was as simple as; I organise them in alphabetical order by author’s surname because it shuffles them enough that nothing’s too similar but I don’t have to make any decisions about what I read next because the order is already planned.

There wasn’t much of a way to extend that beyond one paragraph without it being really boring and unnecessary, so I decided to stop beating myself up and just let that one slide.

Then Friday night’s post was meant to be all about trying to move house in a pandemic, and whilst we have applied for a house and been approved to move in two weeks (hopefully), 1) We haven’t signed a contract yet so I’m still a bit dubious and 2) It’s actually been okay – we started looking at rightmove and booking viewings a few months in advance of when we wanted to move and we didn’t hand our notice in till after we’d found somewhere so we didn’t have any deadlines, the only thing I’m nervous about is the contract falling through but the national lockdown rules ease by the time our provisional moving date is so we’ve roped a couple of friends in to help (all legally).

And again, that’s the whole story in one paragraph!

So I thought I’d write a kind of diary/update post – because that’s essentially a taste of what those two other posts would have been anyway!

My whole life at the moment feels like work and trying to not be tired – my mental health is in a weird state where sometimes I spend ages staring at screen taking three times as long to do a task as I should be, and sometimes I feel really present and efficient and excited about what I’m working on. Finding a balance within all that is okay, I’m learning to work with my mental state rather than working against it and getting frustrated, but it’s annoying when the to do list just keeps being postponed to the next day and everything is building up.

Outside of work I feel a bit restless – I know I want to be doing something but I don’t know what. I’m starting a new creative writing project in April but I don’t have the words to write right now (though the stories are developing in my head), I can’t comfy enough to read (I’m too young for everything to ache this much, right?) and knitting watching my fiancé play video games is not top of my list. I’m trying to tune into what my body wants and needs but I’m exhausted a lot of the time no matter how much sleep I’m getting.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – though tired, I am really enjoying my work and I love working with creative people, feeding off their energy and ideas and feeling valued when I share ideas of my own. I’m planning to have a weekend of sewing and packing which I’m excited about – watching YouTube or turning some music up loud and having some off screen time to potter around the house.

I love mundane tasks like tidying and organising (not cleaning so much, which isn’t ideal), I love listening to music and pretending I’m the main character in a film (I know it’s weird, let me have it) and I’m excited for what feels like ‘the next step’ for my partner and I, moving into a more ‘grown up’ house.

Things are up and down, but as I recently described it to a close friend – ‘I’m alright, ups and downs, in a bit of a down at the moment but knowing it won’t last forever is a big step in itself’.

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

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a blogging writing block

2021, creativity

Hello!

I’ve been consistently writing blog posts for somewhere upwards of two years now – when I started in 2014 I had no idea what I was doing, in 2015 I did a 365 day challenge (successfully, might I add!), in 2016-2018 I played around with 2-3 blog posts a week and generally was pretty consistent! Then from 2019 (ish) onwards, I’ve pretty religiously written two blog posts a week and rarely missed one, other than maybe posting a day late because I forgot to publish a post.

But in the last month, I’ve not felt the motivation to write – I don’t like the ideas I’ve come up with, I don’t think they add anything to my blog’s narrative and I don’t feel inspired to write anything. Maybe it’s lockdown finally catching up with me – after a whole year I’ve finally run out of stuff to say. Maybe it’s the new job – it’s been two months of being knackered by 9-5 (does anyone ever get used to it?) so by the time the evening comes I want to sit and watch TV or play games with my partner and I wasn’t excited enough about the post ideas I’d come up with to open my computer back up and stare at a screen for even longer.

And I don’t know where this lull in my blogging motivation has come from – as a craft, I love writing, I love expressing myself in words and getting lost in what I’m typing. And I miss it – I miss writing those passionate rambles and creating my own little history book on this website, but I just didn’t see the point in anything I tried to write (and believe me I’ve tried).

But it hit me the other day as I was desperately trying to expand a couple of hundred words into an actual blog post – I’m out of creative energy.

Talking about ‘energy’ at all feels more hippie than I have ever sounded before, but I think it’s fairly common within creative communities and professions that it’s not an endless source to be tapped into. It’s a pool and like any body of water and ebbs and flows in waves – I’m just at the bottom of the wave.

For some reason that thought gave me comfort, rather than immediately catastrophising that after six years my blog is finally going to crash and I’m never going to find motivation again, I knew that this is just a moment and my mojo will come back.

Whether it’s a few good nights of sleep (the fact I first tried to spell night with a ‘k’ at the beginning show’s how few of those I’ve had!), getting that one really big work task finished or moving house (fingers crossed!) to get my mojo back or it’s just riding through this funk till I can surf the wave, I will not feel like this forever.

Is the water analogy going too far now?

Either way, it’s happened before and it will undoubtedly happen again, but beating myself for not maintaining my trivial, self-set deadline of two posts a week isn’t the end of the world – giving myself the space with being okay with deleting that task from my list rather than ticking it off.

This blog is mine – it’s meant to be something fun and lighthearted and when I start to feel stressed by it, I need to listen to what my body and mind are asking for and give it some space.

So I might not be posting every Tuesday and Friday – sometimes it might go up late on Wednesday or Saturday or I might not post anything at all. If you miss me, send me a message on instagram – I’m usually scrolling!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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