October Goals

2020, goals

Hello!

Another month, another fresh start, another new set of goals!

September was potentially the least productive month I’ve ever had in terms of my goals – I achieved maybe 1 of 5 and even then that was half of one and half of another but I’m not going to dwell on it; I’m going to use what went wrong to learn how to be better this month and adjust my goals accordingly!

Last month was incredibly busy and this month I actually have nothing planned, which is probably for the best because my dissertation is due in less than four weeks now (eek!) so I need to figure myself out and finally finish this masters (though I’m reluctant to call it that because I’ve definitely not learnt anything to a masters level).

So this is what I’m going to focus on this month:

  • hand in my dissertation project – the deadline is October 29th and I’m not taking any more extensions, I’m 100% so done with this course and I just need it to be over. Next month I finally won’t be a student any more!
  • exercise twice a week – with the state of my mental health, exercising has been really hard to motivate myself to do so I’m hoping if I can just manage twice a week whether it’s running, doing a home workout on one of the many apps I have, a yoga video or even a dance video on YouTube, just twice a week feels achievable (I hope?).
  • practice self care and get back to a routine – I really haven’t been very good at looking after myself recently; my sleep schedule has gone out the window, my skin is a mess, I haven’t read a book in a month, my motivation is low and my productivity is gone. For the sake of my mental wellness and actually getting my dissertation done, I need to make the time to look after myself and get things done. I’m making more of an effort with skincare and my routines as well as taking more notice of how I make my to do lists and scheduling my time to tackle the feelings of being overwhelmed that I’m struggling with! I think that’s a pretty good place to start.
  • start and finish my new cross stitch project – as well as all kinds of routine, I’ve not made much time for crafting recently which is so sad because it has such a positive impact on my mental health. I have a specific project in mind that I want to do this month so setting that specific goal might help me actually achieve it!
  • finish planning the redraft of my book – November’s NaNoWriMo is going to roll around faster than I expect I’m sure! I’ve got about 11 chapters left to plan so I’m feeling pretty good about having my plan ready to finish the draft of this book by the end of the year!

And my additional monthly goals for the year of date night and read a book are still standing! September was so bad that I didn’t even manage to finish reading one book so I’m hoping to finish what I’m reading and find something I’m really excited about to kick start the habit again!

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

Sophie xx

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spending more time offline

2020, mental health

Hello!

With ‘I Am Whole’s Digital Detox Day earlier this month and mental wellness online being a growing conversation in lingering pandemic times, spending time offline can feel necessary and simultaneously overwhelming when we’re all racking up hours and hours of screentime.

Sometimes when we think about wanting to spend more time offline, the biggest question is ‘what would I do instead?’ – in theory you could fill the time you’d usually spend procrastinating and get more work done, clean the house properly or do all the decluttering and organising that always gets put off, but if we’re thinking about mental wellness and wanting to really relax without putting the pressure on productivity, it’s a different kind of spending time offline.

Here are a few of the things I do to help me feel more present and stop reaching for my phone!

  • turn it onto silent mode – it sounds silly, but if I turn off the sounds and the vibrations and turn it upside down and put it out of sight it’s much easier not to think about it because the notifications aren’t intrusive. Whether I want to get some focused work done or spend some dedicated time in the moment with friends or family, getting rid of invasive notifications really helps.
  • tactile hobbies for evening TV viewing – if you find you can’t just watch a TV show and you just can’t concentrate without doing something with your hands, take up an offline hobby! I’m a fan of knitting because at the moment I’m just doing rows and rows of the same thing and I can do it without really thinking, but something like colouring would be great or even a fidget toy can keep your hands busy without scrolling through instagram.
  • go for a tech free walk – the concept of leaving the house without a phone can be daunting, I know that I as a woman don’t feel particularly safe in my area on my own, but even if it’s listening to a podcast and walking or being with someone and leaving your phones in your pockets, being present especially in nature can be so beautiful. Even walking somewhere more industrial or suburban can be wonderful – people watching is always fun!
  • use ‘zen mode’ – my phone has an app or a mode or something where it essentially becomes a brick for an hour; it doesn’t give you any notifications, I don’t think it’ll even let you unlock it (except for emergencies) and having that dedicated tech free time can be useful in a work environment but also when you want to spend time with people and not be checking your phone. There’s plenty of apps that do this too, I remember one people used when I was in Sixth Form was one where you would grow a tree the longer you didn’t touch your phone and it would get chopped down if you closed the app. Whatever the theme or how it works, having time where your phone literally won’t let you in can be helpful.
  • spend time journalling or reading – I’m all about the pen and paper and I’ll always suggesting writing things down or making a list if you feel overwhelmed, but thinking about wanting to spend time offline and being more present, journalling is a great way to physically anchor yourself to a moment (however pretentious that sounds) – there are loads of prompts online or you can even buy premade journals with the prompts written in, but I think it’s a great activity both for mental health and getting offline. And I’ll always suggest reading! Getting lost in a good story, especially if you can sit outside and get some fresh air too is always a lovely way to spend an afternoon!
  • dedicate more time to cooking – whether it’s learning a new recipe or cooking with a new ingredient, I find time in the kitchen is a great way to do something offline, especially if you live with other people – kitchen catch ups are a great way to debrief at the end of the day and have a bit of social interaction! I find cooking really therapeutic and I know it’s different for everyone, but having something that you’ve made from scratch is so rewarding!

Just a few ideas of things that work for me! I definitely need to work on scheduling more phone-free relaxation into my week but it’s all a learning curve I guess!

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

Sophie xx

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I’ve lost a stone! | unfitness update

2018, fitness, lifestyle, mental health

Hello!

I’m so glad I decided to document my fitness and weight loss journey because I’m really settling into it and I’m so glad I will have these posts, videos and other tracking methods to look back on and see how much I’m achieving! I’m feeling a rebrand is coming for this blog and fitness might be a much bigger part of what I write about as it’s now a much bigger part of my life but we’ll get to that!

[ f o o d   /   d i e t ]

I still feel a bit lost in terms of nutrition and not knowing anything about it but I feel like I’m figuring out what’s good in terms of feeling like I’m eating well. I never understood when people talked about eating bad food and feeling sluggish but lads I get it now. I went to Southampton a couple of weeks ago and it was all very rushed and we got food where we could and after two days of McDonalds I felt so tired and unmotivated. So that’s new!

But my routine is good – I aim for breakfast before 8am (have moved from Cheerios to off-brand Cornflakes), I’m loving having roasted vegetables and cous cous for lunch (sometimes I’ll put a couple of chopped sausages in there too) and dinner’s have been pretty consistently not awful. I’ve definitely noticed that when mum and I are both really busy a plan goes out the window and we do what we can and going into the New Year we’re all just going to get busier so it’s adapting and finding ways to cook healthy food quick, or using the slow cooker more.

[ e x e r c i s e   /   w o r k i n g   o u t ]

Working out is so good – since my last update I’ve finished the four week Nike Training App plan and it was challenging but I really enjoyed it and I’ve set it up to do another ‘Start Up Plan’ program! I think the workouts are really suitable for my level of fitness (or lack thereof) and for a free app, I’m so impressed by it. I’m also doing two tap dance classes a week and I’m generally doing more steps per day too – overall I’m doing some form of exercise about five days a week and I’m so pleased that I’ve realised that exercising that much doesn’t mean going to the gym or killing yourself for an hour every day.

It’s all so integrated into my life that it doesn’t feel force and I’m really enjoying it – it’s taking me years to get to this point but that’s persistence! It’s not perfect yet – sometimes I wake up and working out or going for a walk is the last thing I want to do but I really feel like I’m more in the ‘progress’ stage than the ‘work in’ stage.

[ c h a n g e s ]

A new thing worth mentioning is that I got the coil in November (every time I talk about it I feel like I’m being so TMI but talking about contraception or menstruation really shouldn’t be TMI and I’ve had so many wonderful open conversations with people since I’ve mentioned it so I’m continuing to talk about it!).

I might do a whole post or video all about my experience with it so far when I’ve had it for a bit longer, but now that my body is getting used to having hormone interference again, it’s pretty much settled down and I’ve got it all under control. There were little fluctuations but mostly it didn’t effect my weight loss so fingers crossed that I can maintain the downward line!

Regarding the mental health, now that my body’s had a few weeks to settle into these new hormones, I feel like I’ve discovered this new positive mindset which has really opened my eyes and helped me focus on better things – I spoke about it in my November Favourites video and that’s my favourite description. Figuring out that everything is hard and facing difficulties doesn’t mean I’m hard done by, that’s just how life is, has made facing the hard things and accepting that if I want something to change then I need to work for it so much easier and I feel so much more motivated and productive because of it.

In conclusion, I feel like I’m really settling into working out and making it a proper part of my life routine which has been a goal of mine for so long. Food is kind of an ongoing battle again but I’m fighting, contraception is difficult to adjust to but my new favourite motto is really getting me through – I’m going to make all of this work. Just watch me.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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happiness = productivity?

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

I feel like it’s a huge part of today’s society, everything is about productivity and getting stuff done – being successful is a measure of how regulated your sleep schedule is, how on top of your work out routine you are and how many things you got done that day.

It’s gotten to a point where if I’m not out of bed by 8am I struggle to feel motivated to do anything and I’m not sure how it got to this point because I’m pretty sure it used to be cool to sleep till the afternoon and not do uni or school work.

Personally I find it so much harder to be content and motivated when I know there’s a list building up of stuff that I’ve been writing down for a few days – there’s only so many times I can write ‘apply for a job’ before it becomes utterly soul destroying to actually do it.

I don’t know where the pressure is coming from, who I feel judged by or where this all began but I really hate that my productivity is directly equal to my happiness on a day to day basis and let’s be real, there’s no pressure from anyone or any kind of society, it’s just me beating myself up and I need to come up with some methods to stop… doing… that?

Step 1 – don’t be a dick. I mean, that’s generally good life advice but I need to stop telling myself I’m not good enough! Because it escalates very quickly from ‘I didn’t apply for a job today’ to ‘I have no skills and don’t deserve a job anyway’ and I’d like to think that’s not true.

But you know, step 1 is pretty difficult when it’s quite deeply ingrained in your brain. But what can I say, I’ve acknowledged the problem and I know roughly where to start. I think that’s progress?

Step 2 – figure out why I’m not productive and adapt my to do lists accordingly. But that’s not really addressing the problem of my productivity being related to my happiness.

Step 3 – it sounds too simple but just let it go. Let the list go, no pressure to do more than I’m capable of – work on relaxing even if I didn’t quite get everything done and enjoy an evening of not squeezing in more work and doing whatever it is I’m doing below average anyway.

Step 4 – I don’t even know anymore, I’m rambling for the sake of rambling.

It gets to this point in a blog post where sometimes I’ll doubt whether I really want to publish it – am I making a point or am I complaining about something that no one else really cares about? But I think it’s defying thoughts like that are important – this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I want to share!

I think there’s a lot of pressure in our generation on the internet that you’ve always got to be doing something, making something, working towards something and we all know that the internet can be a pretty toxic place. But defying these things that we’ve been conditioned to feel is the best way to combat it.

Today hasn’t been a productive day, but I had a really lovely afternoon working on my scrapbook and that doesn’t make how I spent my day any less valid.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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October Goals!

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

How another month has flown – I’ve only got two more of these posts to write in 2018 and oh my god that’s a scary way of looking at it!

October is looking to be a pretty quiet month – it’s getting considerably colder and the leaves are all starting to change colour on the trees, the nights are drawing in and I’m starting to feel all snuggly and cosy so let’s jump right in and have a ramble about the things I want to focus on this month shall we!

[ O C T O B E R   G O A L S ]

  • focus on balance – I want to make sure I spend an even amount of time on a variety of things rather than trying to squeeze doing a bit of everything every day – I want to make time to work for my mum, continue making content 4 times a week, job hunting consistently and doing other things that I want to do! Balance is definitely something I need to work on.
  • sort and decorate room, clear old office – this month I’m hoping to redecorate my room – paint a feature wall, repaint the other walls, get a new carpet and a new wardrobe but first I have to tidy and clear the contents of my room as it is currently and I need to clear the spare room I’m moving stuff into. And the spare room has all the stuff I left behind when I went to uni that I need to sort through and decide whether I’m keeping, donating or getting rid off. Overall, lots of household sorting and maybe some painting.
  • finish my scrapbook – I started my scrapbook in first year, took a three year break and worked on it a bit at the end of August/beginning of September but I’ve got a few more bits to put in and then I can just do a page when something happens or I have enough to put in it! It probably won’t take me more than an afternoon but I just want to get my scrapbook and my photo albums sorted this month.
  • try new recipes and continue eating well – for a whole week now I’ve been eating really well, I’ve been really strict with not snacking between meals and eating as healthily as I can being such a fussy eater but I want to try new meals! The way I’m doing this is by mostly letting my boyfriend and my mum choose things they like and trying new things that way, so if I find anything I’ll definitely share it on Instagram (linked below).
  • have evenings off – I spent an awful lot of my time beating myself up about not being productive enough and I so often convince myself ‘I’ll work in the evening while watching TV’ but the TV I’ve been watching at the moment has been so addictive that I haven’t been able to tear myself away from it. So I want to give myself the evenings to be properly relaxed and not feel pressured to do anything! That’s not to say I’m sacking off the things I’ve not done on my to do list, it’s a double edged sword – I want to be more productive during the days so I can have the evenings off, but if I don’t get everything done I want I need to give myself a break.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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taking a break (when you need it)

2017, lifestyle, student

Hello,

I know I’ve been a bit absent from this blog – I had a week off, then I posted content really sporadically, then I just disappeared without a trace. I didn’t even turn my computer one for about a week, my boyfriend made a YouTube video for me (which I thoroughly recommend you watch, it’s fab) and I just went offline.

This wasn’t a choice or a decision I consciously made, it just happened. I was commuting into London for my work experience with BBC Three, I suffered a huge loss with my family, I was absolutely exhausted and then everything just got far too much and I know I couldn’t force myself to carry on with everything – so, unfortunately blogging slipped. I wish it hadn’t – I love writing, even writing this post now makes me feel so good to just be typing and the words flow so freely from my fingertips but at this time of loss and exhaustion, I couldn’t bring myself to think of the words.

And I know now that I did too much – last Tuesday I had a mild breakdown because I was trying to carry on with life as normal but I’ve not had a day with no plans for so long and I’m not going to have one for weeks, but I need to slow down and limit how much I’m making myself do because I can’t keep up. Even now I can feel my eyes ache because I’m still so tired.

I am working on it though – today I had my Lifestyle PR class, my music journalism class, I’m writing this post, I’m going to play MarioKart at uni and I’m going to go for a late night shopping trip with my favourite guys later. I’m not going to force myself to do any more than that because I will overwork myself. Every day in my diary is like this now – I have a lot going on but I’m not letting myself do too much. I’m trying to look after myself.

I have planned to write a post about grief and what’s really been going on in a week or two but it’s too soon right now. I’ve planned posts for this week and I’ve planned time to write them and get everything done but I may adapt this if I need to.

Would you like me to do a kind of ‘self help’-esque post about how I handle my mental health? It’s not professional or medically assisted in any way but it’s therapeutic for me and if it could help someone it would be totally worth it.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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