Uncategorized · Yeleverything

Self Care Tips 


Christmas is fast approaching and the first 25 days of December can be a bit of a whirlwind. So much of your time can be taken up by Christmas shopping or Christmas parties that it’s easy to forget to take some ‘me’ time and relax. I finally filled in my calendar for the next few weeks to find that I actually had very little time to myself! Here are some of my best self care tips to help you enjoy the festive season and not burn yourselves out

#1 Don’t choose the stressful option

A pretty simple tip but one that is easy to ignore. Whilst Christmas is my favourite time of year, it is also one of the most stressful! With a busy calendar and errands galore, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. However, with a little planning everything can go a lot more smoothly. Perhaps complete the bulk of your Christmas shopping online so that when you do go to the Christmas markets, you can actually enjoy the festivities instead of rushing about trying to find gifts. 

#2 You don’t have to attend every party 

Sometimes I forget that when I am invited somewhere I do have the option to say no. Christmas is a brilliant excuse for a couple of drinks after work and office parties, but it can also be a quick way to exhaustion. If you can hack going out every night then definitely go ahead and do it if it’s what you enjoy, I personally find that going out 24/7 results in me being miserable, sleep deprived and hungover – not very festive! Therefore, I am only attending events that I really want to go to. 

#3 You do not have to drink alcohol

This follows on nicely from #2, alcohol is not integral to having a good night. Now, I really enjoy drinking sociably and I have a healthy relationship with alcohol. Chances are that if I am out then I will be drinking. I am also comfortable with not drinking at social events. However, I have realised that quite often other people have an issue with this and will try to encourage me to drink. As I said, I have a healthy relationship with alcohol so I often shrug it off and don’t get tempted but this experience does make me feel sympathy to those trying not to drink but being pressured into doing so. My main advice would be to not draw attention to the fact that you’re not drinking – I’ll often have a fizzy drink, which people just assume is alcohol and I won’t get involved in rounds. The festive season is full of drinking but there are huge benefits to taking a break from alcohol – most notably I am much jollier the next day! 

#4 Focus on an exercise routine 

I sympathise with anyone that struggles to work out in the winter – staying at home watching Christmas films seems like a better alternative! But exercising can boost your mood considerably and make you feel like less of a Potato. Whenever I am trying to encourage myself to get active I always think that I won’t ever regret working out but I will regret wasting my time at home. Don’t let the cold weather stop you, wrap up warm and go for a walk or a run – having the cold air hit your face is oddly refreshing! Or if you are really committed to your Christmas movies then stream them from your phone and watch them at the gym. Your future self will thank you for it! 

#5 Treat yo’ self

Life is all about balance. So, whilst you should take care of your health also remember to enjoy yourself. For example, after my recent manic weekend, I had the most magnificent lazy day on Sunday. I slept in, walked my dog, ate biscuits, watched a Christmas film, played Lego Harry Potter, ordered a takeaway and then relaxed in the bath with a face mask. I felt so refreshed and ready for the week ahead! I find that when I have lazy days, it resets me and make me even more determined for the upcoming week to smash my fitness goals and eat well. 

What are your top self care tips? 

Advertisements
Uncategorized · Yeleverything

Merry Blogmas!!

For the first year in a while I am feeling so festive. I decorated my office door on Tuesday (don’t judge me – every person on my corridor has judged me enough!) and I’ve already watched my first Christmas film of the year. 

I have neglected blogging big time. Mostly due to a seemingly endless few months of job hunting and then starting my dream job. Despite having too much spare time before starting work, I couldn’t blog often because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Do any of you find blogging a lot easier when you’re feeling happy? I can write a long blog post if I’m in a bad mood and incredibly passionate about something but my mood whilst job hunting was very ‘meh’, I felt detached and quite useless.

But that’s over now so I will be attempting to blog everyday until Christmas, yippee! Hopefully I’ll be able to fit in a few YouTube videos too.. 

I’m very excited to start this challenge and hope a few of you follow my progress over the next few weeks.

Merry Blogmas to you all! 

Yeleverything

Return of the Gym Bunny

IMG_1319.jpg

I’m back at the gym and I am so so so happy!

I’d been having problems with my knees whilst training for the marathon and 5 weeks before I was due to run I found out that I had osteoarthritis. I can’t describe the frustration of having to withdraw my marathon place! Following my 6 weeks recovery I noticed that there was absolutely no improvement in my knees so I reluctantly froze my gym membership and committed myself to walking my dog instead.

Buuuuuut now I’m back and I went to the gym for the first time yesterday. Surprisingly my strength is still around the same, only 5kg – 10kg less than before and my flexibility is the same in my right leg but so much worse in my left. The real shock was my cardio – I used to do 20 minutes on the step master as a warm up but yesterday I could barely do 5! Fingers crossed a few spin classes will get me back into the swing of things. It is absolutely crazy how much I missed it but I’m viewing my absence as a good thing because now I am even more determined to get back into a healthy lifestyle.

If any of you have some gym tips or similar experiences please do leave them in the comments!

Yeleverything

Harry Potter is more than just a story

IMG_0484

I am so grateful to J.K. Rowling for dreaming up the magical world of Harry Potter whilst on a train journey between London and Manchester. It goes without saying, the storylines provide a form of escapism that encourages you to think outside of the box and truly embrace the fact that eventually good will triumph over evil (something that J.K. Rowling does on a daily basis against Twitter trolls). But there is more to it than an eclectic mix of characters and fancy spells.

I grew up with Harry Potter and it shaped my life, memories and relationships.

This post could honestly be the same length as my undergraduate dissertation (but I won’t put you through that!) Instead, here are key memories I have thanks to Harry Potter:

My brothers arguing over who got to read our copy of the book first. After Chamber of Secrets, my mum wised up and made the sensible decision of buying individual copies.

Following this, it led to a reading race in which my brothers would race each other to finish the book first. Heaven forbid any arguments happened mid-read because that would lead to spoilers galore! I’ve always been a bookworm but J.K. Rowling encouraged even the most disinterested child to pick up a book and immerse themselves in the fantasy world.

We spent endless Sunday afternoons together as a family watching the films. Specifically, I know the first three films off by heart due to my eldest brother having them on 24/7.

I remember seeing the first couple of films with my brother and my mum. I don’t know why but I always remember at the end of the Philospher’s Stone my mum turning to my brother and asking, “does Harry get on better with the Dursley’s when he gets home?” She sounded genuinely concerned for the wellbeing of the fictional wizard!

As I got a bit older, I began to go to see the films with my friends instead of my family. I’ll never forget being absolutely covered in goosebumps at the beginning of The Deathly Hallows. I’m not sure why but the 2 year wait for the film genuinely felt like a lifetime!

I remember watching the Order of the Phoenix at the first ever sleepover I had with a boy – we were both huge Harry Potter fans so it was the perfect evening! Fast forward 7 years and we ended up visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Japan together. I can’t describe the butterflies in my tummy I had whilst walking into my fictional paradise. We also binge watched all 8 films on the flight to Japan, best in-flight entertainment ever.

For my 19th birthday, my best friend and a different boyfriend surprised me with tickets to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. This was an incredible day out! Seeing the set design and the props in real life was absolutely fascinating. I even got to ride a broom! I’m going back next week for my 23rd birthday and cannot wait.

I know these memories don’t mean much to anyone else. I find it absolutely fascinating that a book and movie franchise could have such an impact on growing up. From being young enough to not be able to go to the cinema by myself to see the first movie, to being old enough to travel to Japan without my parents and experience the magic – Harry Potter has been a consistent presence in my life. I can’t quite articulate how special it is to me.

Thank you J.K. Rowling for playing a crucial role in the last 20 years of my life.

 

Yeleverything

The worst things to say to stressed people

enhanced-buzz-26351-1373475348-22

The current humidity is not helping but I am facing mahoosive sleep issues at the moment. My university final grade is out next week (at 4pm on my birthday of all days) and I can’t stop fretting over it!

I’m trying my best to keep myself busy during the day but I still have millisecond panics with a precise countdown to receiving my results. This is made 10 x worse at night and I’ve found myself only being able to sleep after a long Netflix binge. My family & friends are trying their best to help me but sometimes their advice is SO frustrating. Just to clarify, I know I am being completely irrational but this is the stress talking! So here is a little list of the most infuriating advice to receive:

  1. “It’s not long to go then it’ll all be over!”

I don’t care how long there is to go. Whether it’s one minute or three months – I am going to stress. Time isn’t a factor in this because the stress comes in waves. One minute I can be in a “I’m sure it won’t be bad” then the next minute I’m thinking of so many bizarre scenarios; “maybe I wrote the wrong student number on my exam and I’ll end up with a 0? Perhaps I accidentally google translated my entire dissertation into Spanish so it’ll be impossible to mark?” Minds can play tricks. A steady stream of stress would be manageable, it’s the unexpected stress over any time period that is difficult.

    2. “There’s nothing you can do about it now so just forget about it”

Oh! Thanks so much, Susan. I didn’t realise I should just forget about it – stress gone! This would be dream advice if it was actually possible to do. Having someone casually disregard your stress and suggest that it can be pushed away is somewhat damaging and makes you feel even more irrational about being stressed.

3. “I’m sure you’ve done fine, you did your best”

BUT DID I?! Or did I go to a party when I should have done my essay? Did I buy a kitten two weeks before three deadlines? Results stress even makes me question the times that I did work hard, “yes I worked hard.. but could I have worked harder? Did I really need to sleep and shower?”

4. “I know you’ll get a first”

Spoiler: It is now mathematically impossible for me to achieve a first so I know that won’t be happening. It’s incredibly flattering having close friends say this one but when I know the expectations are so high it’s actually adding more pressure because whatever I now get will be disappointing (not to me personally, a 2:1 will have me singing on the rooftops). I know people have good intentions but I’ve had this since GCSE’s when the pressure to get A*’s & A’s was suffocating.

Are any of you in the same boat as me and waiting for results or are you one of the lucky ones that has been able to enjoy their summer with their results in hand?

Yeleverything

Mental Health & Uni

Brief background: aged 15 I suffered from depression and this lasted for 5 years. Whilst it never fully leaves, I learnt to manage it a lot better and due to many lifestyle changes depression no longer had such a hold over me.

Now I am 22 in my final year of university and I have found that depression and stress related symptoms have been creeping up on me once more. This is almost 100% due to stress caused by the seemingly endless essay deadlines.

Last November I decided to seek medical help (this was the first visit to the doctor re stress in 6 years). I was given advice and a letter that I could submit to my university, which advised that due to my mental health it may be necessary in certain circumstances to provide me with an extension. I had 8 deadlines in total before Christmas and only requested an extension on 1 of them.

Whilst I have been coping with stress pretty well in 2017, I had a week in which everything fell apart. I got a knee injury on the Sunday night, visited the doctor on Monday to find out that I had arthritis, had to withdraw from the London Marathon on Tuesday and then on Wednesday I was working Parliament whilst the Westminster Attacks happened. Safe to say my mood rapidly decreased and I spent Thursday and Friday uncontrollably crying, unable to eat and too anxious to go outside.

With the support of my wonderful family (and a pair of crutches) I soon managed to resume my daily activities. Despite carrying on, inside I was crying out for help and jumping out of my skin whenever somebody shouted or ran past me. But in my head I knew the reason for being so jumpy – being caught up in a terrorist attack is bound to encourage feelings of anxiety, nervousness and suspicion. Whilst trying to behave as “normally” as possible, this period of time massively knocked my confidence and I know that my concentration at university was damaged because of this.

Now, getting to the point! I had an essay to do about my time in Parliament which included a daily journal and portfolio. I found it near to impossible to write about the terror attacks but it was a huge part of my experience in Parliament and I wanted to write about it to reflect upon it. I managed to do this … but submitted it 12 hours after the deadline. Due to this, I applied for extenuating circumstances and submitted my doctors note, assuming the senior tutor would understand.

Well, I was wrong. Now, I do not rely on preferential treatment and would not normally make a fuss but the reason that my extenuating circumstances claim was denied was because the letter from my doctor (November 2016) did not cover the period of time in which I was claiming the extenuating stances for. Essentially, because the letter was not dated April 2017 for my submission date, it was invalid. Here are my arguments for why this is ridiculous:

  1. Mental health issues do not have a timeframe. It is not as if I have submitted a letter to say that I had a broken leg in November and was still using this broken leg as an excuse months after it has healed. Mental health is an ongoing battle. I could feel absolutely on top of the world all week and then have a weekend where I want to curl up into a ball and not talk to anyone. In my opinion, a letter dated November 2016 in which my mental health had been acknowledged by a doctor should have lasted throughout the academic year.
  2. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Why didn’t you just go to the doctor after your terrible week?” I knew that week was an anomaly. I think that it would have been tough for anyone to go through, whether they had existing depression or not. At the time, I tried to be rational and thought that a trip to the doctors would not have any impact because nothing had actually changed. The doctor would not have done anything differently other than give me the same advice as they had done in November 2016.
  3. Finally, as a student funds are tight. My letter from November cost me £25. If I had visited the doctor in April to receive a copy of the exact same letter with an updated date, then I would have spent a total of £50 on two letters which discussed the exact same topic and would be read by the exact same person at my university.

At a time of feeling my most vulnerable, I had hoped that university would be more understanding. Even if they had responded identifying my reasons for the late submission and politely advised I visited the doctor again (or they could even phone up my doctor in order to hear my medical history and then they would maybe understand that my mental health issues were not limited to November 2016).

Situations like these remind me that there needs to be a better understanding of mental health. Claiming that my doctor’s note is dated is ridiculous – I am fully aware that it will take me a long, long time to overcome my current issues and learn to manage my stress effectively. Mental health is not something that you can stick a plaster on. It isn’t simple.

Yeleverything

True Life: Food Confessions

I’ve always had a healthy appetite – not healthy in the balanced diet aspect but more in a cake for breakfast way. However, recently I have suffered from constant hunger. I’ll eat dinner and then have a second dinner and maybe even a third. I’m not even classing it as glutinous, I’m just REALLY hungry. I thought that by confessing my food sins on the internet it may teach my appetite to start being satisfied with a normal person’s portions rather than eating enough to sustain a small village.

tumblr_n5nfiw6pMX1s9u7c4o8_500

  • The other day I reached an all time low. I went to Subway and immediately after leaving (with a 6 inch turkey sub in hand) I walked straight into McDonald’s and ordered a McChicken sandwich meal… and a cheeseburger.
  • Oh, and two weeks after that I went to Byron Burger for a meal and then stopped off at Nando’s for a takeaway cheesecake. I AM SO ASHAMED.
  • When I went to Creams (a restaurant dedicated entirely to ice cream and desserts), I couldn’t decide between a banana split or pancakes so I decided to get both.
  • … & after consuming my pancakes and banana split I stopped off at a McDonald’s drive thru. I couldn’t decided between a hamburger or mayo chicken so I got both. A pattern seems to be forming…
  • I go through phases of craving sweet things and then going on a savoury rampage, hence the post-Creams McDonald’s. Anyway, two days after that I was heavily craving crisps. I couldn’t decide between Wotsits, Tyrrells or Hula Hoops so I decided to give them a rating out of 5 to try and come to a firm conclusion about what crisp was most necessary to me at the time. Hula Hoops scored a 2, Tyrrells a 3 and Wotsits a 5. A normal person would see this and think “Wotsits it is then!” My logic? I’ll buy one packet of Hula Hoops, two packets of Tyyrells and 3 packets of Wotsits.