Every time I’m in Birmingham New Street station, the swinging chairs in the window of Mowgli catch my eye. Unfortunately there wasn’t one free when I visited, a missed instagram opportunity, but not the end of the world. For someone who’s pretty clumsy, it was probably a good thing that I was sat in a stable chair!Read More »
Being back at University feels like I’ve been thrown into the deep end. I’ve been really looking forward to being back & even though I am motivated to work hard, it doesn’t mean that I can take everything in my stride!
I love routine so I’m slowly working out what mine is going to be at uni. When I can exercise, socialise, go to lectures & complete uni work all falls into that. Lets be honest, when you’ve got multiple articles to read for lectures, a dissertation to write, wanting to make & maintain friendships, along with the added pressure of finding a graduate job, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
It’s always good to recognise that you need to take a bit more time for self-care, but how can we try to combat it in the first place?
Tidy Up Your Space
Tidy space, tidy mind rings true here. For me, a tidy space calms my mind & when it’s messy, that’s when I know I’m a little bit stressed out! Student kitchen’s might not be exactly helpful, but combatting that with keeping your room clean, tidy & cosy should be the way to go! You can see how I’ve started to decorate my uni room here.
Get some Fresh Air
This can be v hard in the winter but it’s one of the most important times to do so. Seeing less sunlight reduces our dose of Vitamin D which can impact our mood & energy for the day. If it’s sunny for once, make the most of it & take time to go for a walk. Hopefully, it’ll clear your mind & give yourself space to not think about the pressure you are under!
Plan Your Time
Knowing what you’ve got to do & when is probably one of the best way to reduce feeling overwhelmed. As I enjoy using my bullet journal, I’ve mapped out my October Bullet Journal to do daily plans & blog content, but for uni work, OneNote is my best friend.
Keep to a Routine
This one is never going to be down to the tee, nor does it need to be perfect. Find what works best for you, whether you work better in the mornings or afternoons? I’m doing okay at the moment with getting up early & have semi productive days, but it’s swings & roundabouts – the other week, I’d got up & been for a swim before starting uni work on campus, only to find my laptop had no battery & I’d forgotten my charger. Little things like that really make it feel like you’ve got to start the day all over again!
What are your best ways to reduce feeling overwhelmed? Let me know!
I don’t know about you, but I love the feeling of starting ‘new’. I love the start of January, feeling ready for the new year to start, but after 21 years in education now, September will always have ‘back to school’ vibes! This tends to mean I normally buy myself all the stationary possible to be ready for the academic year, but this year it has a slightly different meaning.
A year ago, I had my first epileptic seizure. It was a huge shock, as I was just settling into a new job, it was completely out of the blue & all of a sudden my life turned upside down. I knew pretty much nothing about seizures & epilepsy beforehand & as one in 20 people will have an epileptic seizure at some point in their life, I would definitely recommend checking out the Epilepsy Society’s website to learn more, I wish I knew more before hand.
The loss of independence was one of the hardest things, not being able to drive where I live was complicated. It’s been a year of ‘carrying on’ & I’ve had some incredible support to do so, but I’m ready to close the chapter & open the next.
So, my final year at University will be the next chapter & I’m *kinda* ready for it. I’m very nervous about having to write a dissertation & after a year living at home in the countryside, living in the city excites me but scares me at the same time. It’s feeling a lil bit like a roller-coaster. But as the new chapter opens, it’s time to set some goals.
1. Exercise 3 times a week
Yes, I’ve brought a uni gym membership. There’s no excuses now & that’s good, I want to use it for my own well being, rather than focusing on the ‘weight loss’. Final year is going to be tough & getting endorphins from exercise will hopefully help relieve the stress.
2. Use a typical ‘working’ day for uni work
After spending a year in full-time work, this should be fine. Previous years at uni have had less of a routine, but I know doing so this year will keep me on track.
3. Stick to a blog post schedule
This blog isn’t going anywhere! It’s my creative outlet & I love that, I want to keep writing content that not only I enjoy, but hopefully you do too! Keeping with the routine for uni work, I’ll fit the blog in alongside, whether that’s making the most of a gap between lectures, evenings or weekends, I know that writing helps my well being too.
4. Strive to be the best version of myself
After everything that has happened this year, I’ve had a few ‘wobbles’ & doubts about myself. By focusing on myself & what I want to do, hopefully my mindset will be positive & that’ll reflect in my relationships with people.
What have your goals been this year? Let me know how you have got on with them!
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Maintaining positive mindset isn’t always easy. In the height of the social media world, although it’s great, sometimes everything looks perfect.
However, a positive mindset does not mean that everything is perfect. To me, it’s more recognising how I’m feeling, but knowing that I can & will be able to achieve my goals, aspirations etc.
Typically, I do tend to assume the worst, especially when I am aiming for something. My A-Levels are a prime example here, I knew what I wanted & I’d put so much hard work in & although they are not the be-all & end-all, I knew what I wanted but I still convinced myself that I wouldn’t have got it.
To put it straight, I’m hard on myself & often that increases my anxiety & clouds my ability to have a positive mindset.
For those of you who may be in a similar boat for many different reasons, so here’s a few ways that hopefully will be able to help & support a positive mindset.
Take time for yourself
Simple eh? But it’s one that I tend to ignore the most. I prefer to distract myself, especially from the thoughts in my head that are tearing me down. But it’s important to take a step back, note down what you’re feeling & write down what you have achieved whilst feeling like this, no matter how small or big that is. Write down what you’d like to do & that means that one day you can strive towards it.
Remember you’re not alone
I always remember the saying ‘a problem solved is a problem halved’ & practising this it may make your negative thoughts seem less daunting, less scary. Talk to someone you feel comfortable with, let them listen & lift you up, it may be surprising what a relief it is to talk about everything that is going on. There are also plenty of charities that may be able to support; Mind offer a range of different helplines.
Find your Self-Care ‘routine’
This completely depends on what works for you. It may be doing a skincare routine, getting out for a walk, run, football etc, or it may be finding your creative outlet. It’s important to look after yourself & to take time to breathe. Sometimes I don’t realise how anxious I am until I take some space, for example, going for a walk & noticing the difference in my mood.
So, I’ve written this post with the hope that it’ll support anyone to find the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ – it’s a tricky journey but cherish the days when you feel ‘okay’.
Let me know the ways that help you stay positive?
When I decided to become a vegetarian, I found myself loving all the new recipes I could try & all the Linda McCartney treats available. But I found myself lacking a ‘go-to’ option for a roast dinner. Pretty much a Sunday staple during winters in the UK, especially Christmas Day.
For this pie, you can use whatever veg you like, whatever veg you’ve got left in the fridge – it’s completely up to you!
I’m all for simple & easy cooking so here I present the ‘ultimate veggie pie’ recipe…
Veggie Pie Recipe (makes 4 portions typically)
Core Ingredients: 1 Onion (red or white), Tin of Tomatoes, Sprinkle of garlic powder (or add a clove of garlic), 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of oregano & 1 Pack of Shortcrust pastry (I used Just Rol)
The Veg I used this time: 1 courgette, pepper & leek, 1/2 aubergine & 1/2 tub of mushrooms.
Start by chopping up all of your chosen veg into medium sized chunks, before starting to fry the onion on a medium heat for around five mins. Add the chopped veg to the pan & stir for around another five minutes.
Then, pour the tin of tomatoes into the pan, mixing with the veg. Add the seasoning (sprinkle of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of oregano & paprika). Leave the mixture on a low heat for around 15 minutes, whilst prepping the pastry.
If you’re like me & want for a quick recipe, then using shortcrust pastry from the packet is easiest. But if you want to make your own pastry, then I take my hat off to you!!
Using a sprinkle of flour on the surface (if it’s a student kitchen, hopefully you’ve got some clear surface left?) & on the rolling pin, splitting the pastry into two squares & rolling to fit the dish you are using. Line the bottom of your dish with one of the pastry squares, making sure there is enough to hang over the edges & scoop the mixture into the dish.
All you’ve got left to do is cover the top of the pie with the second pastry square. Pierce the top of the pie just in-case your mixture decides it wants to try & escape in the oven. Briefly brush egg or milk (vegan option) over the pastry for a golden crisp pastry.
Cook for 30 minutes at 200 degrees & ta-da, you’re sorted for a veggie roast dinner!
Do you have a favourite ‘go-to’ veggie recipe?
I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a while, and there’s no better time than after my first zumba class in a while, whilst I’m full of endorphins & wanting to talk about how great exercise is for our minds. This week, it’s mental health awareness week, and I’ve seen plenty of posts talking all about body image & how we feel about ourselves.
I’m going to start this off by saying I’m not perfect with accepting my body image, I’d love to be that little bit smaller, but the main thing for me, is that I want to feel comfortable, fit & healthy in my own body. Today may not be the best day to write this as I have fuelled my body with cake the last few days, following a cake sale at work, but eh it’s all about balance right? I’ve come back from a 45 minute zumba class & my mindset is x10 better than it was an hour or so before.. and that my friends is what I want to talk about.
The main question I think is: why do we exercise? Do you do it for you? The reason why I ask this, is that my relationship with exercise has been up & down, (I actually wrote one of my first blog posts on this:
https://theimlifex.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/fitness/ ). Since that blog post, my fitness routine has changed, I’ve got access to a gym, I’ve done weekly yoga classes, & I will begin training for a 15 mile walk, and although I wouldn’t say I’ve lost much weight, but I am definitely fitter & healthier than I was. Normally, if I was exercising regularly and not seeing much of a difference in weight, I’d become demotivated, and question if I was doing enough. But this year, I’ve noticed the change that exercise does to my mindset, especially if I’m feeling stressed – take today for example, I was tired & I could have most definitely sat and watched Netflix all evening (which is perfectly justified just to add!), but I just knew that I needed to move to get rid of all the stress. Zumba worked pretty well for that, I may have felt like I was nearly a professional Latin dancer, but I most definitely was not!!
So, in light of the body image theme for mental health awareness, I think we need to not be too hard on ourselves. Exercise because you want to, not because the voice in your head is telling you to burn off the calories you’ve consumed that day, no matter how much cake you ate. Exercise no matter what size/shape you are, take away the scales & measure progress based on how you feel, your fitness & your strength. It’s okay to have bad days, and to not want to exercise ~ accept those days & move on. Finally, ignore every comment someone makes about your size/fitness/strength etc & remember you are doing this for you, if you want to & when you want to, not for them.
By nourishing our bodies, knowing our capabilities & what makes us smile – we don’t have to be on a track to ‘lose the pounds’, we can be on an exercise journey, simply because we want to. Remember, #bebodykind ~ not just to others, but to yourself as well.