Welcome Back! (Sort of)

Sometimes a blog post will almost write itself, I can tap away on my laptop (loudly I may add) without really thinking and there you go. But since my last post in 2020, (The Self Care Ideas You Need For a 2020 Christmas), I just haven’t known the next thing to write.

But now it’s MARCH. Three months into the year of 2021, where we’ve now got a roadmap to move onwards and upwards from Covid-19 and lockdown. Bring on June 21st we say – but also don’t because I’m anxious about post-lockdown life. It’s a REAL feeling.

So lets bring you up to speed with where I’ve been for the last three months…

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Lets Talk: How to Maintain a Positive Mindset

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?

I’m always up for a chat so you can drop me an email at theimlifeblog@gmail.com or send a dm on Instagram or Twitter.

Im x

48 Hours in Hereford

One of my favourite things about the UK, is that there are still so many places that I haven’t explored. Hereford is only an hours train ride from Birmingham, making it so easy to get there, but as the weekends have the tendency to fly by, I did my research to see as much of city as possible (especially as the weather was predicting floods but we’ll get onto that!). Here’s my list to make the most of Hereford in 48 hours.

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Friendships

So, over the last week or so, I’ve done a fair amount of reflection, almost preparing myself for the next chapter. Through this, I’ve reminded myself of some pretty fabulous people that I have in my ‘circle’ & I’m incredibly lucky for that. But in our ever growing digital world, more & more, you see friends, couples etc, spending time together and they’re glued to their phones. I’ve been guilty to this probably more times than I’ll admit, but taking some time away from devices for quality time with friends, family or your other half, can often do the world of good.

Friendships are there for the good times & the bad times. Yes, you’ll disagree, bicker, have different views, but typically, friends accept you for who you are & choose to spend time with you, simply because they like your company.

In a way, I think we need to remind ourselves of that. Our growing attachment to social media doesn’t always help, the comparisons we let ourselves make, between our lives and those who we see on social media. You’re sat at home on a friday evening with a glass of wine, quietly minding your own business (& probably secretly quite enjoying being in on a friday night). But before you know it, you’ve seen everyone’s instagram stories, out with their friends & it can make you doubt everything.

Over the years, lifestyles get busier, catch up takes longer, and sometimes if something significant happens, knowing who to rely on is key. Although this may not always be so clear, friendships present themselves in different ways. For me, this year, most of my friendships have become long distance as we are all scattered around the UK and so keeping in touch with the majority of my friends has been through a device. In September, something pretty significant affected my lifestyle and knowing how to let people know felt a bit confusing. Do I just blurt it out over text? Even scheduling a FaceTime or phone call and having to say it out loud felt weird. With one of my friends, I decided to send a long rambly snapchat video (top vlogger I know) of me basically saying ‘I need to tell you something, give me a call asap’.

Friendships drift for so many different reasons, and so although being attached to devices and social media can hinder friendships, a simple text could be all that it needs to get back in touch with someone you’ve drifted from. Finding the balance of face-to-face time with friends and digital communication seems to be one of the ways forward and take it from me, managing a long distance friendship or relationship isn’t always easy with digital communication, it can be so easy for things to get misunderstood. So it’s one to think about, your support ‘circle’ doesn’t mean everyone has to know and get on with each other, it just means you’re there for them & they’re there for you, whether you’re communicating with or without digital communication.

Beating the January Blues

Okay, I’m not sure how this has happened but we’re mid January now. It feels like the longest three weeks ever, but in some way I’m like sorry how?!

Feeling like I’m fully in the swing of things now and I definitely love this time of year for setting goals and plans for the upcoming year. But I know there can be a pressure of how to improve on the last year.

After the last couple of months of 2018, I will definitely hope that 2019 is filled with much more positivity. But going back why I’m not doing a ‘new year diet’ this year (previous blog post if you fancy a read!), I’m hoping for a happy and healthy 2019, all year round. 

January CAN be stressful, the build up to Christmas may have shifted your priorities, leaving a huge to-do list to be completed with a new year motivation. The new year is great for finding that bit of motivation you need, but the overwhelming side isn’t always mentioned. 2019 is the year I’ve decided to be a lot more mindful towards how I’m feeling, whether I’m too tired or stressed and in a sense, self-care is the way to manage that, so let’s talk about how we can do that…

Mind Organisation … for me, I think this could be one of the biggest changes to realise. Often, my mind is going at 100 miles and in a way I’ve become accustomed to that, instead of realising that I can actually change it. There are many ways that you can try to organise your mind, whether that’s through meditation, writing things down, compiling a list of goals, assessing your financial situation etc. Sorting through what your mind is worrying about will hopefully improve sleep, giving you more time to switch off, of which can help you be more productive when you need to be.

Taking time out .. To be honest, I feel this is quite an important one, as we all take breaks in different ways. But thinking back to high school days, when the arguments always tended to occur towards the end of term, in a way I think that still rings true today. Sometimes taking some time out to reflect on what’s on around you and the relationships you are engaging in, can put things into a much greater perspective, whether that’s a positive or a negative. Taking time out doesn’t have to be a chilled evening in once in a while, but doing things you love (in my case, going for brunch), in turn helping reflection as you remind yourself how much you love it and how you want to make more time for it etc.

Have a pamper .. Typical one here I know, but hey, if it’s a tried and tested method, it’s got to work right? This might not be hours and hours of baths, face masks, the lot, but more taking the extra five minutes in a morning to do a proper skin-care routine, taking five mins to meditate at the end of a busy day, small things that might make a huge difference to your daily routine.

It might not be the most life-changing list of how to improve your self-care, but I think it can be easy to get caught up in the aspect of ‘I must make more time to do this to switch off etc etc’. Adding these into your day-to-day routine makes it so much easier to manage, especially with v busy lives! Here’s to be kinder to ourselves for 2019 ❤

Why I’m avoiding the New Year diet..

And just like that, Christmas has flown by! For me it was the best chilled day I could have asked for, plenty of food, afternoon naps and board games.

Previous New Years that I’ve approached in my 20 years of life, have been promising myself to get on the new year diet as soon as Jan 1st rolls around. Normally, I’ve got a new cookbook or some kind of exercise equipment for Christmas and I’m ready to try it out. But it never seems to last long, I slip up with the new year of dieting and exercise one way or another and don’t see the point of going back to it, typically before Jan 31st!

Last year, I chose not to put too much pressure on myself to follow a New Year diet and I think 2018 has taught me a lot, especially with how to balance fitness and health in a more regular way.

This summer, I decided to go vegetarian and feel as though this has shaped my eating habits into a more healthy balanced way. Simply because I just bloody love veg but actually it’s been a really good change for me to feel passionate about the food I’m creating and putting into my body (shown by my veggie Christmas dinner creation!). That’s definitely not saying I’m perfect with food, a few too many chocolates have been consumed this Christmas period, but I feel as though my habits are slowly starting to change.

Balancing fitness wise has always been something I’ve struggled with, hence why I’ve always pushed it as a focus in previous January’s. This year, I’ve learnt to enjoy the time I can go to the gym this and to feel better for it, instead of always feeling I’m pushing myself to lose weight. Programmes such as Tally Rye’s ‘#bestmemotivationmonth’, have really helped me alter my mindset towards going to the gym and I’ve stayed fairly active over the festive period with dog walks and exploring new places!

Although January can be full of motivation for some of us, it can really feel like a struggle to be prioritising going to the gym 3-4 times a week so for the New Year, I’m going to try and use the time when I’m at the gym to push myself further, whether its 30 mins, 40 mins or an hour.

But finally, the main reason why I’m going to avoid the New Year diet this year, is acceptance. I want to feel good about myself and what I’m doing fitness/health wise, rather than pressurising myself to go to the gym three times a week. It can be easy to get caught up into it all, especially the ‘New Year, New Me’ aspect. Although January can kick-start motivation for healthy eating and exercise, it’s worth remembering that your size/weight does not define you, feeling good about yourself can and will take time and it’s a roller-coaster journey so heres to 2019!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas of indulgence and enjoy the New Year! ❤

Counting down to Christmas

Now that we’re into December, the weeks are flying by. The countdown to Christmas is well and truly on, but it means that those dark mornings and evenings are well and truly here too! If you’re anything like me, I tend to struggle with less daylight, especially now I’m working full time, typically not seeing much daylight between Monday to Friday. I find that the darker evenings just make me want to curl up and sleep as soon as I get home, making the things I love doing in the evenings (like blogging!) take a backseat. 

But there are definitely ways that we can make the most of this time of year and I’ve complied a little list of tips n tricks to get us through. 

Make the most of the daylight time you have…. now this one may not be a surprise, but it definitely is true. Daylight deprivation does exist and heading to work in the dark and heading back from work in the dark does limit our daylight intake. To be able to make the most of daylight is likely to fill your weekends more, which has acted as my motivator to get out & explore more even if the weather’s cold & rainy! A recent weekend in Lincoln actually had amazing weather, meaning we had plenty of time to explore the city, especially the Christmas decorations on Steep Hill and the Brayford Waterfront. 

Getting into the festivities… this one depends on how it suits you, you may enjoy the busy period in the lead up to Christmas, you may want to volunteer at a local charity or simply spend an evening decorating a Christmas tree, blaring the Christmas tunes. This year I allocated a Sunday afternoon to be spent putting up decorations around the house and it was the best way to put me into a Christmassy mood. 

Christmas chill time… the Christmas period can definitely be overwhelming so here I’m saying take your extra time in the morning to have a bit more of a skincare routine, light some candles and make it cosy in the evening, stop trying to be productive and watch all of these Netflix Christmas films. It is a great time of year to spend time with your loved ones, but sometimes you need that bit of space to recuperate. I find wrapping presents and writing Christmas cards actually really therapeutic and definitely spent a good evening just doing that!

These ways have helped me feel a bit better in the darker evenings as I’ve accepted that it’s okay for me to take a break on evening where I feel tired and lethargic, but to more make the most of the chilled periods instead of feeling down that I’m not achieving everything I want to, a cup of tea in bed or a visit to a cute coffee shop on the weekend always makes things better in my book! 

Hope you all have the best countdown to Christmas! x

Introduction!

Hi! Welcome to the little space on the internet that I’ve just created.

I’m Imogen, turning 20 this month and studying Business at University.

I’ve been debating the idea of a blog for a while, as a place to ramble my thoughts away on certain topics, and on this rainy Wednesday in January, I thought it would be a perfect time to start. I’ve done bits and bobs today, procrastinated by cleaning our student kitchen, but I can’t quite turn my mind off today, until I get my thoughts on paper.

There’s lots going on in the upcoming month, and there has been lots going on since I started my second year at University and I want to be able to document it.

University is interesting. First year, I think you get caught up in how amazing it is to be independent and living away from home, before realising that there is so many ups and downs associated with that. Unfortunately, my student flat wasn’t the happiest of places as we were all very different people. But, this year, I’m very lucky to be living with people who genuinely care about my well being and will always be there to give you a hug at the end of the day.

Even so, although I’m incredibly lucky to be living with amazing people and enjoying my course, University is full of ups and downs, which I think are often brushed under the carpet, as it comes with the umbrella that you’re “having the time of your life”. Yes, I am sometimes, but I’m also not sometimes. I’m trying to learn that its completely okay to feel like that and to not feel so down, when things aren’t ‘perfect’.

Sometimes you do just need to sit in and watch Netflix all evening by yourself, whilst your friends head off to the pub. Sometimes, when someone says, ‘what are you doing tonight?’, its completely okay to say ‘nothing’ in return. It depends what you want to do, and your own mental health, self-care etc.

Don’t get me wrong, university is brilliant, I really have met incredible people that I couldn’t imagine my life without these days and learnt so much more about my subject. But the umbrella of “having the time of your life”, may not be applicable for every university experience.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini ramble today, expect many more in the future!