Monday, 18 February 2019


Going to the GP

Why did I go on sertraline in the first place? To put it bluntly, I had a breakdown which had been a long time coming and at the lowest point, I really scared myself. I was at the worst point I had been at in as long as I can remember and I was scared that if I didn't talk to a GP then I would end up in an even worse state. My mood was incredibly low, I was anxious all the time and I was overthinking and second guessing everything. I experienced a lot of intrusive thoughts about the people around me and how they felt about me, which led me to push almost everyone away. My self esteem was in the garbage and I felt scared that things would never improve. I had a very teary phone conversation with my GP first thing next morning and he managed to have an appointment for me by the next hour, so I was able to go in on the same day and didn't have to wait. We talked through everything that I was feeling and how hopeless I felt, since I had tried different routes of counselling and was scared to take medication. However, I agreed that meds were at least worth a shot so I was prescribed 50mg of sertraline and told to get back in contact with my counsellor.

Starting sertraline

When the GP tells you that the first few weeks are the worst, they are totally right. I was no more depressed than before, but I was struggling a lot with anxiety. I would have random anxiety attacks in work and have to sit in the back room to recover for a while. I was also incredibly drowsy which led me into trouble when trying to concentrate on my work. The strangest side effect that I experienced, however, was a total lack of appetite for the first couple of weeks. I eat all day every day and for me to not be hungry is absolutely unheard of. However, when I started sertraline I would forget to eat a lot because I just didn't feel hungry! Acid reflux due to the combination of sertraline and my excessive coffee habits was also annoying but I discovered the beautiful curative powers of Gaviscon and it helped a lot!

It wasn't all bad though! My sleep improved dramatically! Because I was drowsy, I would sleep earlier and wake up earlier. I missed fewer classes because I wasn't sleeping through them, and I wouldn't be up all through the early hours like I used to be. Plus, this first couple of weeks allowed me to focus more on my body, how it was reacting to the medication, and what still needed work.

Settling in

After the initial side effects began to subside, I began to realise that my mood was much more regulated and I felt a lot calmer. I spiralled into overthinking and depression a lot less, and when I did spiral it was a lot less severe. Once this change occurred, I started working more on my personal development and I have been able to balance so many more extra-curricular activities, I started this blog, I did more peer support volunteering, and I even completed an amazing summer internship.

Now

There have been ups and downs. I have gone from 50mg to 100mg and finally to my current dose of 150mg. I have been on 150mg for a long while now and it seems to work best for me. I feel calmer, more confident and a lot happier than I was. There are definitely still hiccups (like right now) and I have had to work hard mentally for where i'm at right now, but the sertraline has helped me to facilitate that work. I wouldn't be where I am if I was just taking the sertraline without working hard on my mental health, it's better to use alongside counselling/therapy. Still not 100% okay, but I've made progress and that's great! Yes, I still miss some lectures because I can't get up in the morning on a bad day, but I have the motivation to catch up on what i've missed rather than just panicking and not doing anything! I also feel a lot more resilient when things go wrong in my social life, whereas I used to immediately shut down at any sign of social problems.

Disclaimer: this is just my experience, people react to sertraline differently and what works for me may work differently for you, I just know that some people wanted to hear my experience and I know that posts like these would have helped me when I started sertraline!

Monday, 11 February 2019


Sometimes the start of a new dating/relationship scenario can be awkward, confusing and nerve wracking when it's someone you have met organically and not through a dating app. Meeting people through dating apps and starting a dating relationship is super easy since it's probably the reason you both started talking in the first place. However, it can make you forget how to deal with fancying people in your real offline life and wanting to get closer to them in a romantic way. It can make you forget that sometimes you have to make the first move and tell someone how you feel face to face. That's always been tough, though. It can be super scary, but that's why i'm here to reassure you and to tell you to just go for it!

Have they indicated that they feel the same way?

Do they go out of their way to see you? Do your hangouts feel more like dates than just friendly meetups? Do you both act all awkward and blushy when you're together (awh)? Do you talk all day everyday, and occasionally in a flirty way? Then, my dude, they may just fancy you too! If you're both as awkward as each other then maybe you're both waiting for the other person to make the first move!

I'm not saying that these are all signs that the person you fancy likes you back, but they sure could be! There are also other signs but I don't have all the knowledge of these things for each of you. I am not an oracle, I just think I know enough to make this post. Acknowledging the signs and thinking over all the times you spend together may help you to build up some of the courage needed to make the first move.

Are you close friends or are you acquaintances? 

If you're close friends already, then you surely won't lose that friendship by telling them you like them in a romantic kinda way. They should respect your honesty and either let you down gently or tell you they've been feeling the same way. You are not going to lose them, I repeat, you are not going to lose them. If it feels awkward for a little while, it will definitely pass and you will get back to the way you are in no time. If, however, they actually tell you that they like you back, you are dating your close friend who you already know you get along with and trust!

If they're an acquaintance, how much have you got to lose if they say no? It will hurt for a little while but that will pass and they will remain an acquaintance. A truly mature grown up person will be flattered by your affections, whether returned or not, and will not run into the distance screaming.

How long have you been crushing?

If it's been a long time and you haven't brought it up with your crush, it will feel good just to say it and get it off your chest. Even if they don't return your feelings, at least you know now. Otherwise you will never know if they feel the same way as you! I went to college with somebody for two years and I had a crush on them the entire time but I was scared to say anything because I thought they didn't return the feelings. We then went our separate ways for university and I didn't see them for nearly two years. When they came to visit me in Manchester, I told them that I had feelings for them for the whole of college and they said that they had felt the same way but were also scared to say anything. It took literal years to tell them I had a crush, by which time we were in completely different places (geographically and mentally) and nothing could come from those feelings. Say something or you may regret keeping your feelings to yourself in the future!

What have you got to lose?

As I have already said, if the person you have feelings for is already a friend, they will not abandon you if you express your feelings to them. It may feel awkward in the short term but at least these things pass. If they do have those feelings for you, you have so much to possibly gain in the future with them! It's the same with someone you know less well. It may feel awkward in the short-term if they reject your advances, but you have so much to gain in the long-term if they return them!

To conclude this ramble...

Go for it!
What have you got to lose? What have you got to gain?
If you still don't feel inspired to ask your crush out, just share this where they may see it, read it, and make the first move instead!

Good luck angels!x


Photo by Ioana Cristiana on Unsplash

Friday, 8 February 2019


I was at an event where I was mixing with a bunch of A Level students and telling them all about uni life and what to expect when a girl approached me looking like she had a pretty serious question to ask me. We sat to the side and I told her to ask me anything, and she told me that she was worried that everyone else around her seemed to know what they wanted to do post-graduation, even though they hadn't even begun their degrees. "Is it bad that I don't know what to do after education? When will I absolutely need to know?" She's not even in uni yet and she's already worried and anxious about finishing her degree. Here's the response I gave her and the advice I want to share on here with you.

It's okay to go into something not knowing the outcome

Taking risks or stepping out of your comfort zone will help you to figure out what you can and can't do well and what you do or don't enjoy. This even applies to choosing a degree subject or a job. It isn't a case of 'choose this and stick with it forever' and you won't know you enjoy it unless you give it a go. Some people around me have switched degrees and others have stuck with theirs. Some people have gone into a job thinking they would hate it and ended up loving it, others have had the opposite happen to them. A lot of what we do is trial and error, and you won't know whether something works for you unless you give it a try.

We all change our minds 

The chances are that a lot of the people around you who are completely certain of what they want to do will end up changing their minds. As a psychology student, I started out wanting to work as a forensic psychologist and now i'm going into marketing as my career of choice. I have a friend who started out wanting to be a clinical psychologist and now she's set to become a teacher. Some people change their minds later in life and leave their long-time career to pursue something new. Nothing is set and nobody's plans are set. The fact that you don't have a plan will change before you know it, and then your new plan can change too.

University will introduce you to new avenues you hadn't even considered before

Don't have a plan now? You probably will have one after some time in university. Try out all sorts of new things in university. It's the best place to do this! Join societies, get involved and take up opportunities even if you're unsure of whether they are for you. I decided to volunteer as a Welcome Hero at the start of my second year, which basically meant that throughout freshers' week I accompanied new students on trips around the area, I volunteered at the freshers' fair, and I spent a lot of time standing outside the Students' Union with a big arrow pointing people to events. I loved the buzz of Welcome Week so much that when the opportunity for a summer internship involving preparations for Welcome Week came up, I applied straight away and ended up getting a paid internship for the whole summer working in marketing for Welcome Week, as well as marketing for other aspects of the uni. I loved it so much that i'm now pursuing marketing as a career, something I hadn't even considered before! To cut a long story short, your 'plan' can come at the most unexpected of times, so just take up opportunities where you see them and you never know what might happen!

Sidenote - taking up these opportunities will also look fab on your CV, whatever you decide to do!

Do you have a plan? How has your plan changed?x


Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Tuesday, 5 February 2019


Time for a new kind of regular post!! I wanted to find more monthly posts to fit into a regular-ish blogging schedule so here's 'New In', the update on all the new items in stores which I have been lusting after! So... here are all the things I am lusting after at the moment!

Disclaimer: all affiliate links marked with a '*' for full disclosure (ya girl is a bit broke)

ASOS - PrettyLittleThing Plus wrap mini dress in white spot print*


Pretty Little Thing have one of my fave plus size ranges out there and this dress is super cute! It's definitely on my payday list as I always go for a size 16 in dresses! Love a spot print!

ASOS - Missguided distressed boyfriend jeans in light wash blue*


On the lookout for some new distressed jeans and these fit the bill perfectly! I'm usually a black jeans kinda gal so these will be a nice and welcome change in my spring wardrobe!

ASOS - Noisy May 'pardon my french' t-shirt*


Blaming Chloe for this one since she wears the cutest slogan tees! This one is super cute and definitely my style! I swear way too much in my day-to-day life so it's a good disclaimer I reckon!



These are super cute and such an on-trend print right now! I'm ready for slightly warmer weather just so I can stop living in jeans and start living in culottes again!



This jumper is giving me Ziggy Stardust vibes and I am obsessed! I wanna order this two sizes too large so I can completely disappear into it! In fact, I would happily disappear into any of the jumpers from Joanie Clothing, they're all so cute!



I mean, what's not to love about this top? The front pocket, the paintbrushes, the cut of the neck, it's all a yes from me! I neeeeeed!

Koi Footwear - Romeo Heart Boots


All the pre-valentines themed fashion is getting to me a bit, I need it all! These boots, however, are my most lusted after piece. They're the exact boot style I love so much and that heart detailing is everything!

What are you lusting after right now?x





Wednesday, 2 January 2019


It's about time I made another makeup post on here! I thought I would share all the products I have been loving lately as I have been getting back into putting makeup on and feeling fabulous! I hope that you enjoy reading these little recommendations!

Base

Revolution Conceal and Define Foundation & Concealer


For me, these were the ultimate makeup discoveries of the year! I finally found a shade range with tones pale enough for my face! I long suffered the eternal struggle of buying the lightest shade of a foundation I wanted to try, putting it on my face and it not even remotely matching my skin tone. These are the only foundation and concealer products which I have been using for many months now and I don't see myself changing up my base routine any time soon! The coverage level is EVERYTHING too! They make my skin look flawless, even when it's blotchy and breaking out beneath the makeup in those stressful times!

You can buy the foundation from Superdrug HERE, Beauty Bay HERE
You can buy the concealer from Superdrug HERE, Beauty Bay HERE

Cheeks

Tarte Skin Twinkle Lighting Palette Volume 2


I managed to swipe this palette up in TK Maxx for an absolute bargain and I have been using it non-stop since! Skylight is the perfect highlight shade for my complexion and I use it to highlight my cheekbones, brow bone and the inner corner of my eyeshadow looks! It's very pigmented and leaves me looking lovely and glowy! Plus, the product itself smells amazing and the packaging is beautiful since it's a part of the Rainforest of the Sea collection!

You can buy the palette from Tarte HERE

Sleek Blush in Antique and Sleek Face Contour Kit in Light


You know what? My mum was right! I needed to wear more blush! I was so scared of blush since I figured it would show up so bright on my pale skin, so I was so happy when I found a blush that isn't a shade of pink or peach! This browny blush matches my everyday makeup so nicely and I love how it looks! Another product I struggled to find which wouldn't overpower my face was a good contouring powder. This Sleek one is light enough to not look OTT but still dark enough to give me a well-defined contour!

You can buy the blush from Boots HERE
You can buy the contour kit from Boots HERE

Eyes

Nip + Fab Eyeshadow Palette 02 - Fired Up


Rusty shades have been an absolute must and this palette has been one of my best makeup purchases over the whole of 2018, that's how much I get my use out of it! It's packed with 12 beautiful buildable blendable shades straight out of my dreams! When I visited home for a few weeks, this was the only palette I felt the need to take! It's just so versatile for both every day and special occasions and I love it so much!

You can buy this palette from Lookfantastic (sale) HERE, Superdrug (sale) HERE and ASOS HERE

Lips

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick in Allegedly and Leo


The lighting is making these shades look the same but I SWEAR Leo is darker than Allegedly! Allegedly is a beautiful terracotta brown lipstick which has been my perfect everyday shade! I had really wanted a lovely orange-toned brown lipstick and this one is perfect. Leo shows up a bit darker on my lips and therefore has been my go-to evening lipstick for cocktail nights! As always with Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipsticks, the staying power of these is insane! I will wear Allegedly all day without a single retouch and it will still look perfect! I have yet to find a lipstick formula which I love more than these and I'm happy that my little collection is growing!

You can buy Allegedly on Beauty Bay HERE
You can buy Leo on Beauty Bay HERE

What products have you been loving lately? Any recommendations for makeup which I should try? x


Saturday, 29 December 2018


Before I started this blog (over a year ago, wow), I was taking part in blogging of a different kind. I was running a Studyblr, that is, a study blog based on Tumblr. I did this all through college and the first year of my degree and it really was a great way to stay productive! The Studyblr community was the most positive and supportive places on the internet which I have ever experienced, full of people lifting each other up, encouraging one another and sharing their advice. It has been a while since I was a part of that community of people but I want to dive back into it and to show you what you're missing if you're a student who has never heard of it before. I also want to share the other online study communities which I have either found or have been a part of in the hopes that you can find as much joy in this internet space as I have.

Tumblr

Let's start with Studyblr! This is a popular tag on Tumblr and the easiest way to find Studyblr content on the platform. You will immediately stumble upon images of workspaces accompanied by captions logging a day's productivity. I found that a lot of these images gave me ideas for how to lay out my notes, showed me the techniques that other people use to revise, and generally reminded me to set my desk out and get to work! There are also lots of useful how-to guides on topics such as planning, bullet journaling, note-taking, and balancing studies. I could scroll through this tag for hours and hours, although that would defeat the purpose of the tag really!


100 Days of Productivity

One popular challenge that Studyblrs take part in is the 100 Days of Productivity challenge. This is where you take at least one productive action per day and log it on your blog, often as a photo post. I found taking part in this really useful as it held me accountable! I felt that I needed something to post every day, no matter how big or small, and encouraged me to do my best to be productive every single day. It's also really encouraging to see the blogs you follow managing to crush the challenge!

Masterposts

Masterposts are my favourite thing ever! They are a collection of posts or links made into a themed list which you can use to get all the information, advice or templates you could ever need. My favourites are always masterposts which show you all the free printables you can get to plan your study sessions! I love a good printable! Here are a few examples of masterposts:



Friendliness and a full inbox

When I was running my Studyblr account, my inbox was always full of questions, encouragement and generally people open to chat about what we both study. I never experienced a negative message or comment in all the time I was posting! It was refreshing, to say the least! I even got talking to a few people who were deciding which universities to apply for and they were asking me about the university I attend, and it felt good to answer their questions and help them to make their minds up since I remember being in their place and how stressful it was!

Things I picked up from Studyblr

I picked up a lot of tips and tricks from using Studyblr. I refined my notetaking techniques and now I keep everything on Google Drive so that I have my notes to hand anywhere I go. I began using the Pomodoro technique to study and found lots of apps which aid me in my revision sessions. It also got me in the habit of enjoying everyday photography, which definitely transferred to blogging and my social media. I got into bullet journalling, which really helped me to organise my life in the hectic transfer from college to university. Now, I make a to-do list for absolutely every task I approach and it ensures that I never forget to do something.

Tags to use

  • Studyblr
  • Studyspo
  • Bujo - bullet journalling
  • Study motivation
  • Studying
  • Study notes
  • 100 days of productivity / 100DOP

(Side note - while writing this I realised that I miss Studyblr so much and should probably set up a new Studyblr, so here it is: jessistrying.tumblr.com)

Instagram

The Instagram study community can be found through the Studygram tag. It is similar to the community on Tumblr as they tend to post images of workspaces in order to log study sessions. There are lots and lots of images of notes with beautiful calligraphy titles. This community is just as positive and encouraging as Studyblr! During my time running a Studygram, I would message with people all over the world talking about how and what we study, as well as just how we were that day! It feels so open and inviting!


Videos

One thing that you can see a lot of on Studygram is timelapses of people studying or note taking. I find these videos strangely relaxing, as well as motivating. I love seeing the notes fill the page and it makes me want to push on and make my own notes. In fact, one trick I used to use to study was taking timelapses so that I couldn't touch my phone as it was recording. I would be left with a time lapse of my study session to look back on and I would get much more done since I couldn't touch my phone!

Tags to use

  • Studygram
  • Studygramcommunity
  • Studycommunity
  • Studymotivation
  • Studywithme
  • Notetaking
  • Studytime
  • Studying


YouTube

I am less well-versed on the YouTube study community, but I have been looking into it for this post and there is definitely one there! I know of a lot of Studyblrs who have moved across to the platform in order to create more content, and there seems to be a thriving group of 'Studytubers' who are sharing their tips and tricks on YouTube. From bullet journalling videos to university experience videos and study advice videos, there is definitely a lot to explore on this platform!

Study With Me videos

These are the greatest to put on in the background when you are taking notes from a textbook. They are long videos of people studying in real-time, often using the Pomodoro technique and showing when they take their breaks. It's a nice way to time your Pomodoro sessions and it's encouraging to look up from your work and see someone working hard. Not as effective as revising in the university library and looking around at other people stressing as much as you, but it's a good alternative for when you can't make it to the library or just want to revise at your own desk!

Study music

Less of a community, more of a great tool. Study music, especially lo-fi study music, has become somewhat famous on YouTube with thousands tuning into music live streams at any one time. Lofi hip hop radio by Chillhop is such good background noise for your study sessions as it just fades into the background while still sounding great.

Searches to use

  • Studytube
  • Study with me
  • Study tips
  • Study music
  • Study inspiration


Pinterest

Simply by typing the word 'study' into the Pinterest search bar, you can find lots and lots of helpful posts! As with other platforms, there is a clear theme of note images, calligraphy titles and workspaces, but there is also a treasure trove of advice posts, printables and checklists! The content on Pinterest is less based on a consistent image theme (for most) and more about infographics, advice sharing and offering free printables and tools. I feel like Pinterest is more about practical advice than it is about inspiration.

Searches to use

  • Study
  • Study tips
  • Study notes
  • Note taking
  • Study habits

If you're posting this kind of content on any of these platforms, comment below as I would love to connect! x


Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Thursday, 6 December 2018


What is ghosting?

Ghosting is a term used commonly when you are ignored blatantly through social media by somebody you have previously had a meaningful connection with. If somebody has been ignoring your messages despite being online, that's ghosting. If somebody has suddenly blocked/unfriended/unfollowed you on social media, that's ghosting. This can hurt a lot when it's done by somebody you were previously close to or were seeing romantically.

Dictionary definition: "...the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication."

Urban Dictionary definition: "When a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they're dating, with zero warning or notice beforehand. You'll mostly see them avoiding friend's phone calls, social media, and avoiding them in public."

No closure

Psychology Today: ""closure is knowing the reason a romantic relationship was terminated and no longer feeling emotional attachment or pain, thereby allowing for the establishment of new and healthy relationships."

Perhaps the worst thing about ghosting is the lack of closure that it generates for a lost connection. You are being ignored and cut off but often you will have no idea why. When we are trying to move on from a lost connection, often the starting point which we need is closure. We need to know why things didn't work out so that we can accept and move on. When someone is ghosting their former partner, they know the reasons why it's not working out in their eyes, and they are using ghosting as a way to move on from the relationship (albeit a shitty way). However, when you are being ghosted despite believing that everything was going great, it is jarring and you are thrust from knowing where you stand in a secure romantic attachment to being completely cut off from the person you were sure you were close to.

Was it something I said?

When we don't have closure as to why a connection failed, often we can look inwards to find the reason why. If you were not aware that things weren't working out, the chances are that you completely and utterly admired the 'ghoster' previous to the ghosting, and you will find it hard to find them at fault for why things didn't work out. All these unanswered questions can lead to self-blaming.

Did I do something wrong?
Did I make them feel like it wasn't working out?
Did I say something to hurt them?
Was I not good enough?

When you have no idea why things didn't work out, it's easier than ever to blame yourself and see the breakup as 'just another personal failure'. If the 'ghoster' had just opened up and explained the reasons why things were not working out, then you wouldn't have to jump to blaming yourself and you could move on knowing why.

Am I annoying/pestering you?

How do you react to being ghosted? Do you also step back and accept that things obviously weren't working out? Or do you do one of the following?

Try to pull closer to the 'ghoster' and compensate for the lack of interaction by messaging/texting more.
Ask 'why', repeatedly.
Ask if all your extra unreplied to messages are annoying.
Apologise profusely about all those messages and chalk it up to having a bad day/PMSing.
All of the above? (Same!)

It's a vicious cycle. It's a combination of being ignored and blaming yourself. You can feel like you are driving them away further by annoying them and bombarding them with messages. Then you blame yourself by feeling like you are annoying them while they ignore the messages more and more and more.

What can we 'ghostees' do differently?

Honestly? Let's call them out on their bullshit. It's okay to still care about them (since the whole no closure thing) but 'ghosters' should know how much their actions hurt and how they are preventing their 'ghostees' from moving on. Too long I have looked back and regretted not telling the people who have ghosted me how much they have hurt me and how much they have knocked my trust in relationships. I am always scared that as soon as I get close to someone, they will suddenly act as though I do not exist. So, I have vowed to call 'ghosters' out on their shit so that they think twice before doing it again to somebody else.

In summary, ghosting is terrible and we shouldn't put up with it as 'just a part of dating life'! Also, we should make a conscious attempt to never ghost any of our partners (it works both ways) and always ensure that we communicate about our issues and about what is not working well in our relationships. We need more openness and to be able to raise issues and concerns without it becoming an argument! Communication is key!


Photo by zhang kaiyv on Unsplash

Monday, 3 December 2018


I am trying to get healthier and, unlike my previous health kicks, I am doing this gradually and taking smaller and more sustainable steps towards this. I used to go from never working out to attempting to work out every day and by the end of the month I would have fallen off track and given up. Instead of this, I am not trying to work out loads every week, completely change my diet and drop loads of weight immediately. Instead, I am making baby steps and combatting my unhealthy habits one by one.

Food

I am not eating less, I am just substituting certain foods. I have already cut down on most dairy and I am already a vegetarian so I will be carrying on with this. I am going to try to home cook meals more as I tend to be lazy after uni and pick up a meal deal or just eat out! I also want to incorporate more protein into my diet because I haven't really paid attention to my protein intake since going veggie (years ago) and I really should start! I am not going to stop myself from eating unhealthy foods altogether, but I'm going to try to have more balance because I tend to eat a lot of unhealthy foods and don't really pay attention to what I am eating. I am also the biggest stress/boredom eater ever and I'm trying to be more mindful of when I'm about to binge so that I can stop myself or find a healthy alternative.

Exercise

I already walk everywhere since I don't drive. But, I want to do more. I walk out of necessity to university and back every day but I want to do more walking outside of this. I have started to walk to my local parks, and then having a jog around the parks before walking home. This gives me more time outdoors and more me-time. I also joined a gym for the first time in my life and I am loving it! I go whenever I can (so not a massive amount at the moment) and I love how my body feels after a workout!

Sleep

I'm not exactly going to bed early yet, but I'm going to bed earlier that I was. Ish. Okay, I'm working on it! When I don't have friends over, I aim to go to bed before midnight and I actually have a bedtime routine set. I light a bit of lavender incense, I remove my makeup and do my whole skincare routine, then I pop on some relaxing music that reminds me of my hometown and I pretty much drift off to sleep straight away since my days have been busy and I am always tired!

Brain

This one's a bit more difficult than the others but I'm trying my best to improve my mood. By that, I mean to keep it regulated and try to cope with uni better. Firstly, I'm trying to get more consistent with taking my medication for low mood and anxiety. You would think that after a year I would be better at this but you would be wrong! I am keeping track with a lil tickbox at the end of my daily bullet journal page and I've set about 12 reminders on my phone telling me to take my meds, so that should work. I'm also staying single for a while, which should drastically improve my mental health after the past few months! Finally, I'm spending more time with the people closest to me here in Manchester, which has improved my mood so much since I was beginning to feel isolated and lonely!

What small changes are you making to benefit your wellbeing? x

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Photo by RenĂ¡ta-Adrienn on Unsplash

Don't get me wrong, blogging schedules are great if you can definitely stick to one. I have tried many times to keep to a blogging schedule because I know how great and useful they can be. However, life always comes along and suddenly I've missed three posting days and I'm feeling pretty guilty and useless. Part of my issue is the fact that my attention span and motivation levels rise and fall uncontrollably all the time and, while sometimes I am able to get lots of writing done alongside my degree and work, sometimes I have a massive lack of concentration and attention, and I have to channel whatever I can into university. I originally wanted to write this post to justify myself and to explain why occasionally I can go long periods without posting. However, I now have another reason for writing this. I know quite a few people who have felt like they're failing as bloggers because they fail to keep to their schedule. They beat themselves up over it and feel like they're letting their readers down. I wanted to write this because I want to remind them that they shouldn't be beating themselves up over something they can rarely control. If you need a break, you need a break and the chances are that your readers understand this!

Things come up

For many of us, blogging is not a full-time occupation. We work, we study, and we're trying to balance a million different things at once. Often, we have to prioritise work or studies (or just life in general) over our writing, and it sucks but it happens! Not every week is the same and some weeks it's easier to keep a posting schedule than others. I have just happened to find it difficult for many weeks, maybe months. The constant pressure and stress I am putting myself under to constantly think up new content started to sap the enjoyment out of writing for me. I don't write well under pressure and I need time to generate my ideas. I am in my final year of university and I have a lot going on at the moment. I am trying to piece together my dissertation, hand in assignments on time, prepare for exams, volunteer, and apply for graduate schemes and jobs. It's a lot and I am very tired a lot of the time, so I decided to take as much pressure off myself as I possibly can. If I know that I find it very hard to stick to a schedule, the best I can do is post as often as I can and make sure that my content is up to scratch! It makes writing more special and come more naturally this way!

Sometimes you'll reach a block and that's okay

Sometimes ideas just don't come, and that can be frustrating. It's especially frustrating when you're trying to keep to a blogging schedule. Writer's block is one of the banes of my life and it's so hard to get out of sometimes! What won't get you out of your writer's block is forcing yourself to write. What you need to do is to take some time to gather inspiration and do some good brainstorming from this... amongst other things. It's not the end of the world to miss a posting day, honestly! It is better to take the time to write something truly good than to force yourself to write something you don't particularly enjoy writing. It reflects in your work and can seem off kilter or different to the posts you have written in the right frame of mind.

Quality over quantity

When I was keeping a schedule, I was posting three times a week. It worked for a while but as I started to get busier in my degree I began to notice that I was making lower quality posts just so I would keep my schedule going. Now when I post, I know I am putting out carefully put together content which I have put a lot of work into. My posts are longer and better researched. I feel prouder about the posts I am putting out. I would rather post one great post than three rushed ones.

Would I ever go back to keeping a blogging schedule?

I'm not ruling it out. Blogging schedules are not bad, it's just not sustainable for me right now. Maybe when I have more time to dedicate to writing, or if I get to a point in my mental state where I can keep motivated and focused, I will keep a more consistent schedule. The point of this post wasn't to tell you that I think schedules are a bad idea. Quite the opposite: I would love to be able to keep a good schedule! However, what we need to understand is that they are not always sustainable or healthy to keep!

How do you balance your blogging life and other commitments? x

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Photo by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash

I never thought I would love fitness this much, but here we are! I joined the gym a month ago and I am honestly so proud of myself for pushing myself to go. I have been wanting to join a gym for a couple years now but the idea of working out in front of other people terrified me. I have experienced a lot of anxiety surrounding the way I view my body and my fitness, and I have felt a lot of shame. However, I knew that could only be beaten if I just joined and started working out and working though the fears!

Pushing myself to join

It's kind of like the 'fuck it' philosophy. I had been thinking about joining the gym for forever, but it took one 'fuck it' moment for me to ask a friend where they go and then sign up for my induction. I think that's the best way to do things. There wasn't a massive lead up on the day of me waking up and saying "I'm going to join the gym today", I just did it without thinking too much about it. It worked, I booked my induction for the next morning and told myself that I had to get up and do it.

I was super nervous going into my induction. I had spent too long thinking about going to the gym and then overthinking about all the things that could go wrong. What if people see how unfit I am? What if I fall on the treadmill? What if I break a machine? What if someone finds it funny how little I can lift? But I went to my induction, at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, because I had it booked in so I had to go! The trainer was lovely and informative and I was actually the only one who had turned up to the induction so I got to have a go on almost everything with the guidance of the trainer. By the end of the induction, I felt so much more confident about my choice to join the gym! I felt like I knew the basics and I knew how to use most of the machines with proper form. That was all it took for me to feel fine about going to the gym and working out around others.

Why am I going to the gym?

I've been fine with my appearance lately, and I have worked on my confidence a great deal, so why have I finally decided to join the gym? Surprisingly, it isn't because I want to lose weight and slim down. I just want to feel healthier and stronger! I start every workout with a session of cardio because I have been so sluggish and I have felt so fed up about feeling tired and out of energy all the time. It feels good to get the blood pumping and work up a bit of a sweat! I then move on to weight machines, my favourite part of the gym! I have already seen such a difference in my ability to lift and I am always building up the weight and trying to lift heavier!

How I feel after a month

I am already stronger and fitter! I still hate cardio (like, a lot) but I have surprised myself with how I still push myself to do it! I can be very inconsistent and unmotivated with these things so I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping it up! I have begun to vary my weight workouts a lot more and I have been trying different machines and weight levels. I can see muscle tone in my legs that wasn't there before and my arms are looking a lot more firm and fit!

How I want to progress

Cardio is something I really want to focus on going forward. I want to learn to love cardio, or just to like it even a little. I think I'm going to mix it up rather than getting on the treadmill and then switching to stair-master. I may incorporate rowing machines or even bikes into the mix and see if I find that more enjoyable! I do want to have a session with a personal trainer to check my form and see if I can do anything differently, and I would also like to maybe try out a few classes. Since weight machines are something I enjoy, I may move on to free weights. That part of the gym isn't somewhere I have explored much (since it's always packed and everyone seems to know what they are doing), but I do think it is something I would enjoy!

Do you have any recommendations of apps or workouts which could help me to enjoy cardio? I am all ears! x


Thursday, 1 November 2018


Note Taking

I always start my studying by making my notes and printing them out. I go through lecture slides to see if I left anything out on my notes and then I lay them out for ease of reading and print them out. I make all my notes on Google Drive so that I can pull them up on my laptop, phone or on a uni computer so I can refer back to them whenever I am studying. I like to print my notes since it makes them really easy to annotate while I am studying, and it's just so easy to work from a paper copy when I am also using them to plan essays or make revision materials. Nice notes are a great bit of groundwork for your studying!

Flashcards

Flashcards, both physical and digital, are excellent study resources! I tend to mix it up and make both paper flashcards and digital flashcards on Quizlet so that I always have as many revision resource options as possible. Creating flashcards means that you always have bitesize notes to hand when you quickly need to refresh your memory on a concept or topic. As a psychology student, I have always found flashcards incredibly helpful when learning different theories or studies. Quizlet makes it fun and easy to test yourself on your flashcards and the app means that you can take this method of studying anywhere! I always use the app on the bus or when I'm waiting for a shift to start, just while I have a free few minutes to kill.


Video Content & Podcasts

I am super lucky due to the fact that all my classes are podcasted, meaning I can revisit everything that my lecturers have said so that I don't miss out on any snippets of information! I go through lecture podcasts with my printed notes to hand, so that I can add anything the lecturer has said but hasn't put up on the slides. I also play the podcasts in the background whilst I'm doing chores and not studying so that I'm constantly reviewing information. I play these podcasts at 1.5x speed so that I can review each of them at least a couple of times before the exams.

Other video content may be available to accompany your classes. Crash Course pretty much got me through my A-Levels, especially my biology modules which were incredibly information heavy! I have also had course textbooks with accompanying videos on YouTube, like THIS cognitive neuroscience textbook. If you are having a hard time grasping a particular concept or topic, search for it on YouTube and see how someone else explains it! Sometimes, you just need a different explanation of a concept in order to understand it!

Mind Maps

A lot of my studying involves finding different ways to go back through my notes and review all the information I need to know. Cutting down the info into bitesize chunks for flashcards and (especially) mind maps pushes me to select the most important information from my notes, making sure I consolidate this info further while also reviewing my notes as a whole. Mindmaps are a good visual resource and I keep mine in their own separate notebooks per module, so I always have them to hand. When working through practice questions, pulling up a mind map means that you are being prompted only by keywords and headings rather than all the information you need to answer the questions, meaning that you need to push yourself harder to remember! They're really useful tools for your revision kit!


Past Paper Questions

I used to shy away from past papers and revision quizzes because they would make me lose confidence in what I had learned. I mean, how can I possibly take practice exams if I don't feel like I've revised enough for the actual exams? However, over time I realised that while past papers would make me feel unprepared for the exams, this was a good thing because it would light a fire in my belly and push me to work even harder. Plus, occasionally in exams, a question comes up which I have already worked on in a practice paper and I end up breezing through it since I remember how I answered and marked it in the past paper.

How do you study for your exams? I am always looking to try new revision methods! x

You can check out the rest of my student life posts HERE! You can check out my studyblr HERE! x



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