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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