Setting Self-Care Goals for 2020

Creating goals for the new year might seem a little cliche, but I’m here for it. Has anyone mentioned that we are starting a new decade?

Time feels like it is going a million miles an hour at the moment and being in my final year at university, the obvious goals for 2020 will be completing my degree and hopefully securing a job for after graduation. Quite a lot of pressure seems to be riding on this year, right?

I do really like the idea of ‘starting afresh’, opening up the chapter to the new year and setting goals is one of the ways to get my thoughts in order. Thinking about the year ahead has made me realise that I need to make time for myself, so the goals for me this year will be more simplistic but hopefully easier to keep on top of.

Yoga once a week. I started 2019 going to weekly yoga classes but had about 2/3 months where I didn’t do any. That time made me realise how much I’d missed it, so getting back into yoga classes at university has been so good (and kept me sane!). The plan is to set aside time every week to do yoga, whether that’s a class, a YouTube video or a combination of my favourite moves.

Reflect and Journal as much as possible. I’m not setting a ‘measurable’ on this one but hopefully it’ll become a habit. This year I started using a bullet journal (you can read about my September bullet journal here) and it was set out in a way to manage blog posts/university/mental health. I want to do more of this in 2020 as I find the process of setting out my journal creative and by reflecting over time, this should help get my thoughts in order. I’ve also started working my way through Fearne Cotton’s Happy and Calm books which I’m finding really good so far!

Read 20 Books. 20 books for 2020 right? I’m a pretty quick reader when I want to be and give me a good fiction book, I’ll plough through it as quickly as possible when I’m hooked. I read 10 books over July and August but as soon as I settled back into University, my reading definitely took a back seat. Setting a yearly target (as inspired by TheAnnaEdit) will work through the ebbs and flows of my motivation for reading. I’ll keep track of this on my instagram if that is something you’re interested in!

Healthy Eating. A few years ago, I decided that I need to scrap the ‘new years diet’. Typically, I became frustrated that I couldn’t stay on track. Over the years, I’ve learnt more about intuitive eating (Tally Rye has really good info on this!) and being a vegetarian has made me feel better. I’ve got used to the recipes I make regularly now so 2020 will be the year of exploring more recipes that will be healthy and delicious!

That’s all from me for 2019! Hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas break and are feeling ready for the New Year. What are your goals/resolutions for 2020? Let me know how you get on!

Im x

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

One Year On – ‘The Inbetween Size’

So, a year ago, I wrote a post called ‘The In-between size‘ this was talking about how I’ve found it difficult to judge sizing, whether that was trying clothes on in shops or online shopping. Let’s be honest, how many times have we liked an item, it didn’t quite fit, but it was too much effort to go get the next size & try it on again?

The reason why I’ve wanted to write a post like this again is because I went shopping the other day and tried on the same skirt in different colours but in the same size. Now will you believe me if I said one fitted & the other didn’t?! Even though it was the same skirt, the sizing was completely off.

Since writing the last blog post, I feel as though my mindset has shifted. That’s in a good way. Yes I still have moments of thinking ‘why do no clothes fit me?!’ as I can’t get the sizing or the style right, but it’s a learning curve & so this is what I’ve learnt over the last year:

  1. Wear Colour – this was always something I shied away from, I love a neutral colour but found I was always leaning towards black for when I wanted to feel comfortable & it is true that black jeans go with everything! A colour consultation has really helped here (just to note: colour consultations are expensive & I was very lucky to be gifted one but I will say that they are definitely worth the money). To know the colours that suit me best, means that I already feel better when wearing them, for example; as I have blue eyes, blue is one of the easiest colours for me to wear & one that I feel comfortable in. But it has pushed me outside of my comfort zone, I’ve realised that I can wear colours like greens & pinks more often.
Dress & Sandals – New Look

2. Try different styles – last year, I’d just discovered culottes (late to the party as always), but I was always unsure as to whether they’d suit me. I’ve expanded my collection over the year to a denim pair & a navy culotte jumpsuit, but will most definitely be on the lookout for more now the weather is getting warmer. Mom jeans is another style I didn’t think would suit me, but after giving them a go & realising how comfy they are, I’m sold.

3. Size is just a number – unfortunately, even though my mindset has shifted, I’ve only recently started to recognise this. But it’s the same as wearing styles that suit best, as they need to fit right too. By wearing the size that fits the best, hopefully prioritises comfort (we all want to sit down without jeans cutting into our waistband right?), but as well would help confidence, and that’s something I’m working on!

How have your experiences with clothes sizing been?

All clothes pictured are from New Look – Links below:

Khaki Dress – https://www.newlook.com/uk/womens/clothing/dresses/green-spot-print-belted-tunic-dress/p/614790339?comp=Browse

Sandals – https://www.newlook.com/uk/womens/footwear/shoes/sandals/wide-fit-camel-straw-effect-footbed-sliders/p/613380917?comp=Search

Denim Culottes – https://www.newlook.com/uk/womens/clothing/jeans/blue-d-ring-buckle-denim-culottes/p/610470940?comp=Search

Jumpsuit no longer on website but there are plenty of similar jumpsuits: https://www.newlook.com/uk/womens/clothing/playsuits-jumpsuits/c/uk-womens-clothing-playsuits-jumpsuits?comp=NavigationBar%7Cmn%7Cwomens%7Cclothing%7Cdepartment%7Cplaysuitsjumpsuits%7Cgbl#/?q=:relevance:colourGroupCode:40&page=1&sort=relevance&content=false

Exercising for Me & My Body

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.

i don’t actually lift these weights, but the gym was quiet = selfie

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!!

definitely a quote to live by!
t-shirt – stay wild swim

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.

Let’s talk: wellbeing

Hey – so today wellness & wellbeing are two topics very much at the forefront of my mind. Behind every smile there’s a story & my story is definitely taking it’s ups & downs at the moment. This week, I was reminded of how far I’ve come, and maybe one day I’ll be ready to talk about that.

But for now, I’ve got the ‘A Star is Born’ soundtrack blaring, and I want to talk about the main ways I’ve tried to manage my wellbeing, build resilience & still ‘be a force of nature’ especially when I may not always feel so ‘well’.

Most of us don’t choose the bad things that happen to us so I guess the first way to mention is to find your outlet to ‘escape’ the bad things. For me, it’s writing, putting it all down on paper; thoughts, feelings, fears. Some days it might be easier not to do this, but I’ve started scheduling a time each day to just note how I’m feeling, to look back on & recognise where the good outweighs the bad or vice versa. An outlet should reduce the emotions you hold in, especially as emotions have their own way of escalating and erupting at times. Use the outlet you have, whether that be writing, drawing, singing, dancing, to reflect and process what is in your world at the moment, good & bad.

Putting yourself first in situations may not come so naturally, I definitely always wanted to say ‘yes’ to invites and put myself outside of the ‘comfort zone’. But now, understanding when I need time to myself has become much more apparent, and this is building resilience in itself, with the world telling us to take every opportunity with both hands – yes definitely, but take care of yourself too, you don’t have to be busy every evening or every weekend, it’s okay to stop for a bit.

But in balance, lets not forget your support circle. Sometimes when you’re not feeling so great, those core people will show themselves & you’ll know who is best to talk to and to rely on, and in turn you’ll do the same for them.

This quote resonates with me so much, knowing that your support circle are there to uplift you, as much as you are there to uplift them, then you can get through pretty much anything!

Here’s to taking care of our wellbeing & fighting all battles in 2019 ❤