International Women’s Day 2020

Let’s get International Women’s Day booked in the diary, its the 8th March every year and not a day to forget. It’s time for us to appreciate and celebrate the achievements of all the women in our lives. This years theme is #EachForEqual, celebrating the changes that have been made in the working world, but also inspiring us all to look forward to the future of women’s rights across the globe.

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How I’m Navigating my Final Year of University

If someone could tell me where the last 3 years have gone, that would be great. I can’t believe that I will (hopefully!) be graduating in the summer. It only seems like yesterday that I was actually getting ready to embark on the big adventure as such. Who knew I was going to fall in love with the city of Birmingham? (Not everyone’s cup of tea though I know).

Final year can bring quite a bit of pressure. It feels like time is running out and you’ve got deadlines, seminar reading, class tests, job applications, friendships, fun, health and wellness all to juggle in one go. Talk about spinning a few plates at a time. Mainly it’s pressure that I’m putting on myself, I want to get the best grades possible but have the best time too. I’m getting by (I think?), so here’s how I’m attempting to navigate my final year at university.

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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

My Style Plan for 2020

From 2009 to 2019, I have technically become an actual ‘adult’. So back in 2009, it’s safe to say my 11 year old style was very different. We’ve moved on from the big chunky necklaces, the boot-cut jeans and the peter-pan collars, I hope? As we enter 2020, I’ve had a think about the staples I want to have in my wardrobe. I’ve seen plenty of capsule wardrobe videos on YouTube and although have attempted to create one of my own, I’m going to focus on this much more next year. By doing so, I’m hoping to have some classic ‘go-to’ outfits and of course, have less of an impact upon the bank balance!

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How to Improve your Productivity over Christmas

I’m really not sure where the last university term has gone, it’s felt like a whirlwind. The conclusion that I’ve come to is that final year is a marathon, with sprints thrown in every so often. Not to mention the stress, it’s a constant weigh up of wanting to have fun and avoid stress but also not wanting to stress yourself out by having fun. And unfortunately, the January deadlines that seemed miles away at the start of October are now just around the corner. Fun, I know.

This is my fourth Christmas break with January deadlines & it’s definitely been trial & error to work out the ways to be most productive, whilst still enjoying the time away from uni. If you’ve also got deadlines in January too, don’t worry, I feel your pain! Everyone is different, but here are my productivity tips for getting assignments done over Christmas. Hopefully you can adapt these to suit you & we can all *try* to be productive over Christmas right?

Set Achievable Goals

Essay deadlines can seem like a HUGE task and when you’re home from the Christmas break, it’s not as easy to sit at a desk for the day & bash out a few thousand words for your essay. By setting achievable goals for what you can do & when, this should be the best way to break down the task in hand, get things ticked off your to-do list & overall feel that bit more productive.

Have a Tidy Environment

When you’re working in a different environment to the normal desk in the university library, it can impact your focus and most likely get less done. Adding clutter into the mix, it also might be difficult to get your thoughts in order & hindering your productivity as a result. Tidy space, tidy mind rings true here!

Take Regular Breaks

Essay deadlines/exams may be looming, but it is actually your break & time to rest from a hectic term. Schedule in a few hours work for the morning and do something nice in the afternoon, or vice versa. I’m a morning person, but not everyone else is!

Eat as well as you can

I’m not going to say ‘eat healthily’ here because lets be honest, it’s Christmas & the Quality Street tin is probably already open. But although all the food at Christmas is great, it can make you feel quite sluggish. This doesn’t mean avoid the Quality Street tin, but maybe find some healthy recipes to make in the midst of all the Christmas food. By eating better, this should hopefully improve your focus.

These tips may seem a bit straightforward, but often these are the ones we forget about when stress kicks in. Hopefully, by using these tips will help work out the balance between being productive and enjoying the Christmas break.

Let me know how you get on!
Im x

Introducing the Student Series

So, hello! I took a bit of inspiration from Vix Meldrew’s Glow & Grow podcast & decided that I was ready to start a series, so here I present; The Student Series! It’ll be covering all kinds of topics from a student perspective & not claiming to be an expert, but more wanting to open the discussion to the parts of being a student that are not always talked about (please head over to my Twitter to find out more & chat with me about the kind of topics you’d like to see!).

The first topic I’m going to be covering is ‘time’. As a student, lecture ‘contact’ time differs depending on the degree, but it tends to be a LOT lower than an average working week. Then you’re left with the ‘time’ to do independent study and before you know it, the deadlines are stacking up. Without the structure of a working week, it is easy to feel a bit ‘all over the place’ when it comes down to how you spend your time. It’s also easy to feel overwhelmed, when all of your deadlines are ‘bunched’ together (I’ve written a post all about this which you can read here). But one of the key parts of feeling overwhelmed is feeling like you don’t have the time, or as such, you don’t know how to use your time.

If you’re like me, feeling like that is when the planning mode comes in & all the to-do lists are created, but this can hinder productivity by doing so. It’s not easy, but here are a few tips & tricks to hopefully help you juggle your time as much as possible.

Know what you want to do

The main way to ensure you can do everything that you want to, whether that’s a night out, going to the gym, visiting home etc, means you have got to incorporate the planning aspect (yay!). By working out what you’ve got to do and when, means hopefully you’ll be clearer in your mindset, feel more in control of whats going on around you and know where you can add last minute plans in (just a heads up, this is something I definitely need to perfect). Essay deadlines tend to be set months in advance so although they may seem ages away, to combat feeling stressed work out what you can do in the meantime & go from there.

Find pockets of time

Sometimes this is one of the best ways for productivity. Every so often, I tend to excel at some work done during a half an hour train journey, compared to two hours sat at a desk. By breaking the big pieces of work into smaller chunks can make it easier (& less overwhelming!). It might make your to-do list look bigger, but even just simplifying a deadline into steps; plan, reading, draft 1, draft 2 etc, will hopefully be clearer as to what needs to be done to achieve bigger tasks.

Take time to unwind

It might feel like an endless juggle of time, but doing too much of uni or social can lead to ‘burn out’. It’s important to recognise that you need your own time (even if you love being in others company), because we all need time to process our own thoughts or just have some downtime. Schedule in some time for you, have some space from everything and enjoy your evenings.

Remember to do things at your own pace

The thing is everyone’s way of working is different. You might work better in the mornings or better in the evenings, but take it at your own pace. It’s easy to make comparisons between the time you spend working, compared to the amount of time your housemates are. But the probable reality is that everyone is overwhelmed, but just dealing with it in their own way. Don’t worry – you’ve got this!

There we go, the Student Series has been introduced! I’m really excited about this and have a few topics in mind for upcoming posts, but please let me know what you’d love to read!

Im x

How to Prevent Feeling Overwhelmed as a Student

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!

Im x

New Beginnings & Setting Goals

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!

Im x

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How to Feel More Body Confident

As I’m writing this, it’s been a very chilled Sunday afternoon of pretty much doing nothing. I’d caught up on all the series I’ve been watching, so picked the first thing Netflix’s ‘Top Picks’ list, ‘I Feel Pretty’ & as it turns out a Netflix rom-com was just what I needed. But, the underlying message of ‘everyone is beautiful’ in this film has got me thinking.

I’m on my own lil journey towards ‘body confidence’ (as I’m sure we all are!), but here’s a few ways that might help along the way…

Wear what you feel comfortable in

An obvious one I know, but it’s true. If you’re not comfortable, then you’re less likely to feel confident. When I’m going somewhere & I’m not sure what to wear, my mind tends to go into overdrive & before you know it, I’m really frustrated with not knowing what to wear. Piece together a few ‘go-to’ outfits that you know you feel comfortable in & avoiding the ‘I don’t know what to wearrrrr’, ‘nothing fits me’ saga, should hopefully improve confidence in the long run as you’ve conquered the battle of what to wear beforehand.

Put the brakes on comparing yourself to others

Easier said than done, I know. I’ve been there, stood in the mirror, not liking what I can see, before then going on Instagram & seeing everything I want to look like.

But here’s your reminder that you are your own individual, no-one else is like you, so can there really be a comparison to make? To be straight & to the point, there’s your answer.

Surround yourself with Positivity

Whether that’s friends who lift you up or focusing on having a positive environment for yourself, it’s likely to give yourself a more positive mindset which will hopefully reflect as confidence.

Love yourself

Learn to love who you are. I’ll be honest, I’m trying to practice what I preach here. I’m not saying it has to be 100% (we all have bad days right?), but work out what you love doing & what makes you happy. Set aside some time to focus on you, whether that’s reading, watching your favourite series, exercise etc.., to lift you out of the bad days.

There you have it. It’s not easy I know, but one small step at a time will hopefully lead to feeling more body confident & comfortable in your own skin.

Let me know if any of these ideas have helped you! We’re all on this journey together so chat to me in the comments!

Im x

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