5 little things

Well hello there! After a couple of weeks of complaining and losing my zest for life a little bit, I’m back on it, and feeling a lot better! I thought I would make a little list here of some of the things I’ve done or enjoyed that I think made the difference!

  1. Taking time to get back into writing and expressing myself
  2. Going ringing more, which is my absolute favourite hobby and a great excuse to go to the pub
  3. Going to some talks at lunchtime rather than slumping and scrolling through my phone
  4. Going to our college feast yesterday, where I got more drunk than I should have but ended up having a really really good time
  5. Taking a couple of hours out at the weekend to catch up on some YouTube, light a candle and chill out

I’m sure there are many more, and I am incredibly grateful to have thousands of other reasons to be happy now, but I think these might just be the few that pulled me out of that rut. Here’s to many more happy days!


A bit of a stream of conciousness if I’m honest

A week since my last post and I’m back again! These are crazy times we live in…

This week has been a little better than the last one, and there are definitely moments I’ve even been excited(!) Try not to pity me too much living my sad sad life in a beautiful city, doing well in a good university course, enjoying a wonderful relationship, good friendships and a loving family.

The problem is, no matter how privileged we look on the outside, anyone can experience moments of down-ness, overwhelmed-ness or plain old tired-ness. I can complain of all three.

I have a lot going on in my life, and yet I’m somehow bored. My course is still challenging, although not as much so as in previous years, and I’ve got plenty to do. I’m only just beginning to realise (how blind I’ve been) the factors that might be making me feel this way.

  1. I’m not learning as much new stuff – this year is based a lot more on my project, which is largely applying stuff I should know and doing skills I learnt earlier this year. My lecture courses seem to overlap a lot with content I’ve already covered in previous years too, which is a bit annoying.
  2. See point one. Even if I’m not learning the same massive quantities as part of my degree as I used to, I have always been one for learning a lot outside of my courses and ‘mainstream’ education. But I seem to have let it slide, trading a wide variety of hobbies for just one or two.
  3. Speaking of which, and this is very sad to admit, my hobbies just don’t fill me with the joy they used to. I run once or twice a week, which is fine and it keeps me fit, but I don’t exactly look forward to ploughing forward in the cold and dark (which may be why I’m putting it off by writing this post…). I tutor, but that’s for the money and personal development and CV enhancement and blah blah blah. All good stuff, and again, I like it enough, but it’s not a passion. I go ringing still, which I do love, but with catching up with work and fitting in the other two I don’t do it nearly as much anymore.

Woe is poor old me. The problem is, I could do with a change, but I have so much work to do and there’s only a month left of term and it’s all just left me a bit overwhelmed before I even consider taking up French or committing to writing more or blowing the dust off my keyboard.

Maybe the week 5 blues that never hit last term have finally reared their ugly heads, or maybe the relative lack of a proper holiday over Christmas is catching up with me. I’m ready for a break, or a change, or something, but I don’t know how to implement it into my life, at least not for a long time. For the time being, I keep myself excited for summer by planning all the things I want to do, but even then it seems too short, and far too far away.

Does anyone have any tips? How can I switch things up and regain a bit of the ol’ razzle-dazzle in my life?

Well hello there! (I’m back)

Well hello there! It’s been quite a while. Whole life forms have probably evolved and died out in the time I’ve been away.

But anyway, I’m back now. A lot has changed, a lot has stayed the same. I’m reaching another turning point in my life. All good stuff.

The thing is, I don’t want to talk about that. I don’t even know what I want to talk about. I just want to talk.

It’s been so long since I’ve just sat down and written. No research required, no googling. Even when I write in my diary I have to look in my planner to see what I did all day. To be honest, it’s been an incredibly long time since I really did anything creative. I’ve let to-do lists run my life, goal setting and achieving mark a lot of my self-worth. I stopped playing the trumpet to have more time to work and tutor and go ringing. I don’t write for pleasure anymore. I run instead of dancing.

I couldn’t work out what was wrong, but something wasn’t right. And today I found the word to describe how I’ve been feeling.


If you asked me to describe my average day to you, it would go something like this. I get up, and on autopilot I do my makeup, my hair, get dressed. I walk to university and go to a lecture or two, maybe have a quick coffee with some friends, then go to the lab and centrifuge the day away. I walk home, cook dinner. And then I do the thing I promised myself I wouldn’t. Almost every. single. day. I stick Desperate Housewives on, cuddle up to Joe, and let the evening slip by.

Even over Christmas, I judged my parents for doing it, not realising that I was doing exactly the same thing.

Now I’ve identified the problem, what am I going to do to fix it? Luckily on my walk home this evening I remembered you, my old faithful blog, and got childishly excited to bash something out. Maybe take some artsy photos, learn to edit them.

The problem is, I feel strangely guilty. I should be working, or spending this time with Joe, or working towards one of my (many) goals.

In trying to figure out how on earth I was going to get my zest back, I even considered making myself write on here every week. Ah, good. Some more regimented activity. So, no, instead I will simply add it to my growing goals list to try to remember every now and again that I am a person, and like most other people I need a creative outlet.

It’s exciting! Not every day has to be the same. I can write, or paint, or get out my (really really awful) keyboard. I can take time for these things, give myself the time I need, and probably still have 45 minutes for a quick Desperate Housewives episode at the end of the day.

Maybe this desire to slump at the end of the day is just me growing up. Maybe my lab work is exhausting (there’s no maybe about it!). But maybe I can still turn this thing around.

And about that life turning point, I’ll explain that another day…

Feeling the stress

I did pretty well this year over the exam period at not getting too stressed and feeling like I couldn’t do it, but now exams are over I’m feeling a whole range of emotion that I didn’t expect to.

Last year I felt very down leading up to and during the exam period. I felt as though I couldn’t do it, that I was out of my depth, that school had never prepared me for this. This year, I was better prepared. I knew how to tackle my revision more effectively, past papers were going reasonably well. Sure, there were things I didn’t understand, there were exams I knew I would struggle with, but I knew I’d done my best and that I couldn’t ask myself for anything more. I knew I could make a stab at whatever was thrown at me.

Now that they’re over, that wave of hopelessness has finally hit. I’m more stressed than I’ve been all year, and I can’t work out what it’s about. My list of 10 things to do every day (last post) lasted little over half a week before I descended into a routine-less, stressful way of life.

This summer is the summer I really have to throw myself further into the adult world than I ever have before. I’m planning a bellringing tour for my university society, and while booking accommodation, food, T-shirts has been easy, communicating and coordinating with dozens of church towers has been exhausting. I’ve finally come into contact with adults who are uncooperative, unresponsive, plain lazy or even rude, adults who don’t want the best for me and who don’t want to make my life any easier.

I’ve also spent the last two summers working for my dad. While the offer’s still on the table this year, I know it isn’t the best way to grow my CV and my skill set. I was hopeful at the beginning of the year, applying for internships and jobs within the university, and though I am very grateful for the short, unpaid internship I have managed to secure, it’s nowhere near the length I’d hoped, and the rest of the summer is a terrifying blank canvas.

I don’t know what more I can do to sort the things that I’m stressed about out, and will probably just have to wait until it’s all over and time runs out. And that’s not how I thought this relative freedom would feel.

Post exams

I’ve just finished all my second year exams and am embarking on a two week long bliss of freedom.

The exams didn’t go amazingly, but could have been worse, and since there’s nothing more I can do, I just want to try to move on! I have loads of things to sort out, like the tour I’m booking for my ringing society, researching for the lab project I’m doing soon, and finding something to do over summer, which are really stressing me out still. Mostly though, my lifestyle has become very unhealthy and made me less happy than I could be, so here’s ten things I plan on doing every day for the next two weeks:

  1. Getting outside – either by going on a walk or a jog, or just going into town to run errands, I will not be spending all day holed up revising for a long time!
  2. Take small steps in organising the things I need to organise by doing a little bit every day.
  3. Do a nice thing for my housemates or other friends who still haven’t finished their exams, to make life a bit easier for them.
  4. Write – I want to write a lot for myself, for this blog, and for my science blog which you can find here
  5. Take control of what I’m eating by keeping a food diary, cutting out or reducing snack foods like crisps, biscuits and chocolate, and eating a lot more fruit and veg
  6. Read a lot! Books, magazines, comics, I want to read them all!
  7. Relax by meditating or practicing yoga.
  8. Listen to music from a variety of genres, and really stop to listen
  9. Learn a new thing. Something completely separate from my degree – I’m considering teaching myself some of a new language or taking up the piano again
  10. Talk to anyone I can find. Talking to someone I haven’t spoken to in a while or a stranger or even people I regularly talk to really lifts my mood and my confidence, and I need to push myself to seek that connection again.

These are the ways that I think I can really improve my mood and my confidence – I’ll let you know how I get on!

Self care in stressful times

It’s exam period (I’m sure you all know – I’ve been banging on about it enough!), and when times get tough it can be hard to take care of yourself. Here are my top tips:

  1. Plan time off. Even if you think you can’t afford to have a break, you need one to stay healthy and to work better. I try to stop working every evening by 7.30pm, and since I have a lot of extra curricular which I have to do on a Sunday I take the rest of the day off so I can fully enjoy it.
  2. Eat regular meals and as healthily as you dare. It can be easy just to eat biscuits and  chocolate and call it a meal, and easy to subconsciously snack as  you work, but it’s much healthier (and better for your teeth!) to have meals and try to avoid snacking. I try to have a long enough break to heat up some soup and toast for lunch, and a main meal in the evening. I don’t have much time to cook at the moment, so I’ve planned ahead and cooked and frozen some meals in advance. I’m also greatly enjoying exploring the variety of ready meals available from tesco (although this is not the most cost effective solution it’s definitely not the worst!)
  3. Don’t spend your time off just watching TV! I’ve fallen into this trap more than once. It’s just so easy to grab some nibbles and slob the evening away. But going out, seeing friends and doing things is so much more exciting, and makes you feel like you’ve actually done something!
  4. Sleep lots. Just go to bed. Take a nap. You can’t work if you’re tired.
  5. Try to enjoy it. Hopefully you picked a subject you love, and while revising for exams 60 hours a week isn’t the best bit you can hopefully still find some interest in what you’re learning about!

Easter revision

Just under two weeks left of the Easter holidays and I’ve finally worked out how revision is going to work best for me!

Since starting uni, the way I revised has changed considerably, and I’m starting to think it’s not a good thing. I used to do four half hour to an hour bursts of revision a day, one for each subject. When I started uni, I realised I needed to do a lot more. I decided to do blocks of an hour and a half, and do eight hours a day. I decided it would help to go through one subject at a time.

I tried for weeks, losing motivation every hour, and often not making it through the day. I was lucky if I managed four hours before I gave in to the pull of my book or a tv program.

I needed to change, and fast. Working with my boyfriend when he came to visit made me realise that 45 minutes is probably the maximum time I can concentrate for. I started doing 45 minutes of work and 15 minutes break every hour. It worked fine except for some of the more confusing topics, which I then started splitting into two lots of twenty minutes with a five minute break between.

I make notes, go through flash cards, read notes, do questions, and worst of all attempt to learn mechanisms. And that was what the sticking point was. 45 minutes, even 20 minutes, of organic chemistry was far too much more me. So the finishing touch to my perfect revision timetable was to spread the organic throughout the day by doing 5 minutes in each of my quarter hour breaks and 10 more at the end of the day.

I can now make it through all of my planned revision for the day, and despite only having six full hours planned I get a lot more done than I used to.