6 Daily To Dos

Life is a bit complicated isn’t it? When you multiply the million things that need doing with the million things you want to do, you end up with a trillion things that don’t get done.

In the last month or so, my life has been filled with deadlines and stress, leaving very little time to do anything but work. However amongst all of the sleepless nights and less than healthy convenience dinners, there are a few things I’ve been making sure I do daily to make life that little bit simpler.

These probably seem like the easiest tasks in the world, but they’re often the ones that get left behind when life gets a bit fraught.

Make Your Bed

If I know I need to be out of the house because I have plans, I have no problem getting up and out of bed. But on those days where I know I’m just going to be getting work done from home, it’s really easy to just slip back in after breakfast and sloth about until midday. Making your bed is the simplest barrier that tells your head you’re not getting back in now until bedtime.

Drink Water

Bad skin? Drink water. Get headaches? Drink water. Trying not to eat everything in sight? Drink water. I often get headaches but find that I can keep them at bay by drinking enough water every day. It also feels like an accomplishment to have drunk enough on the days where you haven’t managed to get anything else done.

Exercise

I (try to) exercise every single day. By this I definitely don’t mean going to the gym or for a run. Most days it’s yoga or pilates but on my off days it’s as simple as doing some stretching. Yes, getting your heart rate up is really good for you but if you’re aiming to exercise every day, you probably don’t have time for a half hour run.

Do something for me

My least favourite days are the days when you’re so busy you don’t have time to do a thing for yourself. I love me time and when I don’t get it, I get pretty irritated. I love stretching myself so each day I either practice guitar or keyboard, listen to a podcast or improve my German or Dutch. I always feel so much better at the end of the day if I’ve made the effort to improve myself.

Read

Reading is a habit that I can now proudly say I do every day without fail. My favourite time to read is mid afternoon with a cup of coffee but that’s realistic for everyday so I make sure that I read at least one chapter at bedtime. I find that reading really clears my mind of real life and helps me to stay imaginative and creative.

Take a break

Lunchtime is my sacred time. Whether I’m at home or out of the house, that half hour (admittedly when I’m at home, sometimes an hour and a half, nobody’s perfect), is for eating and doing nothing else. However busy you are find at least half an hour to switch off, whether it’s for meditation, just sitting quietly or going for a walk.

 

What are your daily to dos? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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April Showers

April has been a month of happiness and weirdness and sadness and stress and love.

Finally I am bursting with a need to write. My creative juices have been zapped by an endless mountain of assignments, lists and job applications. As a result my blog has been a little dead of late, something that I’m hoping to change however sporadic the posts may be. I have felt disillusioned with blogging recently. Everything has already been said, Instagram is “the thing” now and while yes, I like it, it doesn’t give me the satisfaction that blogging does. For the last few weeks or months (it feels like I’ve been away forever), I have been worried about getting back into the blog world, worried that I am speaking into the void, that my posts are for no one. But on reflection I’ve realised that my posts are for me.

I have never written to impress or for views, it doesn’t interest me, but nor do I want to ever say that I am a “writer”, not a blogger, as though there is some kind of hierarchy. For a long time I pondered how I could be part of the blogging community without really feeling part of it. I don’t have a niche, I just write about the things going on in my brain and I like reading about the things going on in other people’s brains. But most of all I love the feeling of writing a post and getting a comment from someone saying “I feel like that too,” no matter how mundane the subject matter.

Life right now is hectic right now. University is ending, I need to nail down a job and a flat and move to the other side of the country, amongst a million other life things. But blogging is what has got me through all the previous stresses of the past few years. For a time I have been cautious to pour my heart out into my blog, to share how I’m really feeling, to take risks in my content. But I want to get back there.

So we can debate whether blogging is dead and decide which new platform is going to steal our attention for the next few months but for me, right now, blogging is well and truly alive.

Rachel x-x-x

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The Art of Trying

Recently I’ve been inspired by this video by Dottie James. My introspective nature adores change. I love fresh starts and seeing progress and plotting out achievements in notebooks. But the perfectionist in me struggles with these things. One of my worst traits is my belief that if I can’t do something to its maximum then I don’t want to do it at all.

I’ve tried time and time again to make changes to my life. To exercise every day, to eat better, cut down on caffeine and a million others things I’d love to change. But, whenever I’ve made a start, I’ve been set back by one second of failure.

I constantly preach that it’s alright to miss a day or to fail but I know that I don’t really believe that. And I find it really hard when I’ve set myself a daily task and one day I just don’t have time for it. But watching Dottie’s video got me thinking. In her second video she goes back over her weekly and daily goals and sees how many times she achieved them and how many times she didn’t.

It’s not about succeeding every day. It’s not about berating yourself over not doing them. It’s just about trying.

This outlook has really changed the way I look at my own growth. At the start of the year I set myself 100 goals for the year (I was clearly feeling incredibly motivated at this point!). Some were tiny and some were much bigger but looking at them now, I can see that I’ve barely done any because 100 goals was far too overwhelming. So I’ve reassessed and set myself 3 big goals with lots of little sub-goals.

Saying Yes

I tend to play life safe. I don’t take big opportunities because I’m scared of failure and I rarely put myself “out there” in case of rejection. Honestly, I’m just really sick of being nervous of the outcome getting in the way of me doing things. So now I’m actively seeking out opportunities and living life a little bit more.

Saying No

This goal is all about me-time. I often say yes because it’s easy. Big surprise – this ends up meaning I spend a lot of time doing things for other people that I don’t really want to do.

Health

I’m the first to admit that healthy living is often a bit of a fad for me. I go through phases where I eat well and exercise but when motivation slips these good habits fall straight off the radar. I’m also terrible for forgetting to take my B12 tablets (sorry Mum!) and I could definitely just look after myself a bit better.

Although I’ve made some small goals in each category, I mostly just want to enforce that I want to live my life better. There are going to be days where I don’t do things and that’s okay. Because really what I want to practice is the art of trying. Change will come from that.

Rachel x-x-x

 

 

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A Love Like No Other: A Year of Coffee

We all know I’m quite the coffee fan. While I was decluttering my computer I decided to have a little count of all the coffees I went out for and took photos of last year. Let’s just say I could have saved a small fortune if I didn’t have this caffeine hobby…

Coffee makes me happy. I like to drink it alone. I like to drink it with friends. I like that it wakes me up and makes me feel warm. I like the nutty, bitter, smoothness of it. Sometimes I think my body might potentially be more coffee than it is blood but anyway, here’s a selection of some of the big and small moments of last year, all celebrated with a cup of coffee.

 

Rachel x-x-x

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Staying Positive Monday to Friday

It’s Monday morning and I’ve got the day off. I woke up early, had a coffee and immediately sat down to get on with some uni work. I’m feeling positive about the week. It’s going to be a good one. I’m going to eat well, exercise and be really productive.

The hours are ticking and while I still feel good, there’s a slight feeling in my chest that I was a little too positive about this week. I’m at placement Tuesday until Friday, I might not have time for the gym and I won’t get much dissertation done this week. Actually I’m not feeling so positive anymore.

Within three hours of waking my positive attitude has dropped. Now I feel like the week is going to be a chore and I’ve got caught up in that same old cycle where things only seem good when I’ve got time to myself.

Here are some ways I’m trying to break out of that mindset:

Watch Your Language

Use positive language to keep a positive outlook. Try not to say that you won’t have time, or you can’t enjoy yourself this week because it’ll be a self-fulfilling prophecy and you’ll go from the start to the end of the week in a negative mood. Think about your week as an opportunity rather than a hard slog, set goals and take control of the week rather than letting it take control of you.

Don’t Pressure Yourself

Some weeks you’ll have more free time than you will during others. Naturally this means we don’t always have the ability to do everything we would in a week, but we don’t always see it this way. I like to set goals like going to the gym three times a week but sometimes that just isn’t possible, so instead I’m trying to be flexible and tell myself that it’s alright if I don’t always make it to the gym. Putting excess pressure on myself just means I’m less likely to achieve my goals.

Find Small Pleasures

I find that I go through life desperate for Friday evening when I can have two days of reading, sleeping and doing whatever else that I want to do. But I really don’t like this idea of ‘living for the weekend,’ because I don’t want to live my life spending 5 days a week dreaming about the two days I’m going to get off. I want to enjoy every day. That’s why I’m trying to ensure I have something to look forward to every day, whether it’s a meal out with friends or just a nice soak in a hot bath.

Start Your Day Right Every Day

When I have days off I take time to eat breakfast, put makeup on and just generally look after myself. It’s quite the opposite when I have a busy day where I rush up, giving myself half an hour to get ready, skipping breakfast and dashing out the door. Deciding to take your mornings before work slower can really help set you up for the day mentally and help you have a more positive mindset. I find that I feel so much better on the days where I’ve taken time to eat breakfast and listen to music on my way to placement in comparison to the days I down a coffee and walk there in silence.

What do you do to keep a positive mindset throughout the working week? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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Reigniting My Love Of Film

Film has always been a part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are of sunny weekend afternoons sitting in front of the television with my Dad watching some black and white film from the 40s or a classic like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

As a child my parents bought me Disney film after Disney film on VHS and I would watch my favourite scenes repeatedly, particularly Colonel Hathi’s March from The Jungle Book for some reason. As I got older my interest turned to a hobby. Every school holiday was spent trying to fit in as many films as I could, buying cheap DVDs in HMV, begging my Dad to let me buy a 3.99 recent release from Sky Box Office, or trying to persuade friends to come to the cinema instead of a day spent shopping.

When I discovered magazines like Total Film and Empire I was in my element, trying to tick off every film the magazines mentioned and then scouring the IMDB forums to read other people’s opinions. While I’ve always hated Winter with a passion, January and February meant awards season and awards seasons meant red carpets and soundtracks and costume design and making bets with my Dad to see how many award winners we could predict correctly while we rolled our eyes at my Mum not knowing who directed There Will Be Blood.

When university applications began, I applied to 5 universities: 3 for French and German and 2 for German and Film. I had half hoped that I would be rejected from some so that I didn’t have to make a decision but getting offers from all 5 places made me question what I wanted more. In the end I chose French and German, deeming it more ‘useful,’ and over time my interest dwindled.

Life got in the way, cinema ticket prices increased and I stopped buying the magazines and the DVDs. Over the past few years I could barely tell you who had won an award, let alone been nominated for one. Then last year I went to the cinema to see La La Land and it sparked something. I hadn’t been to the cinema for over a year and while I liked the film, I didn’t love it the way some people felt. But something about being in the cinema, the sounds, the darkness, the feeling that came over me afterwards of having to read about the film, read reviews, forum posts made me realise that film had been missing from my life for a while.

And so I made the effort again. I bought the magazines, I took advantage of Netflix and my passion for film was reignited. It might not seem like much but sitting here tonight waiting for the BAFTA red carpet to start, with my list of predictions for winners, makes me feel so nostalgic for teenage me and it feels so nice.

Rachel x-x-x

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