Sunday, 23 July 2017

Simple Acts Of Self-Care...

If first year taught me anything, it's the importance of small, daily acts of self-care. Looking after yourself doesn't have to be dramatic or time consuming, it doesn't need to be a full regime or anything extravagant; simple and often is always best.

For me, weirdly, I normally feel the need to carry out self-care when I'm at home. In my last post I talked about how I feel unsettled when I'm not working, so it's during this down time that I make extra effort to do things that are mindful, calming and make me feel secure and chilled. Here's a couple little things I've implemented into my life, some that I do daily, some that I just try to do as much as possible.

However! It's important to work out what 'self-care' means to you, and what makes you feel the best. For example, I know my self-care involves alone time, but if you're more extroverted, your self-care might involve socialising. Get to know yourself! Work out how to make yourself feel comforted!



Have daily 'me time'

Every day I do my makeup. This is the simplest thing ever, but I try to dedicate this time to myself, and ease myself into my day by just spending time with myself. I've learnt to leave time for this in my morning routine, even if it means waking up early, it's worth it. So I make myself a coffee, moisturise and care for my skin, then enjoy the process of putting on my make-up while I listen to some music, or normally watch something on Netflix. 

For me, this is the perfect self-care; it's calm, cosy and organised. I have my set routine that I follow, and the organised process of my routine makes me feel so so subdued and lovely. It's also nice to just have some uninterrupted down time before I start my day properly; as an introvert, time with no socialising or talking is golden.

I do this before I get dressed. Personally, I love to do all this in my underwear; it's so much more comfortable and I think spending more time naked or semi-naked is a really great way to boost your self-love and confidence by just becoming more acquainted and less phased by your body. So I normally come out of the shower, throw underwear and my dressing down and spend some me time. 

Exercise

If you'd said this to me a month ago, I probably would've screamed. However, lately I decided to try and tackle some self-esteem issues by being active, and started going running. I try to run daily or every other day, alternating between running and walking. There's loads of apps that help gradually build up your stamina that have really helped me keep at it, and so far, I'm v much enjoying it. 

Again, this is great alone time that you can spend just listening to music, or you can run with a friend or family member. But either way, exercise makes you feel so much more productive and gives you a great rush of endorphines that will boost your mood. It doesn't have to be running, you could do pilates, yoga, cycling, or even just make an effort to walk more; but upping your activity helps both mental and physical health. 


Nightly down time

The complete opposite as exercise, you've gotta chill too. This is something that I've done as a child as my family have always had cool down time on an evening, and I've carried on into my adult life. Having a super calm evening and just watching TV or a film, reading, writing etc will help you relieve the stress of the day and wind down to help you sleep better. Exactly what your parents used to do when you were a baby, learning to do that for yourself is super important! I like to watch some TV with my parents, have a warm drink like chai tea and probs a biccy or two, then go up to my room and get cosy with some fairy lights to either watch a film or read. It helps me drift off easily, and it's great down time to consider how your feeling and check in with yourself and your thoughts.


Stroke your vanity a little

I dunno about you, but sometimes I want to slap on loads of makeup and see just how banging I can make myself look. This is pretty much the same as my morning me time, but sometimes it's nice to just play with makeup like you would as a child. I like to put on some trash tv like Gossip Girl or Kardashians, and do some heavy contouring. Again, this can really help boost self-esteem, make you less self-critical, and is definitely a mood boosting, calming boredom killer. But like I said before, work out what works for you!


Do mindful activities
You've probably heard a lot about mindful activities, but in short they're basically just doing things that give you time to check in with your thoughts and mood, so simple activities that require some level of concentration and attention. I like to do my nails for this. It's simple and easy, but requires calm concentration. So I dedicate some time each week, usually on a sunday when the new The Michalak's video goes on YouTube cause they're super soothing, and just sit and do my nails. Easy. Dedicating periods of time like this is SO easy but SO important. Make time for yourself.


Read for pleasure

Spending some time each week to engage your brain in something that isn't school work, or essential work or homework, is a great self-care activity. I like to take myself on reading dates with a good book and a nice coffee shop, or park on a nice day. Having alone time that still engages with your intellect and makes you feel productive is the best thing ever for spending some down time and doing self-care without feeling lazy. Also, reading is proven to help relieve anxiety and stress as it is a safe form of escapism, and combats mental decline so is beneficial in the long term. I love this, it feels like such a little treat when I get myself a good coffee and just sit for an hour or so. But you can do this anywhere that suits; in bed, on your sofa, in the garden with a glass of rose. But maybe don't choose Anna Karenina to read as I'm STRUGGLING.

However you do it, you are so important and you are worth your time. Make sure you look after yourself, and dedicate time to just making yourself feel good, and checking in with the thoughts and feelings you're experiencing that may go unnoticed in the hustle of a busy life. 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

You're 19 Lucy, You've got time...




Internships finished, house all moved into, and I'm now back home with nothing in front of me but 3 months of looming summer, interrupted only by loose plans and rough dates still in pencil.

A year or two back this would've been the best thing in the world. Time off school is always the greatest thing ever when you're a kid and you're learning things you only minimally care about, or totally hate. You're school friendships are half-fulfilling and a little tainted with bitchiness, and the chance to escape that with months of holidays, days out, sleeps in, seems dreamy. But I've found myself in a situation where I'm completely in love with my life. My uni course is fascinating and perfectly suited to me, my house there feels like a home, my relationships are rich and challenging and loving, so months away is a chore.

But more than that, uni is an automatic sense of achievement, as I'm constantly working and learning. And that's the kind of person I am; I need to be pushing forward and grinding. Trying to get into an industry where a career can't be granted by a degree is scary and stressful. It's really hard to know if you're doing enough or what you should do next, there's never anyone that a perfect example of how to get the dream job as everything is so relative and too often luck dependant.

I've always had this blog, I run Kiloran, I'm an editor for The Tab, I've released a book and work hard to get as much published elsewhere as possible. But at the moment I can't shake this lingering feeling that it's not enough. I feel like I should be levelling up but I have no idea what that is, or how to do it. I'm working on issue 5, sending articles and poems off, I'm even sitting on a finished second book, and a half collection of poetry. Honestly, I'm probably doing the most, doing too much. But I've always put so much pressure on myself to do more, be better and bigger at a younger age, that it's hard to just chill. And now, without the added work of uni, the feeling is getting worse and worse, even though I'm working harder than ever on my projects, writing a lot, doing what I should be.

When I was younger I wanted to be famous. And in a way that definitely remains, but with an aim to be more respected and admired, like Patti Smith; loved but regarded as an artist. There's nothing to teach you how to do that, or any exams you can do; so I work. I'm gathering achievements that I'm proud of, but at the moment they seem to just brush over me so swiftly as I'm rushing to make another. I think I need to just relax a little. Or maybe release something new. Or maybe sit in my garden, read a book and drink some wine.

There's a lot coming from me; articles and poems dotted about, a magazine issue, and hopefully, maybe a new poetry collection in the coming months. I also want to dedicate more time to falling back in love with this blog, get back into fashion, and playlists, and film. But I want to do it out of passion, not fear.

I vow to spend the summer working and trying to gain that sense of productivity and satisfaction. But I also vow to spend the break trying to actually calm down a bit, you're 19 Lucy, you've got time.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

A week in London...






 

I've just returned home from a week in the haven that is London. Being as far north as I am, and going to uni in the north, I don't often get the chance to visit, and if I do get the chance to go it's usually a fleeting visit with no time for exploring. So the chance to spend a week in Shoreditch (heart eyes) interning for The Tab (double heart eyes) was heavenly.

I worked full time Monday to Friday writing articles, talking about love island, and learning more about media. It was dreamy, hard work, but dreamy. However, I still got about and did some exploring. Here's a quick guide.




Where to eat

Boxpark: Shoreditch is the home of boxpark, a pop-up mall made of shipping containers. There's endless food and drink options from so so many independent businesses. You could be there months and still not have tasted everything. Treat yourself to some ice cream from Soft Serve Society. They've got sundaes and freakshakes, but simple is best with their ice cream. Try the insta-famous charcoal and coconut flavour, or ask for the flavour of the week. I had miso caramel and it was INSANE.

Grind: Grind has several branches, but me and my best friend who came to visit hit up Shoreditch Grind for a breakfast date before work. The 7am open make this the perfect spot for an early coffee or pre-work catch up. Holly has a smoothie bowl, and I had the french banana toast which was possibly the best breakfast I've ever had. French toast made with banana bread? heaven on earth.

Homeslice: A friend recommended this to me and I can't thank them enough. £4 per slice is pricey to my little northern self, but o m g. I had the mushroom, ricotta, pumpkin seed and chilli pizza and it's probably the best pizza I've ever had. Smokey, cheesey, with a lil bit of balsamic yaas.




Where to drink

Department of coffee and social affairs: After discovering this place on my first day, I went every single day. Their coffee is glorious, like I can't praise it enough, and they offered oat milk which is my faaaave dairy alternative. I had an oat milk cappuccino every day of my visit, and it's not a decision I regret in the slightest. Also, their peanut butter and banana loaf was the best banana bread I've ever had and I've had a lot of banana bread.

AIDA: Rose is one of my fave flavours so I've always wanted to try a rose latte. Discovering a place that did them right around the corner from work was the best thing ever. Honestly, this latte was art. I've never seen anyone put so much care into a coffee, the barista even put the milk on the top with a spoon to create the right pattern, and garnished it with petals, like seriously, beautiful. But it also tasted incredible, like drinking Turkish delight. If you like rose, you'll love this. If you don't like rose, yeah maybe not for you.




What to do
National Portrait Gallery: I really wanted to explore some galleries while I was there but so many of them close at 6pm, just when I was leaving work. However, National Portrait Gallery says open till 9pm on a Thursday, so I got the tube to Charing Cross for a look. Free entry, huge range and right next to Trafalgar square; easy evening option. 

See friends: London is so well connected that it makes it so easy to see friends, or have them visit you. My bestie from uni, Holly, got the train in for a sleepover and breakfast. It's so easy to get in and around the city, go see some people.

Walk along the embankment: One night I got the tube to embankment and literally just walked. You see so many sights and landmarks along the river, but it's generally just a lovely stroll and super refreshing after a day in the office. I walked from Embankment, across a bridge, then along pass Shakespeare's Globe to London Bridge station, got some food from Leon and got the tube back to Old Street. Easy exercise, and good photo ops.

I'll be back soon London, I love ya.