Quarantine Talks: Reading, Writing and Watching Netflix

How have you been spending your lockdown? It’s become the new norm for me, I sometimes even forget I’m in lockdown until I get the daily news bullentine on the BBC News app. I’ve had a lot of astonishingly productive days so far where I’ve met personal targets and deadlines. And I wouldnt’ say I’ve completely gone mad (maybe a little) but I’ve honestly had days where I haven’t even wanted to get out of bed or do anything remotely productive. One of things that I was certain about when creating this blog is that I was going to be completely and utterly honest with my readers.

As you probably already know, I am far form perfect. I don’t have my whole entire life sorted. I don’t have all the answers to what I want to do in the future. I just don’t have it all together. Seeing as all the priorities that I have at the moment are inside jobs i.e. this blog, video making, attending online lectures and writing essay, lockdown hasn’t actually restricted my life as much as it has other people. But I’m not getting as much done as I thought I would.

I would say I’m a very driven and ambitious person – on one side. I have things that I want to do, improve in and complete. The other side of me is sluggish, demotivated and often too nervous to push the boat out just that little bit further. I’ve started making videos on my Instagram, but as soon as I post them I start worrying who will see them and what they will think. Will they think I’m boring, too serious? Or maybe over excitable and not sophisticated enough. Not so long ago this would have stopped me completely from posting anything! Including things on my PRIVATE snapchat story. Anxiety about what other people might think has been my biggest struggle throughout my whole life. It starts off as a little tickly feeling in my mind and suddenly it overcomes me like a big dark cloud. I’ve worked on it over the years especially in the weeks leading up into university and I am still working on it.

What I’m trying to get at is I’m not exactly where I want to be in most aspects of my life – in my creative passion, in my confidence, in my fitness, in my relationships, in my finances or in my mental wellbeing – but I am certainly not where I used to be. Reaching the end goal or target doesn’t matter as much as the progress or the journey. At the start of quarentine I had started none of my full-term essays written, I was slacking on instagram and blog posts and I hadn’t even made a video yet. Now, I have consistently been writing blogs, I’ve produced two mediocre videos and worked on all of my full-term essays, with one completely finished. It’s not a lot for 7 or 8 weeks of lockdown, but it’s something. I’m learning to trust that God is the one who hold the plans for my future. All I can do is rest in His strength and follow where He leads me to go. This has brought me great peace in all of the uncertainty. He promises His children rest. Even when anxiety is closing in on me, even when I want to reach something that seems untangible, even when I feel I’ve failed, I have learnt to rest in His presence. And it’s okay to stop, to scrunch up your schedule and press reset for tomorrow. It’s okay to switch off and binge watch Netflix series for hours and it’s okay to not quite reach your standards of perfection. What is meant for you is already yours.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Take a breath….

Does it ever feel as if you are running a constant race? As if even if you lay completely still, you’re still exhausted? Me too. Someone asked me that about two years ago, when they saw I was stuck in a constant cycle of overthinking and never getting the results I want to. I wish I knew then what I know now.

I know it can be difficult to make your mind stop going. And thoughts aren’t always that bad. It has been estimated by experts that the average human being has around  60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s a whole lot – our brains are incredible! It is without a doubt that everyone worries about something a few times a day. But I know for me, and for a lot of you too it is sometimes just pure worrying a large majority of the day, most of the week. It’s easy for someone to come along and tell you to “slow down, “chill out” or “stop worrying”, but a lot harder putting it into action.

The best and most practical way, for me, to calm my brain and stop so many anxious thoughts passing through is to fill my day doing things that occupies my brain capacity. Yes, that may mean taking random trips to places, doing extra studying, reading, writing, drawing, exercising, getting a brain-stimulating job, cutting up fresh fruit (that has helped me!) or planning exciting things to do with friends. I had anxiety for a long time and every now and then it tries to rear its head but I am so concious of not leaving too many long empty gaps in my day because I know that it’s within those times, my anxiety creeps up on me.

Writing lists also helps me structure both my day and my mind. I would previously get stressed if I didn’t complete everything on my list or if my day took a U-turn. I’ve learnt now that it’s okay to crumple the list up at the end of the day, even if it’s not completed, and start another one the next day. (Though I would suggest you meet that homework/coursework deadline!)

This last tip that I have, and probably most hardest on the days you just want to be alone with your thoughts, is that when feeling stressed or thinking too much is to do things that completely oppose what you’re feeling. It’s so typical to go to your cringy break-up songs or sad songs playlist when you’re feeling terrible – I know you have one! Or even watching a really sad movie, like Titanic, might be the first thing you go to. Although these songs and movies are really good, they’re probably not the best thing to feed your mind with in this state. Give yourself a bit of time to collect your thoughts and slap on a comedy or some cringe worthy, cheesy and overtly happy songs. It might help more than you think!

I’m not a doctor, a therapist or a counsellor and none of these methods are in any way scientifically tested or proven, but rather they are my own ways of dealing with my overthinking.; I believe entirely that mental health is so so so so important and you should seek professional help if stress, worry and anxiety consumes your life completely. However, if it’s a mild thing that you can deal with but still gets you down, I would totally recommend trying these tips. They may not all work but hopefully you find something that helps you! Contact me if you have any great tips you can share!

Love Always,

Shadz xo