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Life in Lockdown

Hey everyone! It’s been a while…

So blogging didn’t have the best start and we parted ways for a short while which makes me sad. I love writing blogs and I haven’t put as much effort in as I should do. If I’m being honest I struggled more than what I thought whilst writing my first one and I think I lost confidence in myself.

Lockdown gives you a lot of time to think and it’s made me realise that I need to focus my energy and time on things I love to do. Patience is key and I will obviously improve the more I write.

Anyway less about me, I hope everyone is keeping safe and well in these worrying times. I genuinely don’t even know where to start about the current situation apart from… What the fudge is even going on?

The whole situation is so overwhelming and I find it so hard to get my head around sometimes. Everything about Coronavirus is bloody awful and my heart truly goes out to anyone who has majorly affected by it or lost someone to the virus. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain hundreds of thousands people are going through right now.

I want to thank all of you key workers putting your lives at risk every day for the sake of other people. You truly are heroes and the world would be lost without you. You are all so much braver than you think and you have got this!

I feel kind of silly writing about lockdown because I know people are dealing with things so much worse right now but it can be tough for anyone and I want to spread some positivity in such negative times and try and give some tips on how to get through this.

I was originally working from home during the lockdown which was a sense of normality but if I’m being honest I did not enjoy it in the slightest. My concentration levels are the worst and found it difficult to focus. My employer then decided to place me on furlough (temporary) leave last Friday until June. It’s only been a week of not working but so far I’ve kind of enjoyed it!

I’ve decided to write some tips on things I have found help me get through this first week.

1. Try to Keep a Routine

Yes I know keeping a routine can be harder than you think when you have nothing to do or nowhere to go but try and bring some of your normal life to lockdown.

I have been setting my alarm and waking up at 7.30am on Monday to Friday as usual. This does not mean that I am necessarily up and ready to tackle the day at this time but it avoids me getting into the habit of sleeping in. The main reason I do this is because I do not want to struggle when normal life comes around. I can’t imagine the shock of setting an alarm after weeks of sleep ins every day (it scares me).

I make the same breakfast as if I was going to work so either Granola or Fruit and Fibre then enjoy it in bed. Like I said before, I am embracing the lazy mornings but just making sure I am up for the day.

Another tip to avoid living in Groundhog day is to try and keep alcohol for weekends. The only reason I am sticking to this is so I have something to look forward to and kind of still have the weekend feeling. I get so excited about opening a bottle of Prosecco on a Friday night and it gives a slight structure to my week.

2. Stay Social

Self isolation can be extremely lonely times and we are all missing our friends and family but there are many ways to stay in touch with our loved ones. Modern day technology is a blessing in times like this as it lets us stay connected whilst in our own homes.

Text your friends and family and ask them how they are doing and if you are feeling down let them know. It is an amazing stress relief to talk to people when you are having a down day.

It was coming to the time of the month last week and I actually cried because I did a shit job of decorating a cheesecake. All it took was a text to my friends to get it off my chest and I felt so much better. Yes they probably thought I was going crazy but that’s what friends are for. I went from feeling really down to the next Mary Berry.

There is no reason to ever feel embarrassed on a down day, especially to your family and friends so always reach out to people. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Another tip to keep social is conference calls with family and friends. I have been using Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Facebook Messenger. It’s a great way to have a nice catch up or host a pub quiz. I have been doing quizzes each week with my family and friends and I love it! I’m still terrible but it is honestly so fun. Each week we have a different Quiz Master who decides on the rounds and questions and you can make it as silly as you want to!

Me and my friends went to Benidorm last year and one of the quiz rounds was all about the holiday. I was in stitches laughing and was a chance for us all to remember the funny stories.

My sister also hosted a Titanic quiz night and we dressed up as the characters which was really fun.

Some other ideas are a murder mystery night, bingo or even music bingo. Everyone gets a bunch of songs and then when a song is played, if you have the song on your list you cross it off until someone obviously shouts Bingo! (Alcohol can also be included to make things extra fun).

3. Keep Active

Exercise has been one of the main things getting me through lockdown. I have never been a huge fan of exercise and find it hard to keep motivated to go to the gym when I work full time so one of my lockdown goals was to try improve my fitness.

I think it is really important for your mental health to try and do some type of exercise as it can completely change your mood.

Try not to have weight loss as your only reason to do exercise as it can become extremely frustrating and you can become your own worst enemy. Think about how exercise releases endorphins in your body which trigger positive feelings. If your goal is to feel more positive and improve your day then exercise seems a lot more appealing. I find it best to try and exercise on a morning because it gives me so much more energy and sets you up for the day!

Maybe…

  • Enjoy the fresh air and go for walks or bike rides.
  • Go jogging – Couch to 5k is good for beginners.
  • Try Yoga or Pilates (Search Yoga with Adriene on YouTube)
  • Do home workouts on YouTube or Instagram – My favorites are Joe Wicks and Ferdinand Fitness.

4. Be Productive

There is no better opportunity to spend this time to be kind to yourself and enjoy the things you never have time to do in the real world. Now we have all this free time on our hands, we need to embrace it!

Explore a hobby which has been pushed to the back of your priorities or even learn a new skill. It may be something like to improve your cooking skills or maybe learn a new language. Whatever it is there will always be a positive outcome and you are potentially investing for your future. Who knows where it will take you.

Try and plan your days as much as possible and set a daily task to carry out. It can be the smallest task in the world and can still bring you a sense of achievement. Some of my tasks have been to write a blog (obviously), organise the tin cupboard and clean my bathroom. Yes some can be pretty dull but it makes me feel like I have done something with my day!

Take some time for self care and give yourself a good pamper. Put a chilled Spotify playlist whilst you paint your nails, smother your hair in coconut oil and moisturiser. Maybe do some meditation or enjoy a nice bath and focus on your breathing. Taking time to relax is just as important as being productive.

Some things that I advise NOT to do during these times are to watch the news constantly or be on social media. It is important to know what is happening in the world but the constant repetitiveness of the news can be so draining. Try and limit yourself to so much a week or even none at all. Since full lockdown I haven’t watched the news once as it was making me so anxious and worried and starting to affect my sleep. As long as I am following the rules, I do not feel like I need to know the daily death toll as it only has a negative effect on my mental health.

I am also trying to limit my time off social media. I have stopped myself from scrolling through my phone for hours on end as it was making me feel really lousy. Try to only go on your phone to stay in contact with people and limit the amount of scrolling. Remember to take everything on social media with a pinch of salt and don’t believe everything you read.

So I hope you enjoyed my tips on how to cope in lockdown which will hopefully help some of you along the way.

I want to remind you to not feel guilty about spending lockdown the way you want to. Social media can be rife with people saying ‘how we should be spending lockdown’ but there is no right or wrong way!

Take everyday as it comes and as soon as you wake up think of how you want to spend your day. Remember balance is key and each day is different. We are all on this crazy roller coaster which is throwing so many emotions our way.

We are all first timers at this and we all need to adapt to the situation with whatever brings us happiness. This is never going to happen again in our lifetime (fingers crossed) so try and enjoy it as much as you can. If that means having days watching Netflix eating chocolate then go ahead; if it means spending your day learning funny Tik Tok dances then do it or if you decide to redecorate your full house then amazing! There is no guidebook for this so just try and roll with it.

Love Charlie xxx

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20 Tips to Change Your Mood!

We all have ‘them days’ where we just want to curl up in a ball and go to sleep. The days we are moody, hormonal, awkward bitches and want to punch everyone in the face.

The days when we struggle to enjoy the things we usually love to do because we feel tired and frustrated.

These days always crept up on me when everyone around me was busy and I was given the responsibility of entertaining myself.

I would get into the habit of scrolling through social media comparing my life to the perfect Instagram models with the beach blonde hair, sipping on cocktails in Caribbean sun, then wonder why I felt so shit.

I was becoming sick of the negative energy and something needed to change. I finally came to the conclusion that the reason why I was feeling so unhappy is because all of the time spent on my own was going to waste.

I would laze around, being unproductive, just waiting for someone to keep me company. 

I had started to depend on others to make me happy which was causing me distress when I was on my own.

I decided to make a list of all of the things that make me happy. If I started to feel down, I would tick something off the list and would instantly feel better. 

After weeks of practice, I actually started to enjoy my own company. The anxiety and frustration were slowly disappearing and I felt like a new woman! 

Don’t get me wrong, on the odd occasion I can go back to my old ways being an agitated mess who is no good to anybody, but thankfully I have now learnt how to prevent the situation before it turns into a total shitstorm! 

So for anyone reading who doesn’t think I’m a complete lunatic and can hopefully relate to my crazy ways, I have written my top 10 tips to transform your mood:

Mindfulness

This is soo important. I don’t think anyone realises how much it can make an impact on your life until you start to do it. All you need is ten minutes of the day to take a step back and do…nothing. Literally nothing. 

Sit on your bed or somewhere comfortable for ten minutes with no phone, computer, TV or any other distraction and set an alarm on your phone for ten minutes. You need to focus on your breathing. In and out, in and out, until you are fully relaxed. Take this time to forget about all of the day’s stresses and your thoughts will slow down.

If you struggle to reach ten minutes without thinking about what you are having for tea that night, then it’s okay to start with a shorter time. You will need to train yourself to focus on your breathing without being distracted by everything going on around you. 

Maybe set your alarm for 3 or 4 minutes to begin with and see how you go. Your mindset will completely change and that nagging voice in your head will slowly calm down. 

Exercise / Go for a Walk

Urgh exercise really? Sometimes this is the last thing that you want to do when you’re curled up in bed feeling sorry for yourself but it can have such a huge impact on your day. It has been scientifically proven that exercise releases endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body and improve your general wellbeing. 

Going to the gym or doing some exercise at home in the morning for about 30 to 40 minutes will set you up for the rest of the day and boost your energy levels. 

The thought of exercise is always worse than actually doing it so don’t overthink it too much or you will talk yourself out of it. 

When you force yourself to do something you don’t really feel up for, you will get a small sense of achievement and can give yourself a small pat on the back when it’s over.

If I still haven’t convinced you then try and make it enjoyable and go out for a nice walk. You won’t even notice the calories burning whilst you’re soaking in all of the fresh air and amazing views. 

The Lake District is a perfect place to go walking and destress. There is something about the place that is so refreshing and relaxing. 

This is a photo from Catbells in Keswick. I LOVE it.

Have a Clean out

I have only recently discovered this one and I am surprised on how much it works! I feel like a messy room is sometimes a reflection of a messy mind. When we feel tired and hopeless it is so easy to throw our clothes on the floor and leave them for the next few days until we feel normal again. 

Messiness gives our guilty conscience a voice when we are trying to watch television with a cup of tea thinking ‘I should really move the dirty clothes that have been there for the last week’ and can cause us to feel frustrated with ourselves. We make up the excuses that ‘it can wait until later’ and ‘no one will see it’ but it only makes things worse. 

If you are having ‘one of those’ days and have nothing to do other than lay in bed, it is the perfect opportunity to be productive without even leaving your bedroom! 

Play some music and light a candle while you have a quick hoover, dust your bedside cabinets and change your bed sheets. Your future self will thank you for it when you have an extra cosy night sleep. 

Find the draws that you almost can’t open because of all the crap inside of them and empty them all out. Bin all of the unnecessary rubbish you don’t need and you will have more space than you could imagine. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop.

Go through your wardrobe and pile up all of the clothes you haven’t worn since 2003 which you have been keeping ‘just in case’ and bag them up to take them to the charity shop. This will be your good deed for the day!

Self Care

There is no better feeling than running yourself a hot bath, grabbing your favourite book and zoning out from the rest of the world. 

Scrape off all the mucky fake tan from the weekend before and moisturise until you feel like a baby’s bum. 

Grab a face mask (Keep it in the fridge so it is nice a cool), jump in bed, find a chick flick on Netflix and chill the fuck out. A glass of wine is also optional. 

Look Through Your Calender

Sometimes when we are feeling lonely, it is easy to forget about all the good times we have planned. Buy a calendar and write down all of the different things you have coming up. This will remind you that your life is truly amazing and you should feel lucky that you have so many plans to look forward to. It will also help you to feel super organised. 

Here are some other things for you to try:

  • Listen to music / podcasts.

My favourites are Shagged, Married Annoyed by Chris and Rosie Ramsey or Happy by Fearne Cotton.

  • Write a new Blog.

If you do not feel confident to post your first blog to the world yet then you can even just write on a document or in a notepad.

  • Cook a new recipe / bake / make a smoothie.

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  • Read a book

 I suggest ‘‘Calm the Fuck Down’ by Sarah Knight aka THE BIBLE! 

  • Treat yourself to some new clothes.

 Important –  This is only if you can afford to. Do not add money stress into the mix. It is a whole different ball game.

Everyone is different and I do not expect this to work for everyone but everything I suggest only comes from personal experience. I know that every day can be different and sometimes curling up in a ball and hibernating is the best thing for us but it is important to make sure that it doesn’t happen all of the time. 

Making the most of your days and doing things you love can only change your life for the better. No one will ever complain about feeling positive, happy and relaxed! 

I want all of you lovely people reading to feel the best you possibly can and all of the above are my small steps on how to help you get there. 

Love Charlie xx

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Winging It

Hey everyone! Welcome to my first EVER blog. 

I have stared at my laptop screen all afternoon and retyped this thing god knows how many times so it is now time for me to get a well deserved glass of Prosecco and finally introduce myself to all of you lovely bloggers!

My name is Charlie and I am 22 years old. 

Towards the end of last year I started to feel like I was simply plodding along, letting day-to -day life consume me. It was work, eat, sleep, repeat and my spare time was filled with reality TV and scrolling through social media. 

My goal for the new year was to take a lead on my own life and use my spare time more effectively to pursue my passion for writing. 

Publicly writing about my life is completely out of my comfort zone but I want to share all of my ups and downs with you. ‘Normality’ seems to be disappearing in the Instagram world which we all live in and it is sometimes easy to forget about all of the real life shit. 

I want to be completely honest and relatable with you all. I will be writing about all things lifestyle, mental health, beauty, holidays and food (I LOVE food). 

Please stay tuned for more to come…

Love Charlie xx