Wednesday, 23 October 2019

2020 Vision





"Remember, in the next decade you’ll probably get married, buy your first house and have a baby – isn’t that exciting?!” one of my friends gushed to me whilst I YMCA’d my way through celebrating my birthday.
Instead of finding this exciting, I found this terrifying, and this was only intensified when someone quipped up that there was only X amount of days left of this decade. Similarly to how people make New Year’s Resolutions whilst in a blind panic thinking back on their previous year, I started to do this for the previous decade and felt my knees go weak.
How on Earth was I supposed to get married, buy a house, excel in my career and have a baby within the next ten years?? Was this possible? Is this a thing a lot of people did and of which I was blissfully unaware? Before you could say “internal body clock”, I was looking at ways to freeze my eggs whilst gripping a glass of red wine in my free hand (I saw a report that said that this would definitely reduce my risk of a heart attack, so props to me for future proofing my heart).
Couple the above with a failure in securing a promotion this week at work and a breakdown of a few other things and I found myself sat in the bath mulling over my shortcomings of my 26 years of existence so far and the whole thing was a cess pit of doom and gloom, exasperated by the shoulder injury I’d managed to pick up dancing a little too enthusiastically to the YMCA – but enough is enough.
Instead of focusing on the things that I don’t have, I have decided to rather smugly start my New Year’s resolution early, and smugly call them something incredibly witty of the same name of something that I also do not have – 2020 vision.

1.       Buy a house / be ready to buy a house
Now this actually isn’t that hard for me to do since I have the savings put aside and ready, but I need to get my health in order first (i.e survive and recover from major surgery that may or may not paralyse me depending on how good my surgeons are feeling on the day), and that is taking priority right now.
I’m not an interior designer / a DIY guru / a strong packer and mover, so the thought of designing an entire house and not changing it 10 days later because I got bored of it is somewhat alarming for my indecisive personality.
There’s also the problem of security – several years ago in uni I watched a series called Stalker and I’ve been terrified about personal security ever since. Do you know how much a high spec security system costs for a two storey house??? A lot. A lot I tell you. It’s why I need a dog to protect me at all cost whilst I hide in bed with a baseball bat at the slightest noise outside.

2.       Find a new role
This is more for me to grow as a person (as clichéd as it sounds, since I’m not a plant or a small human growing in to a big human), but recently I’ve realised it’s something that I definitely want to do at work.
When I was younger, I always wanted to be either a vet (didn’t work, couldn’t stand the thought of putting animals down and I went in to mourning when my goldfish died), or in the army (didn’t work because of the above, still bitter over this to this day).
Neither of those worked out, and I went to uni and got a good degree and came across a job that I absolutely loved and spent 2 years cracking on with it and being the human equivalent of a sponge. Now it’s got to the point where I think my life needs some big changes to shake me out of my comfort zone from which I have comfortably been sitting for the past year or so.

3.       Get back to doing things I love
Now that I’ve choked down enough clichés to feature in a self-help book , I’m ready to move on to the important stuff.
Recently I have stopped doing very much of anything, through a combination of exhaustion, stress and a complete lack of motivation to get up in the mornings and ‘seize the day’. I’m slowly starting to set myself mini goals and mini successes to hit, some of which are; go to the gym twice a week (maybe 3 if I can), read one book a month, pick up krav maga, stop eating the same old shit and browse some cookbooks, listen to daily podcasts on uplifting content only.
All of these things are very small, but I’ve been like a fish out of water recently with the motivation of a stone which been thrown around a few times and left to sit in a muddy puddle for a little while.

4.       Grieve
Probably quite a sombre one to end on, but something I’m trying really hard to adopt and adapt to moving forward – grieving.
My nan passed away in May and I think the grief still hangs over me every single day. When I didn’t get the role I went for in work, I instinctively went to ring her and then had to skip out of my address book when I realised that she wouldn’t be picking up the phone to me again.
There’s not just grief for my nan either, there is so much grief that I have never expressed in a way other than something entirely destructive to me, and it’s something which I’m working on with the help of a very nice therapist and lot of writing in nightly journals to try and kick in to something meaningful – we’ll see if that works.
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Sunday, 2 June 2019

Five Things My Nan Taught Me





It seems weird to be typing these letters, foreign almost to my fingers as they tap away on my keyboard. My grandmother, i.e the love of my life, my ultimate number one fan, my life advice guru and all round best friend passed away at the age of 95 on May 23rd.
The grief and pain is like nothing I have ever experienced, it has dulled me as a person and my world has become considerably darker without her in it. You ever meet that one person that you look at and think, “thank God I have you”? Well, that was/is my Nan. There never will be another quite like her, and I don’t think I will ever get over losing her.
They say that time is the greatest healer, but I am an impatient individual and here I am tapping my watch to see when this great ‘heal’ will kick in. Will it be like the Big Bang? Or will it be quieter than that, slowly setting in within me until one day I wake up and feel content? I mean I wish I knew, but for now I will keep waiting for that big moment where I get knocked off my feet and say “Christ, I feel okay”.
In a short lived attempt to try and pull myself out of my miserable weekend activity of watching Umbrella Academy and knocking back questionable volumes of orange juice, I have decided to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys if you want to get technical) and draft out the top five things that my nan taught me. Now, there are far more than five obviously, but for the interest of my own self-loathing which is looming imminently, I decided to give you the highlights of my nans pearls of wisdom. This lady survived being bombed out of London, thinking she saw a UFO sighting on her way cycling back home (still TBC on what this actually was) and survived the loss of one of her own children, my dad. So when I say this lady knows things, she knows thing.

1.       Always wear a thermal vest
Now this was very genuine advice my nan gave me when I declared I was moving to Leeds for university, i.e The Great North. I don’t know if my nan ever ventured this far North from her very southern roots, but she was very adamant I would need thermal vests “to keep your poor back warm”. I later found out someone at her day group had told her that the North was very cold, which was why her insistence on my vest wearing intensified tenfold suddenly.
I used to scoff at this and decided this simply “wasn’t cool” so decided to ignore her and instead opted to go out in the depths of winter in Leeds in nothing but a thin jacket and leggings on many an occasion whilst going to uni. I rapidly realised my nan did indeed have a point about it being bloody cold in the North, and my southern bones saluted her when I strolled in to M&S like a lamb to slaughter to go and find some fetching thermal vests to shove on underneath my clothes.

2.       Always show your appreciation to shop staff
My nan used to work in a shop / department store way back when e-commerce was a word which would score you 0 points on a game of Scrabble, and her experiences working in this shop with the way she was treated from customers cemented a very clear stance in her mind on how shop workers should be treated.
If you have an office job and have never suffered the delights of a middle-aged woman waving a faulty item of underwear at you whilst declaring she will tell all her friends how terrible the quality of the clothing is from the store you work in, then I salute you. Well done you, you dodged that bullet. Seriously, I think I may have PTSD from my time working as a sales assistant.
Apparently the moment you work in a shop or supermarket, some individuals see you as lesser to them, and that you are only there to serve their every outrageous whim and need. Your forced smile will be put to the test as you listen to them drone on and on in a monotone voice about how expensive x, y, z is and can’t you do them a discount? No Sandra I cannot, I don’t make the damned prices.
My Nan instilled in all of us that how you treat shop workers is a reflection on you as a person, and I have to say after my brief stint of working in retail – that is the damned truth. Be nice to your servers and your waitresses and your bartenders because they sure as hell aren’t at work on a hot day in Summer to be given a load of abuse by someone who seems to think they’ve suddenly become more important than the Queen herself.

3.       Always have good biscuits in, just in case you get a visitor
Once of my earliest memories as a child was charging in to my Nan and Granddads house after a morning of horse riding, making a firm bee line for the biscuit tin which was always kept in the kitchen cupboard.
My granddad, naturally, would always make sure I got him one out too and would then pretend to have no idea that he wasn’t supposed to be having biscuits: “you mean I can’t have one biscuit? Oh, it will impact my diabetes? I didn’t know”.
No matter how many times over the years we told nan that we had already had a big lunch before heading over, she would still offer us out a selection of biscuits with our cups of tea, asking several times if she couldn’t tempt us with a biscuit or two. Why yes Nan, you can indeed tempt my full stomach with one little biscuit. Or maybe two. Oh, who cares hand me the box.
One thing I did later find out about my nans biscuit offering was this: if you have guests over, always offer them biscuits with their cups of tea. However, always make sure you take out your favourite biscuit before presenting the tin to everyone else so that you still get the best one for yourself.

4.       Be forgiving, even if you don’t want to
This next statement will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me when I say that I do like to hold a grudge. Someone walks in front of me in the street? Hold a grudge.
Someone is mean to my sister? God damnit, I will definitely hold a grudge.
Someone calls my dog a bit plump? I will hold that grudge until I die, even if they have a very strong point that my dog does need to be on a diet.
My nan often told me that forgiveness was better than holding a grudge of any form, as I would often ring her up to complain when things had gone wrong. She would sit silently listening to my (vastly animated) recounting of the horrors of my day, only for her to give me some very calm and wise words to mull over. She was a calming woman, my grandmother.

5.       Always tell people they are your favourite
This is my final thought piece to end on, and it’s because it is my favourite example of my Nan doing what she does best.
For years, nan would always tell me I was her favourite grandchild and I would have a smugness about this which was almost palpable whilst I sauntered around her house – lucky me, I am the chosen one, I am the favourite, watch out cousins because I am here and I am the favourite one so move out your seat I’m here to see Nan.
I would always end our twice weekly phone calls with a “goodbye, love you” and she would reciprocate this. If I was having a bad day, she would always say “remember you’re my favourite” and this could pull me out of any bad mood which life put me in.
Now, imagine my horror when four of us cousins were in her hospital room with her saying goodbye when someone else said the immortal words of “it’s okay – I’m your favourite”. Shock, horror, betrayal. They must have got it wrong; there obviously cannot simply be two favourites, that isn’t how this game of love works.
“Hang on Nan, I’m your favourite?” Came a voice – a voice which wasn’t mine. That meant three of us had been told we were the favourite. The fourth looked around and said, “No, I’m the favourite!”.
The penny (and the ego) dropped – we were all the favourites. All of us, in our own ways were our Nan’s favourite because she loved us all that implicitly and without reproach that she simply couldn’t have loved one of us more over the other.

That’s the thing about my Nan; family always came first for her regardless of the situation. The world was falling down? Family first.
Someone was horrible to me at uni? Family first.
Not got enough seats at the dinner table for the influx of people coming over to sample your roast dinner and treacle sponge? Family first, find extra seats.

It’s not goodbye Nan, it’s simply see you later x



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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

How I'm Becoming A Better Person



Now I am no saint. I know that, my friends know that, my nan does not know that but that doesn't matter I am the apple of her eye and favourite grandchild so I can do no wrong. 
I can be selfish (especially if there is cake involved in the office, move out the way I'm coming in hot), I can be insecure (hello social media reality) and I can sulk like there is no tomorrow when something doesn't go my way. However, whilst this is (only slightly) cute on my year and a half year old goddaughter, this is not cute on an adult.  
I have recently done a lot of reflecting on what I'd like to get out of this year, and I have drawn together a list of ways in which I am becoming a better person which I think are also, coincidentally, things which everyone / anyone (except Donald Trump & co.) can aim for. 

1. Become a blood / organ donor 
Now, I have been an organ donor for the past decade and have offered up everything there is to offer up when I am gone, but it was only very recently that I went and gave blood. I'm not bothered by needles or blood, so whilst one of my co-workers looked like she was going to faint at the experience, I was happily watching the news on my lunch hour with a needle wedged in to my vein whilst I discussed Top Gear with a lovely nurse. 
The whole experience took less than an hour start to finish (less time than it takes for HD Brows ladies, and we've got time for that, haven't we?), and I gleefully used it as an excuse not to go to the gym that night and instead gain sympathy and much respect from everyone I smugly told about my activities - no browsing River Island on my lunch break today, no sir, I was off making a difference and saving lives. 
A few weeks later I recieved a text from the blood bank to tell me that my blood had gone to a trauma hospital in Manchester, and I recieved a shiny red card through the post telling me what my blood type was which I now tell everyone no matter whether they're interested or not. Signing up is quick and simple for both becoming a donor and giving blood, and it's something which can save a life and make you feel smug :  https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/ 

2. Ask 
I get it, we all lead busy lives. Being busy almost becomes a competition with people "oh your evening was busy? Well I washed all my clothes for the week, did the weekly food shop, meal prepped enough food to feed a small township and meditated for half an hour whilst soul searching all before Master Chef last night", and I have been one of those people in the past. However, being so caught up in our own lives means we sometimes forget to just ask if someone is okay. 
Recently I saw the advert for the Samaratins asking people to just ask "are you okay?" to someone who looks like they may not be. This struck a chord with me, and I have now started routinely checking in on my friends, whether they look like they need the help or not - you never know the internal battles someone is facing so always be kind, you never know how this may positively impact someone. 

3. Don't hold grudges 
I was / am (nearly retired, nearly) an individual who can hold a grudge or two, but I've recently realised that whilst I'm seething in to my Coco Pops mulling over my grudge, the other person will either not know because I have resting bitch face, or will have moved on. 
I've decided that I am no longer carrying negative energy (very millenial I know) going forward, and that means simply letting go of the bad blood I may have for certain individuals or situations. 
Last year my now ex-boyfriend cheated on me and the anger and resentment bubbled away for months and impacted my mental health to the point that when someone tried to talk to me in a bar I'd curtly walk away and not entertain the chance of speaking to someone. Did this impact my ex and his cheating ways? No, he was probably tucked up in bed (someones bed anyway) sleeping sound whilst I sat up picking over every detail of what had happened and wondering "where the !?!?!?!?!! did it go wrong?" - I've also now stopped stalking his social media so well done me, very adult very grown up.

4. Show your gratitude
My grandmother is the true love of my life, my rock, my lifeline and my world. I love her more than words could express and I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside when I hear her voice over the phone or see her looking out the window when she knows I'm visiting her. 
My nan would probably (definitely) give me the shirt off of her back if I asked her, because she is a naturally loving and caring person and I have decided that I will never stop showing her my gratitude for simply being in my life. 
We always use the phrase "but I thought I had more time" for things. You thought you had more time to get to your mate date on time, you thought you had more time to get the bus in to work and be sat at your desk before your manager walks in, you thought you had more time. 
My nan is 95 years of age, and I know that time is not something I have much left of with her, so I spend twice a week minimum on the phone to her telling her about my week, asking her about her community group she attends and asking if she has heard from her son, my uncle, who lives in Australia and listening to her excitedly tell me about the new ready meal she tried which was actually quite pleasant but still not a patch on what she used to make from scratch back when she could stand that long. 
  Nan, you can't use a basic mobile phone let alone get on to the internet and ever find this, but I love you. 
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Monday, 18 February 2019

Mental Health And Exercise

I did it again.
Another impromptu hiatus which is becoming a clear reoccurrence on the books that are my life. And whilst I committed to writing more content this year, I found myself sitting at my desk twiddling my thumbs and browsing dog videos on the ‘gram instead.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have any content, it was just that when I started, I ended up drawing a blank halfway through and thinking, does anywhere actually care if I’m cutting meat consumption down? Or whether my new trainers were snazzy enough (side note : they are)?
I constantly feel an overarching sense of pressure when it comes to my life, I naturally try to overachieve regardless of the situation or scenario, which often results in me feeling dejected and frustrated when things don’t go just right.

This, in turn has pushed me on in to a feeling of “well I won’t bother today, because I’m not going to be very good so not point starting”. I didn’t connect all of this feelings until I read an article about catching yourself every time you say something negative about yourself internally and instead saying two good things about yourself. Initially, I struggled to think of anything but since it was internalised, I decided to start rattling through the things that I thought were possibly true : I am kind,  I am polite, I am caring, I am funny (if you like poor dad jokes) and I am compassionate. Most of all, I am worthy.

The problem is, is I know exercise is good for the brain, because after I’ve gone on a run or been to a class I do feel genuinely better, but it’s the initial drag of getting in to the gym or getting my trainers on to run that is my stumbling block. I don’t need to preach to you about the benefits of exercise on your mental health, but what I will say is it’s damned hard to think about anything other than your breathing when you’re slogging your way up a steep hill on hill sprints which see you gasping for air when you hit the summit, followed by exhilaration and the smug “hey I just did that” the follows.
I am trying to be kinder to myself this month, and the positive reinforcements have definitely been helping which is now, in turn, seeing me sticking my running trainers on and going for my first run this evening since falling a few weeks ago (snazzy trainers slightly less snazzy covered in mud), and I am forcing myself to focus on my breathing and just my breathing.

We spend a lot of time in our own heads, especially when we are perfectionists, but does anyone care or even notice if you have a slight trip up in a presentation or quite literally when you’re walking for the bus? Does anyone care if your lunch isn’t #InstagramWorthy whilst you devour it at your desk whilst browsing city breaks and gossip columns? The answer is no, but we live in a consumer society where we are told we need to improve ourselves because companies make a profit off of it. I don’t buy in to Skinny Teas / Coffees / lattes / pancakes, as I’d rather not be sat on the toilet all day (this girl has business to attend to) , but I do definitely buy in to the hype of ‘age defying’ skin creams, serums and remedies (getting worse by the year as I edge closer to 30).

February is going to be my month of rediscovery on what it’s like to be kind to myself, as god only knows that is missing around here. I have made a conscious effort to go to two gym classes a week, but I am not piling on the pressure to go five days a week. I am eating sensibly, but I am not chucking everything in an app to see what my fat % is, and I am definitely not stepping on a set of scales for the foreseeable. February – let’s go.
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Sunday, 13 January 2019

Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

Sweaty, gasping and red in the face. No, this isn’t some weird confessional of my private life , but how I ended the Leeds 10K back in 2018.
Whilst walking to collect my finishers medal (which I showed off to practically everyone) , I vowed to never run a 10K again. 
I expected the traumatic memories of my 10K to fade like harrowing childbirth memories did, but I was wrong. So why the hell have I signed up again?
Well, I’m doing it for a charity which I have fallen in love / gratitude with - Jo’s Trust. Jo’s Trust are the only dedicated cervical cancer charity in the UK and I’ve found myself leaning on them in my (many) hours of need. 
Not only have I signed up, but I’ve manahed to guilt trip people who I work with in to suffering along with me - win win. One of my only New Years resolution other than world dominance and marrying Tom Hardy was to give back more and spread awareness of cervical cancer. 
I (drunkenly) brain stormed ways to fundraise which ranged from bake sales (tick) to skydiving (definitely not tick, no thanks) and settled on the achievable task of running a 10K in sub one hour. 
I’m hoping this will boost my mental health as well as my physical health which has seen me dodging cardio better than my dog dodges having his tablets. 
2019 is the year of slowly pushing boundaries , and my snazzy new trainers will do the job just nicely.
Since drafting this blog, I’ve made another outrageous decision to sign up to a ballot for the Great North Run on behalf of Jo’s and I am toe tappingly waiting for a response back from how that is going to go. 
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Monday, 31 December 2018

Gymshark66


Scientists say that it it takes 66 days to form a habit, which is weird since it definitely didn’t take me 66 days to form the habit of eating half a tube of Pringles in one sitting most evenings.

In 2018, Gymshark released #Gymshark66 which saw thousands of individuals participating for the chance to better themselves and win a years worth of gym kit from Gymshark. 
I watched all of this unfold over social media from the sidelines , too daunted to throw my hat in to the ring with the super toned and super well followed on social media. That all changed for me when the winner was announced however, and it wasn’t a God like social media guru who won , but a girl I could actually relate too. 
Of course, there was some backlash to this decision with the ego driven demanding to know why their mate Tom who smashed his PB in bench press and cut down on #CheatMeals didn’t win. I , however, was bloody thrilled with the winner and decided I may as well have a go this year. 
I am not the fittest, I much prefer sitting down with a glass of wine over group boxing and I refuse to swap basmati rice for cauli-rice , but what I do have is determination. Back in 2007 I had a horse riding accident which left me with a shattered career dream of joining the army or being a professional sprinter, and with an even more shattered body. I attacked physio with reckless enthusiasm, always demanding to know how I could ‘get better’ quicker, something which my surgeon had to repeatedly tell me I would never fully achieve due to the scale of injuries which meant as soon as it gets cold I limp, and my hips would often dislocate until a super surgeon reconstructed them both on a clinical trial. 
Couple all of this with a cancerous cells diagnosis back on july 12th and I became the perfect breeding ground for someone to have every excuse in the world to avoid exercising for the majority of this year. I became someone who would go home straight after work and stare blankly at my tv instead whilst deciding which ready meal to grab. 
Last year I ran the Leeds 10K for charity and the structure and the fact I bloody had to go and prep myself so that I didn’t embarrass myself in front of thousands of people saw me religiously tying up my laces and heading out for a run covered in Factor 50 whilst listening to Kanye West and One Direction. 
I am under absolutely no illusion that I will win this thing, but then again neither was Eddy the Eagle and look what he went on to achieve with a bit of determination. 
It’s always good to have some targets to measure up against, so throughout the course of these 66 days I will be: 

Sign up to Leeds 10K 
As previously mentioned above, this gave me a structure to my exercise which I desperately needed so I’m hoping that this will set the year off in the right direction, and I can hopefully go under the 1 hour mark in 2019. 

Rejoin gym classes 
At the start of 2018 I became one of those smug spin goers who loudly declared how many calories they were able to burn through 45 minutes of hell (seriously, who was I??), however the heatwave of June and July saw me ditching the spin classes in favour of drinks by the canal, and my anxiety over not being good enough returned. 
Spinning is actually one of the only forms of cardio I enjoy (mostly because it’s over bloody quickly and I can pretend I’m in the Tour De France at the back of the room), so I’m hoping resuming this once a week will improve my lung capacity and help build up my leg muscles. 

Commit 
Commit. Commit. And commit again. 
I’ve already set out a little exercise plan for when I set foot back in the gym on January 1st to keep me motivated and keep me committed. I don’t really believe in weighing myself due to muscle mass and fat mass but what I do believe in is progress pics and hitting PB’s in exercises, so i’m going to be chasing both of these with abundant enthusiasm, similar to when I told my dentist I now floss. 

And there we have it, this is me, Francesca, officially putting my hat in the ring for 66 days of spinning, commiting and hopefully seeing a few results along the way. 

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Friday, 28 December 2018

My Goal For 2019

Now I don’t usually buy in to this ‘New Year New Me’ as it makes me feel somewhat nauseous at the levels of cringe it induces in the very pit of my soul, however since writing in a daily journal I have realised it might be slightly less cringe to have some goals to work towards than what I usually thoughts.
Whilst it’s quite easy to put things like “feel better about myself” or “make more of an effort”, it actually took a lot of self reflection on a brutal level to address the below. It’s no secret that I have had the worse year ever in 2018, and various hospital appointments and tablets meant me going to the gym was way off of my priority list – so far off that I’m glad Virgin Active don’t send you a ‘year in review’ of how many times this year you’ve been because I’d be crying in to my bank statement for the foreseeable.
For those of you that are new here or may have stumbled stumbled across my blog through googling “Goal setting new year” (SEO optimisation, take a bow), I have a twin sister who is very fashionable and put together. I’m pretty sure her going to the shops for some milk is more glamourous than I look whilst at work or going out for casual drinks. You ever see those girls in bars or on Instagram who look so well put together that you want to punch them in the face and steal their wardrobe in the night? Yep, that’s my twin. I refuse to stand next to her in full body photos as I look more like Mr Potato Head than the individual that came out of the womb at the same time as her. Chalk and cheese. Black and white.
I’ve decided that 2019 is going to be the year of big positive change for me, and I am #GirlDoneGood’ing it for the foreseeable. Last year I set some unrealistic goals which saw me sat in the bath with a bottle of wine eating Cadbury chocolate and watching Master Chef by February, sacking off the gym and my regime with glee – this is not happening this year, no sir.

1. Less talking more action 
I like to set a good goal. Or a plan. Or a list. I just don’t like sticking to them. I am notorious for going to the supermarket with the best intention written down on the notes in my phone and quickly veering off to a promotional stand in the supermarket when I see Pringles are reduced to £1 (bargain though, am I right??). I am also the queen of not documenting said Pringle consumption in my MyFitnessPal app once I’ve finished scoffing down half the tube whilst watching Call The Midwife and stalking social media for #CleanEating
In steps : less talking more action. It is my aim for 2019 to keep my mini victories to myself and actually do what I’m planning to do. I have a gym regime which I can stick to when I’m motivated, but the first spot of rain and I decide “that’s it I can’t get off the bus” – my gym is indoors, the rain doesn’t stop it from opening, major bullsh*t. 

2. Make more effort 
I love sleep. I love sleep nearly as much as my dog which I love a lot and would step in front of a bullet for him. Due to the above, I have decided that the ridiculous notion of me going to the gym before work (something I tell myself after I’ve bailed on going the previous evening) is just never going to happen during winter. The disappointment I feel in myself when I don’t go in the morning is palpable as I get ready and gets worse when I see people entering work in their cycling kits, smugly drinking on a protein shake. 
I’m going to make an effort to make a sensible structure to my life, and stick to something a lot less harsh than what I was penning in 2018 – did I really hate myself that much? Damn! 


3. More self-love
I am my own worst critic, and when something goes wrong I will sit and mull it over with grim determination to not make that cock up again. I recently heard a saying that would you speak in the same tone as you speak to yourself to a child? The answer is no, and I’m trying to adopt this more gentle approach with myself. 
I’ve decided to stop cancelling on my ‘me time’ in order to please others, and I am working through a routine at the minute of ways to wind down after a stressful day that don’t revolve around a bottle of wine and drunkenly ringing my best friend who lives in The Hague to tell her about how awful my day was. 
I had a few empty drawers in my bedroom after my recent house move, and I’m now dedicating one of these empty drawers to a ‘self love’ drawer (not one of those types of self love drawers, you dirty people), full of face masks, snacks, nice quotes and things which make me smile, like messages from my nan who is the apple of my eye. 

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff 
I am a huge over thinker, and this can often lead me to wide awake in bed at an ungodly hour thinking back to something I did a month and a half ago which haunted me. Usually, this is something so minor that it wouldn’t bother anyone else, but there I am, mulling it over in mind to the point I feel my heart racing. 
Whilst everything else is pretty straight forward, I think this is going to be a longer term commitment of mine to let go of the things that shouldn’t be bothering me anywhere near as much as it should – if it doesn’t matter in a years’ time, don’t sit and think on it a minute longer. 

5. Consistent content 
I’m very fortunate that a while ago, my daily visits to this blog sky rocketed after an article I posted on cervical cancer went semi viral on social media. 
Before this, I would sporadically write as and when the feeling took me; which was becoming less and less. However, after writing that one post I realised my interest in writing had returned and I found myself doodling ideas on to my phone and in my notebook ready to tackle drafting a full piece at a later date. 
I am hoping 2019 will be the year I can make the content I post on here and my social media a lot more streamlined and in synch, and hopefully continue to engage with as many people as possible.
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