Positivity

A list of things that are okay…

I spotted this collection of lost gloves on my walk yesterday, and they seemed like they were okay in their little lost-glove community, even though they weren’t hanging out in pairs as you might expect. But I’ll spare you a blog post based on terrible lost-glove-related metaphors for life, and will instead stick with writing a list of other things that are also okay

Eating chocolate every day. See also: cake, crisps, cheese.

Hating Zoom calls. Just say no (unless it’s for work, in which case probably say yes – but feel free to be grumpy about having your camera on).

Secretly still liking Zoom calls even though we’ve all decided we hate them now. It doesn’t even have to be a secret.

Really missing your friends. It’s great to be fine with time alone, but it’s not a weakness to need time with other humans too. Miss your friends, tell them you miss them, and look forward to seeing them again soon.

Saying no to plans (or walks / calls for now) just to take time for yourself. It’s not selfish and you’re not a bad friend.

Finding the second lockdown more difficult than the first. It might help you to try to understand why, or it might not. But either way, you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone else.

Sailing through this second lockdown without a care in the world. Yay – go you!

Finding work exceptionally hard some weeks. You don’t have to be your best self all year round. Tell someone. Close the laptop for a while. Take a break.

Spending your at-home time in a blur of online fitness classes, board games, arts and crafts, bread-making (or are we bored with that now?). Do what makes you happy, and do it for you.

Spending all your free time on the sofa drinking tea. Don’t let the world tell you that productivity is everything.

Claiming to be a runner (or whatever else is your “thing”) then not running for weeks. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy, not motivated enough, or not good at it. It just means you’re human and you live a life. It will still be there when you’re ready.

Having 8 books on the go at once and struggling to finish one. There’s so much good stuff out there to read, how are we meant to choose?!

Going to a different fitness class every week. Or going to the same one every week and never branching out. We all have different goals, just do what you enjoy.

Not being okay. Although telling someone you’re not is encouraged.

Enjoying doing things that you’re bad at. What does being “bad” at something even mean? Is being “good” at stuff always important? Find happiness in being a terrible singer or a slow runner. For all I know, this blog could be a load of rubbish. But I enjoy writing it, so I’ll keep doing it anyway.

Have a lovely weekend everyone xx

Positivity

Monday Motivation: “To-Do Lists”

It’s Monday! And I’ve recently re-discovered a bit of motivation after it temporarily escaped me for most of May and June, so I thought today was a good time to start a little Monday Motivation series. Partly because it’s absolutely pouring with rain today and the bad sort of “Monday feeling” is threatening to take over, but also I feel like I have a lot to say on the subject at the moment, so I might as well get it down onto paper (or laptop screen) before my ever-busy brain moves on to the next thing.

Last week I rediscovered my love of a good to-do list. My relationship with to-do lists over the years is best described as complicated. I’ve mentioned before that I like to feel in control of life and have a tendency to over-plan, and when you’re that way inclined a to-do list can quickly become another thing to ruin your day or to beat yourself up with. (‘This Is Us’ fans: if you’ve seen the trick-or-treating episode with Randall and his schedule – that’s basically me). You can take my word for it when I say that planning out every hour of your day via a list of 30-or-so items is not the way to go! That there are not 30 hours in one day should probably give that one away.

Anyway, for the above reasons I have steered away from the to-do list in recent months, worried that it would lead to me having a meltdown because I hadn’t achieved all my life goals in one day while sitting in my kitchen. But lately, while I hope that travelling to an office 5 days of the week is never a thing I do again, I’ve realised I’m really missing some of the structure and routine of my “old life”. Sometimes I think we view these things as being restrictive – preventing us from having the freedom to get a bit creative, or stressing us out as we constantly rush around to get from A to B on time. But now it feels like the only set routine in my life is walking from my bed to my kitchen each day to hold a 9am meeting, and for me that’s not enough.

It’s not even that I didn’t achieve anything in May or June – I definitely got plenty done, both work-wise and outside of work. It’s just that I didn’t feel any sense of focus or achievement because, as many of us have said recently, every day feels the same and they all just blur into one. So after a bit too much time spent staring at the wall / my phone over recent weeks, I have brought back the to-do list.

For an over-planner, the way to make to-do lists work, in my opinion, is to use them with a few little mental notes in mind:

  • Write your list for the day, then cross two items off – because you’ve probably written down more than you can realistically get done.
  • Know that you do not need to tick every item off the list. This one was a bit life-changing for me. It turns out the to-do list is there to focus your mind, so you don’t need to “think” about what to do next. It’s not there to punish you if a couple of those little tick-box squares are still empty at the end of the day.
  • Celebrate every single tick you add to that list. Maybe take a coffee break. Do a little dance around your kitchen. Do a victory lap of the garden, if you have one. Take every little task you complete as a sign that you’re totally winning at life, and then you’ll care less about the ones you don’t.
  • Always add a cake break to your to do list. Because a day without cake is a sad day indeed (ok, maybe this one is fairly specific to me).

Since the return of the to-do list to my life, some days just feel easier. I can wake up in the morning knowing there’s a nice little list to turn to when decisions feel hard or I just can’t seem to get my brain in gear. I’ve completed 4000 of the remaining 8000 words of coursework that I’d been procrastinating over for months. I’ve re-started regular running and ticked off all-but-one item on my half marathon training plan every week for 3 weeks. I’ve also written this blog post after slacking off a bit lately, so I can kick off my Monday feeling pretty damn pleased with myself!

Have a lovely Monday all, and don’t let the torrential rain get you down!

xx

Positivity

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I say happy, because today I’m sharing with you some of the “good things” that I have observed over the past few weeks.

I recently wrote about daily positives on Instagram and had a whole bunch of lovely messages from people about it, so I thought it would be good to write some more on this subject. Also, being selfish about it, I want to start my weekend on a cheery note, having ended my Friday with a big cry down the phone to my boyfriend, before accidentally knocking over my TV and smashing the screen!

The world feels like a very serious place at the moment, and so I hope none of this is taken the wrong way – but honestly, if I spent every waking minute dwelling on the bad stuff that’s happening, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I’m not sure how well the world would function if we all spent the next few months hiding under our duvets, and I think the ability we have as humans to find small moments of happiness even in darker times is pretty wonderful. So here goes my list of five positive things I have observed over the past few weeks.

When someone asks how you are, they mean it – and we’re all giving a proper answer. In all the Zoom calls and work meetings I’ve attended in recent weeks, I’ve not heard a single “how are you? I’m fine” exchange. Replies have varied from “Yes, I’m feeling quite positive this week, thanks”. Or, “I’m not sleeping too well so this week is a bit tough”. I really appreciate that this experience is teaching us all to be more open about what’s going on inside our heads, even the not-so-good stuff, and to take more time to genuinely listen to each other.

Life has slowed down. I’m fortunate to still be working and really do feel for those who aren’t. But work aside, I’m not constantly over-committing myself and rushing around to be places. I’m a bit of an introvert anyway – which doesn’t at all mean I dislike spending time with others, but does mean I need time alone to recharge. Since I live alone, I’m filling my time cooking, reading, cross-stitching, writing – all things that I loved before, but found little time to do. While I will be thrilled when I can once again meet friends in the pub or go to a yoga class, I hope I can remember to find a bit more balance and stop saying yes to absolutely everything!

I really appreciate the outdoors – and it’s so much lovelier. When you’re only allowed out once per day, you properly notice your surroundings. I’ve lived walking distance to the Downs for 3 years and barely spent any time walking up there before now, which is ridiculous. But it’s not just amazing open spaces that I’m noticing. It’s bunches of daffodils growing in the park, plants in neighbours’ front gardens and birdsong not being drowned out by traffic noise. Walking just to walk, not always with my earphones in, and not always to get somewhere, is something I really didn’t value enough before.

I’ve found new ways to move. My love of running (while still there deep down) has gone a little off the boil lately. I appreciate a quiet a run on my own after a busy day in the office, but it doesn’t hold quite the same appeal when I’m alone basically all of the time! I saw this as a negative at first, but actually I’ve replaced some of those runs with so many other fun things. Live-streamed HIIT classes, Discoaerobics in my kitchen, lunchtime bodyweight workouts. I’m not suggesting I can do everything every week (see previous point about over-committing!), but I’m having so much fun adding a bit more variety into my workouts, and I’d probably never have bothered had I not been forced to get a bit more creative.

People are, in general, fantastic. I mean, not everyone, clearly. But for every bad example out there, I reckon there are at least a thousand good ones. From a personal point of view, like many people, I’ve spent the last 55-ish days mostly in my own company. Yet I haven’t felt lonely once, which really says a lot about the people I am lucky enough to call friends and family. My personal situation aside, I’ve also loved seeing so many online communities spring up recently, neighbours checking in on each other, people putting pictures in windows and hanging homemade decorations outside to make each other smile. We’re all guilty of allowing life to get busy and taking others for granted at times, so it’s great to have chance to just notice the many ways in which other humans are awesome.

I hope that listing my positives might help prompt a few of you to find some of your own – particularly if you’re having a crying, accidental TV-smashing kind of a day! At the very least, I hope reading this made you smile, and that you have as happy a weekend as is possible xx