Our world is undeniably in a capitalist haven right now. We're all encouraged to buy the latest thing, follow the latest trend, and pile anything that is marginally old onto our waste piles. And us bloggers are definitely not ones that manage to avoid that on the whole. Now, this post isn't a rant about recycling, but really a chat about the other side of this capitalist ideal: productivity. We're expected to work hard all of our lives, producing test scores as children, products, amenities or services as adults, and then a future for our next of kin when we get to an elderly age. Anyone who's worked in any kind of office or sales environment will have been forced into competition over stats. Either you get in trouble for not completing enough items of work off of your list, or for not creating as many sales as other people. It really is a cut-throat world out there.
Working part-time should in theory allow me to escape from all of this, leading a peace-filled life culminating in relaxation and happiness. But that is not the case. You see, I've got this productivity bug. And I think a lot of you guys have it too. I mean, have you seen how many people own list pads? And how many of them own more than one?! I for one am obsessed. Working partly from home means I need to remember to get tasks done and keep up to date, so having a list pad is a good idea in itself. It's not such a good idea to use it as the holy grail for your life. I've even gotten to a point now where I write down 'fun' activities on my to-do list so that I feel productive even when I'm taking time out. Yep.
From a young age, I've always been taught that I should be doing something productive, and if I'm not then I'm basically just wasting my time. Added to this notion, is as an adult, the media telling me that I need to be a #girlboss. To do this it seems that I need to drink 8 cups of coffee a day, sleep for only six hours and work for all of my waking hours. I think my problems start with the fact that I don't like coffee ...
The real problem is though, that I want to be a #girlboss. I want to be in charge of my own life, making a business working from home, but everything tells me that every ounce of my life needs to be productive in order to do that. And my mental health says no. I have days when I wake up and think 'nope, I simply can not face today, I just can't get out of bed'. The thought of showering and then getting up to work from home is way beyond me. But everything I see is telling me that I'm failing by doing this. I can see (and almost hear) my list pad calling to me, telling me to get my lazy ass out of bed and into actually doing things. Yet I really need to take time out to focus on my mental health.
It's this dilemma that really gets me: can't I be a sassy #girlboss who's going to be successful and has bad days? I'm starting to realise that yes, yes I can. Part of this awareness has come from the fact that I thought I had to make a choice: give up my dreams, or sacrifice my mental health and force myself to do everything on those bad days (which would definitely result in a breakdown, if I could even manage it in itself). I didn't want to do either of those things. So, I set to thinking: maybe my idea of being productive, being a #girlboss, that I've created from snippets all over social media isn't what it ought to be for me. Maybe mine involves taking time out to get my head together, or taking breathers between completing bits of work. Maybe that is perfectly okay.
There are some girls (and guys) out there who can do it - who can hack the 14 hour days and immense amounts of caffeine. But I can't. And slowly (very slowly) I'm learning that that's okay. I need my down time, I need my self care routine, and ultimately, I need to be happy. The whole point of this productivity thing is that it's supposed to make me happy, right? I'm meant to make more money, meet more people and do more things to increase my happiness. What then is the point of grinding myself down into misery? So, from now on, I'm going to keep my list pad, but not beat myself up if things don't go to plan, and celebrate all of my little victories, even if they don't seem to compare to other peoples'!
I hope this post helps any of you out there who feel the way I do!
I'm all over face masks usually - but a sleeping facial mask? I've never tried one. I've been through phases of attempting to moisturise overnight, believe me, but I've always just ended up with greasy, sticky skin in the morning as a result. Grim, I know. I always just thought that my skin simply wasn't compatible with this kind of thing.
So, when Korres sent me their sleeping mask as a surprise my heart sank a little - how was I going to let them know that my skin doesn't like overnight creams? But, they sent me a challenge to see if using it for just one night could make a difference to my skin. There's no harm in trying, right?
So, I did my normal nightly cleanse, and then massaged a pea-sized amount of this into my skin. I was honestly astounded by what happened - it actually worked! I've been waiting years (seriously) to find a product that suits my sensitive, combination skin and finally I've found my perfect fit. Every time I woke up in the night (I'm a very restless sleeper), I touched my face because it felt so soft. I only just about restrained myself from waking the boyfriend up at three am to feel too. Only just though.
Since then, it's become a firm part of my nightly skin care routine that I never want to do without again. It totally evens out my skin, making sure that it's soft, moisturised and not greasy. Another plus I found is that my 'worry lines' (I'm 22, I'm not calling them blaady wrinkles) on my forehead have basically disappeared since using it! I am honestly so impressed, and love using it. Finally, it smells absolutely divine - rose isn't usually my thang, but this is subtle and I've fallen head over heels.
Have you tried the Korres sleeping facial mask?
*Although products in this post have been sent for review, all opinions are as always my own*
I have got some major news for you guys. Me and Tyler are officially moving into our first home together on Friday *squeals*. That means no more grotty student houses, or living in a one room outhouse that his parents own. Hallelujah. Although we've been living together for a good three years now, we've never been living on our own, so it's still quite a big step forward in our relationship.
We're so ready to finally have a place that is just ours, that we can fill with little bits and pieces that mean something to us, and (most importantly for me) that we can host our first Christmas as real adults in.
Almost everything is sorted out now, and a finalised contract between us and the landlord just needs to be signed in the next few days and then we're ready to get the moving truck (thank GOD my uncle owns a plumbing company haha) down to our new place. Once Friday is over, Saturday will see us making a lengthy journey to go to Bristol's IKEA and pick up all the new furniture and decor we need.
You see, I've been super organised about some things. I know what I want to go in each room. I've got my deposit and first month's rent ready. I've booked the time off work that I need for the moving business. I've even gone onto IKEA's website to look up all the furniture I want and jotted down the price to get an estimate. The one thing I haven't done? Started packing. Yep, I have four days until moving day and packing is non-existent. The one saving factor in all of this is that we only unpacked half of our stuff when we moved out of student housing - everything for the kitchen and a few other bits went in the loft and haven't been touched.
With all this organisation, why haven't you started packing yet Steph, I hear you all muttering at your screens. Well, because packing is something that massively triggers my anxiety. Even the thought of it makes me want to shove the idea of packing into the tiniest corner of my mind so that I can (hopefully) forget about it. You see, my anxiety is largely based around the notion of being trapped, but it's more of a psychological entrapment than a physical one. For example, being in a lift or on a packed train doesn't really phase me. But, the idea of leaving my home and not being able to go back inside it for a few hours, ergo being trapped in the outside world, sometimes gets my hackles raised.
The notion, therefore, of having to 'trap' my belongings in boxes, shut them up and then not be able to re-open them or make sure everything is packed properly stresses me out completely. Let's not even talk about leaving something behind, and trapping it in a house that I no longer have access to! So, I decided to write this post partly to procrastinate from packing of course, but also to create some tips both for myself and for all of you on how to deal with anxiety based around packing. Anxiety affects everyone in different ways, but hopefully these tips will be broad enough to help a few of you.
1.) Have an action plan. Packing up an entire house is a mammoth task, and can(/does) feel completely overwhelming. Planning can help make that task a little bit easier, and as an added bonus, it's the perfect excuse to procrastinate, hehe. Seriously though, deciding what you're going to start packing, what you're going to leave until the last moment, and what bits and pieces are going to be packed together will take a weight of stress off when it comes to actually packing.
2.) Start with one room and move to the next. About a year ago I made the mistake of starting to read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Now, I'm not saying it was complete bullshit, but basically yeah. It advised you to work with themes rather than rooms, e.g. collect all of your makeup together and then sort through it, deciding what you do and don't want. Now, this is all well and good until you've boxed up all of your makeup and then remember that you've actually hoarded a set of lipsticks in a random place you've forgotten about. You see how this can start to go off the rails? So, stick to one room, and package everything up until you have packed everything you can and then move to the next room. Starting with your least necessary room is always useful: a spare room or conservatory is a good one.
3.) Declutter as you go. This is something that I always manage to do when I'm moving. Set up one bin bag for charity shops bits, one for the bin, and have a box for things you're keeping. This really helps in not feeling shitty when you get to the other end and have to unpack everything wondering why you bothered to pack Dinosaur Top Trumps when you didn't really need it.
4.) Get a friend or family member over to help. My sister is my go-to for this (and everything really). I'm pretty appalling at organising myself so she stands there, sharpie at the ready, and tells me what to put in what box, and helps to get things ship shape. Sometimes it really helps to have an extra pair of eyes. And someone to join in on snack breaks, obvs.
5.) Put your favourite music/TV show on. When I'm doing something that makes me a little anxious, I like to have something on in the background. My go-to is Youtube videos. I can tune into them, and tune out of my anxiety. I think having something extra to focus on can really help.
6.) Take time out to pack effectively. Packing in a rush after an 8+ hour day is always going to suck, anxiety or not. Packing on your days off, or booking a few in order to do it will help keep your mind free of work related stress (hopefully) so you can focus on the task at hand without being over tired.
I really hope these tips were helpful! What do you do to make your packing less anxiety-ridden?