Finding your chill.

Stress.

We all deal with it at some point or another, if you’re a student like me it’s probably your semester long companion. In fact, stress and I are hanging out right now!

I don’t have any fancy studies or research to show you that will give you a magic pill to find out how to calm your farm. But I am going to share what works for me 🙂 Five in fact!

  1. Don’t be hard on yourself. This is a big one for me when I am stressed every tiny little detail of my day down to what I said to someone at 9 this morning gets over-analysed and I tear myself apart for doing stupid things or wasting time or not being more efficient and there’s just no point. I often miss working out when I am stressed because I need more sleep and I simply have to prioritise my time to get things done if it’s stressing me out so much, which leads to a hate spiral of being lazy and not working out meaning I’ll be hideously unattractive and shunned forever. Not only is this not true, it is damaging and it puts you into a negative headspace when you do this, meaning the rest of the day is coloured by how annoyed you are at yourself, which means you’re probably going to take that out on other people. No Bueno when you’re trying to find your zen.
  2. Drinking a cup of tea. I’ve been told numerous times that I am the maestro of tea, I pride on being able to make a brew so good it can chase the stress away. Tea or whatever your ‘cosy’ drink of choice is, can turn a frown upside down. It’s warm, it’s energising, it feels like a worthy excuse to step away from the books and the time it takes to sip away a cup of tea is usually enough peace and quiet for me to put things into perspective and plan a way out. Which leads into the next point:
  3. Plan. Having a plan is SO helpful. If I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed, particularly about workload, I find sitting down and planning out how I can use my time between now and D-Day really helps me to feel calm and make the whole situation seem more manageable. Until I do this my brain comes up with 100’s of possibilities as to why I am never going to complete my work and will be a failure forever, but planning can show my brain that it’s just being silly.
  4. Get enough sleep. Pulling all-nighter or lying awake at night can seem like a tempting option when you’re so stressed sleep feels impossible. But a good nights rest can do wonders for how you feel. If I’m having trouble sleeping I try to do breathing exercises, such as this one. Also, lavender drops on my pillow can really help. Don’t go overboard on this though if you’re going to try it as there is definitely such a thing as too much lavender scent. Trust me.
  5. Go for breaks with friends. Literally get away from your own company! You are your own worst enemy at this point. Go meet with people who can support and uplift you – this is definitely not a waste of your valuable time. No one needs to go through stress alone 🙂

Thank you!

Hello!

I just really wanted to say to everyone that since my ANZAC day post and my post about social media and how I feel about sharing my thoughts online to the public, that the feedback I got was so overwhelming in a lovely way! I had old friends, people I hadn’t heard from in years, new friends, colleagues, people at school all telling me their thoughts or what they thought of my blog. Thankfully all positive!

It was genuinely so amazing. I always hoped people would enjoy what I had written but it was never the be all and end all, and I assumed people would have other stuff to do and not really care about my opinion enough to give me five minutes of their day. It makes me feel so happy to know people have been giving me their time and reading my thoughts! Thank you so so much 🙂

There will be a longer post for ‘how was your week’ on Sunday but I really wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you. It definitely means a lot and I love that people feel comfortable contacting me to let me know what they think – it made my day!

Ellie x

The Power Hour

Early mornings. Love them, hate them, have to deal with them – they are rarely ideal. Yet studies have shown that many of the world’s most successful people, and on a smaller scale many of my most successful friends, get up at 5-5:30am in what is known as ‘the power hour’.

I have friends who get up at 5 and say that between 5-6 is their most productive time of their entire day. Personally, I get up at 5:30 and use that time to work out before the stresses and demands of day to day life have even woken up to distract me from my health goals.

Anyone can take advantage of this power hour. Maybe like me you won’t fully commit and you’ll do half of it or you’ll join the successful people in the world and get up at 5. It’s not impossible. I was a roll out of bed around 11am kind of girl where I literally would not get up until the very last second when I knew I’d be late for something if I didn’t. Whereas now, Mon-Fri rain or shine, cold or warm, I’m up early. It’s do-able people! Albeit even I have those days where the blankets win – lets be real!

Here are five of my top tips for becoming a power hour member when you’re more of a snooze button lover:

  1. Lay out everything you want to wear the night before – this is particularly useful if like me, you’re going to use this hour to get in your workout. Lay out your workout gear – shoes, socks, leggings, whatever it is you need to get your body moving have it right there! That way you can roll out of bed and into your gear, easy as. Once you’re dressed it’s basically rude not to follow through, right?
  2. Visualise what you want to achieve with that hour before you go to sleep – sometimes taking five minutes while you’re lying there counting sheep to think, “the reason I want to get up at 5am tomorrow is because that way I can get a whole hour of work done on my [insert task here] before [insert distraction here e.g. baby, child, partner, manchild, friends, emails, work] starts and takes my attention away. This whole hour is for you, so you can be as selfish as you like guilt-free, I promise!
  3. Don’t rush in – It is not easy to go from zero to hero. The days where I thought I could just put my alarm from 10am to 5am and be totally a functioning human I was very much mistaken. Treating my better half to an extremely attractive display of tiredness, grumpiness and several naps. Slowly getting up earlier over a gradual period is a much more effective way of easing into the power hour (or just an earlier wake-up time in general) and is much more likely to make the habit stick and keep you from pressing that snooze button.
  4. Have a shower or wash your face – Either of these things is effective you can do one or both. Sometimes it’s nice to just warm a flannel and do a relaxing morning cleanse to get the sleepiness off your face, and refresh yourself before you get into your hour of superpowered focus. A shower may not be convenient at that hour of the morning and that’s totally fine. The purpose of this exercise is literally to get some water on your face and to give yourself a little shock of yep we are awake and ready to go do. A citrus scented morning cleanser can help as those scents are energising and uplifting, or something that you really look forward to using that will be enough to pop you out of bed and into the bathroom.
  5. Work-out. Obviously you don’t need to use your power hour for exercise if that doesn’t fit with the schedule you like or your home lifestyle, but working out in the morning has so many benefits aside from giving you the best wake up call ever. Working out in the morning, particularly if you haven’t eaten or you’ve had a very light morning snack such as a banana, has so many health benefits such as revving your metabolism for the rest of the day meaning that you burn way more calories just being you than you normally would. It also gives you a very early sense of achievement, before you’ve even done anything else you’ve achieved some goals and it’s not even 7am yet! That’s my favourite feeling.

If you have any tips to get out of bed and get going I would love to hear them. But importantly don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always get up this early. There are days when my alarm goes off and I just feel blah. My body is clearly telling me it would value more rest time than me getting up and doing something right then, and that’s ok.

 

Love,

Ellie x

To my mum,

Today is mothers day in New Zealand. A day when I frantically hope the card and letter I posted has arrived on time, and try to make sure I send my mum a text and facebook message to ensure she’s aware that on this one day, I make sure to say I love you and thank you for supporting me.

Which is bizarre really. I feel the same way about mothers day as I do about fathers day and valentines day. Which is that it is so strange to wait all year to say these things when really they deserve to be said every single day. But I don’t. I doubt many people do actually say ‘thanks, mum, you’re doing great and I love you.’ on a daily basis.

I hope it’s one of those things that don’t need to be said. That even when she doesn’t hear from me, or I don’t text her, or we haven’t skyped that week or we’ve had an argument or at any time, I hope that my mum knows that I will always love her. I wouldn’t be who I am today without my family and particularly the support of my mum. I also would probably have a completely different family who would no doubt not be as awesome without my mum.

So, even though I’ve done what I do every year and waited until Mothers day to say it – thanks mum. Thanks for listening to me after traumatic trips to the dentist, for coming to my house and basically looking after me even though you’re the guest, for always loving me still even when I’m being unreasonable and obnoxiously so, for understanding me when it doesn’t feel like anyone else does, for speaking your mind even if it’s hard for me to hear, for letting me chase all my crazy dreams and ideas and for always sharing in my successes as if they were yours too. In a way, they all are because you’re very much a part of how I can achieve them.

I do miss living in the same town as you, and I can’t wait to see you in England in a few months. I hope you have a wonderful day today and that Dad can make you cups of tea and take you out for breakfast in my place. You have done and are doing a good job at being a mum and I hope today you can appreciate yourself as much as I do.

It’s a bit soppy but, love you mum, thanks for not ditching me after my first (of many) tantrums. You’re awesome xmothers day.png

Letting go

Hello Loves,

This is more of a conversational post because I thought it would be nice to share some of my views on social media and my experience with it.

I’m part of a generation who grew up with dial-up internet and having to yell at your sister to get off the phone so you could go online to one of the five websites that existed at the time. Social media and the online world has changed so much, even in my short lifetime and the way I relate to it has changed also.

I am very comfortable with friends on social media, however publishing thoughts and blogging online has been a dream and a fear for a large part of my life. If I had to count up all the random blogs I’ve started over the years and abandoned because I was too scared to actually share them we would literally be here forever.

However, now, I’ve realised I’m heading myself up for a life of ‘what ifs?’. What is the worst that can happen from sharing my thoughts in a little corner of the internet? That people might see them? Is that not the point? Art is meant to be seen and enjoyed and writing is my art form. It’s something I have always loved to do and have always felt would be a large part of my life.

This blog is a way for me to take back control of my writing and actually let myself write about whatever I happen to be thinking about at the time, as opposed to writing about whatever legal principle I’ve been assigned that week.

I feel like the internet is an amazing and terrifying place all at the same time. Last night, going over twitter (@ellieolivia 🙂 ) and tweeting some of my most inspirational heroes and mentors and having them reply was surreal. It really got me thinking about how social media brings us so close to those we most admire in a way that we’ve never been able to do before. This is incredible! Yet it also brings us closer to people we don’t know, who will judge us on a post, or a picture or a layout. Or even the way we do our makeup. This is very scary.

The thing that has held me back the most is, sadly, the thoughts of people I do know. A stranger disliking my writing is easy to deal with because I’ll never know. My friends and family judging me for what I write is much harder to ignore and is much more concerning for me. But, I think at 23 it’s now or never to decide you don’t care and ‘you just gonna do you’. If people don’t like what I do here, I appreciate that they gave it a chance and moved on. If they do then that’s obviously even better!

But at the end of the day, I no longer want to live a life in fear of what everyone else will think of me. So I’m going to do it now, for me.

Let me know your own thoughts on the internet and social media! I would love to hear them,

Love,

Ellie x

How was your week?

This week has had some really enjoyable times! It started off with a bang on ANZAC day and even had some traumatic drama on Friday morning (so much for FriYAY!).

ANZAC, as you may have gathered from my post on the subject (if you haven’t check it out Lest we forget), is a very important day in the calendar of an Army girlfriend. It involves getting up early and assisting with uniform prep, going to the dawn service and appreciating the organisation your partner works for. I always really appreciate it when partners and families of serving soldiers are acknowledged, as it definitely affects both parties.

After that the boys went off around the RSA’s drinking while I went and hung out with some friends – we made breakfast together and hung out before joining the boys at the RSA later. It was such a relaxing fun day. Also very tiring thanks to that early morning!

Even though I didn’t do anything, Monday also signified the start of the Tone It Up Bikini series! This is a challenge run by trainers Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott where for 8 weeks every meal and workout are planned and you just need to stick to it for the best results. I really enjoy this, it’s always that burst of motivation I need to get through the winter slump. I’ve really bought into the whole Tone It Up lifestyle, I think their vibe and message are so positive and motivating. (If you’re interested in seeing what they’re about check them out here.) So every day this week I’ve been getting up, doing my tone it up bootycall (always makes me laugh) and dutifully posting it on social media in the hopes of winning the prize of a free holiday to Turks and Caicos, who doesn’t love that??

Friday morning I had to go to the dentist for a filling repair. Now, I don’t think of myself as a particularly anxious person or someone who suffers from panic attacks. In fact, I am happily normal! But I have a legit phobia of injections. Knowing I was going to receive a local anaesthetic for this procedure was awful, it kept me awake the night before and the whole drive to the dentist it was all I could think about. As soon as I walked into the surgery and got in that chair I could already feel the choking, hot sensation of panicking and began tensing and clenching my fists in response. Now, the dentist was already well aware of my fears – I had been very honest at my checkup about my response to needles. Yet he decided the best way to deal with my now crying (in my defence it was just silent tears slipping out my eyes not a major sobfest) panicked state was to tell me to calm down or the whole experience would be made even worse. Was that the best thing to say? Spoiler alert! no.

Panic increased tenfold and I now also felt very much out of control because the dentist had effectively told me off. I also felt so ashamed. So I had to close my eyes, try to focus on breathing and keeping my hands still but the whole time I was crying and shaking like a leaf. Afterwards, I felt so rude but without saying anything I literally grabbed my bag and just had to run out to my car where I just sat and cried while shaking for around 20 minutes or so.

Can I just say I feel very strongly that no matter what induces these panicked feelings in you no person, doctor or professional of any kind has any right to make you feel ashamed. Your reactions to a stressful situation are 100% valid and should be supported. In hindsight, I wish I had been more organised and arranged for my partner to get the morning off work to come with me, or arranged a friend to come and support me as I know that would’ve made me feel calmer. I am well aware I am in no danger at the dentist, I haven’t ever really experienced anything traumatic in my life at a dentist’s office. But that does not mean my fear of the pain of a needle is stupid or silly. So while this is somewhat of a tangent in a ‘how was your week’ post I just really want to put it out there that all of those people who like me have ‘irrational’ fears – we are not irrational! We are normal, our feelings are valid and you do not need to be ashamed. We can try to learn from every experience and find ways to help ourselves cope with these situations, but only because that’s better for us, not because our feelings are ‘silly’.

My week definitely finished off on a high note with meeting someone new and interesting over coffee, a hilarious evening with the work colleagues and an amazing dinner at a friends house on Saturday.

Today (Sunday) I am attempting a 20km run having realised my half marathon is in 2 weeks and I literally have done nothing so please wish me luck!!! I will need it!!!!

Let me know how your week went 🙂

love

ellie x

 

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