Thursday, January 31, 2019

Scary Announcement!

Hey there! I've got a very scary (but also very exciting) announcement below. I hope you enjoy it!



I imagine it'll be the first time some of you see me for the first time as well.

 I'm going to try and keep vlogging and blogging as much as I can through this journey. I'm very much aware that I'm quite awkward and that my videos are definitely not edited to a professional quality (to say the least!), haha. However, I think it's just nice to log this journey. Also, considering I'm doing it for charity alongside doing a full-time nursing course, I think it's reasonable for me to cut myself some slack!

 I hope you are all doing wonderfully. Sending you lots of positive vibes.

 Love from,
 Nicky xx

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Welcoming 2019


So, it has been a terribly long time since I last posted. I imagine this year will be a bit hit and miss for my posting as well (for a while at least).

This year, I will (hopefully) be qualifying as a mental health nurse. As such, until summer time/graduation it is unlikely I will have much time to create much. As much as I want to post more, I've had to commit to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow, learn and develop as a student nurse. However, 2019 holds such promise for me. As well as starting my career in a field that I have so much love and passion for, I will also hopefully have more time to reconnect to my creative passions once my course ends. (And don't you worry, my love of literature and theatre may appear dormant - but it is very much still integral to my being)

I genuinely really have missed developing and posting creative content. I have so many ideas coming into my head all the time for all of the experiences and knowledge I want to share and connect through.

I have so much optimism for 2019. I expect it will be a rollercoaster year, but I haven't felt so connected to myself in a very long time. This January I actually have the wonderful opportunity to be at home with family whilst I work on my dissertation. Going for walks with my dog, doing my daily yoga and meditation practice and having time to connect to my roots has really contributed so much to my wellbeing and happiness. My main hopes and goals for 2019 are to let go of perfectionism and embrace living whole-heartedly. As such, I don't even want to edit or ponder over this post too much, I just want to get back to what I enjoy!

A few of the things I want to fill my life with this year are:

- Those close and important to me
- Gym (particularly powerlifting)
- Hikes
- Yoga (I'm doing Yoga with Adriene's Dedicate practice this January - join me!)
- Meditation
- Cooking and baking healthy yummy food
- Looking after my body (like massage, exercise, nutrition)
- Being close to nature

I feel filled with gratitude and an underlying 'blue sky' joy at the moment and I hope to keep nurturing it. The photo is of the first snowdrops I have seen this year, which I took when walking my dog. I love the slow pace and optimism which this time of year seems to hold & I am so looking forward to Imbolc.

Do you have any hopes and goals for this new year? Sending lots of positive energy and kindness,

Nicky xx

Saturday, May 27, 2017

i’m in mourning
for something that never was
for a future that didn’t happen

i live hoping
for something that may be
for something that has only the slightest chance of happening

i am crazy
but i believe you

i have no idea why
i would think this will be better
why i believe in nothing

until then
i will live
wholeheartedly

i believe in
my life
your life

i believe in dreams
i believe in the only time i’ve dreamt
since i died.


and life came again.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Accept, Release, Let Go

Hey there friends,

It has been a long time since I've written, I know. In fact it has been longer since I've written because I've thought to myself 'Well, I haven't written in ages, should I write again? What if I start writing but can't keep it up?'
I'm sure some of my perfectionist friends out there can relate. What do we do to ourselves?

The main thing to know is a lot of things have happened in my life. Personally and professionally. I'm always inclined to be very open, but lately I've been coming to terms with holding more of myself back.
Not because I'm closed off.
Not because I don't have an open heart.
But there is a power in actively making these choices for yourself. Is sharing a helpful thing for you right now, or is it just something you feel you 'should' do?
I believe in active choices and commitments - not just making a choice and following it blindly, but consciously and regularly reassessing and committing. Fortunately, I think I've been making a lot of these for myself.

I'm currently telling myself it's not the losing track that matters, it's the coming back. Coming back again and again.


This is what my blog is about ultimately, a journey. A curiosity into the process of life and honouring that. Maybe sometimes breaks are a valuable part of that process.


I'm very aware that I have a tendency to hold onto things, to want to control them, to change and mould them until they're perfect. But now I'm telling myself I don't have to be perfect. I just need to accept, love and learn.

- Accept
- Release
- Let go

Currently I'm doing Yoga With Adriene's 'Yoga Revolution'
http://yogawithadriene.com/
It's free and I would love to have some of you on the journey with me! Let's share positive vibes.
'I'm In! #YogaRevolution' with Yoga Instructor Adriene doing yoga pose in front of white background.


I'm looking forward to connecting with you all again.

I truly hope you've had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a happy, healthy and positive 2017.

Love and best wishes as always,

Nicky xx

Friday, November 18, 2016

I Missed You

Hey friends,

I'm really sorry about my unexpected and unannounced massive break. I was starting a course and going through a major life transition (as mentioned previously) and some things just had to take a back seat in life and unfortunately this was one of them.

I've been on the move. I'm now in a new city, a new academic environment and away from those I know and love. Intense much? Well, yes, maybe a little...


Picture with boots being worn on wet pavement with 'I've Been On The Move' written over the top.
As I'll be training as a nurse there are understandably strict rules on social media, so my posts will be in accordance with the NMC guidelines on social media usage. However, I've felt myself getting quite artistically stagnant and it's great to have a channel for this energy!
I've also now been given the green light to carry on by my Academic Adviser, so all systems are go!

As I've been settling in there aren't actually that many new events going on to tell you about as most of the time has just been spent settling in.
However, uncharacteristically, I joined a gym today!

Dun, dun, duh!

Yes, it is the first gym I've signed up to. Yes, I was crazy intimidated when I strolled in and loads of super strong guys were throwing themselves and weights around. Yes, I intend to stick with it.
Haha, it is so strange and new for me. Have any of you guys been in the same shoes? Or are there some super gym fanatics out there willing to give me advice? (Help me, I need both of you).

I am so glad to be back and I can't wait to hear from you guys again.

Lots of love,
Nicky xx

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Nature and Nurture: Managing Life Transitions

I feel a bit disappointed that lately I've not been able to blog as much as I want to. Lately life has just been a bit... bumpy. Not bad, not upsetting, just not straight-forward.

Things have been a bit more high-stress recently. That's a bit because of a few unexpected events, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm about to go through a big transition.

Transitions have always thrown me a bit. As a child I was pretty much fearless but when I was feeling particularly anxious a short while ago my mum reminded me 'That's always been a bit of a thing for you'. Apparently on my first time away from my family on a school trip I was fine, happy and got on with everything well... but that didn't mean I wouldn't ask my teachers what was going to happen in advance and get agitated until I knew what I'd be doing.

Photo of Nicky as a toddler crouching to pick daisies


Since my childhood I've dealt with recurrent anxiety. Something which has caused me intense grief in the past, but that I'm getting to terms with. Me and my anxiety are becoming like old acquaintances. I'm able to laugh at it now (even if just a bit) which I couldn't do before. I respect that it's something I deal with and have techniques and support in place to help.

I guess I feel myself writing this knowing that a lot of people are going through a transitory time. It's coming up to September -inevitable school and job changes, new starts. There's a lot of excitement and I do believe that there is so much positivity in this time. However, that doesn't calm down the chemicals in my brain or the knots inside my stomach.

If you're like me your reaction to transition will be one or both of two things:

1) Spend all your time lazing about - unable to do anything productive because you're feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start

2) Constantly try to organise yourself. Wanting everything written down and in the correct place. Struggling to maintain a conversation because you struggle not to interrupt someone because you know you'll forget what's in your head if you don't get it out straight away. THE SPEED YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO DO EVERYTHING JUST WON'T SLOW DOWN AND OH MY GOODNESS ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE SO IMPORTANT AND YOU'RE NOT SURE WHETHER YOU'RE GOING TO GET EVERYTHING DONE AND I CAN'T STOP AND FIND TIME TO HAVE A BATH BECAUSE I'LL JUST HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN SOON ANYWAY....


Horribly, sometimes, I get a combination of the two. As I'm sure loads of people do.
Meme of Blackadder with overlaid text 'I am therefore leaving immediately for Nepal, where I intend to live as a goat.'
(AnAmusinglyShapedVegetable, 2015)


The thing is when I write this, I feel concerned that people will think I'm unwell. I'm not unwell - I have everything set up in place for me. I'm in healthy habits and am taking care of myself. These mental states just become a reality for me in these times of transition.

I hope in writing this that I can help calm the fears of those who feel isolated or like they're 'going a bit crazy'. I also hope I can encourage you to take some time out for yourself.

Here are some of my top tips for managing transitions:
- Set aside at least one portion of time a week (e.g. an evening off) where you can do something that makes you feel good. Maybe that's going to the cinema, having a meal out with friends, or just reading a book and having a bath. Remember to mark this time out just for you - not letting your anxiety mind control you.

- Practice grounding. Below is a great link that describes exercises on how to bring yourself out of your racing mind and into your body
http://www.get.gg/flashbacks.htm

- Please, if you're struggling do make sure to find professional help as well. Even if that's just popping into your GP and letting them know that you're finding things a bit tougher lately and that's all you need to do. At least then you know you have another person that can support you and help you with your mental health through the transition.

- Cook and Exercise. Obvious ones, but at these times it's good to go back to the basics. Exercise will give you a seratonin boost (Fact. As much as I'd love that seratonin to come from eating Ben and Jerry's). Cooking is a tremendous grounding exercise and can help you really nourish your body as well as giving yourself a bit of time out.

- Don't be too hard on yourself. As frustrating and painful anxiety can be, it is a part of your body trying to save you. I find it helps me to think of it as an anxious child or animal misbheaving - it doesn't respond well to more yelling and negativity but if I try to be sympathetic but stern with it the feelings can get better. You really, really don't need to beat yourself up about struggling, you are a human and you're not alone.

- Actively seek out positivity and give yourself something to look forward to.

I hope these tips help. 

You've got this. You are awesome.

Much love,
Nicky xx










References

AnAmusinglyShapedVegetable (2015) Ministry of British comedy. Available at: http://ministryofbritishcomedy.com/15-reasons-why-black-adder-is-your-spirit-animal/ (Accessed: 25 August 2016).

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How To Prepare for University

Image of floral background with 'How To Prepare for University' overlaid

I thought I'd write this as this September will be my third time starting a new university course, so I think I'm getting to be a bit of an expert! Haha
I'm also going to follow up this blog with a post on how to pack for and decorate your dorm room/hall of residence, so keep your eyes peeled!

Get your documents organised

In Fresher's Week there will be a million documents given to you and so many things to remember to bring. I recommend getting a box to keep all of these things in with a document file - so you can easily transport things in your backpack without any fuss trying to find everything!

Get Yourself A Student Bank Account

For many people, living at university will be the first time they're living independently and entirely responsible for their own financial choices. Make sure to clue yourself up beforehand as your bank account is going to be with you throughout! I personally really recommend online banking - as it makes it much easier to stay on top of your money coming in and out. Perfect for quick balance checks.
There are many websites out there which can help you choose the best financial deal for you.
Some of these are:

moneysupermarket.com
moneysavingexert.com
which.co.uk
gocompare.com

Be careful about going paperless at first. Although it's better for the environment and I totally recommend it - some places might be funny about accepting an online bank statement printed out (as I have recently learnt to my frustration).


Image of folder and notebooks with a floral and bird design


Make decisions about what you (don't) want to do

There is going to be a whirlwind of information and people around you when you start, so it might be useful to have a few planned goals so you don't get overwhelmed. For my first degree my goals were:

- Attend Fresher's Fayre
- Don't drink too much (don't get drunk)
- Spend some time with new flatmates

Personally I'm really glad I set these goals for myself because it helped me keep focused and happy. For example, for some people drinking loads might be how they want to celebrate (no judgement here), but for me I felt much better knowing that I could get myself set up and ready to go in the mornings without any feeling of illness and embarrassment. Basically, if you have goals set for yourself you'll be set to keep yourself happy and setting up a great atmosphere for yourself, without getting lost in Fresher's confusion.

Get a planner (and use it) before you arrive

My first degree was a combined degree between two departments, so it meant that I had to jump from one place to another and couldn't just follow the crowd. You will get sent out a timetable for Fresher's Week before you arrive and it can be really useful to have things written down so you don't miss anything vital (like registration) or fun (like socials)!

Keep Up To Date With Your Uni

As an additional point to the one above, it's more than likely that your university will send out plenty of welcome e-mails and booklets for you to take a look at before you arrive. Try not to get over-excited and sign yourself up to EVERYTHING before you arrive, without giving yourself a chance to breathe. However, this can be a great way of getting yourself excited, calming any nerves and getting a better idea of what will be going on in the first few weeks.

Image of list book with two 'to-do' lists written

Make sure you have reliable means of communication

When I started my MA I discovered upon moving in that my phone didn't have any signal in my room and there was a delay in the internet getting set up! Not a great way to start when there are so many people to contact and new things to research.

Prepare A Homesickness Go-To

Chances are you may not feel homesick as you have so much to keep you busy and excited about! However, it can be nice to have a go-to for any lonely downtime. Maybe a favourite film, tv show or book which always brightens up your mood.


Sign up with a doctor's as soon as you get there!

I would advise taking a wander around your new home and finding out where your closest doctor is. Although proximity isn't the only thing to bear in mind, it helps! In my BA I signed up to a doctor's in Fresher's Fayre only to find out the surgery was a 40 min walk or taxi ride away from me - not what you need when you're already feeling ill! If you're not sure where your closest doctor is your hall of residence manager or accommodation officer should be able to tell you.
Fresher's flu is, unfortunately, real.

Make yourself feel safe

Fresher's Week can be a scary and tumultuous time, so any ways of bringing yourself some comfort and security will not go amiss! This does not mean be scared at all, but particularly for anxious people taking a few steps before you leave might help you feel calm and collected. This is personal to you, so you know what these will be, but I have a few suggestions:

- A personal alarm
- Condoms/Dental Dams
- 'Spikeys' - a plastic stopper you can put in the top of drinks bottles to prevent spiking
- Some teddy bears/photos of sentimental value. It might seem silly but when you're alone for the first time having some cherished items with you can help bring some warmth to your new surroundings. I'm 23 and still take my teddies!

Image of DVDs and tea bags lying on top of cream coloured blanket.


Bring something yummy for introductions!

There's not many better ways to start a conversation than offering a muffin and a cup of tea as a break from upacking.

Try To Keep Your Door Open

As much as I understand the importance of keeping fire doors shut for health and safety reasons, you may find that Fresher's Week is a great time to keep your door open, figuratively or literally *ahem*. In the first week everyone is looking for friendship and a bit of company to attend events with - so in halls or shared housing this can be a great time to make friends fast.

Unpacking As A Priority

As much as unpacking can get a bit tiresome after the essentials (do I really care where this extra notepad goes?) it's a great idea to try and get things unpacked as soon as possible. This way, your room becomes your own space of relaxation as soon as possible. You don't want to worry about the unpacking you've yet to do when all your new friends are going out for the evening! Your room can also be a good place to socialise with others if you don't have a living room and having your room decorated can provide some good conversation topics.

Keep Hydrated and Fed

Sorry to sound like your mum, but it's important! In the first week you will probably be running around from place to place trying to keep on top of everything. I would really recommend sticking a bottle of water bar and an easy snack, like a cereal bar, in your bag so you've got something easy to hand.
Also, if local restaurants are handing out coupons for free food and drinks. KEEP THEM! Fresher's Week is expensive enough as it is - so get yourself some free meals where you can.

Have Fun!

Although this is a list of recommendations, it is not prescriptive. You do you! You'll have a lot of new influences and recommendations and it's important to remember that ultimately, you will know the best thing for you better than anyone else :). Enjoy this time - it might be once in a lifetime!


I hope this blog post was useful! If you want, I can also write a post explaining 'University Jargon'. I was the first in my family to attend university - so understand that this can be a bit confusing when you first turn up!
Congratulations on starting university and the best of luck! If you have any other questions, comment below and I'll try to help you out! Also, if you have any suggestions or tips I'd love to hear from you.

Best wishes,
Nicky xx