Posted in Books, Education, Goals, Health, life, Musings, rant, Shonda Rhimes, University, work, Writing

Confession: I’m a terrible decision maker

I really am. I am either two ways about something: I love making plans to do something then fret and spend time wondering how I can get out of it; or, I loathe making plans and end up making a stupid choice in the end because I was too indecisive and shouldn’t be allowed to make rash decisions.

Story of my life.

I hate to admit it, but I will. I loved starting uni, and the beginning of each term when I could go full on Rory Gilmore and have a ‘legitimate’ excuse for spending £40 on stationary (not that I don’t already have a house teeming with unused pens and notepads). However, as the term progressed and either my insomnia or hypersomnia got the better of me, I found it harder and harder to stick to my class schedule. In my final year I was between 6-8 hours of classes a week AND I STILL MANAGED TO SKIP TWO OF EACH over a 12 week semester of course. Now I know looking back I wonder why I couldn’t just have forced myself to go, I probably did lose some marks here and there for non-attendance but the thrill I got from turning over in bed and going back to sleep was ridiculous. Then I remember the tiredness. It’s not an excuse, but the overwhelming, mind-numbing, soul-draining tiredness that made me fall asleep sitting up at various desks and start to dream while believing that I was still awake, is still such a problem for me that it’s now hard to imagine taking full time classes, constant homework, a part time job, and tutoring as well. I’m actually quite proud then of how I did survive it.

It does bother me, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it now, and it’s why I am the Coffee Queen. And when I go into super sleep mode at night and have wild and fantastical dreams it soothes the creative side of me and gives me such a boost that no caffeinated product on earth has yet managed to achieve. As such, it is mostly an issue on my days off from work, I’ve not been working a lot of hours the last few weeks so realistically I should be managing to get plenty of work done given that I’ve had plenty of off time. NOPE.

I set my alarm early, so I can get up and carpe diem but when it goes off, I have no idea what planet I’m on and flip my phone onto snooze and this routine can last for a couple of hours…. YES, A COUPLE OF HOURS! So that when I do finally remember I had a reason for getting up early, I’m groggy, my eyes are stinging with broken sleep, my head hurts and I feel blah. Plus it’s hours past the time I wanted to get up and I shuffle about like a zombie, caffeine having no effect on me at all.

It becomes a vicious circle, tired and sleepy –> lethargic –> the desire to crawl back into bed –> no creative energy to write or work/no urge to start –> feeling guilty that another day has passed with nothing done when this is my DREAM, DAMMIT!

I know this was something I mentioned in my goals list that I wanted to work on for this year but I’m trying to create a kind of Cheat Sheet of inspiration, things that no matter how tired or blah I am I’ll be sparked into action by reading them. Something that definitely helped recently was reading Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes, that I spoke briefly about in the last post, I just finished it last night and it has had such a profound effect on me. I know I need to start living more YES and hiding away less. Blogging has helped a lot as well. I’ve had blogs before but then really lacked the focus of what I was trying to do with them or I was too nervous about certain people reading certain things, whereas now, I cleaned up my facebook so everyone still there can read or not read my posts but I have nothing to hide. I changed how I approach blog posts, not just travel, languages, writing, but everything all of me, all that is me. I can’t split myself off the way others can, no one interest really takes the lead over the others, they are all important to me and in different ways, at different times.

Anyway, as much as I’d like to say this blogging exercise has got my creative juices flowing again, I think it’s more the venti caramel coffee soya frappuccino next to me that’s done the trick. I’ll implore you once again to read Shonda Rhimes book (99p on kindle) and I’ll get back to writing my script that I’ve been procrastinating on for too long.

Luego

e x

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Posted in Books, Education, Fitness, Health, Late Nights, life, Musings, Shonda Rhimes, Travel, University, work, Writing

Battling the sleepies

I’m drained. Zonked. Gone.

I’ve had a few days off work just with how the scheduling goes, and had all these wild plans for what I’d do with all that free time. And yet, it’s been cold, stormy, wet, and blah. They probably sound like excuses and maybe they are but I’m so tired. I’ve caught up with some work in short bursts of effort, usually around 1am when I should be succumbing to the tiredness, but when my creativity works best. The rest of the time I just feel like a sleepy zombie.

I’ve been setting an alarm, but when it goes off in the morning, because I know there’s nothing I NEED to get up for, it’s more of an annoying noise that I flip over and end up snoozing for two more hours. It’s a bad habit… probably, but I think I’m suffering with ‘what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-itis’ and for me, hypersomnia is how I deal with it.

Now that I’m pondering it, there’s an element of SAD involved. It happens every winter, except this is the first time in a zillion years where I haven’t been compelled by full-time education to get my arse out of the house. I’ve ordered a sunlight alarm clock that will arrive in about two months -_- there’s no way I can afford a SAD lamp, plus electricity freaks me out.

In between passing out asleep and trying to wake up with strong coffee and Italian rap music, I’ve been reading Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes book. It’s amazing! I don’t often read autobiographies/self-help stuff, but her words are so relatable particularly about working hard and living/breathing/eating your own work as a writer. Even the parts about not having everything as a parent/writer/woman, it’s finally a relief to hear someone admitting that they don’t have everything sorted out, that they aren’t superwoman and, don’t have all the answers. She needs help to manage her life, she gets it; she needs help to look after her kids while she works, she gets it. Why should anyone be a martyr to a lost cause without asking for help? I’m hopefully never going to go down that merry road of motherhood but I can understand how certain parts of your life aren’t going to be perfect or even balanced while focusing on another part of your life.

I know it’s bad for your health to be stationary all the time, but as a writer, much of what I do requires that I sit writing drivel onto a screen or into a notebook for ages at a time. And in order to work as I need to on that, I can’t always breakaway to go to the gym and I nearly broke my back on the times I went to the gym and carried all my writing stuff and laptop with me… I’ve seen those girls at Uni, they’ll need traction by 25. I’m too old to put up with these pains though, and thus things slide. Plus, sitting/lying/being still is one of my favourite pastimes. I could pass as a statue.

Alas, alak, we’re nearly in February, still a month I hate but I’m hoping the nicer weather will make an appearance and my mood will feel less funky. I’m planning on doing blog posts on my previous trips abroad. I’ve got so many stories to tell, might as well tell you them. Just need to find all my old photographs as well. First trip to Italy was in 2008 and I can’t even begin to think how many different computers I’ve had since then!

A tarde!

e x

Posted in Fitness, Food, Goals, Health, life, Musings

Resolutions 2018

So in the last post I touched on the idea of those pesky New Year’s Resolutions we start the year with, often without enough determination to see us past the middle of January. Or when we mess up, we throw them out altogether, as unattainable and pointless. But here I’ve compiled my list of things I want to constantly work on and improve forever, not just in the new year and not just until I have a bad day and ‘mess up’.

  1. Work more effectively – This is a big one for me, I’m a terrible procrastinator and will find 127309274930 other things to do instead of just getting on with the one piece of work that I need to get done urgently. But it’s more than not procrastinating, it’s making proper use of actual working time. I’ll need to get the Forest App or use the Pomodoro technique to help me focus again. Otherwise I can spend five hours attempting to do something while really spending most of that time being distracted.
  2. Be more mindful – Ooh, that’s a buzzword. It’s not a cliche, but I need to spend more time being in the moment when I’m doing something. This goes back to me becoming too distracted with things. Like when I studied Photography all I wanted to do was French, and when I was back doing French I had all these ideas for things I could have done with the resources I had in my Photography course. Not being in the moment can definitely lead to problems of regret and getting one’s ass kicked by hindsight later on.
  3. Stop living in the past – It’s a bad habit but I’m not alone and now that I have admitted it to myself I know it’s something to be worked on. Instead of ‘I should have done this when X happened’, I need to admit that all that has happened has happened the way I let it happened and the only thing I can control now is now and the future. It’s important to learn lessons from the past and apply them to our current/future situations but not to dwell on them as if we can change them.
  4. Do more of what I enjoy – This is a no brainer, but how often do you go to bed at night and are bombarded with thoughts about all the things you meant to do today or wished you’d made time to do… or feel guilty for not having done it? Well, it happens to me quite a lot. And I’m not talking out there wild stuff like flying off to Belgium every weekend (oh, if only!) but simple things like spending some time crocheting my lovely blanket that I’ve not touched in months, or going back to refresh some Italian grammar, writing a new blog post, trying out a new recipe. Simple, but often overlooked, especially in the madness of the working week, it is as important as meditation and self-care, you need to do a little soul feeding as well.
  5. Stop biting my finger nails – Yeah, I know, ick! I used to do it when I was a nervous little kid, then in high school I started growing some of my nails (weak nails though) and fell out of the habit… Then I moved to Spain and with the shitstorm of nerves and anxiety that that brought, I found myself suddenly back to biting. I can’t stop and I need to, but still my nails break really easily and then we’re back to square one. I bought really nice nail polishes from Avon so I would stop, only thing is I hate painting my nails (shaky hands).
  6. Be more careful with diet/alcohol consumption and exercise – This one has pretty much dealt with itself since the new year began. I wrote before how I keep getting ill, so my diet has been stripped back so much. I haven’t felt much like drinking any alcohol, just had a couple of small, low alcohol beers and stopped before any pain could appear. I haven’t been to the gym… much or at all in 2018 but working retail has kept me moving and on my feet, but I am determined to get back in asap before I lose the benefits of my retail induced weight loss. In regards to exercise, I’m back at full fitness since my accident last April, my knees dead on are still very tender but everything else seems to be working smoothly (fingers crossed) and it’s just a matter of getting started back at it and KEEPING MOVING! Being still is one of my favourite hobbies and I know it’s not a good thing.
  7. Being more assertive and not listening to others’ opinions – I’ve spoke about this before, but my life is my own and I’m in charge of what I do, will do, should do. My opinions are valid and my choices are mine to make… I need to believe more in myself, my choices and accepting that they might differ greatly from what other people think. You can’t be a people pleaser.

Well, that’s a fairly comprehensive list of all that I want to work/focus on in the coming year. But believe me, it’s by no means an exhaustive list. I may add to it as the months go by, and might even give it its own page too to serve me as a reminder of what I want 2018 to be.

Who else has made plans, goals, or wants to see change in 2018? Let me know in the comments below.

Baci

e x

 

 

 

Posted in Food, Health, University, work, Writing

Tempus Fugit

Can you believe we’re nearly three weeks into January and the new year?

Who’s broken/abandoned their New Year’s Resolutions already? I haven’t abandoned mine, just been a bit slower about them than I would have liked. Pretty much since the start of January my food issues have gotten worse, so I’m back to square one where I’ve stripped my diet back to the absolute basics as far as I can (again). Trying to make sure that everything I do eat is fresh, contains few ingredients, and healthy. I’ve started eating porridge again for breakfast every morning, thankfully Quaker now has their Protein Porridge out which I’m glad to say contains SOYA protein, and while the cinnamon one that I have contains a fair dollop of sugar (in the form of molasses) it’s not a big deal since I’m not consuming much other sugary products and it does keep me fuller for longer.

I’m only managing small portions these days and I’m erring on the side of being slightly not full than forcing myself to finish something, saves on terrible pain. Alas, the hardest part has been saying goodbye to eggs. I love eggs *cries* but I seem to be okay with eggs in things like pasta, noodles and the like. I’ve been drinking lots of green tea with lemon, because I had felt run down I wasn’t drinking as much coffee, and sore throats required something more than water. It’s working out well, even if I still hate the taste of tea, it’s growing on me.

I know I’ve been quite online the last few weeks, but I’ve been working a bit, the hours have dropped off since the Christmas period ended, so the time I have off I’ve been attempting to catch up on uni work that I missed during the mental season. I’m confident now that I know what I’m doing for my assessment, I had a crazy, stressed day a few weeks ago and an idea popped into my head almost completed formed, except I can’t decide on an ending. I know how I want it to end, but how to do it while maintaining my preferred level of creepy and avoiding cliche. The assessment itself does tie into my plans for the new year to work harder and more efficiently, not leaving everything to the last minute, so I’m trying to work smart and construct my other assignments as I go. I have to write a commentary of my script, which for the last assessment I had written a perfect version in my notebook during the night, forgot about it then half-assed one for the assessment and missed out valuable marks. Gah! So I want to be on it this time to save myself. Oh, and I found out that my marks for NEXT year is what decides my overall grade for the MA. I still want this years grades to improve drastically though.

You may be able to tell, I’m using this post to oil up my writing joints to get back to work.

Not sure I have much more to say now. We’ve had a lot of snow, guess who had to walk home from work in a blizzard the other night? Moi.

Anyway, back soon with more to say. Let me know if you all are keeping to your resolutions or not!

e x

Posted in ASMR, Health, Late Nights, Musings

Do you ASMR?

ASMR has grown in popularity rapidly over the last couple of years, but so have its detractors. It’s a contentious subject if you look at it with too sceptical an eye.

So, it stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response which basically means you get tingles on the back of your head, sometimes down your arms, back, legs; even all over tingles.

We’ve all got experiences of it, my earliest memories are of being in primary school and sitting on the floor in front of the teacher and one of the girls behind me playing with my hair! (I had ridiculously long hair back then, it was impossible not to touch.) Maybe you’ve had a similar experience; at a hairdressers, getting a massage, eye test… the list goes on.

Essentially it seems to be brought on by personal attention, which is something that many of us are lacking in our hectic lives nowadays, so it can be a real treat to have someone take care of you. But really, how many of us can afford either the time or the money to get a facial everyday? Hardly any of us. That’s where the magic of YouTube comes in. There are quite literally thousands of ASMRtists on YT who in my entirely biased opinion are divine creatures spending their time trying to make little old ME feel better when I can’t sleep or I’m stressing out.

This brings us to the divisive part… these are real people who are talking softly to a video camera as if it were a real person. It goes further if you look for the spa treatments, Cranial Nerve Examinations, dental visits, and best friend sleep aids. They all use a variety of microphones which are binaural so it replicates your own ears, and while wearing headphones you really feel they are speaking directly into your ear. It’s this close, personal attention that helps to bring on the tingles – you genuinely feel you are in the same room as them.

Now, I would ask everyone who is unconvinced, please suspend your disbelief, buy into it just for a 40 minute session (with really good quality and comfortable headphones) and use your imagination a little… you’ll see a difference.

Maybe, maybe not. Some people have their minds firmly made up. Some people aren’t able to experience ASMR at all but I’ll use this moment to bring my point back to why I got into these videos in the first place.

CHRONIC INSOMNIA

I’ve been an insomniac for almost all of my adult life, from about 16 onward everything was a struggle related to sleep. I’d be unable to get up in the morning, be late for school despite living a 10 minute walk away, and generally feel crappy and crabby all day long. Then at night, instead of feeling tired enough to go to bed early after a whole long day of feeling tired, I couldn’t sleep. Thus began my routine of staying up late until I felt tired enough to go to sleep. This continued for many, many years.

It got to breaking point when I started university and had a full class load, noisy flatmates, and working 25 hours a week. Despite going back and forth to doctors, they insisted there was little they could do to help and tried some ‘strong antihistamines’ but gave me barely enough to really see if they worked. I tried Kalms, I tried herbal teas, I tried sorting my ‘sleep hygiene’ which I think is crap, presumptuous, and certainly of little use while living in a dorm or student accommodation (the bedroom is only for sleeping – no my bedroom is my everything). There is still a wide nonacceptance of listening to people with insomnia, my phrase was always “I’ve lost my sleepy”, I could feel like shit all day long from exhaustion, but still not be able to sleep AT ALL, not even a nap!

Second year at uni didn’t improve my sleeping habits much as my bedroom was on a main road and I’d sometimes stay up until it was quiet enough to sleep, but invariably there’d be just enough passing traffic to keep waking me up. It was around this time that I turned to YT for chill out videos, guided meditations, relaxing music which worked a bit for a time. However, lack of sleep leads to so many issues including for me, ear, nose, and throat issues so it stopped being as prudent to sleep with headphones in.

Fast forward a year and a bit, I was living in Spain in student accommodation again, and I swear Spaniards don’t sleep! All the apartments had metal staircases which were noisier than you’d believe and all the beds were squeaky metal frames. There was always some noise from somewhere.

That’s when I discovered ASMR.

I’ll even show you the exact video I first watched: My First ASMR

It’s by an ASMRtist called Olivia Kissper. She had only just uploaded maybe a couple of days before I stumbled across the video and it changed everything for me. Two and a half years later and I still listen to an ASMR video every night to help me sleep! (It’s also why I crack up if I don’t have a WIFI signal where I’m staying!)

I will eventually do a top list of my favourite ASMRtists and some videos which have helped me, I just wanted to post about WHY I enjoy ASMR and how I feel it has helped me.

I’ve listened to videos even while studying, writing, or working just to help me chill and focus on what I’m doing… they’ve even helped get rid of tension headaches too.

I understand that not everyone will be convinced, and that’s perfectly fine too, I just ask that you respect other people’s enjoyment of ASMR. I haven’t been asked to write this post and I’m not sponsored by anyone in the ASMR community, I’m just a long-time listener who wanted to share this with others who might be feeling the strain of insomnia too.

Ciao for now,

Eliza 🙂