Ways to BOOST Motivation after a bad day

It’s late, you’re tired, work was tough and you can’t ignore that looming uni deadline. The last thing you want to do is type 2000 words on English literature or whatever you are studying…

We all have bad days. When it affects your study schedule there can be a knock on effect to your grades and, ultimately, your goals.

Here’s a few ways I try to motivate myself to study after a long, hard day:

Play some music

music

Go for a walk

walking

Remind yourself of your goals – long & short term

My Plan

Have a treat (chocolate mmm!)

hot chocolate

Eat a decent meal

fish

If all else fails, have a night off!

relax

Having a plan and trying to stick to it always helps to keep me motivated, especially if I write it down. There’s something about written plans that makes them feel set-in-stone. You have to make sure you give yourself a break though, especially when you are finding things particularly hard. Don’t burn yourself out.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated after a hard day? Let me know in the comments!

LGx

A Week of Walking 10,000 Steps Per Day

Happy #NationalWalkingMonth!

A while back I set myself the challenge of walking more. Last week I finally conjured up the motivation to start. I decided to do the recommended 10,000 steps per day for a week to see how I would feel. I walked to work, went for a quick stroll at lunch and then walked home. Luckily this amounted to exactly the number of steps that I needed for the day! In total each day I walked for around 1 hour and 40 minutes, with my mile count at about 4.5 miles per day.

Monday – 10,280 steps

On Monday I felt good! I felt energised after walking to work and I was early for a change! I couldn’t wait to get out and have a proper break at lunch. When back in the office I was focused and productive and didn’t feel the 3 o’clock slump. After my walk home I didn’t feel tired at all and could probably have done more walking if it wasn

Tuesday – 10,621 steps

On Tuesday I felt even more energised, the sun was shining and I was early for work again. I went for a longer walk at lunch because it was such a nice day. I was excited to walk home as I’d had a particularly productive day and so I wanted some thinking time before I had to sit down to my uni assignment.

Wednesday – 10,215 steps

On Wednesday I felt a little drained. I don’t know whether this was due to the stress that comes with uni assignments or the walking but it didn’t stop me from doing my steps. I took a shorter walk at lunch as there are fewer people in the office on Wednesdays but I was glad of this! I managed to submit my assignment and get a decent night’s sleep ready for tomorrow’s walking.

Thursday – 10,546 steps

On Thursday I felt a lot less drained but oh my calves!! I struggled to walk with pace because my legs were really tight. When I got home I did some stretches and they really helped, but it’s something I am going to have to continue to do until I’m a bit more flexible! I also think this was down to the fact that I hadn’t been drinking enough water. Something I’m quite often guilty of. Nevertheless, I still got my steps done and felt proud that I’d kept it up this far.

Friday – 12,064 steps

Friday was also a struggle on the legs to the point where I wasn’t going to walk at lunch. I hadn’t taken any lunch to work so that forced me out. I walked to my sister’s house after work, which took me about an hour. When I got there I was exhausted but after a quick drink and a rest I was dancing around the living room with my niece!

Saturday – 11,524 steps

I worked on Saturday and so this meant walking both ways. I felt energised again and with only 8,000 steps from the work journey I was trying to think of ways to up the step count. Getting the bus rather than accepting a lift helped with this and pushed my steps to where I needed them.

Sunday – 11,531 steps

I was worried about how I would fit all of my steps in on a day off work so I arranged to go for a walk with the BFF. We went to Crackley Wood Nature Reserve, where all of the bluebells were in bloom. It was beautiful and also nice and flat so easy on the calves as they were still aching.

img_6934I really enjoyed my walking week challenge. Throughout the whole process I haven’t lost any weight but I haven’t really been keeping an eye on my diet and that wasn’t my aim. I definitely feel in better shape for it! I am going to continue to do at least 10,000 steps per day until my calves stop aching. After this I am going to bump the step count up to 15,000 by taking an evening stroll.

How do you get the recommended daily steps? Any tips on calf stretching? I’d love to hear from you!

LGx

Why you should THINK before you SPEAK… or scream.

Life can be harsh. My friends and I are currently grieving the loss of a very special friend. However, this post is not about that. This post is about an experience I had at work last week. It made me think about how people can detach their consideration for other people when speaking to a ‘company’ on the phone.

It is easy to forget that the faceless person on the end of a phone has feelings. They are not just a voice attached to a company. When anger has been brewing inside you over the space of a week and your children are running around, driving you crazy during the Easter Holidays, an eruption of emotion is hard to contain. This does not mean that you are entitled to scream down the phone like a toddler having a tantrum. Have some respect for yourself and others and you could save that person unnecessary stress and yourself unnecessary embarrassment. I am not a robot here to listen to your out of control screaming. I am a person too.

So next time you call a company with a complaint, think about this…

You don’t know what they are going through

The person on the end of the line may have just lost someone. They may have thought that they could muster enough courage to make it to work that day because they didn’t want to let the team down. They may be going through a break up or divorce or have any number of issues in their life. Not everyone is hardy and well equipped to deal with a feisty customer, especially when dealing with clients is not a major part of their role. You don’t know what someone is going through whether they are on the end of a phone or you meet them in the street. Have a little consideration and you can make life a little bit easier on somebody having a bad day.

It may or may not be their fault

It doesn’t matter whether the fault is theirs or not, screaming at them is not the answer. But saying that, if it is their fault, you will cause that person to feel guilty and worthless. Nobody deserves to feel that way, people make mistakes. If the mistake is not theirs on the other hand, although they are there to represent the company, they are not at fault and may be trying their best to sort out somebody else’s mistake.

Screaming will NOT get you anywhere

Sometimes you just need to let it all out, I get that. But that doesn’t mean it is going to get you anywhere. You are far less likely to get what you want out of somebody if you are screaming at them. Asking to speak to somebody in charge rather than taking it out on the first person you reach on the phone will allow you to explain your problem to somebody who can actually do something about it, without ruining anybody else’s day.

 

Have a little consideration, feel a little love.

LGx

My Weekend [with photos!]

I have been in a particularly good mood this weekend, possibly because the sun has been shining and I have been really productive!

Friday evening was nice and chilled, I bought some cheeses, pork pie and crackers to have a ‘bits & bobs’ dinner and settled down to watch Pretty Woman for the first time. I absolutely loved it. Definitely one to add to my list of favourites!

Saturday morning was super productive! Listening to the radio instead of watching TV helped me to sit down and focus on studying without any distraction. I got loads of reading done and a bit of adulting in between (urgh, bills!). I recently moved my living room around because I didn’t like the fact that I was facing the wall with my back to the room when I was studying. I moved my sofas to create a cosy, separate space for chilling and then changed the dining table setting so that it felt more like a study space. Everything is now closer to hand if I need it and I actually want to sit there and be productive thanks to the addition of a few pretty pieces.

In the afternoon I met the bestie for a light lunch and some drinks at The Golden Cross.  It’s one of the oldest pubs in Coventry and has just been done up. I had a BLT, which was very nice (except for the rocket, I hate rocket!) and it was very reasonably priced at just a fiver. I loved the new VW wallpaper in the toilets and may have taken a selfie (or ten). We ventured on to the Campbell, now called the Phoenix and shared a bottle of prosecco. Feeling a bit tipsy, we decided to have a chilled out evening and reminisced of the days when we used to go out every single week, how did we manage to afford it?!

After staying with the bestie for the night, I walked home on Sunday. There was glorious sunshine and the Spring flowers and blossom trees were in full bloom. It took me about an hour and meant that I could have a good walk in my new trainers that I bought for walking to and from work. (You may have read in a previous blog post that I was attempting to up my walking game this year, a little update: I now average about 8 to 10,000 steps per day, woo!).

On Sunday afternoon I went to see the BFF. We had a BBQ then went out to take a few photos for work. I was loving the outdoor sunshine so much that we decided to go and find a couple of Geocaches that were close to us. It’s so surprising how close to nature you often are. We only crossed the street to find that a gate opened out into big fields with lovely views. The sun was setting slightly, which made for some nice photos. We found both Geocaches this time, one behind some stinging nettles, ouch!

I have loved this weekend and spending time with those that are close to me. It goes to show that you can have a productive weekend while still being social at the same time!

My New Top (It’s a hand-me-down!)
Love this wallpaper <3
Sunset whilst Geocaching
A Funny Find in one of the Geocaches
Geocaching!
Red Sky at Night

 LGx

Walking Challenges for 2017

In a previous post I mentioned that I was going to try to cycle to and from work every day. Unfortunately the weather got in the way. Well, I did decide to start when winter was coming! Although I did say that weather should not stop you, it is probably best you don’t cycle in frost! Instead, I’ve been getting the bus to work then walking home each evening. It’s not as far as I first thought and VERY refreshing! It allows me to think and reflect on my day, plan my to dos for when I get home and have a bit of a break from my phone for 40 minutes.

Now that I’ve got into my walking groove I’ve looked into a couple of challenges that I’d like to try this year and also one that I have set myself.

Steps Challenge

No, I don’t mean ‘5, 6, 7, 8’!

NHS Choices advises that 10,000 steps per day will keep you fit and healthy. When I read this I was intrigued to find out how many steps per day I currently average. I work in a pretty small office, so I wasn’t expecting anywhere near 10,000. However, I was completely shocked to find out that I average a measly 2,000! Only 20% of the daily recommendation!

Walking home has increased my steps to around 5,000, still only half way there. NHS Choices does say to build up gradually so there’s plenty of time to step it up!

1000 Miles in 1 Year Challenge

Live for the outdoors are challenging people to walk 1000 miles in 2017. This would be an average of 2.74 miles per day. It would take a bit of catching up to start now but I’m sure with a few long walks it could easily be done!

‘The Peaks’ Challenge

A take on the ‘Three Peaks Challenge’, it would be nice to set the goal of climbing the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales this year without the time constraint of having to do it in one go – especially for a person lacking a little on the fitness side!

My Personal Challenge

As I mentioned, I work in a small office with little chance to move around. Now the weather is getting warmer I am going to take the challenge to up my steps even more.

To make up the rest of the steps I plan to:

  • Start walking to work (this will be difficult, I’m not a morning person)
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime (trying to avoid any fast food places and their tempting smells)
  • Take an evening stroll (also difficult when I have studying to do!)

I’m sure with a little bit of time management and dedication walking can become a bigger part of my daily routine.

What walking goals and challenges have you set yourself this year? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

 

 

Study Tips! How to manage part-time study when you work full-time

Balancing study, work and play is difficult. Difficult, not impossible. With a little bit of planning and time management you can be well on your way to that First Class Degree, even if you are working full-time!

Being a part-time Open University student/full-time office bod myself, I have learnt a thing or two about using my time wisely. I’m here to share what I have learnt with you so that you can stay ahead of the game.

Create a Schedule – and stick to it!

Creating a weekly schedule is a great way to keep track of your time and where your priorities are. When I first started studying part-time, I found it really difficult to manage my ‘free’ time (or time not at work). I decided to draft out a weekly schedule, broken down into hours so that I knew exactly where my time was going. It not only helped with allocating time, but also reviewing where I have spent my precious time once the week was over.

Get your chores out of the way

Now that you have your schedule drafted, it’s time to set priorities! You must get any chores out of the way first. There is nothing worse than sitting down with your books and the pile of washing in the corner of the room keeps whispering your name. Get it out of the way and it won’t annoy or distract you. This is even more important if you live with somebody. I can guarantee you won’t have the time or energy to ‘do it later’ and they will end up picking up your slack. Spending a quick hour getting things done before settling down will be totally worth it.

Take time out

Between work and study it may feel like you don’t get time to relax. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take time out. Not only for yourself, but for the people around you. It is so easy to get into the habit of not making plans because, well, your plans are to study.  But you will soon start to feel lonely and tired and your friends will think that you’re ignoring them. It’s all about balance. A monthly (or even twice a month, go mad!) blow-out with friends will do you good, you are a university student after all!

When actually studying this is important too. Take regular breaks. Your eyes will thank you.

Learn to say No

It sounds like I am contradicting myself here. ‘But didn’t you just tell me to take time out?’, again It’s all about balance. After years of studying I have only just learnt to say no to friends, and sometimes even work. You need to remember that you are investing time (and money for that matter) into your education and saying no once in a while will not harm you. Knowing when your assignments fall is key, because you can plan around them. When working to a deadline, keep focused and say no. Say no to overtime, say no to parties, say no to your gran’s dinner, say no to everything, and just get it done.

Have a dedicated Study Space

One of the great things about studying with the Open University is that most of your course books etc. can be found online. This means that studying on the go is easier. I often read my course books on my daily bus commute to and from work. Just reading is definitely not enough though. To really get the information into your brain you need to make notes, draw diagrams, work out equations and do whatever else your course work asks you to do. Having a dedicated study space at home will help you stay motivated to do this. With all of your study materials close to hand you can pick up where you left off with ease, saving you valuable time and keeping you in the studying mindset.

Make friends, family & employers aware

People aren’t mind readers. You should make it clear to everyone who is significant in your life that you need to prioritise studying for a while and may have to turn down overtime or meeting with friends. If they are aware from the start they will be less likely to complain or ask too much of you. Letting them know when you are actually studying is a good idea too. There have been plenty of times when I have got stuck right into an activity only for my phone to ring and an hour later I’ve lost all sense of what I’ve been studying. Just a polite ‘do not disturb’ will do!

Plan your meals

What does food have to do with studying you ask? Everything!

Firstly, what you eat can affect your mood, motivation and brain power, so make sure you are eating all of the healthy stuff, leafy greens, oily fish, you know the drill.

Secondly, having a meal plan that runs along your weekly schedule will save you that all important and very precious time. It will help you to make sure that you don’t have to run out to the shop for ingredients last minute and also motivate you to stick to eating the good stuff.

Focus on your goal

It can feel a bit daunting when you have so far to go to accomplish your First Class Degree, especially when you have a full time job but you would rather be dedicating your time to studying! Don’t get too overwhelmed and just remember the reasons why you started doing it in the first place. Take one assignment at a time and focus on smashing those grades. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger – You can do it!!

Needle Felting Fun! [with pictures]

One of my goals for 2017 is to learn a new skill. At first, I was going to try my hand at knitting. After researching a bit I came across needle felting and it was love at first sight. Honestly, google needle felted animals and you will see what I mean.

So I went down to my local Hobbycraft and bought Kirsty Allsopp’s needle felting kit. I was surprised at how easy it was from the start! The kit is great if you’re a beginner because it comes with everything you need and a little booklet of inspiration. The only thing I would add is more instruction, but hey! That’s what Youtube is for, right?

The first thing I made was this flower thing, kinda groovy.

flower
Got the hang of the basics, I’ll move onto something more challenging.

owl

How cute is he! I must make Mr Owl a girlfriend…

owls-gf
Oh. So she looks more like an evil nemesis but it makes for a funny picture!

owl-and-his-gf

She looks like she’s rolling her eyes at him.

Finally, I made this lovely heart decoration…

heart
I’ll be posting a How To so that you can make your own heart decoration very soon! (Just in time for a Valentine’s treat maybe?!) Watch this space 😉

LGx

New Found Love – Geocaching!

I have discovered something new and you’re going to love it.

When I say new, it’s actually quite old now. It all started in 2000 according to www.geocaching.com when the technology became available to track objects by their specific GPS location.

I’m talking about the worldwide treasure hunt known as Geocaching. To play along you download the app, set about walking and try to find hidden capsules along the way. In these capsules you find little bits of treasure or nik naks, then either swap something or place your own in for somebody else to find! You often find a piece of paper where you can write the date you found the capsule and your username from the app.

Not only is this a fun activity but it gets you out and about in your local area or even further afield, if you’re willing to travel. I was surprised at how many of these I have walked past, without even noticing them!

Just look at the beautiful scenery I have come across thanks to Geocaching…

 

10 ways to be more organised

I’ve been trying to make sense of organisation this week. I am frequently late, lose my keys often and always forget plans if I don’t write them down. Here are ten ways that I’m going to try to organise my life better…

1. Have a place for everything

2. De-clutter

3. Get things ready the night before

4. Stick to a routine

5. Go to bed earlier

6. Write things down, Bullet Journals are great for this!

7. Put things back where they came from

8. Use a calendar

9. Set reminders

10. Just THINK/PLAN ahead

If you don’t know what a Bullet Journal is, you can read all about them here. I used mine when moving house this year and I have to say, it was incredibly useful! It definitely helps you to remember everything you need to do, important events and loads more.

bullet-journal

One thing it can’t do is help me find my keys so I’ve invested in a nice ‘key bowl’ so that they have a place and don’t go missing again!

key-bowl

Let me know in the comments if you have any more useful tips to bring more organisation into the chaotic life of a twenty-something!

Making Sense Of Life


Life has been a bit hectic in 2016, to say the least. I’ve moved twice, lost friends, lost touch with family, been through break up, been in and out of the doctors and grieved. There’s times where I’ve stopped and thought, am I cursed? Is the whole world against me? Why do I deserve this? But there’s also been times where I’ve been on top of the world, creating new adventures and discovering myself as a person.

Deciding to go it alone was the biggest decision I’ve made this year and by far the best. At 25 I should know how to pay bills, how to set heating systems on timer and how to cook without poisoning myself but apart from living at university (that didn’t count, by the way) I’ve not really had the chance to make sense of the world and how we live in it.

8 months on from moving out on my own I’m still finding it a crazy, clumsy adventure. I’ve learnt to ask questions wherever I can, because sometimes the answer isn’t as obvious to you as it is to others. I’ve also learnt to pick my friends carefully as some want different things to you. Finally, I’ve learnt that you need to hold those that are close very tight so that they do not suddenly float away.

I’m still not sure whether I can make sense of life or anything that happens in it. But what I can do, through writing, is try to work it all out in my mind and work out what is learnt from experiences in life. Both GOOD and BAD.