Tag Archives: Life Updates

Here’s The Thing About Depression…

Here’s The Thing About Depression...

Here’s the thing about depression… it can strike at any time, for any amount of time, and sometimes there’s not even a legitimate reason, it just happens. In today’s post, I discuss how I have been dealing with it lately.

Lately, my life has been pretty great. I started a wonderful new job at the beginning of the year which I love; I’m getting on top of my diet and my fitness routine, I’m happy with my social life (it’s busy but not too busy) and my relationship with Scott is as strong as ever. That’s the thing that I’m struggling with… my life is lovely at the minute and I can’t really complain. I’m not stressed on the daily anymore and I’m able to switch off a lot faster than I ever was able to before. Unfortunately that depression switch can turn itself on at ANY point, and I’ll admit that I still struggle with that..

I tend to hide away from my depression because in my head, if I hide away from it, it’s not there. I find it hard to give myself some compassion that this is something that I will likely deal with for most of my life. I can’t hide from it, I can certainly control it with the correct treatment but sometimes you can’t control everything. It slips in when you least expect it and it’s difficult to understand why, especially when we live in a world that we’re always told that “someone has it worse than you” so automatically you feel bad that those feelings slip through the cracks and sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t complain. I have a roof over my head, I have a warm bed at night, I have food on the table and I have a body capable of movement; that’s what everyone desires right?

wp-1580680048986.jpg(Capturing the beautiful pink sky a few weeks ago in Belfast City Centre)

That’s the thing with depression… it comes in many forms and it’s not just feeling sad. Most of the depression I have lived with has been multi-functioning so I’m fortunate that I can get up in the morning, go to work every day and carry on with my life, but that didn’t mean I didn’t struggle. When I was unemployed, getting out of bed was sometimes the hardest thing to do that day but that particular feeling hasn’t been very strong in quite some time. Wanting to sleep more, emotional eating with the sweet treats, not being interested in activities I used to enjoy (Ie. the gym or writing blog posts are two of many), not wanting to meet up with friends and simply staying at home are what I am dealing with at the moment and these are especially tough during the weekend. I’m very lucky that I love my job so I have a distraction during the week, but once it hits home time, I have started those feelings come back again and as I mentioned, the weekends are a little harder to deal with, and I think it’s because I don’t have that “going to work” mindset.

Scott is pretty quick to notice my change in behaviour and when I beat myself up for letting it get to me, he’s also very quick to say “you have something that sometimes you can’t control, and that’s okay” and it truly is a control mindset. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t touch alcohol; I like to be in one hundred percent control of my mind and body, so having an imbalance that I can’t control all the time, that’s very tough for me. I know that having bad days or bad weeks comes with the territory and I know that if it was a friend in this situation, I would be talking so differently, but we tend to be so much tougher on ourselves, rather we would be to a friend.

wp-1580680221534.jpg(Down by Jordanstown beach during the Summer)

I still have quite a hard time coming to terms with the fact that everything can be fine yet my head tells me a different story, Scott has described it as life being great but it’s almost like my head is looking for something to go wrong, which sounds like me. I’m normally looking for the negative in things so that theory sounds correct. It’s tough when you have all these things planned out for after work or during the weekend but within a snap of your fingers, you just want to go home and sit in silence or go to bed early. Not only do I feel sorry for myself, I feel bad that I’m changing plans for Scott too. He always says not to worry about it because he is very understanding but when we don’t get to do what I had originally planned, it’s really frustrating for me.

I know this didn’t really have a start, middle or an end like most of my posts do, and while this conclusion wasn’t planned, I guess it’s ironic that this whole process hasn’t been linear either so why should me talking about it be also? Anyway, as always, thank you for taking the time to read today’s post, I really do appreciate it ❤️

The Next Chapter: Moving In With My Boyfriend.

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As I put this post live, I have recently handed in my thirty day notice to my rented house as I begin to move in with my boyfriend. That’s what today’s post is about; why we decided to do it and what some of the biggest changes will be.

My boyfriend and I have been together for over two and a half years now, but even from the first year, we’ve talked quite fondly about moving in together. I met him three months after I moved into my own place so I knew I wanted to take my time and not rush the process because I wasn’t ready. I had never had my own place before so I wanted to absorb it all and be on my own, and by doing that, I would know when the right time was. We had actually originally discussed not moving in together until we were engaged but as we got further on in our relationship, it became apparent that none of us wanted to wait that long. 

We do live quite close to each other and because we spend so much time together, it made sense. While it’s not the sole reason, one of our main reasons is financial; it’s pretty clear that when two people move in together, you will save a lot of money and because we’re always wanting to save for a new holiday or to fix another room in the house up, it makes sense to put that money towards something beneficial for us rather than me spending double the amount on my rent and bills. Of course, the main reason we wanted to do this is because we love each other and we wanted to take the next step in our relationship. (Yes, okay, please puke because it’s so cute!)  It hasn’t been without a small population of people warning us about “really getting to know each other” when we’re under each others feet, and while I understand their point, I’m excited for the next step (even if it means slightly more arguments than usual, because what’s a relationship without a disagreement or two, right?).

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A lot of people tend to look at the challenges when something like this, but we tend to try and find out what we need to focus on or what the biggest changes will be because as much as we’ve heard the normal challenges (Ie. moving boxes back and forth), we’re looking at it from a positive angle to set the precedent for the future: 

Doing separate activities and having date nights.

I believe it’s important for any relationship to be comfortable around each other to watch TV in silence or for one to read a book while the other plays a game but sometimes you can get a little too used to that. We all need time on our own, whether that’s simply alone time or time to spend on a hobby.  For example, I love blogging and I tend to write my best work in one of my favourite coffee shops so I normally pop over there for a few hours on my own; whereas Scott writes reviews for a film review website so he normally likes to be on his own in the living room for that while watching the film on screen. I go to Girl Guides on a Thursday and he has a second job of doing merchandising so we do have our own separate activities to make sure we’re not living on top of each other. 

What we also have to keep in mind is that we make time to go out on dates; I think because couples in long-term relationships are so used to each other’s company, especially if they live together; they tend not to go out as often and our thinking behind it, is that we know we won’t be able to do it as much when we have children, so we’re taking advantage now. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or over-the-top but it could be a dinner and a movie night, a new sports activity that we haven’t tried yet or even seeing a comedy gig together. Because we’ll be saving money, we’ll have a little extra to splash on dates and we think it’s going to be a good opportunity to snap up while we can.

Helping Audrey adapt to her new surroundings.

This will be a quite a big challenge for my little Audrey and I’m hoping she adapts well to it all; she’ll have more places to explore, and I’m hoping that because she’ll be able to explore the house more, she won’t scratch furniture as much. She’ll get more attention in the evenings too and Scott can’t wait to share the house with her because he genuinely loves her.

Observing and improving our morning routines.

As the months have passed, I haven’t been on top of my mornings as I should be. There are days when Scott will have slept in and vice-versa so we know that when the move does happen, we’ll adjust to when we both need to get up; whether that is for the gym, a run, a morning meal prep or simply for work. It might take a few days or even a few weeks but once we get into the rhythm of it, we’ll be pretty set, you know? Hopefully with the adjustment, we’ll be able to grasp better routines along the way too.

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Of course, there will be the usual things that moving boxes and furniture to his house, trying to find a place for everything, dumping or donating anything I don’t need or want any more, and changing my address over for EVERYTHING but the three things above are something I want to truly focus on. The packing is important but it’s happening no matter what, the changing addresses will happen over time once I get a change but making sure Audrey is okay in her new environment and making sure Scott and I keep our relationship fresh, are two things that are vital to keeping our home happy. The morning routines, like I said, will happen over time but that’s the power of motivation, will power and awareness over the first few weeks.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post! I didn’t want to necessarily write an advice piece because this is new to me so it’s more of an update. If you have any posts that you think would be relevant to what I have talked about today, please let me know either below in the comments, on my Twitter or on my Instagram.

Life Update: Settling Into My New Job and Finding A New Routine.

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The last six months of the year certainly haven’t been plain sailing but for the last month, I’ve been getting comfortable in my new job and today I wanted to give you a life update talking about this new transition and what I’ve been looking forward to the most. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of July, I was made redundant from the job I had been in for over three and a half years. I was devastated and it took a long time to adjust to that change. I talked about the positives and the negatives of that and during that time while I was going through a depressive episode (not all linked to that particular situation) it was nice to have my writing as an outlet. 

However, as you have read by the title, I’m very happy to say I’m in a brand new job! At the time of writing this post (in early December) I’ve been in my job for just over a month and it’s so strange to be learning the ropes again.  In my previous job, obviously because of my experience, I was so used to helping new employees and trainees but now it’s the other way around. I’m now working in sales distribution and I have zero experience in this sector but I’m more willing than ever to learn. We know that we’ll never know everything but starting from scratch has been difficult at times and I have admitted it to my team a number of times. Not because the job is hard, it’s not, it’s more so because there are so many systems to pick up along the way and I haven’t got to that point yet. I’m very fortunate that my team are extremely supportive and I can’t stress enough how much a supportive team can really help or hinder you. Over the last month, I have finally realised how much pressure I put on myself to pick up everything right away and that’s not how it works. It’s not going to happen overnight or even in a few weeks, that’s my perfectionist side coming out and not being able to come to terms with it but I will get there eventually.  

Remember when I wrote about routines a few weeks ago? Well, it’s something that I am absolutely over the moon to have again. Of course I know that you can still have a routine when you aren’t working but when I ease going through my depressive time in the Summer, sometimes it was hard pulling myself out of bed, but I can appreciate that a routine will be different for everyone depending on your circumstances. We really do under-estimate the role of a routine in our lives until we don’t have one anymore.  

For anyone reading who is heading into the world of work for the first time or is changing jobs soon, I wanted to talk about the routine aspects that I personally love and I’m so glad to have back.  

Meal Preparation 

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If you only implement one important aspect of a routine, I would highly recommend that you look at meal preparation. There seems to be a myth or two knocking about that makes people think they don’t have the time, and it’s not about trying to add extra time to your morning or even your weekend, it’s about choosing how to spend our time that we already have.  

Since I’m starting out again, I’m going for really simple meals and I’m trying to keep my preparation to a minimum. I make a pasta salad which simply contained cucumber, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, peppers and macaroni pasta. I use an already bought dressing (but I am hoping to start making my own) and I microwave sweetcorn and quinoa bites that come already made. While that and the sauce is technically processed, I’m still aiming for a healthy lunch which I believe I achieve. The longest process is the pasta, and I would say that takes me about eight minutes to cook. I tend to chop the vegetables while the pasta is cooking and I do that in the morning but it could be easily done the night before.   

Leftovers are such a popular choice for lunches the next day and I’ve done that a few times when Scott has made me dinner the night before. It’s so easy to box it up and if you have somewhere to heat it up, then you’re good to go! 

Building my Workout Schedule 

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My physical fitness is something that is very important to me and has been for a long time. Even when I was off during the Summer; I really tried my best to get out on my bicycle, head out for a run or take a walk to the gym. As I get older, I’m not willing to give myself the excuse of being too tired after work because I genuinely can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel tired, it’s something I have grown up with. The first week or two in the new job, I did flake out of workouts because I was beyond exhausted but I have come to realise that while it’s perfectly okay to not workout and listen to your body, you have to have the right balance. But hey, we all struggle with it including me, so we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. I know for me that it’s something that I’m keeping an eye on over the next few months.  

Morning workouts are my favourite admittedly and what I love even more is that Scott is embracing them too. Sure, going to the gym at 5:30am may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it certainly works for us and it’s something that I will keep up because it’s so nice to work hard with your body very early in the morning and not have to worry about it for the rest of the day. In saying that, I run better in the afternoon and evening. Figure that one out, eh? 

Changing Up My Work Style 

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In my recent quarter goals post, I talked about wanting to refresh my wardrobe and minimise my clothing in general and it’s something I have really concentrated on. Before starting my job, I wanted to find a number of key pieces that I could match together that worked on a professional level but I could wear out at the weekend too. I absolutely love the look of a blouse and skirt but I became too comfortable with a skirt and jeans, and because I never had to dress too professionally, I never tried anything new. I’ve found some key pieces that I love and while I’m currently dressing in Christmas jumpers, I’ll be back in my new clothes in January. (Possibly planning a blog post in the New Year talking about this in more detail!) 

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Now, of course I have to say that everyone’s routine and priorities will be different. If you know me, I’m a twenty something who lives with her cat and I don’t have any children to support yet. I work in a standard office who has her hours pretty much fixed nine-to-five. I’m able to work around my circumstances slightly easier than someone else would who has different circumstances, and that’s totally fine. It’s all about finding out what works for you and what your priorities are. 

It’s been really lovely getting back into working life and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. The weeks have been flying by and while my weekends have been consumed with Christmas shopping at the minute, it’s nice to really take advantage of the down time when I have it now.  

Thank you for reading today’s post and thank you all so much for your lovely messages through Twitter and Instagram, you have no idea how much I appreciate it! 

Life Update #2: Spring 2017

I’m back with another life update! My last one was just before Christmas during Blogmas when I was just back from the stunningly beautiful Rome so I thought almost five months later, I was due an update. (If you want to read that update: it’s right here!)

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In December, I spoke about finding out about renting my first house before I went on holiday…

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(This was me the day I moved in, I was very excited!)

I moved in on 4th January and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’m so unbelievably happy living on my own and it just proves that it really was something I needed to do. Of course I’ve been here a few months and my spare room is still a mess, I haven’t got a rug for the living room and I have a few pictures that I still want to hang up, but apart from that, I think I’ve settled in quite well.

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If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you’ll know that I went from being a vegetarian to eating a plant based diet permanently…

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(Just one of my obsessions from one of my favourite places in the world, Tony and Jen’s. Yep, gluten free AND vegan. Match made in heaven right?  )

I’ll not talk too much about why I changed to a plant based diet because I have talked about it a lot recently; I wrote a post about completing Veganuary (right here), I documented what I ate during Veganuary (right here) and I spoke about how I became vegetarian last March (right here) so you can check those posts out for more detail.

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Very very recently I also bought my first little kitten…

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I used to be terrified of almost all animals (except goldfish) but over the past year or so, things have changed. For the majority of the year last year, I lived with my ex-boyfriend and he had the cutest cat ever, and that was really my first experience of living with another animal. My Dad had dogs but because we were only ever there one or two nights a fortnight, I never felt like I lived with them. So that experience of living with a cat showed me that there’s nothing to be really scared of and I should embrace the love of a little furry munchkin (Even though when she does jump up on me, I still get a little scared) Plus my three best friends all have cats and they’re both adorable, so even more help to show me that I can do it.

So once I knew I was moving out of my family home, I told myself to wait a few months to get myself settled in before thinking about getting a cat and that’s what I did. I named her Audrey and when I got her, she was about nine weeks old.

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I’m very grateful to be who I am and where I am today…

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(Outstanding photography skills and credit goes to the wonderful photographer that took this during one of our lunch dates.)

I feel very supported by my lovely group of friends, my family have been fantastic since moving out (except for the change to my diet, they’re still coming to terms with that) and I’m very blessed to be in a new, happy and healthy relationship. I now believe everything happens for a reason and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

❤ ❤ ❤

I hope you enjoyed this little life update and if you want to keep up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter or over on Instagram.

(Blogmas Day Eight) Life Update…

What I haven’t shared on social media… (yet)

So it’s Blogmas Day Eight, it’s Wednesday morning and at 2am, I arrived back in Belfast via the Dublin bus because I was in Rome!

Yes, I went to Rome and I went completely on my own. Maybe not such a huge deal to some, but I only went on my first adult holiday this year to Finland and Russia so going from my first adult holiday to my first holiday on my own, is quite a big step.

I booked it about a month and a half ago, I just needed something to keep my mind off what was going on in my own life. I wasn’t happy and I wanted something to distract me. Thankfully a month and a half later, my life is genuinely a lot better, I’m a lot happier and I couldn’t be more different to the person I was a few months ago. I still get my really down days and I even had one when I was in Rome which hit me really hard, but I made the most of my trip, and I had a lovely time.

Once Blogmas is over, I’m planning on posting my Rome Diaries because it would be really nice to reflect back on my trip. You know, places I went and food I ate; the two most important things in a trip!

One more thing…

About two days before my trip, I found out that I had secured a house I had been looking at to rent! So I’ll be moving out on my own for the first time in the New Year! Probably not the greatest time to move out, straight after Christmas when everyone feels the pinch but I would have been silly not to grab at this opportunity when it’s been something I have been wanting to do for the last few years.

I’m really excited, obviously I’m worried about the money aspect (because booking a holiday before Christmas, then having Christmas, then moving out seemed like such a great idea at the time right?! I didn’t know about the house when I booked the holiday!) but I have a great support network around me and I can’t wait to live on my own and have my own little house.

Why I didn’t post on social media about my holiday…

I know I don’t need to give an explanation but I want to. As much as I love posting on Instagram, checking in on Facebook and tweeting about everything I do; I didn’t want to do it at all and I have found myself over the past few months doing it a lot less. Sure, I was still on social media during the trip; I was still writing blog posts, I was still scheduling tweets in my hotel room and I was taking photographs for myself (but also for the blog) but I had no desire to share with the world at that very moment that I was away on holiday.

Don’t get me wrong, I done the exact opposite on my last holiday. I checked in everywhere, there were loads of photographs on Instagram and I LOVED tweeting about it. I just didn’t want to do it this time. This trip was meant to be for me, and just me. I wanted to create memories for myself and have experiences for myself because I needed to get away from my ‘normal’ life for a while. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be Instagramming photographs and I’ll probably tweet about it, but I just didn’t want to when I was there.

I loved coming back to my hotel and writing another blog post though. That was something that filled my nights because I didn’t want to stay out late in a country I wasn’t too familar with, in the dark, on my own; so writing blog posts for Blogmas was a nice routine to get into each night.

This might have been a boring post for you to read, I don’t know but I’m really happy that I’ve had a few positive life updates recently and I can’t wait to see what the next few months brings. Oh, and remember to look out for my Rome Diaries in the New Year too!

SS: Sunday Saves (#23)

Happy Sunday and welcome back to my weekly Sunday Saves series where I talk about my favourite blog posts (or YouTube videos) that I have discovered throughout the week. If you’ve missed any of my other posts in this series, you can find them right here. This week I’m talking about mental health blogs, life updates and introducing wellness into your lifestyle.

1. Adventure and Anxiety (Mental Health Bloggers You Should Be Following)

If you’ve been reading my blog recently, you’ll know that mental health has been one of the more prominent things that I’ve spoken about lately. So when I came across Beth’s list of mental health bloggers you should be following, I knew I had to include it and yes, I have now bookmarked all these bloggers! I haven’t got around to read all their mental health posts yet but I’m glad I’ll have something to come back to when I’m not feeling my best.

2. Life as Unusuals (Wonderful Wednesday #9)

I’ve only started to read Kerri’s blog but I loved the way she put her life updates together and part of me also loves the fact that Wonderful Wednesdays sounds so good together. It’s a really nice twist on your usual weekly update blog posts that you normally see.

3. Pretty Not Included (Adopting An Authentic Wellness Lifestyle)

Can you tell I am in love with Sarirah’s blog lately? I featured her in last week’s Sunday Saves too. This week’s post however is about adopting an authentic wellness lifestyle but in the realistic sense. She’s not telling you to sit outside and meditate for three hours (In saying that, if I had the time and the capability to do that, I would be outside in rain or shine!), she’s asking you to be honest with yourself, question why you want to do it, to do it for only yourself and to make small changes in your mindset to help you along that way. Of course you can find out more advice on her blog!

Again, this week seemed very focused on wellbeing and mental health, which is quite nice because it’s something that is a constant thought in my mind and I like that my blog is reflecting that. If you have any blog posts that you have seen that you think I’d like, tweet me them over at @RetroSnowflake 

Why I Take Myself Out For A Cup of Tea.

I know, I know, this could have had a better title, “Why I take myself out for coffee” sounds snappy and simple. However, I don’t like coffee but for this one purpose, I wish I did 😉

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Anyway, back to the original point of this post. Today I’m talking about taking myself out for a cup of tea. I was one of those people who didn’t like to spend money on tea when I was out (unless I was with my Mum or a friend) because I seen it as a waste of money. Why spend £2 on a cup of tea when I can make something just as good at home for free? It makes sense right?

However, I’ve went through a few big life changes at the minute so I’m always looking for ways to distract myself and keep my mind busy. So you might be sitting here and asking the same question I once did, “So is there any difference between having a tea or coffee in a coffee shop or a friend’s, compared to just in your own place?” I can’t emphasise enough how different it is.

  1. New scenery: You’re not as comfortable as you would be at home, sure. You can’t just jump into your sweat pants and stick your feet up on the sofa, but once you get settled down, you create your own little comfort bubble almost.
  2. Friendly atmosphere: The coffee shop I go to is one of the nicest places I’ve been in. The staff are just so lovely and the general vibe of the cafe is very relaxed and homely; that’s something every coffee shop should aim for. You don’t feel like you’re taking up space either, I can sit for a few hours and order a few teas and I still feel as welcome as I did from the minute I walked in.
  3. Different distractions: I normally try and do something that I wouldn’t normally do at home. I take my colouring book and my pens with me (as you can see from the photographs!) because I know I can get engrossed in it there but at home, I might think I have to do something else. I also try and take a book with me in case I want a break from the colouring. I took my laptop with me last Saturday but I didn’t use it. My plan with the laptop is to use it to exclusively write blog posts on it and that’s it; I won’t be tempted by their free Wi-Fi! But if you’re not into any of that, you can people watch!

The only “con” is the cost. Yes, you pay for your tea and I use my bus card to get to the coffee shop and back. There aren’t a lot of coffee shops in my area so I go half way between my house and Belfast City Centre. The way I look at it is I do it once a week, I don’t over do it, I stick to a budget and I make sure I can afford it.

The most important reason for me is this, it’s improving my mental health. We all have our “better than most” days, our “okay” days and our really bad days. Getting out of the house when these sad moments happen makes me feel better some of the time (Not all of the time, sometimes it’s just easier to be on your own in the house and have  a cry with no-one around!)

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I know some people would be worried that if they went into a cafe on their own, everyone would notice. Trust me, they really don’t care. No-one is sitting there judging you for being on your own! You’ll probably find if they do see that you’re on your own, most of the time people will want to have your courage, because they themselves might find it nerve wrecking to do it on their own. You might just give them the courage to do it next time.

In conclusion, taking myself out on, what is essentially a tea date, is one of the best things I have done for myself lately. It’s given me time to think, it’s given me a nice distraction from other negative thoughts and it’s given me a reason to be excited to wake up and go out on a Saturday (That sounds sad I know, but it’s true).