Kick Starting Motivation (When All Seems Lost!)

Kick Starting Motivation (When All Seems Lost!)

Recently I have found myself struggling with motivation. Motivation for a lot of things; to get out of bed, to write, to go to work, to do the things I enjoy and to learn spanish just to name a few. I don’t know what it is, is it the weather? It’s been rainy and miserable here in England the past few days which we all know can effect our moods and motivation. Sometimes I feel like I’m just being lazy, or I just need an energy boost but those things are not always easy to fix either and I decided to embark on a mission to kick start my motivation (but how do I get the motivation to do that?!).

1) A Big Ol’ Cup of Caffeine.

This one probably seems obvious; caffeine to boost the energy levels! We all know that caffeine phsycally effects our biology to make us more alert, however for me I think that psychologically it helps too, almost like a placebo. I know that drinking this mug of coffee should make me feel more awake, so just the smell and taste of coffee now makes me immediately feel more alert. I know that’s just in my head but hey, if it helps! Also, a cup of something warm feels comforting. If coffee isn’t your thing, teas, hot chocolate or any other warm beverage you fancy may do the trick here!

2) A Walk.

We’ve all heard the advice that physical exercise can improve our mood and make us more productive. ‘Blowing away the cobwebs’ has been written about in this way for years, and that’s for a reason. Increasing the heart rate and getting our blood pumping more effectively around the body is bound to give us more energy. Not only that but there’s a lot to be said for a solitary walk to bring about inspiration or just give yourself some time to think. No matter the weather a walk can be beneficial, maybe more so if it’s a rainy, blustery day!

3) Setting Up Your Workspace

Even if I feel the least in-the-mood to work possible, setting up my workspace moves me closer to the real deal. Opening the laptop, getting out notepads and making your space comfortable will move you closer to sitting in the chair and getting stuck in. I find spraying some room spray/lighting a candle/plugging in an essential oil diffuser can also work wonders. Peppermint essentiasl oil can be used for mental focus and to get you feeling more awake.

4) Write Things Down

Writing lists is a technique that has been used by many people for years as a way to kickstart motivation and get things done. I like to start my lists off with simple things such as “make a cup of coffee” that I can easily check off and feel like I’m getting things done! The main idea is just to get the ball rolling so I can move on to the more important things of my day. Writing my list of things to do also helps clear my head and make room in there to think more openly, and it makes everything seem a bit less overwhelming. If it’s on paper it doesn’t need to be in your head!

However, despite everything, some days just aren’t productive days, and that’s okay! We can’t always force ourselves into work-mode as much as we try and sometimes trying to will have the opposite effect. It’s important to recognise when its just not happening and let it go. After all, everything is only temporary.

We Are All Stardust

We Are All Stardust

“I’m nothing more than recycled stardust and borrowed energy, born from a rock, spinning in the aether,”

“Nothing is real, love is everything, and I know nothing,”
Kesha, Spaceship

I find this lyric strangely comforting. The first time I heard it I got goosebumps and felt kind of tearful. I think it’s for the same reason I find looking up at the sky at night comforting too; the undeniable realisation that I am but a tiny, minuscule dot in the narrative of the universe. I don’t mean that in a depressing ‘I am nothing’ way, more in the sense that in the grand scheme of everything, the day to day decisions that I make don’t matter at all. I spend so much time agonising whether I’m doing the right thing, “what am I doing with my life,” etc, when really it doesn’t matter. We’re here for such a short time that all that really matters is that we are happy.

I’ve watched a couple of Ted Talks recently about the subject of us being made from stardust, and each one has made me feel different. One particularly good one is by Dr Natalie Hinkel. She talks about how crazy it is that we are here, that we are a ‘mathematical anomaly’. She explains that so many things had to happen just as they did in order for us to be here now, doing what we are doing in this moment.

I’m not going to pretend that I understand all the science regarding the universe and how we got to where we are, the main point is that we are here. Here I am, writing this, sat in a coffee shop with about 30 other people, all with different complex lives and relationships and troubles. I don’t know them, and they don’t know me, but we are all essentially the same; confused jumbles of emotions and love and thoughts squeezed together in these remarkable bodies made from stardust.


Too materialistic

Too materialistic

I’m trying to figure out the difference between what is really important and things that aren’t, yet I give them a lot of undue importance. Although I think in the society we live in now it’s very easy and encouraged to give importance to things that don’t need it; such as material objects (what clothes we wear, our phone, how our lives are perceived by others online). It’s so easy to judge others by how much they are obsessed with material objects and others perceptions of themselves, whilst simultaneously doing it ourselves, although on (what we perceive to be) a lesser level. I might say I don’t care what others think of me, but then go on to choose the ‘best’ selfie or photo to upload to Instagram, and spend time thinking of what caption to put with it. Surely if I truly didn’t care what others thought of me I wouldn’t even upload to Instagram?

I recently read Derren Brown’s book ‘Happy’ and found a thought experiment within it by William B. Irvine. Irvine describes a situation where you wake up, and there is no one else on the planet (from what you can tell). However everything (houses, shops etc) is exactly how it was left the day before; electricity still works, cars are left where they were parked. Pretty much it’s just like the world we are in now, just you are the only person. He acknowledges that we would of course be lonely, however for the sake of this experiment we are to ignore the emotional aspect and only think about the material. We can live in whichever house we want, drive whichever car, have all the latest gadgets, fashionable clothes etc. What would we do? We might take advantage of this for a while, and maybe enjoy all these luxuries, however eventually all of these material objects will lose their meaning if there was no one else around. The interesting question is, without other people would we even want all these material things? What’s the point in driving a fancy car if there’s no one to show off to? We’d likely lose all interest in our physical appearance and only have the necessities to live (a small, manageable house, warm clothes).

I found this thought experiment extremely thought provoking. I think most of what I do is for the benefit of others more than myself, or to benefit myself because of what I want others to think of me. I would like to try living more mindful of this but I’m not really sure where to start. I think I must begin with researching this school of thought more in depth and remembering this thought experiment from time to time, so that’s what I’ll be doing. I’m in charge of what I give importance to.


When you find yourself blankly staring at a wall…

When you find yourself blankly staring at a wall…

I’m hoping I’m not alone in this, but do you ever just find yourself sitting down and staring at nothing, thinking nothing? Those times where you think “Hmm maybe I should get dressed and go outside,” but it takes you hours to get there?

This morning was one of those mornings. It took me, what felt like, forever to get in the shower, to get dressed and out of my towel, to actually get out the house because I knew being sat inside was only going to make me feel worse. I kept meaning to get a move on, but then I would sit down next to the heater and get lost inside my head again.

Sometimes certain events seem to cause this sudden state, but sometimes I don’t even know why I’m feeling that way; I then feel bad for feeling this way, which only serves to make it worse.

I don’t want to dwell in this mood anymore, it’s taken half this day away from me and I’m ready to leave it behind. Granted,  much easier said than done, but acknowledging that I’m feeling this way and knowing that it doesn’t have to last forever is a step in the right direction. I’m here, writing this post, drinking this coffee and I’m ready to start my day again.

I want to leave this on a positive note, which I will because I know I will turn my day around today. I’m going to take some time for myself, enjoy this coffee and do the things I know make me feel better; starting by changing this depressing music I’m listening to, to some Lady Gaga. I have lists, in countless notebooks, of things that make me happy so when ‘staring at the wall’ days roll around I’m armed with resources to fight back. Even though it can be so tempting to ignore them all and stay in my pyjamas, I know that for me that’s going to 100% make me feel worse, so screw that! I’m already feeling more myself with this new music, it’s amazing the difference that little things can make! Rather than thinking of all the big things I could do, which feel all too overwhelming right now, I’m going to keep focussing on the little tiny things, like little building blocks, that slowly but surely build me back up.

We’re allowed to have bad days, it makes us human, but learning how to deal with them is invaluable.
Goodbye wall!

Broken Camera Lens Teaching Me Life Lessons.

Broken Camera Lens Teaching Me Life Lessons.

I just dropped my camera. In fact I dropped my whole bag but the only thing that seemed to be effected was my camera. The newest addition to the camera lens family must’ve hit the ground at just the right angle, and as I picked up my camera I heard the dreaded tinkling of broken glass. Rushing inside I pried open the smushed in lens cap and saw what I’d suspected; the lens was history.

The tears came, I panicked, I got angry at myself, I texted a million apologies to my boyfriend (A); I imagined him getting super upset with me (he brought the lens and we share it), and thought of all the pictures I could no longer take with this lens. I scolded myself for not using my (more protective) camera bag, and for being so clumsy. “Why am I like this?,” I asked myself over and over, “I’m such a rubbish person,” my thoughts spiralled and I just felt worse and worse.

Until A replied, and he said “Don’t worry at all!! Don’t be silly, please don’t worry!,”. His lighthearted response shocked my mind to be quiet for a bit..he really didn’t think it was a big deal? Was I being ridiculous and over-reacting?

Now I’m rereading the top of this post again “In fact I dropped my whole bag but the only thing that seemed to be effected was my camera,”. In this bag I had my phone (which recently had its screen replaced..notice a pattern?), my iPad, wireless keyboard, and my camera. The ONLY thing that was damaged was the lens, everything else survived! I’ve always been a glass-half-empty type of gal, and when things go wrong find it easier to take it out on myself rather than look at the positives and feel grateful for what I do have. Rather than feel dismayed that my lens was broken, I could feel lucky that everything else was okay, and that I have other lenses I can use! I’m so grateful that my phone screen wasn’t smashed up again (cannot afford the ridiculous price for it to be replaced once more!), and my iPad is still functioning.

Camera lenses can be replaced, yes they’re expensive but I also have others I can use in the meantime. Objects only hold the meaning we put on them, and I’m choosing to let this one go. In fact, thank you camera lens for breaking and helping me learn to stop reacting to situations the way I do; it won’t happen overnight but the more I practice the easier it will get. This will not ruin my day, this will only serve me good feelings, of gratitude and thanks.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters,”-Epictetus

2018 Resolutions.

2018 Resolutions.

I’ve always liked the idea of New Years resolutions, even though I’m not usually one to actually stick to them! I think it’s the thought of a New Year being such a good time to make some changes (even though really these changes can be made anywhen). As 2017 comes to its close I find myself inadvertently thinking of what I want for next year, however I also realise that I never thought I’d be where I am now at the end of last year.

I have some goals in mind for next year, some the same as last year, some new ideas. I thought maybe writing them here would help me actually stick to them this year, knowing this is on the internet for people to see!

So, in no particular order:

  • SPANISH. Keep learning, no excuses. Be at a comfortable conversational level.
  • Continue along my vegan journey.
  • Notice and be grateful for the small things.
  • Keep photographing what I love.
  • Keep positive, don’t sweat the small stuff, and KYCU*

However, I also think it’s important to keep in mind that life does sometimes get in the way and as much as I didn’t expect to be where I am now last year, this time next year I’m likely to be thinking the same thing. It’s good to have an idea of where we want to be in a years time, but we musn’t let it drag us down when things don’t go to plan. Everything in life adds to the journey, and as long as we continue to learn, we continue to grow. We’re all only stardust anyway!

*Keep your chin up

You are not defined by your job.

You are not defined by your job.

Let’s stop defining a person by their job.
A person is so much more than what they do to pay their bills.
The first thing we ask people when we meet them is “so what do you do?,”. It’s understandable as it’s an easy ice-breaker and a way of getting to know somebody; however it can also leave people panicking, trying to justify their current job situation to a stranger or new acquaintance whilst simultaneously thinking that the person they’re talking to will judge them on this and will not think very highly of them. Just me? Coming from a fairly well respected job, to finding myself unsure of my job status has caused me so much worry about what I will tell people when the time comes. I even find myself justifying my current situation to myself!

Just because someone’s job isn’t thought of as “super important”, it doesn’t mean it isn’t nor does it in any way reflect who they are as a person. Every job is important. Every single one. Who got up super early to serve you your coffee this morning? Who makes sure you had a brilliant experience dining out with your loved ones, whilst sacrificing their weekend with theirs? Who served you that drink on a Friday evening after a long week and listened to you drunkenly moan all evening for minimum wage?

Someone could be in a minimum wage ‘dead end’ job, but be fluent in a few different languages, travelled the world or just be an absolute ray of positive light! Not everyone has to be career driven, as long as you have enough to keep a roof over your head and food on your table, IT DOES NOT MATTER!

As I’m writing this post, I’m sitting in a popular coffee chain and cant help overhearing the baristas discussing how people always ask them “so what else do you do?,” referring to studying etc, and how annoying it is that people presume that working full time from morning to evening in a coffee shop just can’t be all they do! I cant help but smile to myself as I type away on this post; I’m not alone in this.

My job caused me such high anxiety I was in a constant miserable mood, my relationship was suffering and I felt like a ball of negativity. I felt like crying when my alarm sounded each morning, and was panicking about work on my days off. I started experiencing panic attacks, something I’d never had before, and just knew I couldn’t continue. Finally getting the ovaries to leave this job felt like a massive weight had been lifted, and my universe began to shift. I still may not know what I want to do, but I know I’m in a much better position than I was. Your mental health is so much more important than any job.

So next time someone asks “so what do you do?,” take a deep breath, and remember whatever your answer is, it doesn’t define who you are. (Unless you’re a hitman, in which case I take it back).