What I’ve been up to in August

What have been up to in August?

August flashed past, and now I feel quite “in between”. We escaped to Mykonos and Santorini at the start of the month (more information on our holiday and recommendations here). I miss swimming in the sea, but I’m also quite excited for the “back to school” season. Read on for what I’ve been up to this past month and for the brand new “action points” section at the end!

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After our Greek holiday, I had a bit of a breakdown on the 15th due to the pressure I put on myself. I decided to chillax a bit and ease up on my ambitious goals I set myself as well as some of the things I was forcing myself to do. For instance I’ve dropped the push-up and abs challenges that I was experiencing as a chore. I also was spreading myself too thinly among several projects. So I quit one of my freelancing “gigs” as I felt dipping in and out of a complex project once a week wasn’t doing anyone any favours.

Of course, my perfectionist/ambitious/optimistic urges have since crept back in… So it’s a constant mental effort to remember that slow and steady wins the race and that it’s okay to cut myself some slack. One thing that I have found soothing is writing “morning pages” more regularly. The idea is to write three pages of what is on your mind without censoring yourself… It sounds a bit strange to the uninitiated but it really does bring clarity, and more often than not, motivation to tackle the day!

The good news is I’m slowly getting healthier by being more active. Who would have thought that moving more would make you feel better eh? I’m cycling to the train station in the morning and back in the evening, as well as trying to incorporate more walking into my day in London (does anyone like the Bakerloo line?) and in Abingdon. I’m also doing a bit of yoga every Sunday: it’s amazing how a little pause to stretch and breathe makes your whole body feel yummy and refreshed!

Since the middle of the month I’ve been spending two days a week at the Tree Council. They are partners of The Open University, where I work as a research assistant. The idea is to create resources for teachers to encourage students to use Treezilla and learn more about trees. Maybe I should have known, but I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying it! So there you go, if you want school resources, I’m your lady…

Songs of the month

I challenge you to listen to this song and not be magicked into a good mood. I challenge you!

Another one I have been singing along to is the lovely theme song from the Gilmore Girls series:

Castle on the Hill makes me feel nostalgic in a weird way and sticks in my head… You’re welcome!

What I read

I finished The Hill of Kronos while in Santorini. The book offers a look into Greece’s recent(ish) history through the eyes of a British scholar. Like Great Expectations – that I read for the first time this year – it’s a slow starter, but it gets really good later on!

I’m currently reading A History of Ancient Greece (sense a theme?) and enjoying reflecting on our own “democracy” based on what we know of ancient Greece.

What I watched

Sahara – it was The Boyfriend’s turn to choose and I was pleasantly surprised! It isn’t exactly a film that will change your life, but it still an entertaining pick (not too violent, quite funny). Just FYI, all the black people seem to die, whereas most (if not all) of the white characters make it. Am I the only one who is a bit weirded out by this?

 

The Big Sick – my choice, we watched it at the cinema as the last part of a boba tea, café dinner and film date in Oxford. It fits the rom-com bill: both romantic and funny – I would recommend it as a date night option!

 

Game of Thrones – I found this season much more exciting (and less problematic) than the last one. Now that it’s over, I’m not sure what I’m going to create theories about for the next year…

Gilmore Girls – I’m very late to the game here, but definitely enjoying the first season of Rory and Lorelai’s adventures.

Goals

  • Disconnect and relax in Greece: no work, no emails, no newsfeeds – tick!
  • Look after myself: eight runs and three yoga sessions – close-ish: five runs and two yoga sessions
  • Launch new Redbubble collection – I decided to indefinitely postpone this one because of my overwhelm-induced anxiety episode at the middle of the month

Wins and accomplishments

  • Hiking from Fira to Oia
  • Sending off an evaluation report about my Treezilla work
  • Being more active: cycling to station and walking in London

Losses

  • Feeling tired / sleep-deprived
  • Dilly-dallying in the mornings
  • Not eating very healthily

Fixes

  • Get up and towards bed at 20:30
  • Have breakfast first thing in the morning then crack on!
  • Focusing on eating more fruit, veg and beans

Some of the things I’m grateful for

  • Relaxing in the evening (Game of Thrones, Zeus Master of Olympus, Gilmore Girls, Skype with parents)
  • Giving myself ambitious reading targets
  • Choosing to “eat the frog” in order to feel more relaxed later in the day
  • The Slow Home podcast about plastic waste
  • Being able to afford rent
  • Nice weather
  • Giving myself a sanity break regarding all the targets and goals I set myself
  • Catching the X3 bus
  • Wearing leggings on a cooler morning
  • Working from home
  • Work at the Tree Council going well
  • Buying a new notebook, with a commitment to continuing my morning pages
  • Editing photos and typing up the Santorini and Mykonos blog post
  • Scheduling exercise into my weekly calendar
  • Coming up with a social media strategy that works for me with Feedly [maybe more on that at a later date!]
  • Not rushing this morning
  • Doing some yoga
  • Having a healthy breakfast
  • Renewed optimism and drive regarding my personal projects
  • Playing The Sims yesterday [yes I’m that cool]
  • Sending off an evaluation report at work
  • Rob driving me to the station – made the train on time
  • My new affirmation: “stop rebelling against yourself”
  • A refreshing cycle to the train station
  • Having time in my life to experiment with different schedules
  • A slow morning that involves reading
  • Having plans for the day
  • Marks & Spencer gift cards that enable me to do a back to school shop
  • Rob’s love
  • Reading A History of Ancient Greece: it makes me reflect on today’s society and on how I could improve my writing
  • Prioritising what I have to do for success: go running and type up a blog post
  • Taking time to add local events to my calendar in order to “live” more
  • The beautiful roses Rob got me
  • All the goodies I ordered yesterday: lipsticks, drawing pad, books and shampoo

What have I been up to in August?

Action points

  1. Create a Feedly account – there are free and premium options – for more intentional screen time. Rather than scrolling aimlessly down your Facebook newsfeed, think of blogs you enjoy reading (hint hint) or topics you want to know more about, then add some sources to your Feedly. Want to work towards financial freedom for example? Try following blogs like Afford Anything or Youtube channels like Rich20Something. Curious about veganism? You could do worse than following No Meat Athlete or Antastesia.
    You can create different feeds to organise things by theme, so that you don’t read “entrepreneurship” content on the weekends for example. Basically, Feedly is a way of streamlining the digital clutter and getting information that is relevant to what you are trying to accomplish right now.
  2. Keep the summer going by booking a holiday! Or if you can’t afford that just yet, read a book that transports you to a sunny place. Please share your reading recommendations in the comments! Also, start putting your pennies in a jar – or a savings account – for your next holiday: it does add up!
  3. Ditch the things that bring you down or that you know deep down inside you shouldn’t be doing. Whether it’s a workout you pressure yourself to do but don’t enjoy or a difficult project without much of a payoff, you need to… Let it goooo!

To see what’s going on “behind the scenes” follow me on Instagram. And please use the comments below to share what you have been grateful for this past month too / what you have planned for the month ahead!

Jessica

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