Monday, 31 August 2015

August Favourites

August has been a very good month for me. There were no spells of depression so to speak. While I was anxious about certain aspects of my life, they didn't get me down. Here are the little things that made a big impact on my mental health this month. 

Going to Dublin Zoo, eating ice cream, and generally enjoying the sunshine and good moods. It was an amazing day out and I have so many beautiful pictures of the adventure. This one is my favourite photos!

Treating myself and my little sister to hot chocolate in Costa was a nice treat. I love being able to spoil the little one. 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

How to Summer List | A Re-do

At some point after my 'How to Summer' post and filling in the list, I misplaced the sheet. In the midst of my move it got lost among other papers and folders. At the very end of July, with just four weeks of summer left, I found it hiding in my craft box. And I felt a little heartbroken.

I started ticking off what I had achieved. Which seemed like very little. Sure I'd finished two of the bulky books that made my list. I'd Staycation-ed it up in Donegal. I'd gone to see two of my favourite bands.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Love, No Matter What

Netflix have a whole lot of TEDTalks on their site at the minute. One I stumbled across was a TEDTalks series about learning to love both yourself and others.

With my ongoing August Ambition, this was exactly what I needed! There are 7 speakers with 7 different talks ranging from 5 mins to 25 mins in length.

Do you want to feel inspired? Well, here are my favourites for you to have a look at.

Andrew Solomon: Love, No Matter What

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

How to Improve your Confidence

Yesterday I was plagued with self-doubt. I felt like a failure in my job, my blog, my friendships. With a bit of help from my friends I was able to pick myself up yesterday evening and feel more confident in my abilities. 

When your confidence takes a knock, it can be hard to pick yourself back up. Especially when you have low self confidence to begin with. But there are 'cheats'; little ways to work on improving your confidence everyday. I know I need to follow such rules and build my confidence, and hopefully eradicate some of my self doubt.

Here are my tips for improving your confidence:
Change your body language

Monday, 24 August 2015

Summer Reading List

I had one BIG goal this summer. Living without a television and wifi, I wanted to read. And read a lot. I went to a local parish fete and returned with 12 books. They were to be the start of my summer of books. 
So, here's what I've been reading all summer:

Tina Fey's 'Bossypants' is funny, insightful and empowering. It's the book every female comedian wants to write, but only Amy Poehler has come close to reaching it.
Online reviews called it 'The Catcher in the Rye', or a new generation. Of course, I only read the reviews after finishing the book. All I had to go on was the title, which I strangely took to mean the book wasn't actually about suicide. Boy was I wrong. But it's a chilling coming of age story.
I like the BCC sitcom Miranda. But I still don't believe real life Miranda was in all of those situations in actual real life. The book reads as if it was forced. It's not funny. And I left thinking, 'Yes, it is just you.'

The first book I started this summer was a fabulous biography of Shakespeare. As so little is actually known about Shakespeare, half of the book is dedicated to quashing theories of his life and existence. It's a lesson in what history should be - the truth.
I've been going through a True Crime obsession. What better way to learn about the genre than to read what Capote claimed was the first True Crime book? Sadly, his storytelling ability falls a little short of the mark (I know, I know, who am I to criticise Capote). But when I couldn't read more than 6 pages in one go without getting bored, there's a problem.

I'd seen the movie many years ago, but even though my memory of that is sketchy, I know it doesn't come close to competing with the book. To think Trainspotting was the first novel from Irvine Welsh is phenomenal. To think it's still as ground breaking today as it was when it was first published is even more so.

Written under a pseudonym to protect her privacy, this real life sociopath wants you to know what it's like to be psychologically assessed and classified as a Sociopath. But her clinical detachment rings true, and it's difficult to feel any connection to the narrator and her story.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Day Out at the Zoo | Perks of Being a Big Sister

There are many perks to being a big sister. One of which is that you can treat your little sisters. Another one, is that you may be mistaken as your little sister's 'Mam'. But more on that another time. 

Earlier this month I took the little one on a day out to Dublin Zoo. I hadn't been in at least 7 years, and in that time, Dublin Zoo has radically changed. The African Plains now bring the giraffes as close to you as Fota Wildlife Park does. The gorillas have their own island. The sea lions can be seen from underwater. 
The changes are positive; increasing the animal's spaces and recreating their natural habitats as much as possible.

And some things never change - the meerkats, tapirs, and orangutan's were exactly where I remembered them, and my favourite silverback gorilla was still roaming around.  

As historians, we were both really interested in the History of Dublin Zoo signs that were scattered around the site. They brought some context to the evolution of zoos in the 1800s, and displayed just how much animal welfare has changed in the last 50 years. (See, chimpanzee tea parties, elephant rides for kids, and a bear pit).

4 hours of our Saturday were spent eating ice cream, finding our favourite animals, watching the chimps feeding, and deciding what to purchase from the gift shop.

Here's our photo album:

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Adult Colouring Books

It's a trend you can't avoid. Non-children have been reaching to the colouring pencils and markers faster than you can say 'New Popular Mindfulness Trend.' And yes, I did just call them 'non-children'. 

I'm not usually one for jumping onto bandwagons. Unless of course the bandwagon will make me more Hipster. I've always wanted to be a Hipster... 

But back in April I was volunteering at the Chester Beatty Library. Anyone who's been there knows they not only tell you the history of the world through the history of books, but they also have pretty little postcards for the children to colour in. Or, in my case, for me to take home and talk about how big of a child I am for enjoying colouring in. 
So, seen as colouring in is actually something I do really enjoy, I'm delighted that it's now become fashionable for grown-up non-children to do it. They have even invented 'Adult Colouring Books' so that you won't feel embarrassed carrying around an A-4, Disney Princess, clearly marked for kids book. And of course, they can charge you so much more for stylish adult colouring books.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

My Stress Busting Tips

Work's been a little bit stressful lately. Not in a bad way. More in an I'm really busy way and don't get time for a breather.

I've also figured out that I stress myself out for no real reason. Put it like this, if I ever randomly bump into someone in town, I won't have time to stop. I run to a schedule. I always have some place to be. Even if it is just 'BACK HOME AT 6;15PM TO PUT YOUR FIRST LOAD OF LAUNDRY ON.' I can categorically say I am stressed.

 Which isn't good. Stress is really harmful to your body.
Source Look at all the harmful things you do to yourself!

So I want to share my mid-week de-stressing tips to help you beat the stressful blues!

Monday, 17 August 2015

The Mindful Morning

I love free printables. The only thing I love more, is free mental health related printables.

The Mindful Morning blog offers a weekly planner to help you prioritise self care every day. By signing up to the newsletter, you get this free sheet sent to your email.

The sheet allows you to select three areas of your life you want to work on that week. Centering your week around personal growth goals is not something I've ever done - and as a result I often find it difficult to see the bigger picture.

Last week, I gave the to-do list a try to see if it helped me to bring mindfulness into my daily routine.

At first it was motivating. I selected the three areas I wanted to work on. Monday and Tuesday got off to a good self care start.
But I found the things I wanted to work on too broad. And I was afraid of repetition in the lists of what I wanted to do for myself each day. I wanted to make the extra effort to read, but writing 'read' every day seemed silly.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Small Stuff

I agonize the small stuff.

Work myself up. Focus on what could go wrong.

I had a phone call to make in work. I hate phone calls. No, that’s not strictly true. I don’t mind phone calls. But they do stress me out. It’s the importance of them. The fact that others can hear your conversation; even if only one way. I start to sweat. I burn up. I anticipate the worst....

*Stop panicking Zoe*

*Stop panicking*
After 10 minutes of putting it off I eventually picked up the phone. I dialled. I sorted out the problem with two phone calls in 4 minutes. I could have saved myself all that panic...

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Anxious Girl's Guide to Dating

One of the realest grown up challenges I'm facing is dating. Like, how does this happen in the real world? Is it possible to meet someone on the commute to work? Should I give Tinder another go? (The answer to that last question at least is no.)

All of the pressure of being 23 and single despite my life plans to have been engaged by now (I can confirm these life plans have changed dramatically thanks to some common sense, being fabulous as I am and usually happy with singledom), sometimes gets to me. Like, when you just want a cuddle. Or someone to buy you flowers just because. All of this culminated in the below Tweet.

Not even my friends took my plea seriously. As evident by the lack of RTs.

But then I was emailed by Hattie Cooper (click on her name and check out her blog!) who has a little self help book out called 'The Anxious Girl's Guide to Dating'. And I thought, 'what perfect timing in the midst of my quarter life crisis!' You see, like Hattie I have anxiety. Thankfully, it doesn't impact on all aspects of my life and mainly centres around social anxiety. However, social anxiety is like the opposite of 'not extreme' when it comes to dating. So I gave the book a read just to see what little things I can do to improve my social interactions as a whole. And it ties in with my August Ambition to read more self help books! 

"There was a small part of me that took pride in not “needing” to be in a relationship. But there was an even smaller, softer, yet somehow louder part of me that often marched up to me in the middle of the night and shouted that I wanted to share my life with someone.  I wanted to talk with someone about my day."

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Blogging Journey

It makes me feel quite special to have over 25,000 visits to my little blog. I just reached that milestone this week, and wanted to make a Thank You post to all of my readers.

Because Business Cards make me feel like a proper blogger.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me, supported the cause, over the past year. I've met amazing people along the way, many of whom are fellow bloggers. They, in particular made me feel more confident about my blog and inspired me to keep writing. I've been contacted by old friends, current friends, acquaintances, strangers who all reached out to me over posts.

It's been an interesting year to say the least. At times it felt as if my whole world was changing, and the blog was my anchor keeping me focused and steady amidst wave after wave of change.

Monday, 10 August 2015

My Thankful List

As part of my August Ambition, I want to practice being more thankful for the little things that make a difference in life.

Here's everything I feel thankful for today:

- Waking up to sunshine

- Getting a seat on the Luas

- How my 52 Blue blog post touched people

- My work colleagues asking me about my weekend

- Having a nail file in my bag when my nail chipped

- Having a busy week to look forward to

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Myth of 52 Blue | And Our Own Loneliness

If you're like me, you crave stories and articles that teach you, that show you something new and different. I stumbled across a story the other week that does this.
Although I'd heard the story of 52 Blue before, it wasn't until last week that I considered it something worth sharing.

For those of you who haven't heard it, or considering the countless re-telling of the story, don't know the full myth, here it is.
52 Blue is a whale of unidentified species who calls out at the very unusual frequency of 52 Hertz (Hz).

His (because it is presumed to be a male for reasons I shall explain below) call was first detected in 1989, then again in 1990 and 1991, and then spotted every year until 2004. What's so unusual is that the noises this whale makes are of a much higher frequency than that of any other whale species. They're solitary. They're lonely.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Penneys Haul

I cannot resist Penneys/Primark! Not only is everything super affordable, but they've really upped their game lately with their fandom based products and their home section. So I decided to treat myself with some little indulgences and decor to brighten up my room.

Here's what I bought...

How could I resist this bargain?
Pack of 2 Marvel Notebooks €2.50

Be Mindful | Online Mindfulness Course

Part of my Mindfulness Online Series.

Mindfulness is an ever growing phenomenon. As more and more people look to mindfulness for help, answers or just for relief, it's important to learn the practice from trusted and reliable sources.

The UK's Mental Health Foundation is just one of these sources. I've been using their website for the past three years for high standard information, explanations, as well as their array of free publications. They've been of great help to me particularly when I was involved in mental health education and outreach in college. One such publication, is on Mindfulness.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Donegal Staycation

Y'all know what a staycation is, right? It's like a vacation, except you don't leave the country. And it suits me down to the ground. I love Ireland, and I think we Irish often under-appreciate how beautiful and historically rich our country is. As a kid, we only ventured outside Ireland for holidays twice. Once, to Manchester to attend a wedding. And the second time was a Halloween trip to Paris, and a bit of Disneyland thrown in too.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

August Ambition

In my July Favourites post I mentioned that I intend to take action this month in order to be better able to protect myself. It all sounds a bit wordy. Because I hadn't exactly decided what this was or what it meant when I wrote it.

Here’s the thing, I’ve had a fairly easy Summer. Yes, there have been highs and lows, but I’ve managed.

But I’m anxious about what will happen after the Summer. Some post-summer blues if you will.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Tag

Ooh, hello there! Have you been enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend? Apart from the miserable August weather, I have been. Sitting by an open fire, reading, reading and more reading. Who would have thought the last month of the summer would start with a fire? It has been totally relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable to be lost in a good book!

But I'm back to blogging with the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers tag.
Catherine at Silver Linings blog nominated me, and I was delighted for the following reasons - 1) I love Catherine, she's always been super friendly, 2) I also love her blog and 3) Tags are so much fun. You can check out her blog here!