Making Changes

Sunday, 5 January 2014

My word for 2014 is time.

Making time for things that I want to do, dedicating enough time to my work, finding time to relax, taking my time and not rushing through the day.

I could have had a whole host of words; calm, changes, positivity, brave, embrace, thrive but this year I want to focus on time.

I learnt a lot in 2013, I also changed a lot. And these changes haven't particularly come in my habits and routines but in my attitudes and the thoughts inside my head.

It's not something I have particularly talked about before, probably because it took a while to admit it to myself, but I have struggled with anxiety and stress for many years. I am a natural worrier and to me little things can become big problems very quickly. I could ruminate for hours, days, over something trivial that someone said or didn't say. I would worry about whether I had planned things well enough for the future. It could be little things like 'would I make my train and have time to get lunch and pop into a certain shop?' that would make me feel physically anxious, or it could be bigger things like 'where am I going to live next year? What if I never get it sorted before I have to move?' that just roll around in my mind. I also found that my anxiety began to increase in social situations and I could seem withdrawn when in groups. And sometimes I can still feel these worries, but that is normal.

I think what I found hardest was saying I had anxiety meant that I wasn't in control, and I hated not having control. So I decided to make a change. I decided that I didn't want to let my mind be in control and instead I wanted to be.

Since then I have taken a number of steps to help myself. I started to go to mindfulness mediation sessions which were put on several times a week by my university, and they are the best thing I have ever done. It teaches you how to take a step back from the busyness of life and the busyness of your own mind. It has taught me how to live in the now. Even though I only go once a week I have been able to apply this to areas all across my life. I feel calmer and more relaxed because of it. I would recommend it to anyone.
I have also been more open and have started to share how I feel with others. This was a big step for me but it has helped me to feel more comfortable and confident. I am lucky to have the family and friends around me that I do.

So back to my word. I want to give myself time to carry on with the changes that I have already made. This may mean taking a few moments each day just to breath and relax or it may be sitting down with a book to inspire me or maybe even taking up yoga as a way to focus. I want to take time to appreciate what I have now. Stop worrying about the things in the past that I cannot change and keep learning to just let things happen in the future.
I also think I might buy something as a little reminder to myself of how far I have come with the changes I have made and the journey I still have to go through. I love the simplicity of these bands and may get the 'Live In The Moment' or 'Breathe' quote.

I was inspired to write this post by a number of things. Firstly this post that Rosie wrote a few days ago which really struck a cord with me and I have already bought Eat, Pray, Love onto my kindle to read. And then I came across a post on Stephanie's blog which she had written as part of #making2014count and I decided to use one word rather than a list of things I want to achieve this year. You can find more details and get involved in the link up on Kelli's blog.
I would love to know if you have written a post like this or to hear about your journeys.


Is It 2014 Already?

Friday, 3 January 2014

I love new years, new beginnings. But at the same time I believe that if you want to make changes you can do them at any point in the year.
This year has been another big one for me, I think I will be saying that for the next few years as I have been for the past few as well! University is such a big change and life just doesn't stop, there is always something going on, always something to do. I have also done plenty with family and friends whenever I get the opportunity.
When I think back on 2013 I have some great memories; I went on a short family break to a lovely house up on Hadrian's Wall, I went to Wembley twice to see my football team play, I passed my first year of medical school and met some amazing people along the way, I went to Parklife with one of my best friends and had the most relaxed weekend ever, I attended a trial shoot to model for Asos and, although I haven't been back since, it was great experience,  I went on two amazing family holidays to the Outer Hebrides and Copenhagen, I volunteered at Leeds festival with my two best friends, I saw Vampire Weekend and The Fratellis live in Manchester and to top it all off I spent a wonderful Christmas and new year with all of my family.

Looking down Hadrian's Wall

My dad and I at Wembley (round 2!)

Sunny Parklife

Driving up to the Outer Hebrides

One of my mums snaps when I got back from the Asos shoot

My beautiful mum and I at christmas 

The traditional Christmas day walk!

I set myself 13 goals for 2013 this time last year and although I haven't 'completed' them all I feel very happy. Goals were just that, goals, and not something that I wanted to force myself to do over the year. Also things change as the year goes on and I actually decided that I didn't want to complete all of them. For instance for now I am happy just with the tattoo I have got and don't want to add any more just yet. Also, as much as I would have loved to have continued blogging all the way through the year I got so busy around exam time that it just wasn't possible. But this did allow me to complete my other goals of passing my first year, making time to see my family and keeping in touch with friends.
What I do wish I had had the opportunity to do is travel more. I definitely didn't manage to visit 20 new places and didn't road trip around the UK. However this year will be different! I have dates in my diary in summer for an interrail round Europe with my two best friends which I am so excited for. It would be great if anyone has been before to link me to posts or give me a few tips!

I have many more times to look forward to in 2014 but think I will write another blog post about what I want to achieve, although it is going to be a little different to last years post.


Yearly Book Round-up

Thursday, 2 January 2014

As I wrote about in my blogger book swap post I love reading, but often find that I don't have time to just relax with a book because I am so busy doing other things. So this year, after setting myself a reading challenge on Goodreads, I decided I was going to read at least 20 books.
I am the kind of person that, once I start a book, I will read the whole thing in a couple of days. I just cannot put a good book down! I also race through series because I need to know what is going to happen next! 

I am not going to review them individually, ain't nobody got time for that! But the ones I enjoyed most have probably got to be those by John Green. The Fault In Our Stars was my favourite of the ones I have read and I can't wait for it to be released in the cinemas next year. I hope it lives up to the standard of the book!

I got several books for Christmas including 1984 by George Orwell and Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami which I can't wait to read. Do check out Goodreads though to follow what I am reading and find great new books.