So another month has passed (how!?) and we’re now entering May.
May is one of my favourite months, because usually we’ve got past the crazy weather and it’s a little bit warmer, people seem to be making more plans, and spring is most definitely in the air. As I did last month, I’m going to have one post covering my April #MyMonthlyMemories/review, and my goals and plans for May. This time I’m splitting the post up into April reflection and May plans.
Oh April, you really were a roller-coaster! I spent the first week of April trying to get more organised and put all my ‘ducks in a row’ ready for starting the Fastlaners course in Manchester. I began a bullet journal, which I’ve been exploring over the month, and also started waking up at 7.15 in preparation for the early starts to get in on time!
I’ve made some great breakthroughs in being more productive. From following points from The Miracle Morning to starting my own bullet journal, I think I’m slowly getting into a better space in terms of working and getting things done. Waking up early has been a total life-changer, and I don’t say that lightly. As somebody who loves bed, and will do almost anything to spend more time there, forcing myself to get up at 7 am (or earlier!) every morning really sets me up for the day ahead. Alongside this I’ve been using the Headspace app to do some mindfulness/meditation each morning, and a few other things. I’ll write a post with more details about my developing morning routine this month, so if you’re interested watch out for that – I’ll link it back here once it’s live!
I’ve still not got a ‘proper’ job, though I’ve been doing a bit of freelance work for a friend of a friend (mental health and other things have sort of got in the way but getting there). I’ve also had an amazing time on the Fastlaners course – an employability course which combines workshops, guest panels and speakers, networking, and mentoring. It’s run by the amazing people over at UpRising and I’m writing a blog for them sharing my experiences on the 2 week training element of the course. Again I’ll update with a link here once it’s posted on their website 🙂 Through the training I’ve gained so much more confidence, insight into my own hopes, dreams, values, and skills, and also made some great friends. I feel like I’m a lot closer to getting the next step in my career, and have a few things in the pipeline which I will talk about soon.
During April I went on a bit of a journey in terms of mental well-being. Whilst I was on the Fastlaners course I felt so energised, motivated, and fired up to achieve amazing things. I was busy, happy, and getting up every morning and following a morning routine (more or less) which set me up for the day ahead. It was an intense, but really great two weeks, I was honestly in my element. The rest of the group were all lovely, the trainers (especially Danielle) were fantastic, and the guest speakers were inspiring and really informative.
This past week I’ve hit a bit of a slump. I tried my best to keep the momentum going, but I felt worn out. I tried to follow my bedtime and morning routine, but I’ve found myself slipping back into bad habits of staying up late and waking up late. With nothing forcing me to get up, I guess the call of bed is just too strong. A couple of days ago I hit a real low point. I’d been feeling a bit overwhelmed and lost since Fastlaners ended, and it finally came to a head when I was writing my last blog post. I’d not been taking my own advice. After a hectic few weeks, I was feeling low but wasn’t acknowledging it or doing anything constructive to help myself. It’s made me realise that sometimes I am my own undoing when left to my thoughts and feelings. If I’m busy I usually manage to focus on the positives, and use the energy to channel into my other projects. But when I don’t have a structure to my days, I can really easily get distracted, which leads to procrastination, then feeling annoyed and ashamed at myself for not being productive, which in turn leads to a mini existential panic.
The antidote them is to keep busy which shouldn’t be too difficult. Just getting a change of scene and doing something productive leads to more productivity. On that note I’ve been really bad at doing my yoga, which I think will help set me up for the day, and break my day up a bit too. I have been meditating using the Headspace app though – which has really helped to anchor my morning routine, and means that no matter what else happens in the day I’ve achieved something little first thing. More info on that coming soon! 🙂
The only reason I’ve split this up from well-being is that I didn’t want it to get too long a section talking about so many different areas! In terms of doing fun things and stretching myself personally, again Fastlaners was really valuable. I’ve made a few friends on the course who are really great people, that I feel I can talk to about stuff, and also have fun with. Last Tuesday I met up with a couple of them for a few drinks and some food, which was really nice as we were all adjusting to not seeing the group every day any more!
I also took part in a few more Twitter chats, the Girl Gang Twitter chat is my absolute fave – full of some amazing bloggers who all seem like lovely people too! It’s every Monday 6-7pm over on @TheGirlGangHQ on Twitter if you’re interested – use #thegirlgang!
Still yet to join the poetry society, but might go along to the next meeting. We’ll see how it goes, I’m not sure what the ‘scene’ up here is like for poetry/creative writing and I’m quite nervous to go on my own!
Again I’ve not written as many blog posts as I’d have liked in April, and I also totally fell off the grid in terms of vlogging. I’m determined to step it up in May, and am putting it as a priority though! I did manage to get accepted on the awesome John’s Road To Volunteering blogging team – which is very exciting! I’ll be writing about my own journey with volunteering, how it can benefit young people in terms of personal development/mental well-being etc, and anything else interesting I can think of that John allows me to write!
I’ve been trying to work on my novel a bit more in April, and whilst it’s not been earth-shattering progress I’ve written a bit more, and feel like I’m getting to know my characters a bit better too. Watch this space for more info on that later in the year!
Last Words on April
April was the best month so far this year, with some great opportunities and inspirations happening. I’ve met some great people, both personally and professionally, and feel like things are slowly slowly starting to look up. Whilst I hit a bit of a snag towards the end of the month, I think I’ve learnt even more how to deal with that, and what helps me get out of it too. If I had to sum up April in a sentence: Grab opportunities, reach out to people, be brave enough to go for it, and take time to relax!
Well this has become a very long post, so I’ll be brief with my May goals!
Stick to my morning wake-up and continue to hone my routine. Keep tracking stuff in my Bullet Journal to get an overview of what’s going well and what to improve on. I also want to try out a few different routines/productivity hacks from bloggers and authors.
I’ve just started properly using Trello* – which is an online organisation/project management tool. It’s so great, I love the design and functionality of it, and the fact that you can stick pretty much everything in there and get reminders/alarms etc too!
*If you click this link and sign up to Trello I’ll get a free month of Trello Gold – which comes with extra backgrounds and stickers. It’s nothing terribly fancy, but just to let you know it is a referral link! 🙂
I’m finally feeling a bit more like I’ve got a direction to go in, and also some connections up here in the North West. Whilst I haven’t secured a job yet, I’m optimistic for May and will be grabbing as many opportunities as I can, and networking my little heart out to find the perfect role! I’m currently in talks with some people about finding funding to do a project which has been a dream of mine for several years, but that’s still in the early stages. I’ve already got some meetings lined up for this month so I’m confident something will come up soon!
I’m continuing my Headspace journey, thanks in no small part to an amazing friend who sent me a code which I could use to sign up for a year. It’s been a great resource for me so far, and I think it will continue to help me be more present, and deal with some of my anxieties and emotions better too. The past couple of days I’ve made an effort to ease up on myself a little in terms of what I expect from myself for the day. Whilst it’s good to be busy, when I try to make myself busy by putting twenty things on my to-do list I just get overwhelmed and shut down a little bit. So I’m learning to be more realistic and flexible with myself and my own expectations. In May I will try to plan my things out evenly across the month, instead of giving myself loads to do in one day because I’ve left it for so long.
I’ve got pretty much no budget left for fun (which is a little depressing) but I’m determined to meet up with people where possible. I also am making a goal of having at least 1 phone call/Skype with a friend each week, in order to have a proper catch up and keep connected with some of my favourite people who I don’t get to see very much. When I cut myself off totally I get miserable, and when I’m around good people I’m more motivated and inspired. On the other side of the coin I’m also going to make a point of having quality time with myself. It’s all well and good to zone out in front of a cat video and then two hours later call it ‘me-time’ but I have given myself a list of things I want to do/read/watch that I think will genuinely enrich my life. I’m feeling a personal development post in the works….
Blogging at least twice a week will be a win for me. I’m also due to write a few different guest posts for other blogs, which I’m pretty excited about! I’ll be Tweeting/posting about each when they go up! I also want to take part in #MHW2K16 – Mental Health Week run by the amazing Vlogger Like Kristen who is on a mission to raise awareness of Mental Health and bust the stigma around it. Unfortunately the internet is broken at our flat again (sob/scream) so I’m going to have to stick to little phone videos/Instagram posts for the time being…. But a new way to use Instagram – which I’m very excited about! Check out my Instagram page and also the #MHW2K16 tag on most social media for more 😀
May, get ready because I’m coming for you – and I’m not taking any prisoners!
What are your goals for May? Let me know in the comments below!
Have a great week,