Lockdown | A Day In My Life In 10 photos

As we each learn to adapt to our “new normal”, I thought I’d share with you my newest day to day routine that I have adopted over the last 8 weeks. Although life has become a lot more remote, in many ways I am a lot more connected to my friends and family; something so important to keep us going and staying positive during lockdown. Today I am sharing with you just some of the things that I get up to in a “typical” day in just 10 photos.

1. Morning Routine

I am lucky that my job allows me to continue to work from home.  I still “begin” my work day at 8:00 AM, but take advantage of the extra sleep, waking up between 7:00 – 7:45 AM (typically the latter), rather than my usual 6:30 AM wake-up call. After this extra lie in, I often shower first thing in the morning to help get my day started.

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2. I always make sure I change into clothes that aren’t pyjamas, particularly as a lot of my day is spent on video calls. Some days I choose jeans so that I am more in “work mode” (or just sensor checking these still fit),  but I mostly like to keep it comfy with either a pair of joggers or some activewear.

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3. A staple in my morning routine is to keep my skin moisturized, even on make-up free days. Here are some of my most used products with those extra items that help give me a glow!

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4. Working Hours

Fortunately I have a desk in my room which looks out onto a window, meaning I get a lot of natural daylight helping keep the blues at bay.  This is where you would find me and my typical WFH set up!

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4. Next of course, tea – and lots of it!

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5.  Daily walks; I go for a walk every day for around 30 – 60 minutes either on my lunch break or after work. If I don’t have any company I love to walk around my local village listening to a podcast or video calling my boyfriend.

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6. Post Work

Exercise! I began a workout series in the new year and somehow have stuck to it. The first 4-6 weeks, I exercised 3 times a week. Today marks my 16th week and I’m so happy to say I’ve been managing exercising 5 days a week, on top of the walks. These exercises consists of a mixture of Pilates, HIIT, weights and the occasional run here and there.

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7. One thing that I always vowed to do more of when I was commuting to work, was making the conscious effort to be creative. Now that I have those 2 hours a day back in my life, I am utilizing them. Whether it’s editing videos or writing, I am really enjoying having the creative buzz back in my life! However some days, I use this allotted time to video call either my family, friends or boyfriend (as we don’t live together so are separately self-isolating). Oh and I keep a bottle of water to hand so I don’t forget to hydrate during these hours where time seems to disappear!

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8. Cleanse & Night Time Routine 

Just as we have our morning rituals, I make sure I stick to an evening routine to help me wind down. Removing my make-up properly and changing into pyjamas an hour or two before I go to bed, helps me mentally unwind from the day and prepare for sleep. Plus, it’s important to continue some of those good habits you formed pre-quarantine life!

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9. Herbal Teas – I also like to have a hot drink before bed to enjoy with my number 10…

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10. Watching one of my favourite series! Recently I finished watching This Is Us, which is available on Amazon Prime video. It will have you crying one minute and laughing the next!

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I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Let me know what your working from home/ self-isolation routine looks like in 10 photos and make sure to tag me in it!

If you enjoyed this you should subscribe and check out the below:

20 Things That Made Me Smile In March

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One Month In Lockdown

On 23rd March 2020 I celebrated my 8 year anniversary with my boyfriend. However this day also became a monumental date, as this was the day the UK officially went into lockdown. Prior to this, I had already began to take measures and self isolate. I had been limiting my social contact for 14 days, which was eased by the option to work from home, helping to restrict “unessential” contact.

Now as we hit a month in lockdown I realise this pandemic won’t be blowing over as quickly as I hoped. So I am trying my best to remain positive and creating structure to my new daily routine. But as soon as I take a moment to pause, I feel dread and find myself desperately wondering, just how long will this last? I don’t live with my partner so I’m missing him terribly and feeling this out of control is terrifying. I try to reason with myself to keep perspective and acknowledge that this new normal, won’t be permanent. However, I still experience moments of panic, anxiety, tension headaches and at times catch myself spiraling down the “what if’s”, as I think about how nothing about this “temporary lifestyle” is all that “normal”.

I can’t help but worry about my Grandmother and her declining health and when the next time I am able to see her again will be. About my job, my career and all the plans I absently made and hoped for in 2020. Once I ride this wave of emotion, I then find comfort in sweet gestures from regular calls with my family and friends which really do help; where they too echo my thoughts and feelings, and I know that I am not alone. I try and remind myself of my Grandparents’ own unique challenges in their youth, and the strength and bravery of their generation, which instills me with new hope.

So one month in (but 7 weeks working from home), I’m looking at the little things, the things I am in control of and this is what I’ve learned so far:

  • (Pre-quarantine) I tended to not drink a lot (most of the time) and if I’m honest I probably shouldn’t drink that much at all. Alcohol doesn’t agree with me and I’m enjoying not waking up violently ill on the weekends
  • I thrive off 8 hours sleep and love waking up earlier. I do my best work in the morning
  • I’ve rediscovered my enjoyment for reading which shouldn’t be kept purely as a beach holiday luxury
  • I’m taking things more slowly; a habit that shouldn’t be a rarity. I plan to take a couple of days off work soon during lockdown. It can feel like a “waste” to do so whilst I work remotely but time off does us each the world of good (especially with this lovely weather)
  • I really enjoy being active and am finding more balance in how I use my downtime. Daily walks replace my usual time spent on an extra episode I would typically treat myself to, although I still love Netflix
  • I’m strangely enjoying not styling my hair and letting my hair dry naturally (although I wouldn’t say no to a root or colour freshening up!)
  • Physically distancing is not the same as social distancing. I am very comfortable in my own company but the extrovert in me also really values my social time… which I am also happy to do from the comfort of my own home

Although I am experiencing a lot more mood swings and I’ll be the first to admit that some of my days are better than others, I have a lot more gratitude for the life I live. I still wonder just how this pandemic will shape my future decisions, but one thing I do know is that throughout this testing time, each of us are building a lot of resilience.

Just remember, this won’t last forever. Stay at home for your loved ones, so we can get back out sooner and enjoy our precious world.

If you enjoyed reading this make sure to subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about! Also feel free to check out the below:

20 Things That Made Me Smile In March

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Opening Up About Mental Health

I’m not one to complain a lot and it’s not often that my cheery disposition disappears. However, I’d like to consider myself as an honest person and that’s why I must admit to myself out loud that my 2019 has so far been incredibly difficult. To say otherwise would be a lie. I really second guessed posting this piece as it’s perhaps the rawest and most real piece I’ve written to date, leaving me feeling quite vulnerable. Unfortunately life isn’t always so dreamy and light and I truly believe that it’s so important to identify and talk about these difficult periods, as well as the great moments in our lives. Despite the highlight reel we so often present to the world, life can be very tough and overwhelming; words that also describe my 2019 so far. Within these first few months of the new year, I’ve been faced with two people near to me being diagnosed with Cancer as well as a family friend whom was living with depression, sadly taking their own life. With one event happening after the other in only the space of a month, I’ve become painfully aware of how fragile life is. I’m not sure if it’s grief, the process of digesting what’s happening around me or both, but I know that this has been one of the toughest periods I’ve faced in my adult life so far. This has been externally evident too by my many mood swings; flipping between feelings of shock, despair, confusion, sadness, anger, helplessness and loss of control. Over the last few weeks I have been searching the internet hoping to find some words of comfort to ease this anxiety that I’m currently feeling during this period in my life. But somewhere between the frustration of not knowing what to google and overthinking, I now find myself here writing this piece. I find it very difficult to write in my “normal” style when I’m not in a clear headspace, (major props to those who can) so in the past I have opted for not writing at all. However this year I made a pact with myself that no matter what happens in 2019, I would not allow life’s challenges to stop me from writing, as I allowed it to do last year when my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, for fear of “bringing people down”. I know that these pieces really help me on so many levels and so I also vowed to myself that I would not just write these “real” posts, but share them with others. Mental health is just as important as our physical health and I hope that by writing my own thoughts and feelings down it will hopefully spark others to examine and speak out about their own feelings. After all, if I – a talker, am not prepared to share my thoughts and feelings, how can I hope that others experiencing similar scenarios (who may also be of an introverted personality), to do the same? I need to be the change I want to see in the world, right?

The word “Cancer” is in itself so heavily weighted and emotionally charged. When you hear the word you uncontrollably begin to imagine the worst as a wave of sadness overcomes you, let alone when it’s a family member or two you may know are battling this awful disease. To my surprise, after a few hours of hearing the news that my aunt had cervical cancer, I quickly adopted a logical mindset. I suspect that this was a coping mechanism to provide support to those around me; the human mind is clever that way. I thought to myself: What are the options? What are the facts? What do we know is certain? This would help me prepare myself and my family for what is to come as well as to be in a mentally good place to support my aunt. The next day I found out that my brother’s future mother-in-law had pancreatic cancer. I was grasping at straws, trying to find some light at the end of tunnel, the right thing to say. Meanwhile the pit in my stomach grew dull, the lump in my throat was rising as I was fighting to hold back the tears which if I let them escape in that moment, I’m not sure when they would have stopped. This was all too much and plain unfair to happen at once. The overarching sadness in the room was confirmed by my family’s silence, and if you know me and my family, silence doesn’t come naturally. I only allowed myself to really cry when it was just my boyfriend and I as this moment wasn’t only about me, there were other family members who needed my love and support more than I did in that very moment.

A month soon passed and everyone’s spirits had been slightly raised as treatment was underway for both of my respective family members. Things weren’t great but there was a glimmer that they may be ok. I was sat at my desk at work desperately trying to complete tasks off my to do list before lunch time, when I was then given the tragic news that a family friend had committed suicide. Before I knew it, my legs were carrying me out of the office. I reached for my phone to message and call my boyfriend and a couple of my best friends. Looking back now I know that I was experiencing a fight or flight response. I felt dizzy, sick and my palms clammed up. I had an insatiable need to cling onto life. I felt like running or punching a boxing bag. I imagined quitting my job on the spot so that I could go ‘live’ my life and not “waste” my time on my to do list. It wasn’t a realistic or rational thought to suddenly quit my job, where I am happy and making good progress, but in that moment I was confronted with clarity of what was important to me. At the same time I was also lost for words despite the flood of emotion I was experiencing. One of my best friends had their own history of depression and reliving that period still remains raw for me. She was one of the first people to come to my mind and I felt compelled to reach out to them on so many levels. I also felt like screaming out in anger as I was furious at the cards 2019 had dealt so far. What was the Universe trying to tell or show me? How is any of this fair? How many more things needed to happen before we could all catch a break, I wanted to yell! The strongest emotion of them all was the immense sadness that overcame me for the family friend themselves who felt that there was no way out of their black and dark hole. Who so tragically chose a permanent solution to a somewhat temporary sadness. For the family who were left behind. The only comfort I could provide for myself was the hope that he was now resting in peace and was pain-free. This news also came a few days after Mike Thalassitis a reality TV star from Love Island had also sadly taken their own life. There was so much media coverage about him and the importance of opening up about mental health. I hoped that this provided the same relief and support to my own family friends. I was saddened to learn that 12 out of 16 people every day in the UK who take their own lives are men. Suddenly my want to write and share this post became even more important, no matter how small my blog may be.

Over the last week I have felt guilty for feeling so sad and frustrated at the world, considering that this isn’t directly happening to me but around me. I’ve felt that I didn’t have a right to be upset to some degree. Or at least that everyone else has a much more of a right than me and I should just ‘get on with it’. Trying to find the balance between “carrying on as normal” – the British thing to do and talking about it as much as possible with family – the European thing to do (I’m of Polish heritage if you didn’t know). Over the last month I’ve become so acutely aware and appreciative of life, that all I want to do is to live in the now, soak up every day and appreciate the small things like when it doesn’t rain, that I had a conversation with someone new today and that I am able to and want to still be here both mentally and physically. I’ve tried to continue with my routine as much as possible, whilst making allowances for some breathing and resting space. I’ve made sure that I allocate time to do things that make me happy. To spend time with those who are dear to me. To not deny myself of seeking happiness. To be vocal and honest with myself about how I’m feeling, no matter how confusing or emotionally overwhelming it has been. I am so grateful to those who have been there to just listen, even when they didn’t know what to say.

I’ve also become aware just how resilient and incredible people really can be and I admire the strength I’ve seen from others around me. Should you find yourself in one of life’s inevitable dark moments, I hope you find the strength you may need to carry you. Although life can be at times unfair, it will keep on going on no matter what you do. It doesn’t give special treatment based upon your bank balance, age or status. I hope this post encourages you check in with yourself and others around you; to open the conversation. Sometimes it really is enough just having someone to listen to you, even if they don’t have the answers and when things do get tough, remember that even in the darkest of times there is light. No matter how much you may feel it, you are never alone.

I’ve listed some charities below you may wish to read or to share with a friend. It’s time to break the stigma.

Macmillan

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Samaritans

 

Embrace You| A Masterclass with Jessica Creighton

I naturally have an optimistic, hopeful and ambitious perspective on life; an outlook that has driven me to want to connect, learn and share with others. Naturally when beginning my blog I knew that I wanted Natalia Talks About to be a space that encompassed this, by sharing my “thoughts on daily life” as a woman in her 20’s. Over the last year, I’ve been focusing a lot of my attention on consistency, seizing the present moment and more recently the importance of self-acceptance. This is a lesson that perhaps most of us may have struggled with since our teen years. I’ve recently found myself drawn to podcasts, blog posts, YouTube videos and discussions all focused on how each person’s journey has led them to a similar destination to self-acceptance and positivity. Whether it’s mantras, affirmations, goal-setting, being authentic or simply being unapologetically you, it’s pretty clear that we all know that there are ways to get there, but truly recognizing that we are enough can be a lot easier said than done, right? However that is not to say that it’s not worth it. What’s more, is that you will definitely reap the rewards you deserve in more ways than one when you recognize that your uniqueness is actually your biggest asset.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” Oscar Wilde

I was fortunate enough to attend a masterclass with Jessica Creighton, who candidly spoke about how she “shouldn’t” be at the level of success she is now – statistically speaking that is. Jessica opened up about her background and how despite the odds of being a woman of colour from a single-parent home, growing up in a relatively poor council estate in London. Jessica has now gone on to become a successful broadcaster at Sky Sports News, but interestingly this wasn’t always her number one dream. Growing up,she was a ta lented footballer, a skill evident by her earning a scholarship at Charlton Football Club. Yet at the age of 16 she found herself at a crossroads, where she was forced to choose between cultivating her football talent further, or pursuing higher education in preparation for a potential university degree. After much careful consideration Jessica chose to pursue further study as women’s football unfortunately did not provide a decent or sustainable living wage at the time. Instead, Jessica was determined to use her strengths in academia, in particular writing, to gain a career in broadcast journalism. With unrelenting effort, consistency, confidence and belief in herself, she has since gone on to hold a career in presenting over the last 9 years. Her passion, knowledge and love for sport also remains ingrained within her and is a testament to her success and credibility as a presenter. Throughout the talk Jessica shared some valuable tips that we each can apply in our daily lives to help to achieve our wider goals and career development.

1. Bring something to the table

Whilst trying to build relationships and find opportunities, Jessica would network and go for coffee’s with colleagues, bosses and peers. However her approach in getting them to actually accept her invite was reliant on her standing out over numerous other keen and equally talented peers. Jessica emphasized the importance of you being clear on what you can bring to the table, and to share that with others, this will assist you to build your network. So the next time you ask that Exec if they want to meet you for a coffee, don’t be afraid to write in the email what your big idea is and what you can do for them too. This will highlight that you are enthusiastic, driven and can bring something to the table.

2. Be prepared to be told no

No is perhaps one of the hardest words in the English dictionary to hear. Jessica was repeatedly told this before she was able to even get her foot through the door, and continued to do so whilst managing to break into the industry. Jessica emphasized the importance of being able to take criticism in numerous forms whilst remembering to remain motivated and similarly not saying no yourself to the smaller tasks that come your way. You never know where opportunities may be hidden!

3. Know your USP

Think about what your unique selling point is and what makes you diverse. Then use this to your advantage. What are you an expert on? Who can relate to you? What makes you, you? Whether it’s for a job interview, finding the courage or self- belief to set up your own business, going for that promotion at work or even finding self-acceptance, knowing what makes you unique will open doors, give you direction, purpose and make you memorable to whoever you meet.

I was keen to understand what Jessica’s biggest motivator was throughout her life and career, particularly as she drew upon her upbringing not being a guarantee that she would be able to secure the life or future she aspired to have. Jessica answered that despite not having a lot financially whilst she grew up, she did have a large, diverse community around her. This gave her richness in her confidence and ability to speak to anyone about anything. Growing up and realizing that women of her background were so rare in the media industry, she was determined to use her individuality and USP, to set her apart from everyone else to share the stories of others around her. In turn this has motivated her to continue to be a voice for further diversity in the industry, beyond race and culture but in thoughts and actions too. She remains motivated in the hope that her hard work can spark inspiration for others who can relate to her and see that someone like them chased their dreams. In turn she hopes that this will provide them with courage and self-belief that they too can achieve their goals, against the odds. Throughout this masterclass I was left with positivity, inspiration and reminded of Oscar Wilde’s words, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken”. It strikes me how true these words still are today and how the power of embracing you can guide you to success.

If you enjoyed this you should subscribe and read:

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How Not Getting What You Want Can Be A Blessing

It’s not often I talk about how hard work and determination doesn’t always pay off. Confused? Bear with me. Although I make a daily conscious effort to stay motivated and driven, this attitude alone doesn’t solely guarantee you success. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve been learning so far in my 20’s and I’ve recently began to appreciate just how not getting what you want, can at times, be a huge blessing.

Let me take you for a trip down memory lane, back to when I first graduated from University. After my long summer off relaxing and enjoying what was left of my “student lifestyle”, I decided that I was as ready as I would ever be, to try this thing called adulting. I mapped out a few career paths that potentially interested me and with my Psychology degree in hand, I made sure that I was proactive and applied for at least one job a day, if not more. Over the next couple of months, I was lucky enough to get a ton of interviews, and at one point I had 3 or 4 in the pipeline; I was on a roll! I thought it wouldn’t be long before job offers were thrown at me… and in a way I guess it wasn’t. After a month of job hunting I was offered a role in merchandising for a big fashion retailer that I loved. However, I really wasn’t prepared for not feeling excited at this news. As soon as I left the interview, I received a call and was made the job offer but my gut was telling me that the job wasn’t for me. I was torn because I didn’t want to reject it straight away as I knew it was hard enough to get interviews, let alone be offered a job this soon after graduating. A week soon passed and I had not yet heard back from the other interviews I attended. It came to the point where I had to give them an answer. I decided to listen to my instinct and not accept a job that my heart wasn’t fully set on and I would gamble on the possibility of being offered one of the others. Unfortunately the odds weren’t in my favour and I didn’t get any of the other jobs. I was back at square one.

“You are exactly where you need to be”

Feeling frustrated, stressed and anxious that I had made the wrong decision, I was angry and doubted myself. However I powered on through and (surprisingly) rejected more jobs. I battled an internal struggle with myself, as I knew my worth and didn’t want to accept internships or jobs in London, on a wage that would barely cover my travel purely for the sake of experience. Instead I worked temp jobs to keep me going and to build up as much “experience” as I could. Finally some 7 months later it all paid off. I was offered a job that suited my skill-set, interested me so much more and also paid a decent wage! Fast forward to the present day, I am now working for a leading fashion retailer where I funnily enough actually recruit for merchandisers. I am so relieved that the stars didn’t align for me back then the way I hoped, as the thought of doing such a number-centric role day in and day out, really isn’t my dream job. Truthfully in hindsight I was just desperate to be hired anywhere and I now know that I definitely wouldn’t have been happy in that role, despite how much I wanted it at the time.

I am now currently in my early-mid 20’s and the idea that, “You are exactly where you need to be” has helped to keep my quarter life crisis at bay. Living in an age where comparison to others is so prevalent as it seems like everyone has their life together on social media, it is so important to remember that the majority of us are in the same boat. To be quite honest with you, seven weeks into 2019, the majority of my plans for the year have mostly gone to pot. I’ve found myself in a mix of uncertain, anxious, frustrated and at times even scared feelings. This somewhat mirrors how I felt back when I turned down those early job offers, as my plans hadn’t fallen into place the way I hoped they would in my head. Yet, it’s times like these I try to remind myself how not getting what you want, really can be a blessing. I’m learning that we are not tested to show our weaknesses or what we haven’t achieved, but to show our strengths and what is possible instead – a lesson I will try to remember throughout the remainder of 2019.

If you enjoyed this post you should subscribe and read:

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Goodbye 2018 & Hello 2019