Beat the Lockdown 3.0 Blues!

Welcome back to the first blog of 2021! I hope you’re feeling refreshed after the Christmas break, and that your week got off to a positive start. On Sunday night I pictured myself getting up nice and early, ready for the first Monday of 2021. I was genuinely looking forward to reinstating a bit of a routine to my day once again, and begin working on some of the things I wanted to achieve this year. However the reality of my first working day of 2021 saw me wake up 90 minutes later than planned (oops)…

A very accurate representation of what my morning looked like

Alas, I didn’t allow this to set the tone to the rest of my day. Instead I rewrote the narrative and thought just how rested I was feeling, and how grateful I was that there was no commute to rush for. We all know that a New Year doesn’t magically change our reality and I am definitely not one to proclaim, “New Year, New Me”. However, I love the optimism that the New Year presents itself with. But if you’re struggling with a bit of motivation today (especially after last night’s lockdown 3.0 announcement), here are a few of my posts I wrote in 2020 to send some positivity your way.

If you are feeling a bit blue and struggling to feel optimistic, read my post – Appreciating The Little Things

Maybe you are on the 2021 hype and want to be more efficient with your day and get organized, read my post – Get More Time Back In Your Day

Looking for a a bit of inspiration for self-care? Read my post – 5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

A New Year means a new series to watch, but if you missed some of my top picks in lockdown 2.0 for 2020 which are classics, read my post – TV Shows to Binge in Lockdown

If you’re on a health kick post Christmas, have a read of my post – 5 Smoothie Recipes To Try Now

It may be the new year but don’t let that dampen your dreams of a holiday this year. To see how I spent my week off at home, read my post –2020, A New Meaning to Staycation

And finally, if the prospect of working remotely for a bit longer is getting you down, read my post –Working From Home Tips | Mental Health Awareness Week

Sending big hugs to you all and wishing you a positive week ahead – you got this.

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

Lessons in My 20’s

3 Key Concepts For Relaxation

A Year in Review | 2020

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Appreciating The Little Things

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, and I really wanted to begin this week with a dose of positivity. Each time I write a post like this, it leaves me feeling lighter, grateful and just good inside and out. So here are five things that have had me smiling in December so far!

  1. December saw the end of Movember and so it seems fit to include this one on a list. I made a donation to something which I know is a good cause, and it was great to help someone exceed their fundraising target!

  2. There’s not many things that compare to the first few calm moments of the day as you begin to wake up. How one can be so alert but also half-asleep, still and peaceful. Everything is (mostly) quiet, but most importantly gone are the stresses from the day before.
    As the days get shorter, I’ve really enjoyed having a slower start to my day, and am taking advantage of a few extra minutes sleeping in, knowing that I’m listening to my body and preparing for the day ahead.

  3. Last week was very challenging and by the end of it, I was so ready to switch off for the weekend. However one thing that really cheered me up was watching the finale of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Over the last three weeks, the show provided the escapism I think many of us in the U.K. needed. I was also so thrilled to see Giovanna win, who I had rooted for from the start! I love what she stands for and admire her kindness and braveness. We all need a bit of Gi in our lives.

  4. This one of course had to be on this list… Christmas! Christmas joy has well and truly lifted my mood this month. I have also really enjoyed planning presents for my family this year. I love taking the time to think about what each recipient would like and appreciate, especially this Christmas where we all need just that bit of extra TLC. This December I’m also appreciating fairy lights, mulled wine and Winter walks just a bit more… All whilst I am wrapped up in my fluffiest of jumpers!

  5. Making time for friendships despite the love/hate relationship with zoom.
    Although it doesn’t come close to the real thing, I have loved spending an hour catching up with some of my dearest friends over a video call. The quizzes may have taken a back seat, but spending some time checking in and having a giggle has been well needed, and I always come away feeling happier.

Although it can feel tough to find the good in this strange year, I would recommend taking a moment to stop, pause and reflect on what has made you smile, as often as you can. Perhaps it’s something you are grateful for, the moments or people which bring you happiness. The more you practice this, the easier and more natural it will become to notice the little things, which can really have a big impact on your outlook.

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way Monday – Friday throughout lockdown, so don’t miss out!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

There’s Still Time For Us Yet…

3 Key Concepts For Relaxation

Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

Overcoming My Fears

Comparing My Favourite Purple Shampoos

That Salon Hair Feeling!

Lessons in My 20’s

Growing up I was always considered a “nice” person. As a child, I had (fortunately) never really experienced what it felt like to be left out, or actively disliked. So when I arrived at University, it was a shock to learn that not everyone was as nice as me. That just because I was kind, did not mean others would be kind back; a lesson I’m sure we all have learned along the way. As an adult, I was even more shocked to learn how often rude and patronizing people somehow ended up as managers. This made me wonder, do nice girls and guys really finish last?

Over the last few years, I have unfortunately heard stories and seen firsthand adults be publicly embarrassed in the workplace, only to be left on the brink of tears. I remember earlier this year on my Monday commute into work, I had a similar instance – albeit not in the office. There I was, smiling and standing patiently at Marylebone Station on a cold Winter’s morning, completely unprepared for what was to happen next. There had been issues with the ticket barriers that day – a nightmare for any London commuter. As a result, this meant pandemonium erupted among the hundreds of people who were rushing to get to work. When it was my turn to go through the gates, the employee checked my ticket only to realize I had the wrong one, and reacted as if I had tried to cheat the whole of Transport for London. She shouted at me as if to make an example out of me, utterly humiliating me in the process in front of a crowd people. I remember my face began to feel hot, my eyes began to well up with tears, and my blood began to boil. I was completely taken aback by her overreaction and this moment of humiliation. I then became increasingly aware of the eyes of onlookers watching this moment of drama unfold, all before it was even 8 AM.

It had in fact been totally her own fault, rather than mine (which I suppose so often is the case in these kind of scenarios) as I had told her as I approached, about the ticket dilemma. However I managed to hold it together, and calmly called her out on her behaviour. I stood up for myself, correcting her on what had actually happened with ticket-gate (excuse the pun) and told her there was absolutely no need to treat me, or anyone else like that. I then proceeded to complain about this to one of her team members. Whether this was taken seriously I do not know- I certainly did not receive an apology. Nonetheless, I was proud of how I handled this stranger’s outburst and that I had kept myself mostly together. In that moment, I empathized with those who may experience such behaviour in the workplace. Thinking about this now, I wonder how this kind of scenario may be playing out in a remote setting. I also wonder if I would have reacted the same way if it was my boss speaking to me in such a rude manner, rather than a complete stranger. How would I act, especially now, where there is an increasing amount of anxiety around job security? I sincerely hope that I would have the courage and resilience to deal with this, or that a kind colleague would step in and show me some support if needed.

2020 has been a tough year on many levels, and whilst I may not have all the answers, I know that being nice does not cost a thing. I remember reading an article on The Everygirl about protecting your heart at work, which emphasized just how important emotional resilience is. Although I still have so much more to learn and I know inevitably there will be more hurdles to overcome, here are some of the lessons I have learned in my 20’s so far…

  1. The company I keep both in an out of work is important
    The people we surround ourselves with have a direct impact on our wellbeing and outlook on life. Take a look at those nearest to you and figure out if they add value to your life and if they build you up as a person.

  2. Other people’s opinions of me do not validate me
    Whenever I catch myself ruminating about silly thoughts like what I said earlier that day, I stop myself. Instead I try to focus my energy on my own goals, rather than wasting energy on needless worry.

  3. Showing my “true” self can be daunting but liberating
    I used to differentiate my identity between my “work” self and “true” self, and now count myself lucky to work somewhere where I feel I can and want to, bring my whole self to work. This also means I feel more authentic in my choices and am able to bounce back easier on days which are challenging.

  4. It’s better to be understood than to be liked
    Not everyone will like me, and that’s fine, despite the people pleasing voice I have in my head!

  5. Not everyone shares the same ideas or outlook as me
    As obvious as this, really taking time to digest and understand this has made a huge difference. This was also summed up really succinctly for me in the Everygirl article,

    Most people see interactions as swift, emotionless transactions ; whilst this is true in many businesses, it doesn’t mean you have to be the same, just recognize that there are others like that”.

  6. How people act and respond to you often comes from them projecting their own feelings from what’s happening in their own life, rather than in response to the actual content of what you have said.

  7. Being smart and kind will always be cool

  8. Always trust and listen to your gut

  9. Feel the love

  10. Nice people certainly do not finish last
    Being nice isn’t a weakness, it is a strength.

I’d love for you to share some of your tips or lessons you have learned with me in the comments below!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

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3 Key Concepts For Relaxation

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the word, relax? For me, I often picture myself having fun on holiday sunbathing in the summer sun, somewhere hot and exotic. Deadlines, clock-watching, routine – it’s all out of the window. At the risk of sounding a bit hippy, I’ve noticed that when I am relaxed I quite literally live in the moment. As we push through the final stretch of the year, it can certainly feel that we can only give permission to ourselves to relax once we have achieved X,Y, and Z. That we need to push ourselves as far as we can, until we’ve earned it. However, that does not need to be the case. Whilst I am a huge advocate for hard work and productivity, I also place immense importance on balance.

Here are just a few tips which have helped me to find some balance and time for relaxation:

1. Get comfortable with setting boundaries

I spoke a lot about the importance of getting organized in my blog post, Get More Time Back In Your Day. It is important to remember that with organization, also comes boundaries. It may sound ironic to plan time in to relax, but I promise you will reap the benefits if you do. In order to prioritize relaxation, it may however require you on occasion to say no to other things. I’ll be the first to admit that this is something that I have always found very difficult, but have got a lot better at in recent years. As a result of setting boundaries for myself, it means that I have time in my evening to dedicate to that episode on Netflix I’ve been saving, or even time to blog – both things which I find therapeutic!

2. Set the mood

We all know atmosphere is so important for relaxation. How the smell of one cinnamon candle can lift your mood and get you singing, “All I want for Christmas” without even realizing it. Whether it’s a bath, fragrance oil diffusers, or even the smell of a simple hot-chocolate, play to your senses and set the mood for relaxation. Switch on those fairy lights and focus on what you can smell and see, as you cozy up in your dressing gown, and feel the tension slowly melt away.

3. Empty your mind

My third recommendation is planning to actively do something, which will by default empty your mind. This can include going back to your childhood roots with some art therapy (yes you really can get colouring books for adults!) Take time to do something that you find de-stresses you. It may be painting, knitting, or taking the dog out for a walk, all of which serve as a form of mindfulness. Some other ideas can include meditation, breathing exercises, light walks and one to one conversations with someone close to you.

Each of these concepts will help you to minimize restless thoughts and create some peace and quietness in your day, essential for relaxation.

What are some of the things you do to relax? Share them with me in the comments below!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way Monday – Friday throughout lockdown, so don’t miss out!

Connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

Mindfulness Chocolate Challenge!

Overcoming My Fears

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

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Get More Time Back In Your Day

5 Ways To Look After Yourself This Week

Get More Time Back In Your Day

I don’t know about you, but since working from home over the last eight months, I have 100% suffered from screen fatigue. At the start of the pandemic, how to be productive was top of mind to help me navigate this new virtual world. However fast forward to November, I am now experiencing tiredness from the constant video calling. It’s got to the point where even some of my non-meetings, which are meant to be fun and informal, are beginning to feel like meetings. The social calls, the casual 1:1’s, the impromptu how-the-heck-do-I-solve-this-problem kinda calls, still have an element of planning to them. They each require you to send over a meeting invite, set up a new VC link, whilst also making sure your room and your appearance both are relatively presentable, and any other distractions are kept to a minimum. At the same time, you are trying to do your job in one space which has no boundaries between your home and work life. I am also currently working in the world of recruitment, so on top of these video calls with colleagues, friends and family, there are also candidates and interviewers thrown into the mix. Now, that’s a lot of mascara I go through, I’ll tell you that much!

Of course video calling has been essential in helping us to cope and stay connected. It has also aided some of us to continue working throughout the pandemic, but there is no doubt it is also very time consuming and tiring. I’m pretty sure I spend on average at least eight hours of my work week, solely on video calls. Maybe like me, you too have felt the need at some point to always be visible online to your team, fearing you’d be seen as slacking if you weren’t. I created this expectation that I had to respond straight away to that email, or instant message via Microsoft Teams/ Workplace/ Slack, whatever it may be, despite this memo never coming from my employer. In fact, I feel quite lucky to say it has been quite the opposite. I have had open conversations about the reality of working from home with my managers and team, who each have related and encouraged healthier and smarter ways of working. Of course there are still elements to working from home which are more convenient than office life, but by no means is every day a walk in the park. From wifi issues, home distractions, loneliness, screen fatigue and working more intensely, it can feel difficult and disheartening. If you can relate to any of these things, I wanted to share with you a few tips that have helped me claim back time in my day, and improve my work-life balance.

It all comes down to smart planning. With daylight hours getting shorter, I ensure that I make time for a walk and some form of exercise every single work day. I plan this around when there are no meetings (and in my case, interviews) coming up, so that I am less likely to be distracted and interrupted. Just as I used to utilize my commute into work to practice mindfulness, I continue to plan time in for me. I do my best to get at least 30 minutes fresh air a day, with the incentive of getting some steps in on my FitBit. I also love podcasts and am back into the habit of listening to these on my walk. I am still loving Sibling Revelry if anyone needs a recommendation!

Every day I also block out my lunch break in my diary for two reasons. The first being so no one puts in any additional meetings, and the second so that I remember to actually take a lunch break. I work best in quiet spaces so my work days tend to zoom past, however this means that I physically need a reminder to take a break. I also try to avoid working lunches, and go to a different room to eat. I’ve found that the change of scenery makes a huge difference to my mindset.

Block out your time as much as possible. Whether you can introduce a no meeting day rule (so you can actually do your job), or no meetings on a Friday after 4pm, make your day work for you as much as you can.

Be honest and set expectations with yourself and your manager. Do you really need to be at that meeting for the whole hour, or is your time better spent only joining for the first or last 15 minutes? Although you may be conscious of building and maintaining relationships at work, some things can be better summed up in an email, rather than a meeting. If you find this is happening regularly, feed it back and discuss it with your team. The chances are, everyone else is also thinking the same thing.

It’s important to acknowledge that we most definitely aren’t in the same working world that we were in back in March. Therefore I encourage you to feel empowered to break or reshape some of your old working habits, as we continue to work remotely.

I’d love to hear your tips on how to claim back time in your day, feel free to share with me in the comments below!

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way every day this month Monday – Friday, so don’t miss out!

Come connect with me on socials:

Facebook | Natalia Talks About

Instagram | @nataliatalksabout

YouTube | Nataliatalksabout

You may also enjoy:

Opening Up | How I REALLY Feel

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