Friday, 16 February 2018

Why Do Not Disturb Is My New Best Friend

This is something I touched on in my post about not having any time, but something I have been doing recently is hitting that 'Do Not Disturb' and honestly, it's making my life so much better.

From waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night I don't even want to know how much time I spend on my phone in the day. My morning scroll through social media includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Instagram stories and snapchat (although definitely less snapchat now because what the hell is this new update?!?) and if I have a bit more time then I go through them all again to make sure I haven't missed anything. If I don't have class I will then spend about half an hour on Bloglovin catching up on my favourite blogs and then another scroll on twitter to see if anything else takes my fancy.

Then I might finally get ready for the day, not without messaging my friends, more often than not to say that I won't actually make it to the library for 9am and not to bother waiting for me to walk into town. Already I must have spent about an hour on my phone and I haven't even left the house.

It is quite literally constant. Constantly replying to messages, stressing myself out over not replying and feeling super guilty that the person will have seen I've been on Facebook and not opened their message, or worse, opened it and not replied. It's a barrage of messages and I'm a bit tired of it.

We are the first generation that's spent most of our adult life in a state of hyper-connectivity. We are contactable all the time and there is so much pressure to reply instantly to things. But honestly, is the world really going to end if I focus on my reading and don't open my Facebook messages for an hour. Probably not tbh.

My stress levels since being back at uni this semester have been sky high. Fair, it's been a stressful time, applying for flats, starting new modules, figuring out friendships and relationships but a large portion of that stress could probably have been avoided if I'd hit the do not disturb button and replied to the message when I'm in a bit of a calmer state or when I had a bit more time to think of an answer.

It's something I have been trying to do for the past week or so and I think it is actually helping. It means I also spend less time worrying about whether people have replied to my messages. How liberating. It also doesn't help that my attention span has been about the length of a teaspoon some days and have stopped myself many times from falling into the ASOS abyss or the dark depths of this morning blooper's on youtube.

So I guess what I'm trying to get at here is this: there is no shame in not replying to someone and clicking that 'Do Not Disturb' button and replying later when it's convenient for you. We put so much pressure on ourselves on a daily basis and sometimes it's nice just to be able to concentrate on what you are doing and have a break from it all. It makes me way more productive and therefore able to give my full attention to something when I actually have time to focus on it. Let me know in the comments if this is something you do cause I'd love to know!


Monday, 12 February 2018

Finding The Balance This Valentines Day

Valentine's Day, Boohoo Bag

Now, before we start I just want to say that I am not totally against the consumerist culture promoted by Valentine's Day, if anyone wants to turn up at my door (in the most non-stalkerish sense possible) with a bouquet of flowers and some of those strawberries and cream Lindt chocolates in the pink box, I'm not going to complain. HINT HINT.

Valentine's Day is such a funny one though and everyone seems to have the strongest opinions on it. From embracing it whole-heartedly and carting balloons and flowers around town, to getting horrendously drunk in protest against capitalism or love or whatever, nobody seems to be able to treat it as just another day.

In terms of the calendar, it does fall at a pretty great time to create some cause for celebration. I don't know about you, but Christmas and New Year feel like they were more than just six weeks ago. January was quite literally the longest month of my life (save a few Summer months when I was like 10 and could't wait to go back to school, cause I was #cool). As I mentioned in my post about feeling like I don't have any time at the moment, I definitely feel like there is a long and busy semester stretching out in front of me. I can't even tell you when my next exciting event is because at the moment I don't even think there is one.

Thinking of Valentine's Days past, let's just say I've always gone for the 'Galentine's' approach. Wow, autocorrect just tried to change Galentine's to Valentine's, I'm not having that hun.

Last year, my best friend in Germany Danielle and I went out for dinner, we had a particularly tasty burrito if I remember rightly, got a bit wine drunk and then went to see 50 Shades Darker. Made particularly amusing by the fact it had German subtitles. Even more amusing by the fact that people actually turned up wearing masks and someone even brought fluffy handcuffs. Doesn't really bear thinking about tbh. But judge if you want, I had a great time and even came up with a what I thought was hilarious 'Valenwine' caption for a photo of me posing with my glass of wine. Claaaassic.

I also was tasked with teaching the little German kiddies all about Valentine's Day as it was deemed part of British/American culture and essential for their English education. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, I did a year abroad last year in Germany as an English Language Assistant! Check out my Year Abroad tab for more posts!) I decided that the best way to do it was to get every child in the class to make one card. Write it anonymously, draw a pretty picture on the front and put them all in a bag so that each one could pick out out and get a nice card. I thought this was a great plan so nobody would feel excluded and there was any pressure to play into the 'he fancies her' drama that apparently plagues 10 year olds. All until one boy scrunched up his card in protest and the poor girl that drew it out burst into tears.
Children 1- Zara 0.

This year I feel like it is going to be much less eventful. It's one of those awkward things where if you all mutually ignore it then no fuss needs made and nothing more needs said. If one person acknowledges it, then for fear of insulting or making them think you don't care you must also then acknowledge it. If both of you acknowledge it then you've hit the jackpot and need not stress and good for you. A tricky territory to navigate unless you are fully submersed into the lovey-dovey world of a long term relationship.

Now, as is tradition, I like to buy myself a little present on Valentine's Day. Or in this years case, a week before because I was too scared it would sell out again. Last year I went shopping in Kiko Milano and honestly, that bronze eyeshadow is still my absolute favourite that I own. However this year I finally bought myself the Bug Embroidery Cross Body Bag from Boohoo, which has sold out already! I saw it on their Instagram way back in November but just couldn't justify it after a spendy month, so you can imagine my delight when it came back into stock. Sadly it has gone out of stock already but I think this Studded Velvet Cross Body Bag is a super cute alternative!

I think what I'm trying to get at here is that Valentine's Day is all fun and games, but if you don't appreciate yourself first then yes, Valentine's Day will be pretty miserable. There are so many other things you could do if you haven't planned to spend it with a partner. Have dinner with a friend, go see a movie (can recommend 50 shades freed if you aren't too bothered about playing into a stereotype then it's true cinematic greatness), pamper yourself or invite that boy/girl over for a movie night and heck if they say no then have one anyway. Stop putting pressure on the day to be something even if that something is a protest against the very concept of love. Let people do what they want. If you see someone at the checkout with a bunch of roses then look at your own basket and get excited about your garlic bread and doritos. Just let people do their thaaang and be happy doing yours, whatever that might be.

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