where have I been?!

Hey blog fans,

So I’ve been AWOL for a while now but it really warms my heart to see that there’s still readers and commenters stopping by. Thank you so much to anyone who has interacted with me and/or the blog despite the lack of content recently. It’s really for you guys that I felt I owe you an apology and an update as to where I’ve been hiding in March.

pink_flowers_spring_nature_plants_tree_blossom

So where have you been?!

Some of you might know that I’m in my final year of an undergraduate degree and that means hella work! My course doesn’t have exams, we just have to complete coursework. So with reading, research and writing for several essays and the dissertation, alongside commitments in my personal life, I have had virtually no time to blog, take photos or film. It has been playing on my mind and getting me down because I love this blog and I’ve ‘met’ and spoken to some great people as a result of my ramblings. I don’t want to feel like I’ve let anyone down.

In addition to this, I’ve not been able to read or keep up to date with a lot of my favourite blogs and bloggers. So many fab beans online and they put out some great, thoughtful and inspiring content and I’ve not been to any of their sites in a month or more! If this is you (I hope you know who you are!) please don’t think I’ve forgotten about you or that I’m not interested in your site anymore…

I’ve just got virtually no time and when I have down time, I use it as just that!

 

notepad_pen_to_do_list_that_lame_company

 

It also goes back to the self care thing that I’m always harping on about. When you’re working on anything for several hours a day every day, and you’re trying to juggle ‘extra-curricular’ activities too, you’ve got to take some me-time now and again. At the moment, my self care involves going for food or drinks with my friends, snuggling up to play games or watch things with Josh. Even just a nice bath can give me that much needed half hour of respite!

I guess this is just a post to say, please stand by as I finish my dissertation and complete my course and apply for jobs and try not to implode! It’s only a couple of weeks now but they’re so crucial and I know myself well enough to know that if I overload myself with a million and one responsibilities, I’ll have a meltdown. Not the time nor place to do that!

I promise that there’s some great content coming your way in the next few weeks anyway as I’m editing and filming a couple of rather interesting vlogs, going to a couple of fab events and I’ve got a secret diarist contributor who will remain anon writing about something rather… intimate.

Stay tuned my lovelies and wish me luck!

Jenna
X

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ |

If you liked this post, you should check out:
Mental Health and University – Don’t panic! If your deadlines are getting to you, I’ve got some advice about your looking after mental health at university.
Why I’ve Been Invisible On Social Media This Christmas – I went silent on social media over the holidays, and here’s why…
Self Care (and why no one should make you feel bad about it)A piece for Zusterschap about making time for self care.

Advertisements

Mental Health and University

I’m in my final year of my Modern Liberal Arts Undergraduate degree at the University of Winchester and there’s something really bittersweet about this point in my life.

In the one sense, there’s an overwhelming feeling of fear and dread, not only about the final assignments and my dissertation but there’s the added pressure to find and hold down a job once I leave. Another part of me is incredibly excited about moving on in my life, taking that first step into a career that I’ve been working so hard towards and having something great to show for the past few years of dedication. There is however also a small part of me that doesn’t want to leave uni, not just because I’m so used to being there or doing the work but because it has been a really great experience that I don’t want to end.

 

student_university_assignment_happy

Me after completing my third first year… Beating it for good.

 

Despite having a tough start, I’ve met some great friends, heard from inspirational people and expanded my learning beyond where I ever thought I could. I’ve been encouraged and criticised… I’ve felt enthusiastic and completely uninterested… I’ve felt empowered and lost.
It’s been quite a journey.

But this post isn’t about my mental health in particular, this is where I’m going to share some of the things I’ve picked up on throughout my time at uni and useful advice about wellbeing I’ve picked up along the way.

 

candle_notebook_lumpy_SPACE_PRINCESS


Noone knows what they want to do

Back in 2011, I did a first year of a course that just wasn’t me. It was a course that I was steered towards in sixth form when I didn’t get the grades to study medicine and I realised once I was on a placement that I wasn’t able to do that kind of work. I’m okay with admitting that now but I don’t regret that year because I wouldn’t have known had I not given it a go.

If you find yourself in a course or even a line of work where you feel its best to leave, listen to your heart and don’t let anyone else coerce you into staying. Don’t beat yourself up or think that you ‘wasted your time’ because it was an experience even if its over now. See it as an opportunity to start something new!

I read a fantastic piece by Holly Palmer over on Zusterschap the other day about this very thing, which I encourage you to go and read next.

 

It’s okay to ‘fail’

Before I got to uni, I was a complete nerd and spent a lot of time doing extra work and revising and things. I wasn’t a straight-A student but I got pretty good grades and even in college, I never really felt like I’d failed. That might seem like a good thing but it wasn’t. I wasn’t at all prepared when I got my first ‘fail’ or when a result was a lot lower than I had been previously accustomed to. Failing once prepares you for when it inevitably happens again and usually then you won’t be quite so hard on yourself the second time around.

It’s important to remember that uni is a much higher level of study than where you were before. It’s supposed to be challenging! If you get a result that you’re not happy with, stop and think why you aren’t and book a meeting with the lecturer or your personal tutor to discuss where you went wrong if possible.
You can turn ‘failing’ into a positive thing.

 

books_study_university_college_philosophy

 

Some people are arseholes

It sounds like a stupid thing to put in a mental health post but I’ve received a lot of stick at uni in the form of sex-shaming, ableism and even threatening behaviour. Not everyone will experience these things and I sincerely hope that you don’t but if you do, I want to tell you that it’s not your fault.

Because there are so many people from different backgrounds with different personalities and beliefs in a university environment, some people will inevitably clash. This can result in some pretty hefty debates and eyerolling a plenty – you can’t get on with everyone! This however isn’t an excuse for anyone to treat you unfairly or put you in any kind of danger and there are people responsible for helping if that does happen. You will have pastoral care (including counselling) available through your Student Services and you should have a representative for student welfare too.

 

Take care of yourself above all

Self care is always a worthwhile practice and you shouldn’t let anyone make you feel bad for it. Self care is anything that makes you feel good and I wrote more about that in detail here. Whilst your workload is piling up and you’ve probably got more responsibilities than before, you need to take some time for yourself and pay attention to your thoughts and your body.

Physically, plenty of sleep and good food are good and putting crap into your body (including booze or drugs of any kind) is of course bad. Mentally, you need to make your task lists manageable and you need time away from your work. If you need help or support, you should be able to find it even if its just a chat over a cuppa with a kind housemate!

 

university_dorm_room_halls_student

How cute was my uni room? (It never stayed this tidy)

Living with other people is tough

I was really lucky in that I got on with my housemates in halls however I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about others who didn’t. Sharing your living environment is always going to be difficult if the other person doesn’t quite do things the way that you do. Some common sources of conflict in shared accommodation are: the washing up, ‘borrowing’ bits of food, bathroom hygiene and unwanted noise.

My main advice when these situations do arise is to keep your cool. If you’ve got an early lecture and your housemates are being going out that night, have a word beforehand and kindly ask that they try and keep the noise down when they stumble in. If someone’s left their dirty pans in the way and you want to prepare food, send them a quick text and see when they’re back and if they wouldn’t mind clearing up. Obviously this is all easier said than done and if its the umpteenth time you’ve had to mention it, you’re probably close to screaming and stamping your feet just to get your message across but you don’t want that kind of tension when you’ve got to live with this person.

I will reiterate that if someone is making your living space dangerous or is acting in an improper manner towards you, you have every right to get the housing services and/or student representatives involved.
Those things require more than a quick chat.

 

Asking for help is vital

University might be challenging but that doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone. While your family and friends might have spouted on about you being ‘grown up’ and ‘independent’ now, they should still very much be there if you need to say that you’re having a tough time. Skype/Facetime/Facebook Calls are great ways to schedule much needed chats with loved ones or to ping a quick message and get some advice.

As I’ve said there are also people on campus and in halls who can be a listening ear or offer some guidance for problems you might be having. You might think that you’ve got to be stoic and suffer alone but there’s people out there so that you don’t have to!

 

university_friends_housemates

university_friends_housemates

University above all should be a fun and enriching experience that sets you on the road to something new in your life.

You will meet and hear from so many different people and thinkers that you’re never quite the same once you leave, regardless of if you stay in a course or go on to do something else.

pride_students_university

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when things are difficult, you’re not alone.

Did you go to university/college?
Do you have any mental health advice for those thinking about going?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.
Jenna
X

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

 

If you liked this post, you should check out:
you just keep doing other people – guest post by Camilla Hennessy Jackson – sex and feminist silliness
why selfies are inherently feminist – Self love in the form of selfies?
guest post by Ashleigh of Not A Typical Teenager – Ashleigh shared her tips for being good to yourself at school
self care (and why no one should make you feel bad about it) – I talk about the importance of self care

Queer Bloggers Network

So the lovely Jess, Zoe and I decided that Twitter needs a space for bloggers and creatives with queer (non-hetero/non-cisgender) identities. A space where we could share and promote content but also offer support and advice to those who may be questioning or having problems with their sexuality or being treated differently because of it.

So we present to you…

queer_bloggers_network_lgbtqiap

Huzzah! This network will primarily be running through a Twitter page that Jess and I will co-manage but we are of course open to others getting involved if they want to. Please get in touch if you would want to help with the admin side of things.

The aim is, once we’re up and running, to have a weekly chat with different topics or themes and a monthly newsletter that compiles lots of great content from within the community or about LGBTQIAP+ issues.

We will have DMs on and have an email should you wish to contact us privately and we will never breach something said in confidence.

If you’d like to sign up to our mailing list to receive our monthly newsletter, please complete the form below!

 

 

Jenna

X

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

the empowerment playlists: volume one

Inspired by Zusterschap’s amazing monthly playlists, I decided that I would start a series of playlists of my own with music that empowers and inspires me. Despite being alternative in fashion, my taste in music varies dramatically and I think some of you will be pleasantly surprised by the genres in these mixes!

Volume One is called ‘I’m Better Than That‘ and it’s all about sticking a middle finger up to those who did you wrong and those who didn’t deserve you. It’s about the end of a relationship of any kind and how now in hindsight, you are stronger and better off without that idiot.

 

Have you found a new favourite track?

What post-relationship music empowers you?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

Jenna

x

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ |

If you liked this post, you should check out:
empowerment playlists: volume two – songs to remind you of your inner strength
self care (and why no one should make you feel bad about it) – a piece for Zusterschap about making me time and why that’s okay
why selfies are inherently feminist – self love in the form of a selfie

Self Care (And Why No-one Should Make You Feel Bad About It)

Content warnings: anxiety (health), panic disorder, medication, depression, ableism, recovery.

NB: I will be mainly discussing these topics from experiences with GAD and clinical depression. Where the term ‘disability’ is used by me, I am not speaking for and trying to encompass the experiences of those with any other disabilities.

Firstly, I want to pose the question: how often do you choose to do activities that make you feel good? Whether it’s a marathon of your favourite show, ordering a takeaway or perhaps a boozy night at the pub, many of us have least one feel-good activity that we opt for now and again.

My second question is: how many times have you been told- either by your friends, your family or maybe even a professional – that your feel-good activity is unhealthy? Did it discourage you from doing it again?

Other people can often be very quick to pass judgement on our behaviours, particularly without understanding the reasons behind we might have made these choices. I’m not going to waffle some pseudo-scientific rubbish about endorphins or ‘the surprisingly healthy ingredient you didn’t know about’ – we are all aware that feel-good choices aren’t always biologically beneficial. However whilst it is important to recognise this, it is equally important not to get fixated on… Continue reading at Zusterschap.

Jenna

x

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ |

Fear Of Missing Out: Why Your Feed Is Making You Miserable

When I first read the words ‘positive mental attitude’, an image is instantly conjured up of a caricature. That person is the typically overly-enthusiastic and sickeningly proactive ‘go-getter’.

The #fitfam who posts ‘no-pain-no-gain’ as they complete their third workout of the day, washing the sweat and muscle aches down with an acai-coconut blend.

The recently-promoted business executive who just had their highly-anticipated board meeting and landed their pitch after many sleepless nights and hours in front of a computer screen.

The student who made a hundred revision cards, laminated them, cross-referenced them with the wider reading list and aced the module.

Okay so I’m embellishing slightly, and whether we know these people or not, chances are we’ve wanted to be one of them at least once in our lifetime. That isn’t a bad thing, nor is it a bad thing to have achieved this status: you put in the work, you deserve something back, right?

Having read Jamie Varon’s thought-provoking piece, ‘This Is How We Date Now’, I began to consider how much of the imagery and anecdotal evidence projected to us on social media is comfortably curled up in what I like to call ‘the blanket of betterness’. When describing relationships, Varon makes the controversial statement:

We do it. We find it. Then, quickly, we live it for others. We tell people we’re in a relationship on Facebook. We throw our pictures up on Instagram. We become a “we.” We make it seem shiny and perfect because what we choose to share is the highlight reel. We don’t share the 3am fights, the reddened eyes, the tear-stained bedsheets… We don’t tweet 140 characters of sadness when we’re having the kinds of conversations that can make or break the future of our love. This is not.. Read more of this post over on Zusterschap.