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Take That, Anxiety: An Open Letter from the First Term of University

Dear Alys,

Hey, you made it through the first term of university! Can we have a pause for applause, please?

Yes, you’ve cried. Yes, you’ve had days when leaving your room took more than a couple of thoughts and deep breaths to achieve. Yes, anxiety hasn’t decided to fully retire to The Bahamas, never to be seen by you again (yet). But you have persisted through these feelings and honestly, they’ve been rather fleeting for the most part. More like occasional-dandruff-to-brush-off-the-shoulders level, a minor inconvenience, rather than taking-a-few-days-out-because-of-flu level.

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orange leuchtturm 1917 bullet journal

A (kind of) Love Letter

Hey there,

I know you’re feeling hurt at the moment, I sense it in the silence and distance between us. Whenever I try to start a conversation with you, you leave me with unfinished sentences: frustrating lines that hit connectives, hanging as uncomfortably at the end of a line as an introvert at a frat party. Connectives are made to mingle amongst the dancing letters of a sentence, not act like roadblocks for a train of thought.

You can tell I’m frustrated when I start mixing modes of transport in one simile. Yes, I’m a little frustrated. Not at all with you though, you’ve been wonderful this last year, but with myself for neglecting you these past months. And for allowing that to create both this space between us and my difficulty in coming back to you. You’ve always been there for me when I needed to let my thoughts out in chaotic streams of consciousness, no matter how much time and attention I had, or didn’t have, for you. And so I can understand you’re hurt.

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Bullet Journal Inspiration: Weekly Spread Ideas

Some of the most popular posts on my blog are my bullet journal monthly setups. Unfortunately for everyone involved, I haven’t graced the internet with one of these since October. That’s because the way I utilise my bujo has changed – I started university at the end of September and found that the spreads I normally use are unnecessary (and impossible to keep up with) as a student.

So from November, I switched techniques. Now, I only create weekly spreads. This is so I can focus on planning in everything I need to do without wasting time on pages that don’t add much value to my current lifestyle. So doing a monthly setup post would be pretty obsolete as it would just involve the title page and not much else. Instead, I thought I’d do a post with a selection of my most recent weekly spreads in the hope that it inspires you to get creative in your own journal.

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November Reflections – Where Have I Been?! What’s Next?

Yep, it’s a generic ‘I’m sorry I took a break from blogging’ post. Well, it should be at least. I haven’t written any content for over a month, and that’s too long for my liking. I feel like I owe everyone an explanation; this is the part of the post where I apologise profusely for my sudden hiatus, offer up a bunch of excuses and attempt to justify myself. But I’m sure you’ve all read plenty of those before, so instead this is just going to be a short and casual reflections post – like the ones I write every month.

What’s held me back from creating content over November then? The simple explanation is, of course, ‘university’. So let’s start with a rundown of how that’s all going…

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pink clouds blue sky sunset with buildings

October Reflections – University Begins…

October was an intense month; I think anyone who has just started university will agree with that. It’s had a lot of ups and downs and has generally felt very confusing – it’s like the rug is constantly being pulled out from underneath me and I’m not sure if my feet will ever actually be touching solid ground. Bearing this context in mind, I thought the best way to approach October’s roundup post would be to focus on the positive things that have happened, rather than trying to condense all the emotions of the month into one chaotic assortment…

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orange yellow peaches bright colours spain street photography

Colour and the Quiet – Corella Street Photography Journal

At the end of summer, I was lucky enough to travel to three beautiful places in Spain: Corella, San Sebastian and Bilbao. I’m feeling a little nostalgic today, or perhaps the reality of university is starting to hit me and I’m craving a bit of a mental step back from it all – either way, I thought this would be a good moment to look back over my street photography from my little September Spanish adventure.

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Condensation on window glass

Meditation or Distraction? Personalising How You Manage Anxiety

When I was first contacted by Thrive, a company that develops therapeutic software, my curiosity was spiked by the sheer breadth and depth their app Feel Stress Free seems to promise. Allow me to explain: having used various tools for managing stress and anxiety before, I’ve often headed down a path of declining interest, as I get stuck in a rut ofย  repetitive activity. However, Feel Stress Free’s unique characteristic seems to be the huge variety of ways it offers for managing stress and anxiety – which have actually been created by psychologists/psychiatrists and are clinically proven to be helpful. I thought this could be a remedy for my tendency to lose that spark of interest.

The other main advantage I can see from the layout of the app is the possibility for personalising the ways of dealing with stress and anxiety, which is something I feel passionate about. I don’t think all methods work effectively for everyone, but that’s not a problem here; I picked up on five key areas of managing negative emotions that Thrive are striving to help with. I thought I’d outline these below and talk about how you can implement these things in your own life – both with and without the help of your phone.

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