I am always looking out for new ways to spread mental health awareness and I think fiction is an area I often glaze over. However, I’m starting to see just how beneficial reading fiction can really be. Recently, I was invited to take part in the book tour for ‘The Year I Didn’t Eat’ by Samuel Pollen – my interest was sparked by both the focus on mental health and the fact that the target audience is young teens…
As we make our first tentative steps into the second month of the year, talk of New Year resolutions is starting to simmer down. The flurry of people proclaiming they will have more of some things (motivation, exercise, books on the read shelf) and less of other things (drunken nights, weight, empty cigarette packets) has subsided. And here we are, a month into the year: have all those commitments stuck? The likelihood is probably not.
We all do it, whether we like to admit it or not. All of us set goals we don’t ever reach. This is frustrating, disheartening even. In today’s pressurising world it can feel like we fail because there’s something wrong with us. Perhaps if we just try harder we’ll find success.
I feel like January normally drags a little, the cold days and endless greyness of the sky stretch out and we all find ourselves wondering if February is ever going to turn up. I haven’t found that this year though. The bleak weather is certainly hanging around as usual, but the actual days have been tripping over themselves in a hurry to get to spring.
My month started in the Peak District, hiking around in the hills and eating bakewell tart. On one of my favourite walks, it started snowing for a couple of minutes which was magical. The whole week was wonderful actually (apart from losing my bullet journal…).
I headed straight back to university from the rugged hills and had a hectic first week back on a compulsory course workshop. It was pretty tiring and a lot of people didn’t show up, but I’m glad I went. If I hadn’t, I would be wondering what I’d missed out on. I really can’t complain, most people had exams that week which I thankfully didn’t have to do.
Around this time a year ago, I was not considering applying for physical university. (For those of you who don’t know, I was studying with the Open University, a distance learning institution, at the time). I didn’t see it like this in the moment, but looking back I think I had almost written the whole idea of attending university off. It seemed so inconceivable to me, for many reasons, and that led to a total dismissal of it all.
Now, heading into my second term at uni, I thought it might be a good moment to reflect on that experience, and those feelings, in the hope that it might reach someone else going through something similar… So what was the main issue then?
Happy New Year everyone! I thought I’d kick things off on an incredibly predictable note: a list of my goals for the coming year. I felt a need to set the tone for the next 12 months in some way, and this post seemed like a good way to do so. I don’t really set resolutions in January – I’m not sure the pressure is particularly helpful and I find it causes me to feel more negative emotions than positive. I do, however, like to contemplate the general direction I’d like to move in over the coming year in the form of a few vague goals.
Last year, I got a little swept up in a blogging trend in which people outlined 18 goals for 2018; looking back, that seems like a lot of things to hold in mind at any one time. Granted, I did keep most of them small, and many of them related to one another, yet I think the sheer quantity could perhaps have put me off a little. This year, in a pure act of rebellion, I will be listing a number of goals which does not necessarily adhere to the year we happen to be entering, or even a round number that could make for a satisfying blog post title. I know, 2019 already seems to be the year of stretching boundaries…
December, as it usually is, has been an exhalation: of stress, work, chaos. I spent the first week up at university, catching up on lectures and bits of reading I missed throughout the term, before enjoying a couple of days in London with some friends. From there, I headed back home to be with my family for Christmas.
We did the typical yuletide activities – making a wreath for the door, going on cold woodland walks, shopping for and wrapping presents, baking festive-flavoured things – and ate lots of yummy comfort food. It was a blessing to be able to use a proper food processor to make vegan nicecream again – I miss it so badly when I’m up at uni with just my cheap smoothie blender to rely on.
We have reached that reflective point in the calendar, a week in which lots of us cast a thought back over the previous 12 months and linger on the good and the bad the year had to offer. I thought I’d take a moment to wrap up by looking back on the goals I set way back in January.
I wanted to spend lots of time outside and move more in an effort to improve my general wellbeing. I think my success with this varied over the months but I did get out the house quite a bit and I did give basketball, yoga and running a crack. Through these activities, I attempted new things and overcame old anxieties; I’d say that’s a win even if exercise did fall off my radar as the year toppled into the colder months.