Be kind to yourself


Lately I have been feeling a bit withdrawn and somewhat disconnected, almost as if I was trapped in a bubble, the world around me feeling muffled and discoloured. I have found myself having a bit of a hard time gathering the motivation for performing even simple everyday tasks, let alone keeping up with the blog and staying on top of my uni assignments. Okay, so we all have some down time once in a while. It just doesn’t bode well with my perfectionist and occasionally overachieving self, for on top of the ‘regular’ blues I am crushed with a crippling sense of guilt for being lazy and unproductive.

Of course, the early twenties are a time in anyone’s life that brings about lots of changes and insecurities, especially when you are studying (or working) far away from your family, your friends, and anything familiar to you—in my case, about 1000 miles from home. Not only that, but I have also got the majority of my close friends and loved ones scattered all over Europe, if not the world. You’ll understand why it can feel pretty lonely up here sometimes.

I’ve especially been having a hard time coming to terms with some of the things that I have found myself struggling with—things that I did not expect I would be struggling with at all before moving here. Things, if you like, that I believed I was a bit of a ‘natural’ at, or that I had somehow convinced myself I was good at. I had to find ways to reassess myself and the way I see myself in some ways, which I believe is something a lot of us go through at this age. Feels a bit like puberty 2.0 with a vengeance, doesn’t it?

Luckily, I’ve got an amazing boyfriend who listens (even at 1000 miles distance and with one of the crappiest Internet connections I have ever owned—dramatically hilarious one-way conversations made up of mainly “hello? Are you there? Can you hear me?!?! AUGRHHHH” ensue) and tells me when I need to take a deep breath—slow down—take it easy—aaand exhale.

Here are some ways I have decided I want to begin improving my life in order to make some space in my currently very cluttered, very stressed out mind (and body):

Even if just to take my laptop out to a cafĂ© or the uni library to do some work. As somebody who tends to always work alone and in the solitude of my home, I have been feeling a growing need to separate my bedroom from my work space. I believe that doing that will help me keep more focused while working, and fully relax when I’m taking a break—instead of constantly mixing the two, doing research and then getting distracted by a Facebook notification, or constantly sneaking off to the kitchen to grab a snack (isn't that the perfect mean of procrastination?). Also, spring is coming and lately we’ve been lucky enough to have a string of sunny days which I need to take advantage of!

To the dismay of many, I am a 100% Italian with little to no interest in cooking. Most of what I know comes from the aforementioned amazing boyfriend, with whom I spent most of my gap year (you can read some more about that here) and who taught me how to find my way around the kitchen and how to, basically, sustain myself. Not that my parents (who are still back in Italy) couldn’t or didn’t cook, it’s just that I never cared enough to observe what and how they cooked. My boyfriend, who, on the other hand, loves food, still bears a grudge against me for once saying that I don’t really enjoy food, I simply “shove it in”. Ouch. While the kitchen still doesn’t feel like my natural habitat, I have been trying to improve my relationship with food by cooking healthy, nutrient-rich meals in order to keep my body going. Which is why I want to start looking for more recipes, especially vegan ones, to expand my currently pretty limited grocery list and selection of meals which I tend to lazily stick to. I might even begin posting some on here if I find any particularly delicious ones (my borderline food-porn Pinterest board might be a good starting point).

One of the first things I did when I got to university was sign up for a gym membership. I was so happy to finally have access to an affordable, nearby gym, as I actually don’t like running outside much—I prefer the treadmill. I began signing up for fitness classes such as yoga and pilates which I had wanted to try for a while, and ended up never actually using the gym space. Then came Christmas, and as the pounds added up, whatever kind of routine I had set up for myself magically dissolved into thin air. I now need to get back into it and slowly, but steadily work my way back to a decent amount of fitness. My iPod is also slowly, but steadily dying on me after one of my cats poured a whole glass of water on it while I was home during Christmas break and I can’t run without my music, so wish me luck with that…

A couple of years ago I became slightly obsessed with hair care and natural products. It got to the point where I refused to go to hairdresser because they would be using shampoos with high concentrations of sodium laureth sulphate and conditioners filled with silicones. While I am not as hung up on it anymore, something I really enjoyed was making homemade DIY hair masks—sure, it could get messy, but it was great fun, my hair felt amazing and frankly, it was quite therapeutic for myself, too. I never went further than hair masks, but I’ve got a Pinterest board full of DIY face masks, lip scrubs and whatnot that I would love to try out. They are affordable, easy to make and good for you—what more could you want?

As I’ve mentioned, a lot of my friends are scattered in different countries and it has obviously become harder and harder to keep in touch. This is worsened by the fact that I am quite forgetful and pretty disorganised when it comes to contacting people and replying to messages. I want to make more time to talk to some of these friends. Throughout my life I’ve had a great deal of people come and go, and I don’t have that kind of best friend from primary school or even nursery that I have such a close bond with. I used to think it didn’t bother me, I loved getting to know so many different people. However, as I grow older I am realising how much close friends matter. The type of close friend that makes you feel comfortable with saying and doing anything, that you can call up with any issue and they’ll be there, that you can be really silly with or really serious with and it won’t matter. Especially because I don’t have such a close relationship with my family, friends like these are something I feel I’m going to really need later on in my life, as a solid, dependable support.

Okay, this may sound silly, but as a self-proclaimed movie junkie whose dream since I was 14 years old has been to be part of this magical, wonderful world that is that of films, I need to start watching more movies again! My boyfriend and I always have lists of films we want to watch together, but then when I’m alone I tend to slack and just watch TV series or YouTube videos. I don’t want to eliminate those from my life, but I definitely feel that I need to up my movie-watching game again (I haven't even seen half of the latest Academy Awards nominees!). A bit like with books, I feel like when I was younger I used to watch so many movies and even find the time to re-watch my favourite ones times and times again—and now I barely manage to keep up with my watching (and reading) lists! I feel really sad thinking about it. So yes, watch more movies—and since we’re at it, read more books, and not only uni book but novels.

I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions, but I suppose this list isn’t so far-removed from that kind of format. Except it’s March, and they are not so much about 2016 as a stand-alone year but rather more integrated lifestyle changes. I am hoping to turn this blog into something a bit more personal as well, alongside my usual posts about the fashion industry and general creative findings, so consider this a beginning towards that direction.

What are things you like to do when feeling withdrawn and disconnected from the world?

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