HOW TO GET OUT OF A RUT

Neon sign Tabac Glasgow


Recently I was very much stuck in a rut for a good few weeks and it was driving me insane. I had no inspiration or creativity, and when it's my job to write, that's a real problem. I can't miss deadlines or take the week off work because I have writer's block (though how amazing would it be if I could?), so I had to work hard to find ways to pull myself out of my slump as quickly as possible. It ended up taking me some time, but I'm finally feeling more like my usual self so I wanted to share some advice.

REDEFINE YOUR GOALS

This is a great first step to take. Ask yourself what you truly want; what are you working towards? This could be career goals or more general aspirations for your life. Take some time to really think about where you want to be, then find out how to get there. It can be easy to lose sight of our bigger goals when we're constantly dealing with everyday issues, so refocusing on the big picture is a great way to remind yourself what your life is about. The next step is to figure out if you're currently doing the right things to get there. At the end of last year I had made a list of five things I needed to do to kick start my career, and after revisiting that list I found I had done (or was in the process of doing) four of them. This showed me that I needed to start working on that fifth thing, which I had been putting off for a while. Knowing I had one more step to take was a huge motivator for me and made me realise how close I am to my goals.

GET A CHANGE OF SCENERY

Feeling stuck in a rut often means you're getting bored of doing similar things all the time, so an easy way to bring some newness is to start spending time somewhere else. With all the freelancing I've been doing, I had fallen into the trap of hardly ever leaving my flat because I not only lived there but worked there too. I've made plans to work from a cafe, coffee shop or even library at least one day a week to change up my environment. If that's not an option for you, try to make sure you get out and about at weekends - do some exploring and uncover the hidden gems in your area or take long walks with no fixed destination. If all else fails, try switching up your home or office with some new decor or even just re-arranging the furniture. It'll bring some fresh air to your space as well as your mind. A daily monotony is a terrible thing for creativity and motivation, so try to make little changes as often as you can to keep yourself on track.

SPEND TIME WITH INSPIRING PEOPLE

At the weekend, I had afternoon tea with an amazing group of bloggers and I felt so invigorated when I left. I spent two hours chatting to a bunch of talented young women, from writers to business owners. Seeing badass women succeeding in their fields is always a huge motivator for me and it always makes me more determined to up my game. Try to arrange a lunch or coffee with some successful people and just soak in their energy. Ask them how they got to where they are, what advice they have for you, or bounce some of your ideas off them. Getting feedback from someone you trust will help put you on the right path and you'll leave the meeting with a new sense of direction.

TREAT YO'SELF

Hey, I'll take any flimsy excuse to buy myself something new. But seriously, taking some time to focus on self-care is so important. I don't really want to encourage buying something to make yourself feel better because that's not ideal, but if you've been eyeing up a new lipstick why not buy it? Wearing it could give you a little boost and could be the push you need to start thinking differently. What would be better, though, is spending time rather than money. Have a bubble bath with a glass of wine, give yourself a manicure, read your favourite book in a cosy spot with a cup of tea. Anything that makes you happy but you don't get to do very often is ideal. Something I love doing is having a longer shower, using all my favourite products to scrub, smooth and moisturise. Then, I'll come out and do my full skincare routine before putting on comfortable clothes. It's so refreshing and makes me feel like a new woman!

***

Getting into a rut is normal and something that happens to us all from time to time. I hope you can use these tips next time it happens to you to change your mindset and help you feel motivated again.

How do you get out of a rut?

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FEELING OVERWHELMED BY SOCIAL MEDIA? ME TOO

Girl at Budapest Citadella

Most of the time, I love the internet. I grew up with it, I've made friends on it, learned new skills, found job opportunities, watched a lot of cat videos - it's been great. But sometimes it can get a bit too much, and recently, for the first time I experienced a real overwhelming feeling towards social media and the internet in general.

It kind of started when I got home from London at the end of January and the next day started feeling ill. It lasted for about a week and during that week I felt terrible and had no energy at all. As a result, I wasn't really tweeting or posting on Instagram because I had nothing to share except that I'd been in bed all day. I'm feeling better now but still haven't posted on Instagram since London, and have been spending a lot less time on Twitter. 

I don't need to tell you that the world feels very weird at the moment, to put it lightly. More accurately, it's terrifying. Every single day I open Twitter and am faced with the slew of shit that is that day's news. From the Muslim Ban to bombings in Somalia, there's always something horrible happening and that all seems amplified on social media because so many people are talking about it. Don't get me wrong - we should be talking about it, but the constant stream of bad news can make it difficult to feel positive about anything.

This - along with the fact that, to be totally honest, I'm not all that happy in my life at the moment - means social media has become more of a drain on me than ever. Everyone's posting about how fab their lives are (and I'm happy for you, I promise!) but I can't help comparing that to my own life and it makes me feel even more down about it. I know social media is not an accurate portrayal of someone's life, but it's still difficult seeing everyone's perfect Instagrams with their gorgeous outfits when I'm in bed in my pyjamas with a migraine.

So what am I going to do about it? No internet after 7pm? No screens at the weekend? Delete all my social media profiles? (gasp!) Well, no.

Girl with pug puppy
Totally unrelated photo but it's cute, right?

The difficulty arises in that social media is so intrinsically linked with my career and blogging, so whether I like it or not, I have to use it on a regular basis. And that's fine, because when it's good, I love it. I can connect with talented writers and other people who inspire me and share amazing content. What I have to do is learn how to strike a balance and how to deal with social media in the best way for me.

Taking a step back from the internet in these few weeks has been really good for me. It's given me some perspective and helped me find what's actually important. It sounds so simple and obvious but I've realised that I have to make sure I do social media on my own terms. That means tweeting what I really think instead of what I'm supposed to think. That means not giving a shit about the fact that my Instagram isn't full of bright, white photos of pretty products on marble backgrounds, because that's not my style. It means sharing content that I'm truly interested in, no matter how niche it is. And most importantly, it means not comparing my real life to anyone else's social media life.

Yeah, the world seems to be falling apart before our eyes, but there's still so much to celebrate. So many talented writers and artists, so many inspirational activists fighting for what matters, so much beauty in unexpected places that deserves to be shared. If you follow the right people on social media, your feeds can be filled with that kind of awesome stuff, and all that makes the world seem a little bit brighter.

So, I'm back on social media. But with a fresh outlook and a healthier understanding of how it can affect me if I let it. I'm going to tweet what I want, blog about what I want and post what I want on Instagram, with no apologies. I'm feeling good, and I hope you are too.

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HOW TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS + MY OWN FOR 2017

We all know the cycle of setting goals or making resolutions in January, being full of motivation then falling off the wagon by the end of February. It happens to the best of us but I have some tips to help keep you on track with your goals throughout the year. Think how good you'll feel at the end of 2017 if you've achieved all you wanted!

Daily Journal Goals Chloe Perfume Flatlay

BE REALISTIC

Don't set yourself up to fail: create goals that you should be able to achieve within the year. So if you're a graduate, aiming to be a CEO by the end of 2017 probably isn't your best strategy. Also think about whether you truly can stick to your goal or not - doing two hours of exercise every single day would be difficult for even the fittest of people, so choose something you are capable of doing as well as willing to do, then you'll get off to a good start.

MAKE SURE YOU WON'T FORGET

Make it impossible for your goals to slip your mind. Type them up and stick them on your wall, make them your desktop wallpaper, whatever it takes so that you'll be reminded of what you want to achieve on a daily basis. You could also try to find people online who are achieving the type of things you want for yourself - follow them and keep up with what they're doing so you can be reminded of the life you want for yourself.

CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF REGULARLY

Set aside some time at the end of each month to see where you're at and plan what you need to work on in the coming month. This is so important and probably the tip I'd recommend the most, as tracking your progress helps you see if you're putting enough work into achieving your goals. If you realise you're not as far ahead as you'd like to be, this can give you a real push to work harder the next month.

CHOOSE SOMETHING YOU'RE PASSIONATE ABOUT

If you set a goal for something that you don't actually want to do, you're much more likely to fail. Set goals that you really want to achieve, that will make you happy, that you truly care about. Don't say you'll get up at 5am everyday to work out when that sounds like your idea of hell. Goals shouldn't be used to punish yourself; they should improve your life and make you a happier person. Plus, passion will drive you to succeed and you'll feel your life enriched by it.

Urban Outfitters Daily Journal

So with all that in mind, here are my personal goals for 2017:

LEARN NEW DIGITAL SKILLS

Through my unsuccessful job search I've realised that having some more digital skills would be very advantageous to me in the career I'm pursuing. Things like photography, photo and video editing, SEO, HTML etc. can all be incredibly useful to a journalist, and while I have some basic knowledge in these areas I really want to step that up and become more confident in them. There's loads of free online courses for these types of things so I'm going to start working on them and hopefully by the end of the year I'll have some new skills to show for myself.

GET SERIOUS ABOUT FREELANCING

I've been doing some freelance writing here and there for a while now, but 2017 is the year I'm going to put a lot more energy into it. I've already made a list of stories I want to pitch and publications I'm going to contact, so I'm off to a good start! By the end of the year I hope to have a long and diverse list of published work, and it'll really help with my confidence too. With that said, if you know of any freelancing opportunities, hook a girl up, yeah?

LEARN TO DRIVE (I MEAN IT THIS TIME)

Fun fact: My parents gave me the gift of driving lessons for my 19th birthday and I'm now 22 and haven't done a single lesson. I'm terrible, I know. It's one of those things that I keep saying I'll definitely start this week/month/year but somehow just never get around to actually doing. I came very close last summer and even narrowed my choice down to about three different instructors, but never made the final leap. I am quite scared of driving to be honest, and I just think I'll be terrible at it, but 2017 is going to be the year I actually start those lessons. Honestly. I swear.

BE MORE CONSCIOUS WITH MY PURCHASES

There are two elements to this goal: Firstly, I've been thinking a lot about consumerism and throwaway culture recently. Maybe it's all the minimalism videos on YouTube (and the documentary on Netflix), maybe it's the fact that I have a full wardrobe but feel like I have nothing to wear. I don't like it. It's wasteful, bad for the planet and bad for my finances. Secondly, I want to take my focus away from needing things to feel happy. I'm that person who places an ASOS order after a stressful day, or spends my Saturday going round the shops after a shitty week. And I'm starting to realise that's just wrong. People can make me happy, doing productive things can make me happy; and aren't they so much better than a Topshop skirt? So I'm going to stop buying things for the sake of it and only buy things I actually need or really, really want. It'll save me money, make me feel more peaceful and I'll also be doing my bit to save the Earth, so it's a no-brainer really.

What are your goals for 2017?

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2016 RECAP

Happy New Year everyone! I am finally back to blogging after a little break and instead of my usual monthly recap I thought I'd do one on the year as a whole to get back into the swing of things. There's far too much to talk about in one post so I picked out the biggest points that sum up what 2016 was for me.

Sentido Hotel Turkey

It was a bit of a mixed bag of a year, but there was a six week period in May/June where so many good things were squeezed in, so that time was definitely the highlight for me. I done my last ever exam at University and only two days later went off on holiday to a beautiful hotel on the beach in Turkey. It was just what I needed after the insane stress of my final year at uni and left me feeling completely refreshed.

22nd Birthday Dinner Prezzo Glasgow

My 22nd birthday was soon after I got back and I had the most lovely weekend celebrating it. I had a little hair change on the Friday and while sitting with bleach on my hair in the fab Blow salon I received an email telling me I'd achieved a 2:1 Honours degree, so that really kicked off the weekend on a high note and gave me an extra reason to celebrate.

London Big Ben Westminster

The following week I headed down to London on my first solo trip to complete an internship at Kerrang! magazine. I was an amazing experience and made me so excited for my future career, plus I got to do some exploring around a city I love. The fact that I done the whole thing alone was quite a big deal for me as I'd never travelled alone before and London is a crazy city. My navigation skills are seriously lacking and I got lost way more times than I'd like to admit, but I also stepped out of my comfort zone in so many ways. I even sat in a bar alone with a glass of wine and my book, and no one looked at me like I was weird, so I learned to not be so self-conscious about these things.

Strathclyde University Graduation 2016

And after that it was my graduation, which was a really lovely day spent with Adam and my family. I'd really fallen out of love with uni by the end, so I was very relieved to have ended that part of my life and eager to see what came next. I'm still so proud of what I achieved, especially since I'd seriously considered dropping out more than once. I stuck it out, worked my butt off and I'm so glad I did.

Tabac Bar Glasgow

Which leads me on to the great low of my 2016, the dark cloud hanging over me for the past six months: I still haven't found a graduate job. Believe me, it's not through lack of trying - for at least three months I was checking job websites every single day. I knew journalism was a hard industry to get into, but man, I really thought I'd have done it by now.

Hot Chocolate Costa

I got another internship at a Glasgow-based magazine publishing company and thoroughly enjoyed my two weeks there. They told me if they'd had a vacancy they'd have loved to hire me but unfortunately they just weren't able to take anyone on at that time. I was disappointed but have since come to really appreciate what I learned there and the positive feedback I was given. It confirmed to me that, despite how hard it is to get a job, I have chosen the right industry to pursue a career in because every morning I genuinely looked forward to going into the office and I was brimming with ideas for articles.

Botanic Gardens Glasgow

I was not at my best in the later half of 2016. I am so fed up of my part-time retail job and far too impatient to find something new. I really did feel that this was holding me back the past few months and made me into a more negative person, which is something I'll really need to work on in 2017. Life doesn't always work out the way we plan, so I had some unexpected downtime these past few months and I can use what I learned to make sure 2017 goes my way no matter what.

Christmas Day 2016

To end on a lighter note, this festive season was actually one of my favourites in a long time. I had a bit of time off work after being there constantly in the run-up to Christmas and I spent lots of time with Adam and my family. I've been relaxing some days then been out and about on others, and it's been a great pick-me-up. It's allowed me to come into the new year feeling so much more positive and ready to take on the year and get myself back at the top of my game.

I may write a post about my goals for 2017, but for now I will say that I'm very excited to see what the year brings and I already have a few things to look forward to, like going back to London at the end of this month to see A Day To Remember as well as some more exploring!

How was your 2016?

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LA ROCHE-POSAY EFFACLAR DUO [+] UNIFANT

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Unifant

I've talked about my love of La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Duo [+] before: it's the spot-fighting cream that really makes a difference. So when La Roche-Posay were kind enough to send me the new tinted version to try I was very excited. After using it for a couple of months I'm now able to give my full review of their Effaclar Duo [+] Unifant.*

This is an anti-blemish cream with a 100% mineral tint so it provides a bit of coverage while also helping your skin. It has been proven to treat and reduce blemishes in 24 hours, and although I don't think it acted as fast as that, it definitely did help reduce my blemishes. Since cutting out dairy my skin has greatly improved, but recently I had a little phase where the cravings for cheese just got too much and I couldn't resist. Although those cheese fries were heavenly, I paid for them with my skin and the spots were pretty stubborn, but this definitely helped them along.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] Unifant

I was pleasantly surprised by the level of coverage Unifant provides. Of course it's not comparable to a foundation, but it's like a particularly good BB Cream. It covers redness and looks nice and natural on the skin, so I've really been enjoying using this product. It's good to know that your skin is being looked after and its problems are being addressed even while you're wearing makeup.

The Effaclar range has a bit of a cult following and if you've tried it before you'll understand why. The Duo [+] range has been the number one blemish treating skincare range in Europe since its launch, and is recommended by dermatologists so it's definitely got a huge seal of approval.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] Unifant Light Swatch
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] Unifant in Light, blended out on the right

On days where I don't want a full face of makeup but still want some coverage, this is the perfect product and has become my go-to for such days. I apply it with a damp beauty blender, add a bit of concealer and set with a small amount of powder. I usually then lightly fill in my brows and add some mascara, then I'm good to go with the perfect "no makeup makeup look". On other days I sometimes wear it under my usual makeup routine so I'm getting a more full coverage as well as the skincare benefits.

I used the shade Light, which worked surprisingly well on my very pale skin! Since it's a sheer coverage, it blends out well so you can get away with the shade not being 100%, but they still definitely need more than two shades. La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Duo [+] Unifant retails for £16.50 at Boots.

Have you tried Effaclar Duo [+] Unifant?


*This product was sent to me for consideration of review. All opinions are my own and I was not financially compensated for this post. See my full disclaimer here.