Hi all, Happy Sunday!

As you can tell I’m back after my two week break. And guys, believe me when I tell you it was needed.

I love this blog to pieces and I enjoy writing on here so much but I really needed to take a break and gather myself together again.

If you read my last blog on handling job rejection you might have noticed I was struggling a bit with the pressure I was putting on myself to get my career job. Consequently that was rubbing off on other aspects of my life and I started feeling as if everything was a bit of a chore but also out of my control.

I’m not saying this as a sob story or to get any sympathy, but instead to normalise learning when to say no to things and just stop and take a break.

I was really burning myself out, my anxiety was hitting, and I was just feeling very wobbly. I felt not good enough (even beyond the job rejections), and out of a purpose and I was questioning whether I should try my hand at content writing or journalism — basically I was having an identity crisis from putting all this pressure on myself to get achieve all these things. (Don’t worry guys, I’m not giving up on my writing goals and dreams, just knocking the pace down a couple of gears).

Having some time off made me realise how much pressure I was putting on myself to achieve things NOW, and my productivity was actually becoming rather damaging to my mental wellbeing.

Productivity is always painted as this great quality that we should utilise all the time. There is a consensus that we should constantly be efficient and outputting things that work towards a target or goal. But, as a productive individual I find it hard to stop, and I struggle to know when to separate this productive energy into something that is good for my wellbeing rather than just sending out application after application and pitch after pitch. I used to (pre-pandemic) be able to use this energy on social outings, but with that being taken away from all of us I was just feeding it into trying to better myself as a grad applicant rather than looking after myself.

It’s good to work at applications and put time into improving your CV but not to a level that is damaging for your mental wellbeing and that was the point I was getting too (although I’m sure my friends would actually say that was the point I was at).

So post intervention from some lovely humans in my life telling me to “take a break”, I did and I feel so much better for it. It has given me perspective on how I need to divide my productive energy and limit my daily time on my laptop.

In my time off I’ve been able to make time to go on a lovely mid-week hike with my beautiful friend Asia and her gorgeous doggie Trixie.

We did my usual local hike on the Gordano round to Cadbury Camp and back which was just over 17km.

We had sunshine, we had snow, and we had some good laughs.

It was really lovely to put the hiking boots on and get out for the day in the fresh air, and leave my hometown by foot. Hikes are undoubtedly my best way to take a break and do something that makes me feel good and productive in a healthy way for my wellbeing.

I also did some baking, watched some films (of course including some Harry Potter’s) and have finished reading The Dilemma by B.A Paris and White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I’m now reading Shagged Married Annoyed by Chris and Rosie Ramsey which is HILARIOUS.

I’ve, of course, still been doing some writing but choosing projects with no obligations or pressure; just me, a word document, and some time to write my ideas.

I’ve written a blog post on my lockdown reads for Wiltshire and Willow which will be published soon, and I’ve started volunteering as a writer for Turn the Tide which is a local environmental community in Portishead which focuses on removing plastic from the oceans and litter from our town. My first article for Turn the Tide is on how to have contactless coffees by using a reusable cup when getting a takeaway coffee whilst being covid safe. And I’ve started planning a piece about life after graduating with my friend Anika which will be an advice type article that we are planning to co-write.

I’ve also been making the most of my daily walks and meeting up with my parents (separately due to current restrictions) for dog walks.

I am also really proud to say that this month I have also completed my first ever 10km run!

And of course, I also made some banging pancakes on Pancake Day.

These are all hobbies and projects I’m really pleased to say have all been positively impactful on my mental health and overall wellbeing. They have enabled me to use my productivity positively and healthily.

If any of this resonates with you I hope you take my advice and try to put your productivity into a hobby. It’s so hard to separate ‘work and play’ when we can’t ‘play’ in the usual way but I hope you find a way.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and I hope you have a good final week of February.