Taking the Blogging High Road

‘When they go low, we go high…’

It’s become somewhat of a slogan for Michelle Obama, who first used the phrase during an incredible speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention – taking the high road and doing the right thing, even when it isn’t easy. 

While Michelle may be able to rise above it, I (however much I admire her), still find it one of the most difficult things to do. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on… well, I won’t have forgotten what you did the first time so you won’t get the chance to even think of fooling me again. 

I’m admittedly highly strung, easily rattled and have become more outspoken – even more so as I age – and as a result I find it enormously frustrating to have to keep my mouth shut and walk away when I see something that I believe to be untrue or unfair. Now that I’m self-employed I have to regularly check myself in what and how I say things because essentially, I’m on my own. 

Unfortunately, especially when working online, a thick skin and the ability to take the high road is part of the job description. It’s a confusing world to be a part of – particularly in the fact that every aspect of content creation and interaction has the ability to be edited to show the best possible side to a potential audience. This seemingly deceptive nature of blogging and accompanying false sense of security and anonymity that a computer screen provides enables a person to say whatever they want, whenever they want, often without the same fear of consequence or reciprocation that they would be held accountable for in the real world. The longer you inhabit the online world, the more common it is to witness and potentially get sucked into the self-entitlement, angst and outrage that populates the blogosphere and social media platforms on a daily basis. In fact, there are entire blogs and YouTube channels dedicated to it – ‘Drama’ content that focuses on the quarrels and spats going on between influencers. Continue reading

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Simple and Effective Ways to Build Healthy Habits

Simple and Effective Ways to Adopt Daily Healthy Habits

As my workload has increased over recent months I have found that my general feeling of anxiety and overwhelm has grown with it. I have recognised the fact that I easily slip into a familiar and comfortable rut when I feel like this, and so I have had to develop a consistent routine and adopt healthy habits to continue to be productive and motivated. Everything is instantly easier when done in moderation, and so I have taken the time to make sure that these daily habits are broken down into small chunks, becoming part of my routine instead of perceiving them as extra tasks to add to my permanently large lists. Here are some healthy habits that I have incorporated into my day.

Mindfully focus on the positive. I have a specific set of mantras and quotes that I remind myself of each morning.

Wake up earlier, even if it just by fifteen minutes. While the prospect of dragging yourself out of a warm comfy bed is the last thing that most of us want to do (particularly if you already have an early start), but those extra minutes will give your brain chance to wake up for the day. Use the time to stretch, do some deep breathing or meditation exercises. I also avoid using the snooze button.

Plan, plan and plan some more. I’ve mentioned on more than a few occasions about utilising a Bullet Journal Notebook to help organise my mind and daily activities. I use a daily tracker for my client jobs, a monthly calendar to keep an overview on upcoming events and activities and a daily log for individual tasks that I need to complete. Before I go to bed I fill out the tracker for the work I have completed (which takes five minutes as it is simply filling in some boxes), look over my monthly calendar and then write my jobs list for the following day in my daily log section. This means that I have a general idea of what I need to do when I start work and saves me the time (and inevitable anxiety) of having to figure out a plan when I have just woken up. Here’s a great post on useful Habit Trackers to develop in a Bullet Journal.

Develop a routine, schedule your time and avoid sabotaging yourself. Procrastination is a huge time waster – block out what you need to achieve and give yourself a reasonable time frame to do it, focusing on just one thing.

Continue reading

14 Ways to Avoid Procrastination

14 ways to stop procrastination  - stop procrastinating and learn how to be more organised

I’ve often referred to myself as the Queen of Procrastination. It has been a problem that began in early adulthood – finding anything and everything I possibly could do instead of something that was important, effectively becoming extremely proficient at doing nothing. Don’t believe me? Here’s how I regularly wasted my time when a deadline was looming.

My procrastination was always at its worst when:

  • I knew that a task wouldn’t be an easy or short process.
  • I found something difficult.
  • I was rebelling against something or someone because I don’t like being told what to do, even if the person telling me to do something was myself.
  • I had to go through the process of learning something new before I even began.
  • I found it boring and/or monotonous, making it become a chore.
  • I wasn’t under pressure with an impending deadline and/or wasn’t accountable to anyone else. 
  • I was frightened of failing. 

Continue reading

How to Deal with Burnout

How to deal with burnout, depression and mental health

Generally, I have a very blessed and wonderful life, but I’ve always been quite open about that fact that I suffer from depression. These ‘down days’ are always impossible to pre-empt, sometimes not appearing for weeks or even months at a time, but over the years I’ve been able to develop coping mechanisms in order to maintain some sort of functionality when a depressive episode strikes. 

This year, however, the down days were increasingly more extreme and lasted for much longer periods of time. I was dealing with a number of negative and stressful situations in both my personal and professional life over a number of months and was struggling with feelings of pressure and de-motivation, but I began to find myself unable to complete even the most menial of tasks. I didn’t particularly want to go outside, my appetite increased and I began comfort eating excessively, I felt physically and mentally tired all the time but couldn’t sleep, I felt physically unwell, eventually developing laryngitis which took several weeks to recover from, I couldn’t concentrate to the point where I even forgot what I was saying mid-sentence. I even started to lose interest in the creative things that made me happy, becoming disillusioned with my own blog and the community. For me, feeling low was part of life that I had learned to accept and work with when I needed to, but when the bad days turned into bad weeks I knew that there was something wrong.  Continue reading

50+ Frugal Ideas to Save Money and Organise Your Finances

Frugal and thrifty ideas to help you organise your finances and save money

Budgeting, saving money and making wise financial decisions was never really something that I was particularly good at. However, a change in my job meant a significant drop in my monthly earnings, forcing me to adapt to a different lifestyle in order to be able to live happily within my means.

Admittedly, my situation was substantially easier to make changes than those with large mortgages and children, but I still had quite a few financial responsibilities that needed to be covered, along with the monthly rent and bills. It took some time, but advanced planning and organisation really helped me to stay on track… Continue reading

How to Create Evergreen Blog Content

How to create evergreen blog content

There are two types of content that I usually post on my blog:

Daily Experiences – things I see and do, journal-type notes, general thoughts etc. These posts are generally just for fun – I write them for enjoyment and they keep within the original purpose that the blog was intended for: therapy. I don’t pay much attention to SEO, keywords or images as I know that these sorts of posts will be seen over a period of about a month and then will be considered to be out of date. Essentially, non-evergreen content that has an expiration date.

Evergreen Content – posts that will be generally relevant over long periods of time and aren’t necessarily specific to my own life. Within these I am much more focused on keywords and SEO techniques, I spend a much longer period of time crafting beautiful and pinnable images and I make sure that I link to other relevant posts. I also focus heavily on these sorts of posts across my social media sharing, often resharing them at intervals to give them a boost in promotion at a later date. Continue reading

Props Under £20 for Creating Beautiful Blog & Instagram Images

Props under £20 for creating blog and Instagram images

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included

I’m certainly not a photographer by any means (that is more of The Bloke’s passion than mine), but one of the things that I enjoy doing in my free time is experimenting with props and different flat lay images that I can use for my blog and social media.

I’ve written about creating beautiful flat lay images before, but this was more about the process of how to set them up. Since then, I’ve received lots of questions asking about prop and budget ideas from others who want to create their own but don’t want to spend a fortune doing so.

There’s a million different advice posts and tutorials on the subject, but what I’ve discovered when trawling through a some of them is that many have splashed out on different lighting rigs and light boxes, backdrops and props and use an expensive SLR camera. Continue reading

Useful Twitter Hashtags for Bloggers

Useful twitter hashtags for bloggers

What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag, put simply, is a label or category that allows others to find something within a specific theme or content and are primarily used on Twitter and Instagram. Once you have copied a URL or used the share button on a post, hashtags can be used to direct your post towards the people you want to read them. On Twitter you can use a hashtag for everything – #cats, #dogs, #football, #sandwiches – but as a blogger the main focus is to use categories that will gain interest in your content and grow your readership and traffic.

Using Trending Hashtags

Trending hashtags are the most popular things on Twitter at a particular moment in time  and at several points in the last few years I have written a post about a topic while it was trending, with immediate effect on my traffic once it was posted.

You can find the trending hashtags in your search section of Twitter – the 20 most popular ones will automatically appear. If something is trending, take the opportunity to base a post around a hashtag and tweet it out. Continue reading

Self-Pity, Gratitude… and Cake

There’s nothing more inspiring than a positive person who has a goal and works relentlessly hard to achieve it. More recently I have been turning to American muscle gods for inspiration – anyone who has the ability to get up at 4am and train to that level when I can’t even manage breakfast and a coherent sentence before 10.30am deserves my upmost respect.

Today’s admiration is for Terry Crews. Not only is he a talented actor and fitness expert, but he seems to be one of the most genuinely positive and uplifting people around. I discovered a video that he uploaded a year ago on his YouTube channel, and it was some of the most profound thoughts I’d heard in a while. Continue reading

The Festering Process: How I Deal With Anger

In my experience, there are usually three ways in which people deal with anger.

The first group go from zero to sixty very quickly, let everything fly, calm down just as quickly and move on.

The second take their time – after the initial incident the rage builds and spreads over a period of days, reaching its peak long after everyone else have got on with their lives.

The third have the ability to shut off, compartmentalise and just walk away.

I am in the second group. I go from zero to sixty in about four days. It doesn’t happen often, but when something truly upsets me (and we’re not talking just a general level of minor irritation here) then I start what The Bloke refers to as ‘The Festering Process,’ during which I mull everything over to the point where I end up in such a state that even functioning beyond a certain level becomes difficult for a while. Continue reading