Being a Key Worker during a Global Pandemic

We are living in extremely strange times. The country has gone into lockdown (I'm from England), all bars, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, shopping centres and most shops are closed, and I'm not allowed to see my family. Strange, strange times.

The one thing that has been making this terrifying situation somewhat bearable, and which has been adding a sense of normality back into my life, is that I am still going to work.

Our government has told us to not travel to work unless we absolutely have to. Because there is no way that my job can be done from home and I work in a hospital, I am classed as a 'key worker'.

So what does being a key worker in a global pandemic mean for me? I know that my experience will be different to other key workers' experiences. And I think that a lot of the time, we forget that there are other key workers alongside the ones who work in hospitals and provide a duty of care to the public. We've got delivery drivers, bin men, factory workers, retail staff, teachers, technicians, builders, the list goes on and on and on (I've definitely forgotten some job roles, so if you're a key worker of any kind, then thank you). But here is what being a key worker means to me.

It means that my bus journeys are a lot quieter because the school kids don't get on it anymore. It also means that my bus journeys are a lot more lonely because my bus buddy has been redeployed to a different hospital and doesn't travel with me anymore. It means that my once relaxed hospital environment is now hectic and busy. It means that the staff don't want to stop in the hallway anymore to say hi and ask how you're doing because they're so rushed off their feet trying to look after their patients during a global pandemic. It means that my job role is entirely different now. It means that I get stressed more easily. It means that smiling at work takes more effort. It means that smiling at home takes more effort. It means that I lay all my problems on my partner, hoping he'll provide me with the support I so desperately need. It means that I've realised how the only person who can solve my problems is me. It means that even in my free time, the virus is still on my mind. It means that my favourite colleague has gone off sick, for fear of contracting the virus and passing it onto patients. It means that my makeup gets ruined through having to wear goggles and masks (but it also means that it doesn't bother me, as it's reducing the risk of the virus spreading). It means I've been sleeping badly. It means that the rainbows people have been putting on their windows and doors that I see on my daily commute make me smile more than anything. It means that I admire other key workers. It means that I am proud of myself. It means that I am contributing towards the day when we come out of lockdown and everyone is filled with immense happiness. It means that I get annoyed when people don't stay at home. But it means that despite all the stress, the tears, the anger, the anxiety, and the emotional-strain, there is hope that we are one step closer to getting through this. So I will continue to wake up at 5:30am every single day and go into work, not knowing what the day will bring but knowing that it is a day closer to the end of the global pandemic.

If you are staying at home and only leaving the house for essential trips, then thank you for keeping you and everyone else safe. This is a time to look out for each other. Imagine the day when this is all over. I have a feeling that it will be one of the best days of my life.


How I Spend My Evenings After Work

Everyone's lifestyle is different. That's what makes us so interesting. That's why I love asking people about their day, or why I love people-watching when I'm out in public, or why I love watching Instagram stories. Because, 99.9% of the time, each person's day will have been different to mine. 

Luckily, in my new job, I get to have my evenings off (which is something I never used to have the luxury of). I'm the least-motivated, least-bubbly, least-energetic person in the evenings. I thrive in the daytime, and retreat into hibernation in the nighttime. That's why I feel so fortunate to have my evenings off.

My evenings are super important to me. It's my time to wind-down, relax, and refresh myself for my next working day. My job is extremely demanding, stressful and mentally-draining**, which means it is mandatory that I come home and completely separate myself from my work-mode. When I'm home, I won't allow myself to even think about work because I need to conserve all my mental energy for the next day.

**I won't tell you exactly what I do but it involves providing emotional support to people whose health is deteriorating and, in some cases, who are almost at the end of their life. Bizarrely, I love my job.

So, how do I enter the zone of complete, ultimate relaxation? Here are a few things I do to chill out after work, but still get my sh!t done.

  • Come home, throw coat and bag in hallway cupboard, do not look at work bag again until morning
  • Put the kettle on
  • Take off makeup while kettle is boiling
  • Once boiled, make that much-needed cup of tea and grab some chocolate biscuits
  • Sit on couch, grab my book, and read a chapter or two while drinking my cuppa
  • Once cuppa is finished, pick out some cosy pyjamas
  • Have a niiiiice, loooooong shower (or bath) while singing to my favourite Spotify playlists, and change into previously-mentioned cosy pyjamas
  • Time to cook tea/time to force boyfriend to cook tea!
  • Put Coronation Street on while tea is cooking (or if it's not a Corrie night, either watch YouTube videos or put on a different TV show, like Criminal Minds, Brooklyn 99, Friends, Gilmore Girls *if boyfriend isn't around*, etc.)
  • Once finished eating tea and watching TV, wash the pots, pick out my outfit for work tomorrow, and make sure I've got everything I need
  • Play with my hamster, put him in his playpen, and have snuggles
  • Then feed him and watch him stuff his cheeks full with all his food
  • Get in bed
  • Play on phone for ages
  • Eventually go to sleep

Wake up, go to work, come home and repeat!

This is a typical evening for me after work. I hope this was interesting for you, I'd love to know how you spend your evenings/free time after work too! Do you do anything similar to me? Or anything completely different? Let me know!


Am I Back? (Life Update, Thoughts & Feelings)

I'm having one of those days today. You know, the ones that just suck. There's nothing I can really do about it, other than try to put myself in a more positive mood. Luckily, I have a fortunate enough life that there are multiple things which can do this for me. I could play Pokemon, watch Netflix, catch up on Corrie, make a hot chocolate, read a book, go for a walk, etc etc etc. But today, I decided to do one thing which I haven't done in months: whip out my laptop and write a blog post.

I used to love blogging. I would love making a cuppa and writing down my thoughts and feelings onto a blank page online. Add a pretty image and, boom, you've got yourself a blog post. Blogging would always put me in a good mood, so it was such a shame when I had to take a *well-needed* break from it. Life gets in the way sometimes, but that doesn't mean things have to be put on hold forever.

My life, as it stands, is an extremely enjoyable one, which is never taken for granted. In my daily job, I encounter people's lives who are much less fortunate than mine and who experience an overwhelming amount of negativity on a daily basis. This really puts into perspective for me how lucky I actually am, and how to manage negativity should it ever make its way into my life. I am  naturally a positive person, however I still get those days where the only necessary reaction to life events seems to be to go in a strop or a mood with everyone and take some time out. This is my time out. Sitting in my flat on my own (excluding my hamster who is snoozing in the other room), eating Maryland cookies and writing a blog post on my blog. I feel better already.

So I thought I'd just get my words out there because they're no use being boggled up inside my mind. I feel refreshed now, and ready to crack on with the day. Yes, my worries and concerns that provided me with a bad day are still in my mind, but they're not at the forefront of it anymore, and that makes all the difference.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings. I'll be back soon with another post on something more entertaining (unless reading about someone complaining is entertaining for you; in which case, you're welcome).


*also the book in the image is a poetry collection by my beautiful friend Bethany Arrowsmith-Cooper, titled "The Soul Garden", grab your copy here: The Soul Garden)

HUGE Summer Crop-Top Collection

I'm not sure what that bright yellow ball in the sky is, but it's warm and I LOVE IT. 

Summer in England is pretty naff to be honest. It's usually cloudy, breezy, cold or raining. However, recently the sun has made more of an appearance and it's definitely made me re-think my wardrobe choices. Therefore, today I'm showing you my entire crop-top collection, as this is what I typically tend to wear throughout summer!

My crop-top collection is HUGE so I'll leave you with the pictures of them now with a brief caption underneath of where I got them from. Enjoy!

Left: Topshop | Right: New Look

Left: Primark | Right: Hollister
Left: H&M | Right: Influence
Left: Primark | Right: Hollister

Left: Primark | Right: Miss Selfridge
Left: H&M | Right: Topshop

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and found some outfits you liked. Let me know in the comments what you tend to wear during summer, I'd love some fashion inspo :)


Why 'Change' Is A Great Thing


As we're more than halfway through the year, I've decided to reflect on how my life has changed DRASTICALLY since 2019 began. This has been the most topsy-turvy year I've ever had. For someone with Asperger's who relies on sticking to the same routine daily and struggles to cope with change, it's an understatement to say my mental well-being has been all over the place this year. But I'm finally at a point where I feel settled again. And settling into change is the best feeling ever (other than having your third hot chocolate of the day, which I'm currently on).

So today I'm changing yet again another part of my life in 2019. I am going to be posting regularly on my blog again (WTF). My blog was a huge part of my teenagehood ~if that's even a word~ and it helped me get my emotions out without annoying everyone in my personal life. As corny as it sounds, I want to start posting my thoughts on my tiny space on the internet again. 

I'm coming back to my blog, after a long break, as a changed person. My personality has changed so much this year. My hair has changed. My makeup style has changed. My living circumstances have changed. I've got a new job and a new placement and a new course at university. My relationship status has changed. 

Although change is scary (take it from someone who has multiple breakdowns and 'freak-outs' whenever a small change happens in my life), it can be great to develop your personality. And I definitely needed a developed personality. 

I'm hoping to add more of my personal thoughts to my blog. I want to talk about the changes in my life and invite you to do the same. I'm going to post whatever I feel like on my blog. Whether that's about makeup, travelling, books, Netflix, music, mental breakdowns, working, stressing over my dissertation, Love Island or how to make the best hot chocolate. This blog is going to be completely random but extremely personal.

Now I'll leave you with a picture of a dog wearing a bandana. See ya next time.


Why I Stopped Blogging & Filming YouTube Videos

If anyone has followed me on any form of social media over the past few years, then you'll know that I'm extremely inconsistent when it comes to uploading. I'll post one thing, then I'll wait months until I post again. I used to post consistently on YouTube until I took time away for three years, then I came back again for a few months, then I disappeared again! It's the same for my blog; I used to post extremely often but over the past few years I've severely neglected my blog. I've decided that today I'm going to clear the air and justify my reasons for being SO TERRIBLE at providing content.

Before university, my life was extremely stress-free. I would go to college a few times a week, and then the rest of my time was free for me to do whatever I wanted. So I'd blog loads and post on YouTube. But then I moved away to university, and that's when everything changed.

Whilst at university, I decided that I needed to do something more productive with my free time. Something to enhance my CV, something to tell other people about, something to be proud of. So I started volunteering for various different charities, alongside doing university. The workload for my studies intensified, and my "free time" was now spent volunteering, so I had to drop the whole blogging and YouTube-ing thing. 

Then I graduated (yippee)! I started posting consistently on YouTube again because I had LOADS of free time!! But pretty soon I messed it up for myself again.

I got a job. Then I started another university course. And then I started a placement. So this brings me to my current position... where I go to lectures, work a few days a week, go to placement for the other days in the week, and am currently working on 5 assignments and a dissertation. I have NO days off a week until the end of April. I don't have free time anymore, and if I do then it's spent working on assignments.

And that is why I cannot commit to posting regularly on my blog and YouTube. It's such a shame because I've just hit two amazing milestones (15,000 views on my blog and 1,000 subscribers on YouTube) and I want to upload loads to thank the people who support me, but right now I just don't have the time.

I genuinely love posting on social media. I love the way my Instagram looks right now, I LOVE my blog so much, and my YouTube channel is something I'm so proud of. But I don't earn any money from these sites, which means that I need to prioritise my current job and my studies. 

Hopefully by the end of April I can upload a lot more. But unfortunately I've become a workaholic who never has any free time! I hope that this explains why I'm the most unreliable person ever when it comes to my blog. Now that I've justified myself to you, I'm going to justify myself to my hamster as to why I haven't been able to spend time with him in ages. I hope he understands.


How Reading Books Makes My Life More Interesting

My life is extremely boring. All I do is go to lectures, go to work, go to placement, and plan my dissertation. I don't have much free time (I actually don't have ANY days off a week), I don't have any friends in my current city, and I'm struggling to find time to finish watching Gilmore Girls (my fave series ever btw). Living a rather uneventful life gets extremely mundane and boring. Therefore, at the start of 2019, I gave myself the goal to set aside time to read books a lot more.

I'm currently on my fourth book of the year, which is pretty impressive considering I'm potentially the world's slowest reader. One thing I've noticed this year so far is that reading books gets me extremely excited to live my life. The first book I read this year was a non-fiction about the brain and how it causes our weird behaviours*** (I'm a psychology postgraduate student so it's TOTALLY acceptable for me to enjoy these types of books) and it made me so interested in all the different types of lives people have. In complete contrast, I'm currently reading a fictional romance book about a girl living in New York who [surprise surprise] falls in love! 

I think romance books are probably my favourite to read because they're always so different to my experiences with romance. Most romance books sugar-coat everything and make relationships seem so passionate and affectionate all the time. In actual fact, they're really not like that. And real-life guys don't seem to have the capability of forming cute sentences about their true honest romantic feelings for you. So I like to read these books to allow myself to imagine what a perfect romance is like.

I also love books about astronomy. I find the idea of the universe and space really enticing. I love understanding how small the world is in retrospect to the universe. It makes me feel as though the "problems" in my life aren't actually that huge and they're not going to affect the planet, and I find comfort in the fact that I am an ordinary human like everyone else living on a tiny planet in the huge universe.

Basically, books are incredible. Time spent reading is never time wasted. Although I find it difficult to balance reading for leisure and reading for uni, but either way I am constantly learning something beneficial. If you don't read much, then I would strongly recommend trying to find a book that interests you. There are millions of books out there, and each one is written from a different perspective. My life will always be interesting if I'm reading books.

Now it's time to do an awful Saturday shift at my job where customers are always rude and see me as worthless for working in retail, but at least I can come home and read a book about a different life :)


*** 'The Idiot Brain' by Dean Burnett - would highly recommend.
Becky Stoakes. Powered by Blogger.