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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

BLOGGING: Managing frustration and burnout


This post should have been out a week ago. It also should have been about what I've been doing this summer, and maybe been done in enough time for proof reading and editing. 

Unfortunately, as is pretty obvious I've been struggling with making time for writing recently - a florid combination of university, socializing, and fatigue has near on obliterated any timetable space for this blog. On top of that has been a lot of frustration and discontent sapping my love of blogging; a mix of reasons are behind those feelings, but it wasn't going away no matter how much time I had. And I figured given it's showing, I might as well talk about it. A problem shared is a problem halved, right?

Try as I might, sticking to a posting schedule has been really hard this year - it seems stupid and over-dramatic to talk about burnout with what is essentially a hobby with benefits for me, but I do miss what posting on An Honest Drug was for me in the past. You can read all the inspiration prompts and blogging resources you like, but if you're not in the right head space writing is just not going to happen. (Which isn't to say that you can't learn writing discipline, or train yourself into the right head space - just that it's difficult when there's already a lot of demotivating influences.)

"You can read all the inspiration prompts and blogging resources you like, but if you're not in the right head space writing is just not going to happen."


Some of that has been feelings of inadequacy compared with other bloggers - with everyone monetizing standards have skyrocketed, and as someone who does it in their free time that's hard to compete with. I've posted before about some of the camera troubles I've been facing, and whatever the recommended post frequency is I probably can't do it. Comparing yourself against others is never a good idea, but it's really hard when you've already noticed your own shortcomings. I've also been feeling like my blog isn't representing me, and I'm not actually sure what I want to write about now - combine all of the above with a rapidly changing personal style, bake for several months, and you have a recipe for existential writing angst. 

So how do you deal with that? I know that taking a break is generally advocated for this, and has worked for me before, but I'm tired of staying away from my blog. Giving myself deadlines and hoping it trains me into sticking to them... is clearly a terrible strategy. No, this is a more multi-faceted problem, and I've been looking at how I can make more room in my life as well as what I like writing about (and whether some of that belongs here, or in a separate place. But you didn't hear that from me). Learning to be accepting of what I'm capable of is a hard lesson (even posting this was difficult) but viewing my efforts as more of a stepping stone to something better helps me accept what they are currently. And I guess that accepting this - that I have limitations and fluctuations - is really the most important part. From there, I can start thinking bigger, and better.


Has anyone else experienced burnout with a hobby? What do you you use to get your writing urge back again? I'd really love to know, so please let me know below!


     


Thursday, 30 June 2016

TRAVEL: Budapest





If my trip to Barcelona last year was defined by the value Catalonians place on their art, then visiting Budapest showed how Hungary can exemplify the best of grandeur and grassroots, and seamlessly integrate both into daily life. With pubs in the middle of ruined buildings a block across from the gilt and splendour of the most beautiful cafe in the world, although its recovery from the past is slow it feels like nothing can stop Budapest flowering for long.

I spent four days and four nights just soaking the place up; it's my first visit to central Europe and it has a very different vibe from the Mediterranean. Though I found that really difficult to get used to initially, I pretty quickly fell in love - Budapest has the extensive and detailed history that is characteristic of the area, and I split my days learning about it in the day then visiting the ruin bars in the evening.

Depressing as it was to return to the real world and wake up to news of a Brexit, I'm really keen to try the rest of the Hapsburg triumverate soon (regardless of whether I'm going to need a visa or not).


Has anyone else been away recently? What's happening in everyone's lives? I've been sleeping enough for three after graduating and moving out and finishing work all in the one week, but I want to know what everyone else is doing!


     


Thursday, 9 June 2016

DIY: Free printable week planner



If anyone of my readers met me in real life, you'd be surprised by how much of a train wreck I am; I regularly forget important things to do, make myself late, and double book myself constantly. I've got better over the years, but a lot of the classic organisational methods don't work for me; planners sit unused, and you can't make me remember to fill out calendars regularly.

The method I've had most success with over the past year is making an editable combined day schedule/to do list in the notes on my phone, which seems to work purely because how little effort goes into it. I decided however that it's maybe time to take this into the real world, and sat down one afternoon to whip up a week time planner that suited me - and given I know (hope) I'm not the only disorganized mess out there, decided to share it with everyone else.


In it, I've included the working days of the week, two 'to-do' lists (urgent and normal), and a space for doodling - because what's a planner that doesn't encourage creativity? The layout is minimal enough that you can make of it what you will, and not feel to constrained.

Like to download? You can find it in this drop box folder by clicking the image below - just make sure to credit me if you want to recommend it to others!



Does anyone else struggle with forcing themselves to stay organized? What methods do you use? Let me know in the comments below!



     


Thursday, 19 May 2016

STYLE: Work to Play







My time whilst at uni can grossly be split into two main areas - working, and dancing. As a medical student with the expectation of dressing professionally several days a week, I've never really fallen into the classic student trap of t-shirts and jogging bottoms - which is unfortunate sometimes, but does mean I put more effort into what I wear.

I usually don't have the time to change from smarter day wear into dance appropriate clothes, but it's never really been an issue; there's a lot of common ground between my vintage inspired work wardrobe and my 1940s swing looks, so changing up the accessories is all it takes. I've worn this look several times already to the new summer job I've just started (usually with a full vest underneath), and it's been a staple for dancing for ages now. Both the shoes and the shorts were found totally by chance in two separate sales, and the whole thing definitely nods towards my interests in the early 20th century without being too much for for the work environment.

Apologies for the slight lateness of this post - what with the post-dissertation crash and fresh employment, if I'm honest I'm feeling pretty wiped out right now. As great as it is to post weekly, I think a two week schedule is more reasonable for me - therefore, An Honest Drug will now be posting fortnightly.

How do you guys deal with work to play transitions? Have you found anything in the sales recently? Let me know below!




     


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

CONSUMERISM: Backpacks




Sorry for the brief hiatus, followers - I was working on a dissertation, which I'm really proud to say is now finished! It was a joy to write (except for the bits where I wanted to pull my hair out), but I really needed time off once it was completed; we should be back to normal now.

It wasn't until February when I was dragging a heavy tote across Edinburgh that I realized how much difference backpacks make; asymmetrical weight distribution, such as when you're carrying a handbag, is a nightmare for generating shoulder and back tension - the last thing I want when I'm heading to a three day dance workshop.

There's still a perception that rucksacks don't look good, to which I say - bullshit. There's plenty dedicated minds in fashion out there designing things that made me totally renounce the satchel cause. From cheap as chips drawstring bags like this hologram one - an easy DIY if you're in the mood - to the premium but absolutely stunning Solid Gray architectural pack, there's something for every style and budget.

Breezing around hands-free looks far better than uncomfortably wedging a tote under my armpit anyway.



Hologram drawstring bag - [x]  |  Asos Clean Boxy Backpack - [x]
Asos Leather Backpack - [x]  |  Solid Gray Backpack - [x]



Do you have any favourite bag style? Any recent style revelations? Let me know below!


     


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

REQUIRED READING: April



Hey all! This week has been a really busy one, so I'll keep this short. Even with impromptu dance events and the home stretch on my dissertation, I've been reading a lot of interesting pieces on the web, which you can see below -


  • Though I'm really quite new to the world of corsetry, I found this piece of research on Foundations Revealed illuminating about how personalized the perfect corset is. Get properly fitted!
  • The title of this article immediately made me react, but on further reading I actually absolutely agreed with Liz Kessler's argument in Why I don’t believe in “self care” (and how to make it obsolete). Too often consumerism is conflated with self care in a really damaging way, and relying on one another is a far more valuable tool than mainstream culture wants us to acknowledge. 
  • On a similar intersection of politics and health, this article on why therapists should talk politics really hit home for me. As a doctor, I'm going to be seeing the effects of capitalism first hand, and I think it's important to take that into my own practice. 


Just in case you missed it, I posted an outfit featuring my spring favourites last week, and announced that I'll now be putting up a new post every Wednesday! For some reason this inspired decision came three weeks before my dissertation is due, but now I've announced it it's going to happen (imminent deadline or not).


What has everyone else been reading? Has anyone been doing anything cool this April? Let me know below!