A letter for whoever needs this right now.

Hi,

I hope this finds you well.

I know that right now things seem more than a bit weird. You might also be finding it a tad overwhelming at the moment, what with the near constant stream of information (and misinformation) that is coming through every day from media outlets. It’s natural that you will be worried about your friends and your family, especially all those who are at high risk. I know right now my own priority is ensuring that myself and my own family are safe and healthy.

If there is one piece of advice I can give to you in a situation like this is, don’t stress yourself out. Stress doesn’t just affect your mental health, it puts a strain on your physical health too. It can impact on your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and other illnesses. So even if you don’t pick up coronavirus, you could still pick up something else. Be aware of what’s going on, keep yourself informed, keep washing your hands (it’s very important), but please don’t let your attempts at protecting yourself from this virus mess up your health in other ways. It really isn’t worth it.

In the meantime, if you’re feeling a little more anxious than usual at the moment, take time for yourself as much as possible. Also:

Mute anything or anyone on social media that is posting negativity. Better still, take a break from social media altogether, it works wonders.

Restrict your news consumption. Having BBC News 24 on all day when you’re already feeling down will just make you feel worse, as will following news sites on twitter all day. Check the news once a day, any time apart when you wake up or before you go to bed. Maybe even get a newspaper (yes they still exist) just avoid the S*n or Daily Fail.

Try a mindfulness app. I’ve found that using Headspace has helped me a lot when I have had bouts of stress and anxiety. I particularly recommend their sleepcasts if you’re having difficulty sleeping.

Sleep well. Eat healthily. Exercise. Read. Listen to music and podcasts you love, or discover new ones to enjoy. Watch your favourite films and TV. Play games. Have a go making that thing you’ve said you wanted to make but have never had the time to. If you are having to self- isolate at this time, now you’ve a chance to do it.

Be kind to your body and mind. Remember life still goes on, just in a different way from what you’re used to.

Take care.

My Brief History of Blogging: Part One

Hi. So originally I was going to make this a really short post about how I feel blogging is different these days. I ended up writing about my own journey as a blogger and it has turned out longer than I anticipated. In fact, I am still writing it. So I thought it would be a great idea to turn it into a mini series on here. I know you’re excited.

Here’s the first part of this post. Expect the second sometime later this week. Enjoy the read.

Blogging has changed so much since I started doing it back in the day. When I started, people were doing it as a hobby. It was an online diary. People used it to talk about their lives, share the things that they were up to and what interested them. They also used them to rant a fair bit and post the results of quizzes they did when they were bored and should have been doing something constructive. Or at least, I did.

In the days I first started to blog, MySpace was in existence. I didn’t sign up for a profile until about 2006 and I was probably getting on a bit to have one even then (reader, I was 25). I did post some blogs on there but not often. I thought it was a bit crap if you wanted to use it as a blog space but ok for the occasional quick ramble.

My first blog proper, was on Blogger. I’d looked at all the various blog platforms, including LiveJournal and one called 20Six but I settled on Blogger because it seemed like the easiest to set up at the time. I used the blog to post about my interests and what I’d been doing to begin with, then started to use it as a platform to let off steam about anything in the news or in my life that had pissed me off that day. Towards the end, I ended up doing various online quizzes such as “Which Muppet are you?” and “What superpower should you have?” and sharing the results as I had no idea what to write about. My first blog, which I can’t remember the name of, let alone the url, was eventually abandoned and left to float into the darkest depths of cyberspace.

 My interest in blogging, though, hadn’t entirely gone with it…

Job hunt.

For reasons that I won’t go into a lot of detail on here, I am looking for another job. I have said in the past that was going to look for one and never really acted on it. Well I really am this time.

I’ve been spending time every day on the job search. I’ve worked on my CV, I’ve uploaded it to more than one job site so I can use it the moment I see something I’m interested in. I’ve printed a couple of copies that I could hand in to places I see looking to hire people. So far, my search has come to nothing. In the meantime, I’ve got people who, while they absolutely mean well, are in my ear telling me about vacancies they’ve seen and telling me I should apply to them. Even if it means me getting the tram in the morning. I have experienced getting the tram in the morning rush hour and, yeah it’s not something I want to experience on a regular basis (FYI, I don’t drive).

To be honest, after so many years in my current job, I’m ready for something different, not simply doing the same thing in a different place. Recently, I’ve felt like I’ve been going through the motions in my job and realised a long time ago that there was little to no chance of progression while I was still doing it. I’ve also decided that, whatever I do next, I don’t want to be having to be on my feet as often as I have been in this one. I want to be able to do something without my arthritic knees being aggravated from having to stand up for the best part of an eight-hour shift. However, the more I trail the job sites, the more I wonder whether I’ve left it too late to change career path, or am I going to have to consider moving away in order to get a decent job.

I suppose if I am unable to get a job straight away I can always use the time to learn to drive, brush up on some skills or maybe do stuff for peanuts online. In the meantime, I’ll just keep on looking.