Friday, 28 April 2017

How I'm Getting My Blogging Mojo Back

If you're a regular reader on She In The Know, then I'm sure you'll have seen my post on 'An Unexplained Break' where I talk about how blogging has become a huge part of my day-to-day life this year; whether it's brainstorming content, just writing or simply taking photographs, I'm always in work mode. But unfortunately over Easter it all got a bit much, a bit overwhelming and I decided that taking a step back and pressing pause would possibly be as good a job as any.

Easter felt like the best time for this - Matthew was set to return to University, I started working part time as a Coffee Shop Assistant and overall I was feeling a bit sluggish and uninspired in my work online. Let's face it, creativity comes in ebbs and waves, it's illusive and the more we seem to go searching for it, the harder it is to grasp.

But alas, creative funk aside! I'm really starting to get my blogging mojo back. So, I wanted to share ten things that might help you shake the funk, get motivated and assist you in refocusing on your goals once again.

By now I'm sure you're physically at the point where your head is about to burst. When we feel like everything is getting on top of us, that's when the real slump hits and we don't want to do anything other than stay in our pyjamas and watch television for the rest of the day - and even that's a push. Take a moment to clear your mind, jot down everything you're experiencing, feeling, thinking and try to stop worrying so much about things that are well and truly out of your control - often easier said than done, I know. I find going for a walk or a cycle when I'm feeling sluggish and a bit out of sorts, even if it does seem like an unnecessary chore at first, the best thing for me. I promise when you take time to unwind, you and your brain will quickly come around.

Write down some things that you're feeling grateful for this week. Believe it or not, this was something I started doing over the weekend, when my Dot Creates Life Planner arrived - you'd be pleasantly surprised what jotting down three things you're grateful for at the end of the week makes you realize, I mean are things really that bad at all? It's all about how you react to situations you find yourself in that make the difference. We can't be happy, bubbly, motivated people all year round, but we can chose to be grateful for what we have, whether it's an apology from a friend, some time out or even some quality time with a family pet - the best kind of medicine is always right in-front of you.

It's important that we remember to disconnect from social media sometimes, just to make sure that we're really looking after ourselves. Are we getting enough exercise? Are we eating the right amount of foods? When was the last time we had a tall glass of water? If you aren't feeling 100%, your brain isn't going to either. Taking some me-time will in effect help top up your creativity reserves - disconnect from the internet for the evening and read a book or go for a walk. You'll be pleasantly surprised how much it will help boost your mood and productivity. If you're interested, you can read all about how I'm improving my productivity here.

If you're doing the same thing each day, it's no wonder you've ended up losing sight of your goals and become so sluggish. Switch up your routine, exercise in the morning, work away from your desk, go somewhere new like a coffee shop, do your research, read a book, take a course - work on getting inspired again.

This will be one of the easiest things you do, but personally the most effective. While on my break, I thought about everything I wanted to achieve this year, broke it down into small achievable chunks and got to work. If you're lacking in creativity for blog posts, sit down with a friend or family member and just brainstorm. Talk about topics you are passionate about, whether it be home decor, travelling or baking, think about content that will slot into each theme. For example, this year I've been trying to shift some extra weight and I've found writing about this really motivational, so why don't you give it a go yourself? Put your thoughts down on paper, clear your mind and just get to work. You'll be back to your usual self in no time.

I can't tell you how long I've been floating around with a head full of ideas, yet not really doing anything about them, besides the obvious - telling myself I'll start tomorrow. This is why I can't stress enough how important it is to set goals, if you're in a slump and you feel like you're not really getting anywhere, write it down, write down what you'd ideally like to achieve and work out the steps to get there. My two goals for May are to go back to the gym on my own and to hit 300 Bloglovin follows - I want to do something out of my comfort zone and joining a gym is definitely one of these.

As mentioned above, with setting goals it's all about breaking it down to see what needs to be done. For instance; in order for me to hit 300 Bloglovin follows, I need to create a list of everything that could make this happen - a pop up, a tweet, an Instagram or an email. Once it's broken down I'll be able to start working towards my targets for the month. But remember, this can also translate into any aspect of your personal life - whether you're applying for jobs, trying to lose weight or perhaps even contemplating setting up your own blog. 

You've got a few deadlines on the horizon, but your creativity has decided it's going to take a week off and you've just about had enough of it - don't worry, we've all been there, it's nothing new. Even though you might feel as though you need to push yourself to focus, stepping back and taking a break to cleanse your work-space can be one of the best things you do. I find having a clean and well organised work-space helps me get things moving. Another great way I've been getting organised recently is by jotting everything that needs to be done throughout the week, down onto my Dot Creates Life Planner or in a diary.

Majority of the time when I find myself in a bit of a slump, it's because I've fallen out of my routine and I'm not being particularly organised. I also have a tendency to let things slide and often find myself feeling overwhelmed because of it, so getting organised, such as using Excel spreadsheet with all my finances on, prepping lunch for work tomorrow morning or even pre-planning my blog content for the week makes me feel ready to take on the world. Even just tidying and rejigging things in my room and on my desk can have the same effect.

I can't stress this enough - if you're waking up every morning with nothing to look forward to, that slump is going to stick around for a hell of a long time. So make plans, do more of what makes you happy, book holidays, drink strawberry daiquiris at 2pm, read a book, watch all the classics, catch up with your friends and family, but most importantly - just do you.

How are you getting your mojo back this year? Are you taking some well deserved time out?

Monday, 24 April 2017

An Unexplained Break

It appears that in today's day and age our lives are pretty jam packed with things to do, to think about or if you're unfortunate enough, to stress about... but I'm sure you, much like me, find yourself constantly running from a to b, juggling far too many tasks at once and generally just living on high energy to keep up with your demanding life - this is why we can often forget to take some time out, to stop, to breathe, to get some perspective.

This year I decided I really wanted to focus on improving my overall health, both physically and mentally. I wanted to spend more time looking out for myself, in the gym and at home and I also wanted to spend time working on something of substance, rather than nothing at all and this is miraculously, where blogging comes in.

Blogging has become a huge part of my day-to-day life; whether it's taking photographs, jotting down post ideas, writing new content, updating my layout or even getting social. But at times, blogging much like anything else, can become overwhelming... and that's why I decided I needed to take some me time and why I decided to press pause.

Easter felt as good a time as any to do so - Matthew was set to return to University, I started working part time as a Coffee Shop Assistant and overall I was feeling a bit sluggish and a bit uninspired in my work. Let's face it, creativity can be illusive, especially as a blogger and the more we seem to go searching for it, the harder it is to really grasp.

But alas, creative funk aside - I'm really looking forward to getting back into my regular posting schedule of Monday's and Friday's. I'm looking forward to discussing a myriad of subjects and passions of mine and overall just being able to use written word for the greater good - hopefully this will explain the unexplained break I just had.

Have you taken a break recently? How do you unwind?

Friday, 14 April 2017

Why You Shouldn't Become Fixated With The Scales

I'm sure this isn't the first time you'll have heard someone talk about the importance of why you shouldn't become fixated with the scales and it's most definitely not going to be the last. But cliche's aside, understanding the importance of why you shouldn't become fixated with the scales and knowing how to to set targets that suit you; will be a crucial element in accomplishing great things.

'I Am Overweight' was the first time I talked about body confidence on my blog, that and my experience with weight gain and weight loss in general. Embarking on this journey hasn't been an easy ride however; it's meant adjusting to a lot of new things such as - changing my routine to prioritize exercise, to constantly remind myself that I need to drink more water and to stop eating all the biscuits. It's also meant stepping away from the bathroom scales for good.

Truth is; being fit and healthy has absolutely nothing to do with a number. It pains me when I see people actively talking about how they are weighing themselves, because personally, I haven't been having the best experience with this myself. That and the fact you can now take a photograph and use a measuring tape to keep track of your progress. Remember; a number on the scales does not in any way define you, your health or level of fitness.

Here are five reasons why you shouldn't weigh your successes:

Muscle weighs more than fat. So, the number on the scales can stay the same or even increase as you gain muscle and lose body fat. Scales don't measure these positive metabolic changes unfortunately.

Your weight can vary by 2-3kg each day, depending on what you eat, hydration levels, fluid retention and bowel movements. Daily weight changes do not in any way reflect changes in muscle or fat.

Obsessing about kilos takes your mind away from celebrating positive habits, like eating well today or achieving three workouts this week. Ensure you cheer for all your small successes and changes.

So, the scales didn't change today... that doesn't mean you have to feel deflated or angry about it. Don't let your bathroom scales set your mood for the week, keep moving forward.

If your clothes fit better, you look leaner in the mirror and people comment that you look like you've lost weight, then why bother weighing yourself? You've got enough proof it's working, so why do you need a scale to say anything else.

A good way to track your progress is to use a tape measure, the mirror, your clothes and before and after photographs. Check for changes once a week or less, and go from weighing yourself every day, to once a month.

Monday, 10 April 2017

What To Do When You're Having A Bad Day

Bad days happen. Whether you've been stuck in traffic the entire morning, somehow managed to step in dog poop or much like the rest of us, managed to wake up on the wrong side of the bed - it's all about knowing what to do and how to boost your mood, so we can begin the process of shifting that seemingly off or deflated feeling the week has since left us with.

So, how do you get out of this funk? Today I'm talking what to do when you're having a bad day, in a bid to help some of my own readers. 

It’s important that we disconnect from social media sometimes, to make sure that we’re really looking after ourselves. Are we getting enough exercise? Are we eating the right amount of foods? When was the last time we had a tall glass of water? If you aren’t feeling 100%, your brain won’t either. Take some me-time, disconnect from the internet for an evening and just go for a walk, or a read a book. It will help boost your mood and perhaps even your productivity. You can read all about how I’m improving my productivity here.

Whether it’s a calming yoga session, endorphin boosting cardio or perhaps even weightlifting, exercise is a great way to eliminate stress. Plus, if you work out later in the day, those mood-boosting endorphin's are likely to keep negativity at bay when you’re trying to fall asleep. Not to mention that you will be extra tired, meaning your brain won’t fight the rest it needs. A good way to start is to set somefitness goals. I find running really helps improve my mood, particularly when I’m having an off day.

Often this is easier said than done, but be realistic. How bad is the situation? Get a notepad and jot down what happened, all the potential consequences and outcomes, along with a final solution. Not only are you going to come to grips with the situation, but you’re now facing it head on. Be rational – take a few moments to compose yourself.

Nothing lifts my mood more than being around people I love. Whether it’s a catch-up with a relative or a cuddle with a family pet, you should remember to laugh a little longer and louder. Before you know it, you’ll be back to your good old self. Talk to a partner, friend or family member and binge eat all the ice-cream.

When I’m feeling deflated or de-motivated about something, there is nothing better than popping on my headphones and a good playlist. You should let it be something that sets you up for the day, such as Monday Motivation. Sing your heart out if you know it’s going to make you feel better but remember; tomorrow is a new day.

How do you deal with a bad day?

Friday, 7 April 2017

5 Things You Should Be Doing Today, To Boost Your Blog's Popularity

Setting up and running a blog can be an extremely daunting task. but getting noticed is another. If you want to take your blog's popularity to the next level, it's going to require a little bit of strategy and a lot of dedication. This includes; creating quality content and being able to post on a somewhat regular basis, after-all you aren't going to move forward if you throw together a half-assed job, once a month.

Don't be disheartened however; world-changing statistics won't happen overnight, but they can certainly be achieved through time and effort. Thus, I'm going to share '5 Things You Should Be Doing Today, To Boost Your Blog's Popularity'.

Being a successful and popular blogger isn't an easy task by any means. Its hard work and a lot of hours will go into making your posts engaging and aesthetically pleasing to your desired audience. You need to make sure this is going to be a hobby you love and one you enjoy; don't just create a blog for the benefits of making money or gaining brand recognition - start a blog because you want to write, because you want to talk about your passions, your likes and dislikes. Start a blog because you want to make an impact... but do your research and talk to other creators.

The perks of having internet access, is that you can literally connect with anyone from around the world - whether it be through a tweet or an Instagram comment. There are a range of different accounts that will enable you to connect with bloggers far and wide, such as; @GRLPOWERCHAT and @BloggingGals on Twitter. In-fact these accounts are well-known to actively re-tweet hundreds of accounts and posts a week, in order to share them with their vast audiences. Not only this but you can connect on other blogs by leaving comments; although you won't always get a response, it's well worth a try. Don't be afraid to connect or to ask questions - we don't bite.

You can now share your blog posts with the click of a button on social platforms such as; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - but are you sharing the right content, with the right audience, at the right time. Typically I try to schedule my blog posts for; this means that I'll be able to catch the morning scrollers, before they shoot of to work and school for the rest of the day. I will also schedule tweets, making sure to use all the appropriate mentions and hashtags... this ensures that my blog posts are being seen by the correct audience, at the correct times.

Do your research here. Using hashtags when you're sharing a blog post with your readers, means that the correct audience will always be reached. For instance; if your post is about fashion, a popular hashtag to use would be #FBloggers - would you believe that this hashtag has been used 2 million times on Instagram? Using hashtags will almost always guarantee a boost in traffic.

I love taking photographs and have done for quite some time; cameras really intrigue me - whether it's a Nikon DSLR or a 1950 Conway, which proudly sits pride of place on my bedside table... you can guarantee I'm going to be attached to it. I find that I'm always attracted to a good photograph and if there is a blog post with it, then it's your lucky day, because I'm going to read it. Working on taking good photographs will benefit your blog in the future and will make it much more appealing. I'm not telling you to invest in an expensive camera, but perhaps try playing around with different photo editors - change the contrast, test the filters and up the exposure, then bob's your uncle! you'll have a photo ready to be used in your next blog post.

How do you boost your traffic? Do you have any advice for a new-comer?

Monday, 3 April 2017

March Moments

Two thousand and seventeen for me; has been a year of both personal growth and discovery thus far. To say I've been through some testing times since the beginning of January would be, somewhat of an understatement... I have gone from one job to another, struggled greatly with my mental health and even managed to go off my feet for an entire month; courtesy of a very dodgy ankle... but here I am, persevering.

March was a relatively productive month for me; I started working part-time in a florists, I hit my monthly weight loss targets and even managed to pass my Theory Test - it appears that I was on a bit of a roll from the get-go. So, I have decided to compile a list of March moments or at-least some of the best bits.

March Moments:

  • I passed my Theory Test (47/50)
  • I started working part-time in a florists - turns out I really enjoy battering the ends with a hammer and now I've even got my own pair of flora-best cutters.
  • I hit 500 Facebook likes & ran my first giveaway.
  • Matthew came home & is due to come back again this Tuesday.
  • I managed to snap up three job interviews; two of which are this week (Monday & Thursday).
  • I hit 200 Instagram follows.
  • I reconnected with an old friend, who might I mention was absolutely amazing with me.
  • I hit my fitness/weight loss targets for the month.
  • I finally decided on a course to apply for this September - which means I could eventually go to University.
  • I kicked all bad habits out the window - I haven't bit my nails all month.
  • I've been spending much more time with direct family this month & I've found myself becoming increasingly excited about being an Auntie this year.
  • And finally; I got to spend time Coco & Georgia this month (I totally underestimated how much I adore animals).

What did you achieve throughout March? Would you like to have done more?
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