Hey lovely people…it’s been a while!
To be completely honest with you I have been feeling super unmotivated for the past few months. I headed to Venice for a few days for a long overdue holiday at the end of April. Before I went I had all of these plans to illustrate a blog post all about the adventure when I got back, to decorate my new art studio and get loads of prep done for York Unleashed in August!
…As you can tell it has been fairly quiet…especially on the blogging side of things!
So, How do I stay afloat? How do I make sure I’m taking to time for myself and not getting buried under a mountain of work?
It is something I have really struggled with for probably most of my life, but it is something that I became even more aware of when I started university all those years ago (not that many years ago…but I want it to seem dramatic). Before university I relied a lot on my parents and my sister to keep me motivated. You know like prompt me to do my homework and remind me to take revision breaks. I always remember my Mam coming over with little bowls of snacks every hour or so to stop me over working myself. Since moving out when it came to academia I have always wanted to be the best. To get the best mark. To get the most praise. I worked so hard, maybe a little too hard, and consequently I have been too hard on myself. I am a perfectionist by nature, and for all this can be a really great quality at times, it is also one of my biggest flaws.
Admittedly there is nothing at all wrong with striving for the best in academia, and it is something I will continue to do, but I need to remember to take time out for myself. Taking time out for myself is something I always felt really guilty about. And that’s bad! You know because to succeed academically looking after your brain and mental health is probably the most important thing to do…so it makes sense right? In all honesty even as I am writing this there is a tinge of guilt niggling at the back of my head telling me that I should be doing dissertation work, or in the library doing more productive things. But at least now I know to ignore that feeling rather than succumb to it.
So I feel like staying afloat can be achieved in small steps, and I think step one is taking time to relax or do something else…because, I mean I don’t want to only be able to talk about medieval adolescence (that’s my dissertation topic)…I want to be a well-rounded human. Yes, I want to be able to spend 20 minutes scrolling through twitter while making my morning cuppa and brekkie without feeling like it’s a waste of time…I mean yeah sometimes mindlessly scrolling through social media is a bad thing and a total waste of time, but today I did actually find an article on the medieval millennial (very very interesting thanks #medievaltwitter), and if you limit yourself to five minutes here and there it’s fine….but that’s beside the point. Long story short I want to be able to do simple things without feeling like its a waste of time. Yes, I do need to do university work, and I do it, but there are important things such as keeping up to date with my friends, family and most importantly love island (the last one is a joke).
Anyway here is the part where I explain what has recently happened…
So in April I sat two exams as part of my MA in Medieval Studies. One I passed, the other I failed. *wamp wamp* This news was delivered to me via email the night before I was about to fly to Venice. I woke up every morning panicked. I kept having this fluttering sensation in my chest, almost as if my heart were a bird desperately trying to break out. All in all this did not ruin the holiday, but when I got back I felt that the time I had spent stressing myself out over essays to get a high mark was a complete waste of time if I couldn’t achieve the overall grade I wanted…
About two weeks ago my mindset completely changed and I was told I could still achieve a merit in my degree! I was over the moon.
Following this great news I received the marks back for my final essays with glowing feedback! Things were really looking up! Last week I presented my dissertation research to my cohort in zine form and it went down really well. I got a new 5* review on etsy! At the weekend I spent time with my boyfriend for his birthday on a much needed spa break. Today I am getting back into blogging!…and I don’t feel guilty about having a break from writing constantly! WOOPEE!!!
I know this isn’t the usual Eve’s Forest type post since it isn’t about a challenge or illustration things…but I thought it was important to share how I am feeling no matter how many people read it, it is mainly a note to myself…
Dear future Laura,
Please remember to stay afloat. Don’t take on too many things at once. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take time out and DO NOT feel guilty about that. And never apologise for being you…even if you are a blubbering anxious mess at times!
Normal arty farty posts will continue! I’ve got so many exciting things that I have planned…but I’m not going to rush them but I’ll definitely keep you all updated!
Much love ❤