Seven: How I’m learning to love exercise

Right now, everything hurts and I’m dying…

This is because I’ve just had my first personal training session in 5 weeks and I am feeling it!

My legs feel slightly dead, even though right now I’m just sat on my sofa with a nice toasty laptop on my legs. My arms are also total dead weights and I shall be making small movements for the rest of the day… or week.

And even though my body is objecting to what I put it through this morning, I’m actually really happy! Which is definitely not a feeling I thought I’d ever associate with exercise… For a long, long time I actively objected to any form of exercise that felt like exercise – it was too hard, it hurt too much and I didn’t like it, so I didn’t want to do it. End of story.

But this changed a couple of years ago, I lost a load of weight and then (a year or so later) began to think about exercising. I started doing gym classes, because I realised I’m much better if someone is telling me what to do and pushing me to keep going. On my own, I’m useless! And I actually started enjoying them… it was a weird feeling. Especially when I realised I missed them when I hadn’t been in a while. And I still enjoy it today – and no, the surprise hasn’t gone away!

I’m incredibly lucky because my university gym offers free one-to-one personal training sessions once a week, which I know I usually pretty expensive! So I thought I’d give it a try at the start of this year, especially I was getting out of the habit of doing anything on a regular basis. I really wasn’t sure at first and I had no idea what I’d be doing. In my first session I nearly passed out! But I kept going even though I actually feel like I might die during some of my sessions.


Because I know it’s worth it! I’ve started to see a difference. I can lift heavier weights, do more reps, jump onto the highest box and my body wobbles less. I can see my muscles tightening and I can feel my body getting stronger and I LOVE it! It’s an amazing feeling and one which I never imagined I’d actually feel. My PT is amazing and continually pushes me to try harder and do more and when he says I can do it, I actually believe him!

However, I’m not and will probably never be, a gym bunny. I don’t go 5 days a week, I’ll count it as a good week if I make it to the gym 3 times. I work out in old t-shirts, with zombie motifs and bad science jokes on them. Sure, I’d love some new kit, but it’s so expensive I can’t really justify it – and I keep finding other stuff to spend the money on… like films, box-sets, food and my impending wedding! Plus some of my reasons for exercising do centre around the fact I can then eat more yummy food – in my opinion kale is not, nor will it ever be, acceptable as food.

But to get to a point where I actually enjoy exercising, that’s a new one for me and it’s a place I never thought I’d get to.

So if you’re just starting out with exercise keep going! It’s worth it, I promise. And if you’re struggling, hating all forms of exercise you do then try something new – lift weights, go dancing, swim, try yoga!

I never thought I’d enjoy going to the gym or doing exercise but I do and if I can do it, so can you!


Six: Everything Will Be Ok

Today went nothing like I had planned.

The plan was to wake up, go to lectures, chill out and then go to work. It was not to wake up feeling like I had been hit by a freight train of anxiety. But that’s what happened.

I felt awful and it sucked.

I’m very lucky, I don’t feel like this as often as some other people do, but when I have bad days I feel like I’ve been hit by a train and I just can’t cope. When I feel like this, I honestly don’t want to do anything except curl up under a blanket and not interact with the world. Shut myself away, lose myself in something mindless and forget everything.

But usually I can’t do this. I have to get up, smile and pretend that nothing is wrong. Why? Because very few people or places of work take mental health as seriously as physical health. If I rang up and said I had a broken leg or food poisoning then I’d get a sick day but if I ring in and say I’ve had an anxiety attack and I need a day… well I’d probably be laughed at. The only time I’ve ever stayed home due to mental health problems was last year, when I woke up, had a major anxiety attack and cried solidly for half an hour. I was still determined to go to work until my other half physically put me on the sofa, removed my car keys and forced me to stay home. And I told them I’d been sick.

But you know what? Taking a day actually helped. So this morning, I decided to do the same.

I emailed in sick to my lectures and I sat on the sofa, in my pjs, and watched Supernatural (hands down one of my favourite tv shows – ever!). I spoke to my best friend, had a bath and ate toast and by lunchtime I felt a bit better. So I went to work (luckily I was working a shift this afternoon) and it was fairly painless and I got some fresh air. I also treated myself to a Malteaster bunny and a Hot Chocolate Milano from Cafe Nero –  because it’s the best hot chocolate ever and because my healthy eating habits go out the window when I feel like this. And yeah I still feel a bit shit this evening, but I’m ok.

I know that everything will be ok in the end. Whether that’s tomorrow or next week, it will get better and it will be ok.

But while things are bad, it’s important to try and take care of yourself.

Have a support network, even if it’s just one person, do things that take your mind off it or make you happier, eat, sleep, watch a good tv show or film, read a book or a magazine or fanfiction. Everyone copes differently, and what makes one person feel better won’t always work for another.

But please, always remember: Everything Will Be Ok.


Five: Curse of the Cursor

You know when you have a piece of work you really have to do, and you’ve been putting it off and when it comes to actually writing the damn thing you stare blankly at the screen for hours?

Well that’s where I am right now and it sucks!

I’m currently attempting to fill in my ‘dissertation proposal form’ for my masters thesis and failing miserably. It’s not like I haven’t had time to do it, I’ve had the form since February and a solid idea for the past couple of weeks but, I still have a blank form.

And now I am being tormented by incomplete boxes on Rationale for Study and Specific Research Objectives and a flashing cursor. It’s starting to haunt my nightmares…

The worst thing is, is that the longer I stare at it the more anxious I get and the more anxious I get, the less like doing the work I feel. But the deadline is looming and I have a blank form, which makes my anxiety worse – see the problem here? It’s a vicious circle of procrastination and anxiety – interspersed with some vague productivity on something else, so at least I get something done… just not what I need to! Apparently this is something like ‘productive procrastination’ but I’m not sure whether writing three chapters of fan fiction counts as productive, even if it is fun.

Either that or I just ignore all pending work and academic doom and just binge watch Supernatural – it’s happened before and it’ll happen again. Although right now I’m looking at Marvel earrings and writing this…

I’ll get there eventually, I just need to break the curse of the cursor.





Four: Happy Days

Today, despite the fact I am super exhausted from a placement trip yesterday (more on that another time), I am ridiculously happy!

You know when you have those days when everything that could go right, does go right and some extra lovely stuff happens as well? Well I had one of those days today and it feels so awesome!

It wasn’t that anything particularly special happened but some university stuff worked out, I got invited to do a talk (which I’m also super excited about) and I got some lovely snaps from my bestest friend in the entire world, who is coming to see me tomorrow! I was so happy wandering round campus that I actually wanted to sing and dance… although I did stop myself as I realised it would get me some very strange looks from the rest of the student population.

I love these sorts of days, the ones that make up for all the immensely sucky ones but just being one hundred times better and reminding me of all the good things in my life. Plus I also got a Reeses Nut Bar and to watch more Daredevil (one of my current favourite shows).

Today, life is pretty awesome!

(Side note: I forgot to take a picture today so I figured I use Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon – he is just the cutest!)

Three: I hate being late

This is one of my pet hates, I hate being late.

I’m the sort of person that turns up early for anything vaguely important and the only times I’m ever late is usually when I’m with friends and I can get away with it a bit more. Mostly because I’m still often there before anyone anyway…

I’m currently doing my master’s degree and this morning I was late for my lecture.

For one reason or another, my buses were delayed and I was ten minutes late. Even though I’d messaged a friend to tell my lecturer I was going to be late and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it, I could still feel the horrible curl of anxiety in my gut.

That’s what it boils down to, I hate being late because of the anxiety it gives me.

Truthfully, I’m alot better than I used to be: I once left my flat about 40 minutes earlier than I had to get to somewhere about 10 minutes down the road because I was worried about finding somewhere to park. I was so early I just sat in my car for half an hour before it became acceptable to arrive where I needed to be. I definitely not that bad any more.

But I still felt the horrible sickness in my gut and I had to take several deep breaths before I could open the door and slide in to a seat near the door. Did my lecturer care? I’m pretty sure he didn’t. Did the rest of my class care? Probably not. So why do I still get worked up over such a simple, small thing?

It’s a one word answer: anxiety.

Sometimes, I’m very lucky and I can forget I have to live with it. But little events like this remind me that it never really goes away and all I can do is take deep breathes, make sure I do everything I can to make myself feel a little calmer and keep going.

Once upon a time, I probably would have skipped that lecture. But today I didn’t and that (for me) is a success! Plus the sun was out today and it was an absolutely beautiful spring day and seeing the sunshine made me feel alot better! Also milkshakes – milkshakes are good!

Two: Rocket Lollipops Make Everything Awesome

I am becoming more and more grateful that my better half is a science teacher. Why? Because I get awesome presents from school trips!

Last week it was the Natural History Museum (T-Rex lolly and a pen) and today it was the Space Centre – hence the rocket lolly and giant, orange pencil. Who doesn’t love sugar covered in dinosaurs or spaceships?!

It seems like such a stupidly small thing to get excited about; a lollipop and a pencil, but today I’ve been stuck in the depths of masters dissertation research and early drama essays. It feels a bit like wading through mud… really thick, mind-numbing, soul sucking mud… and to be honest just getting a lemon lollipop with a rocket on it made my day that tiny bit brighter! (Plus, not gonna lie, it tastes pretty awesome too!)

So, here’s to the little things whether it’s lemon lollipops, giant pencils, chocolate biscuits or a little bit of sunshine. Sometimes it’s just the simple things or tiny details that make a whole day worth it!

One: An Anxious Nerd

I’ve been ummming and ahhhh-ing about this for quite some time and I’m still not quite sure why I finally decided to do this… it was probably to escape my postgraduate work for a minute.

I’ve tried blogging before and I’m hoping this will be third time lucky. Before I’ve tried to blog about baking, my other love in life, but the problem was actually getting round to doing all the baking and then finding someone to eat all the food… which was usually me and it really wasn’t good for me! And I got so anxious, seeing everyone else’s amazing food blogs and gorgeous baked goods – the all seemed so much better than mine. And so I stopped.

Partly, that was the problem… my anxiety. So when I considered blogging again, a new thought occurred to me: why not blog about that instead?

It seems a strange topic to choose but ultimately it’s something that affects my life and I know that so many other people struggle with it too and if I can write something that helps just one person then that’s pretty awesome. It’s also a way for me to deal with it too.

And the other part, the nerd part? Well that was easy, I’m a massive nerd and I’m totally unashamed by it!

So please, join me for my weird and (not always) wonderful journey through my anxious, nerdy life. There may even be biscuits…



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