Productive Things You Can Do In The Next 5 Minutes

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a sucker for productivity hacks. I love feeling productive and often feel a little bit anxious if I even let 5 minutes get away where I’ve done nothing (that’s a post for another day because that’s definitely not a good aspect of my personality).

Anyway, we all have those 5 minute blocks of time where nothing is going on. Waiting for the bus or the kettle to boil, wanting to get the washing out the machine but it still has 5 minutes on the timer, all those periods spent waiting for your partner to tie his shoes up (why this take 5 minutes, I don’t know, but it always seems to?)

I’ve recently written myself a 5 minute list – a list of things I can do that won’t take any longer than 5 minutes. Because, sometimes it’s really easy to spend 5 minutes scrolling your phone when you be doing something productive like putting the dishes away, plus saving yourself time later. Future you will thank past you, I promise.

Personally I don’t like to write my actual to-dos on the list, even if they will take less than 5 minutes. I prefer to write down those boring recurring tasks like making the bed or putting the washing on because there’s never a time when these don’t seem to need doing and sometimes it’s nice to just have that reminder.

So grab your notebook, take 5 minutes and write yourself a list to inspire you next time you’re waiting around. Here’s mine for inspiration.

  • Read (something, anything, a short chapter of a book, your favourite poem, or just an article you keep meaning to read that gets sent to the bottom of your list).
  • Text your parents.
  • Write your journal (it takes no time at all and yet I rarely prioritise it.)
  • Stretch (Your body wants and needs it!)
  • Check your to-do list
  • Send that email that’s been sitting in your drafts for weeks.
  • Edit a photograph for Instagram.
  • Put a 5 minute timer on and tidy away as much as you can.
  • Put on clean bedsheets.
  • Wipe down your kitchen sides.
  • Put a load of laundry on.
  • Do the dishes.
  • Put away the dishes (my least favourite task in the world).
  • Drink some water.
  • Meditate.
  • Do 10 squats, crunches, cartwheels – whatever makes you feel good.
  • Pay a bill.
  • Meal plan your week.
  • Check your calendar for the week.
  • Cull your Facebook/Twitter/Insta friend list.
  • Make coffee/lunch/date plans.
  • Declutter one area of your house – but make sure there’s a 5 minute timer on so you don’t get carried away.
  • Check your bank balance.
  • Make that doctor’s appointment.

I’m slowly using my 5 minute list to help me get some of the boring stuff done, though it’s still not quite motivating me to put the dishes back in the cupboard.

Do you have a 5 minute list for getting jobs done? What would you put on yours? Let me know in the comments.

Rachel x-x-x

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I Failed

This year was the year I was going to get fit and healthy. At the end of 2019 I decided my new year’s resolution was to look after my body better; to eat better, drink more water, exercise more. You know, the general stuff people say at New Year.

So to promise myself that I was taking this seriously I thought I’d try one of my favourite Instagrammers challenges. I adore Chelsie from The Peachy Life, she’s so motivational and I thought that her Peachy Life 30 Day Programme sounded within reach of something that I could challenge myself to.

As it turns out, I managed 6 days and failed. The daily disciplines were as follows:

Wake up at 5.30 – I ignored this already as doing shift work meant that it’s impossible for me to always get up at 5.30. However I got up earlier than normal.

Drink 3 litres of water

45 minutes of exercise

10 minutes of medication

No junk food

No alcohol

10 pages of self help reading

Write down 3 things you’re grateful for

Take 1 picture a day of something that makes you happy.

I was convinced that it would be the alcohol and junk food that let me down but alas my main issue was that I just couldn’t fit 45 minutes of exercise into my day. I don’t want to dwell on the bits I didn’t achieve because really I want to talk about the concept of failure. The day that I didn’t achieve 45 minutes of exercise was a day where I worked my standard 14 hour shift and had another 14 hour shift coming up the day after. All day I had eaten well, drunk 3 litres of water, I’d read my book, done my meditation and yet I had failed.

I went to bed feeling rubbish and the next day I felt like I could carry on living life as I had been previous to taking on the challenge.

But something stopped me.

We so often count failure as the inability to follow through with something, without any regard to how hard we’ve tried to do something or the parts of something that we have managed to achieve. During the six days of the challenge that I fully committed to, I drank 3 litres of water every day – a massive achievement to someone who usually drinks two cups of coffee and no water all day. By not eating junk food or drinking alcohol, something that I’ve continued to do, my body already feels better, my skin has cleared up, my head feels lighter.

This feeling of being a failure when you’ve failed a small part of something is so ingrained into our psyche that it’s incredibly difficult to tell yourself otherwise. So while the actual rules of the challenge are that if you miss a day you must go back to the start, I’m making my own rules. I’m taking the parts of the challenge that made me feel good and carrying on, and if I miss a day on the journey then so be it. The continuous striving to be better will be advantageous to me regardless.

What To Do When You Feel Like A Failure

  • Reassess your goals – I took a good look at the reasons I wanted to do this challenge. I mainly wanted to get fitter and drink more water, both of which I accomplished, just not to the level that the challenge dictated. In that way, I didn’t fail at all. I still improved myself.
  • Realise that it’s normal to feel disappointed when you haven’t achieved something – disappointment is a totally normal feeling when you set goals that you haven’t reached. Don’t make yourself feel worse by feeling sad about being disappointed.
  • Keep trying – I took a few days off and then got back on the fitness and water wagon. It felt good to be channeling my energy into something again, instead of channeling it into beating myself up.
  • Remind yourself that failure is not who you are.

What are your top tips for when you feel like you’ve failed yourself? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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5 Things To Stop Doing in 2020 (To Improve Your Mental Health)

Stop Making Yourself Smaller

I mean this both figuratively and literally. Literally, stop living your life around food, exercise and body image. Just stop. It’s not worth it. Your body is capable of so much, wild things, but do you have to push it to those limits? Nope, not if you don’t want to. Yes, if you do. Sorted, thank you.

Now, let’s talk about the other kind of making yourself smaller. Fitting yourself into tiny spaces to please others. I’m talking about sending those emails that end with “no worries if you can’t,” “if that’s alright with you,” and “if that makes sense.” We spend so much of our lives fitting ourselves around others and we need to stop. Take up space, ask for what you want and soon you’ll see that the world is throwing things your way that you never dreamed of. Ask and ye shall receive. Whilst we’re on this note, stop apologising for literally everything. Yes ladies, I’m looking at you.

Stop Not Asking For Help

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have been in a situation where we should have asked for help and didn’t. Whether that’s from a professional or from friends, we could all do with stepping over our ego and just speaking up. It’s hard, it’s awkward and it makes us vulnerable but sometimes we just need that extra helping hand. If you need help from your GP, then make an appointment. If you need help from a friend, send that text. It might feel embarrassing but it’ll help sevenfold.

Stop Airing Your Life On Social Media

We’re all guilty of it. Sending that passive aggressive message or posting that selfie of you looking FIT with a caption that’s crying for attention. Post the things that make you feel good without needing that instant social gratification. Post the holiday snaps, the meals out, the outfits that make you feel banging because they feel good, not because you know it’ll get a tonne of likes to feed your ego. Stop posting those shady comments that get people replying with “inbox me babe.” Use social media to post the things that make you feel great, not to make you feel great.

Stop Believing That You’re Not In Control

Weird flex I know, but turns out that you’re actually in control of your own life. Mad, right? And yet we’re all sitting here waiting for that perfect opportunity to come along at the perfect time. Chances are, it’s not going to happen and you’re going to end up feeling deflated.

Make things happen. Make those vision boards. Manifest those dreams. Hustle hustle hustle until you get what you want. Because no one else is going to do the hard work for you.

Stop Being A Negative Nancy

I’m the worst for this. But just stop being a negative Nancy. Yes this takes effort. It’s my go to, to shit all over a situation before I’ve actually thought about what’s coming out of my mouth, and you know where that gets you? Absolutely nowhere. These days I write down 3 things every day that I’m grateful for, so even on the days that feel rubbish, I can look back and know that there was something good in them.

These are the 5 things I’m determined to stop doing in 2020. Let me know yours in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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Morning Routine for Shift Workers

I love a good morning routine blog post or Youtube video. Curiosity truly gets the better of me and all I want to see is what other people do when they get up in a morning. Is that weird, maybe, but I like it.

However, my day job means that a morning routine isn’t really that realistic and sometimes I feel like a failure for not managing a yoga routine, planning my day, writing six pages in my journal and having a smoothie before I head out of the door. Most morning routines I watch or read are from freelancers who have a bit more flexibility to their day and I must admit that I often feel jealous of people who can wake up past 7.30am.

Being a nurse means that most days a week I need to be ready for 7am and prepared for a 14 hour shift ahead of me, not such an easy feat when I’m often still scrolling on my phone until midnight. I know, I know. Old habits die hard, but I’m trying, okay?

So here’s my more realistic routine for those of you who are forced to wake up at the crack of dawn.

6.00 – The alarm goes off and I’m trying, really trying my best to not snooze it, though the temptation gets the better of me most days.

6.01 – I drink a whole 600ml of water. Yes I’m trying to up my water intake, which is really really hard for someone with the weakest bladder known to man. But drinking more water regularly appears to be having some sort of effect on my waterworks meaning that I’m actually able to not go to the toilet every 15 minutes when I’m drinking 2 litres of water a day.

6.05 – a quick 6 minute yoga routine. My personal favourite of the moment is this one from Yoga by Adriene. Yes, some morning it feels a bit repetitive but my body does thank me later in the day for a bit of early morning movement.

6.11 – It’s time to do the boring stuff. Dress, teeth, very minimal makeup.

6.20 – I always try to prep my breakfast, lunch and tea the night before so now it’s just a case of getting it out of the fridge, picking up my water bottle from the draining board and remembering my keys and ID for work.

6.22 – The coffee machine is heating up and I’m ready to craft my flat white to make everyone envious during handover.

6.26 – I always try to leave at least 5 minutes to scroll social media, think about the day ahead and have a few minutes of quiet time.

6.35 – Time to leave the house and head to work.

Not a bad thirty five minutes to prepare for the day ahead. What does your morning routine look like? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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One Year as a Newly Qualified Nurse

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I recently hit a pretty big milestone; I managed to make it through a whole year as a qualified nurse (without losing my registration). That’s a joke but I can honestly say there’s not a day passes at work where I don’t panic about it. The past year has been a rollercoaster ride. Being a mental health nurse is filled with so many highs and lows and my brain usually feels like mush by the day of the end. It’s such a cliché but there’s truly nothing I’d rather be doing (except living in a campervan with two dogs). But there’s nothing I’d realistically rather be doing.

To mark the occasion I wanted to share just some of the things I’ve learnt in the last year.

  1. You realise quickly how little university prepared you for being a nurse.
  2. But on the other hand, you realise that uni put the fear of God into you about how ‘terrifying’ nursing is, when in reality, good organisation, a calm mentality and listening skills make up most of the job.
  3. You’re allowed to make mistakes – just own up to them immediately.
  4. Teamwork really does make the dream work.
  5. If you’re ever considering whether a patient needs their physical observations taking, then yes they do.
  6. Force yourself to do the things you are scared of. There will be shifts where you’re the only person qualified to do them.
  7. Listen to your healthcare assistants – they are the backbone of your ward/hospital/community service.
  8. Familiarise yourself with death, you will see it even if you think you don’t work in that environment.
  9. Learn your team’s strengths and weaknesses. “Oh you don’t deal with vomit? That’s great because I’m not good with spit.”
  10. Ask for help. There are no stupid questions. Nursing is about life long learning.
  11. Listen to patients, to relatives, to staff. Listen to everyone and listen actively.
  12. Find a pair of shoes that you can walk around in for 14 hours a day.
  13. Take your breaks. Nobody thinks you’re a superior nurse because you went a whole day without eating anything.
  14. Take every opportunity to learn something new.
  15. You’re going to feel like you’re not good enough approximately 5 million times a day. Even experienced nurses feel like this. It’s a good thing that means we want the best for our patients.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt from your job?

Rachel x-x-x

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