‘Freakonomics’ – Book of the Week

What do I know about economics? Diddly-squat. Nil. Nothing. But this book taught me the absolute basics, and was also an enjoyable read. Can you ask for more?

‘Freakonomics’ is written by top economists Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, and was a best-seller when it came out. These two economists write about economics in a new and exciting way, sometimes criticised within the economics world, but loved by the public regardless. It answers questions like how are teachers like sumo wrestlers? Why do drug dealers still live with their mothers? And why swimming pools are more deadly than guns. You can explore the trends in baby names and whether they define your child’s future career prospects. ‘Freakonomics’ teaches you to view the world differently, and to remember that correlation does not equal causation.

I recommend this book to anyone looking to expand their literary horizons beyond classic fiction novels. It is a real change-up and very readable.

But it for super cheap on Amazon! £6.57!

Lots of love from Evie x

A New-Found Sense of Empowerment

If you are a regular reader of mine then you will know that I am a MASSIVE fan of Ted Talks. So, when I heard that an evening of Ted Talks were being held at my Uni you know that ya girl was all over it! I bought tickets not even knowing what the theme was- I just wanted to be a part of it.

When I got there I found out that the theme was Empowerment. What is Empowerment? How does one find Empowerment? Does Empowerment come from within, or is it something we give to each other? How do we Empower women, minority races, disabled people, etc.? These were the main topics discussed throughout the evening.

A lady called Oloni did a talk about Empowering women, especially in the workplace, and gave a fantastic story about how she got a job at Cosmopolitan despite the odds.

WOW. I walked out of that room a changed woman.

Before then, I had been applying to mediocre summer jobs that I knew I would get. But after the talk, I started applying to places that I never ever thought I would get even an interview for. I thought to myself, ‘What’s the worst that could happen? They say no’.

Anyways, only three days after the Ted Talk, I landed myself a job! I am going to be a PR and Marketing intern!

What is the message of this short post? Simply, do not let your insecurities or doubts get in the way of your dreams. Apply for the job, ask the guy out, do the karaoke. You are the only thing in the way of yourself! Truly, what is the worst that can happen? This is a message I hope to take forward for the rest of my life and apply it to new situations and scenarios, and I hope you guys do too.

What things have you guys achieved recently because you didn’t let your fear stop you? I’d love to hear!

Love from Evie x

Testing Mindfulness Apps to Help My Anxiety – Spilling the Anxie-Tea

Calm:
Calm is an app I have heard about here and there. They often have ads on Facebook that pop up here and there. When you first open the app, you are met with this screen:

I liked this touch as it is simple yet immediately forces you to take a second to calm down. The blue colours they use are rather soothing, like water. On the home page, you are straight away greeted with various calming noises and a nice moving background. You can choose different sounds and backgrounds for example the sea, rain, a lake etc. I like the wide variety of choice you receive.

Calm has sweet little stories to help you sleep, one of them is read by Stephen Fry which I thought was a nice touch as he has a soft and familiar voice and is a mental health activist. They also have short audios that guide mindfulness and meditation which people may find helpful

Something I also noticed about Calm and I thought was a nice touch is that it hides your phone’s time and battery level. I felt this helped as you can really immerse yourself in the relaxation and not get distracted by how long you have been on the app.
A downside of Calm is that the audio and stories are rather limited, and if you want to get access to more you have to upgrade which costs £42.99 per year, which is quite dear.

Headspace:
The next app I tried was Headspace. Headspace have a lot of adverts on Youtube aimed at me so it was pretty unavoidable. Headspace is very similar to Calm as it has many audio guides for meditation and relaxation, as well as podcasts to aid sleep.

A feature of Headspace I really like is that you can allow them to send you up to 5 “mindfulness moments” a day, which are basically just notifications on your phone that say stuff like “It is not enough to merely think about our potential. We need to discover it, to live it, to make it a reality.” and other fortune-cookie-type proverbs. I like these as although they are a little cheesy, they do make you think and perhaps even ground you when feeling stressed.
Again, like Calm, Headspace offers more audio guides and features to paying customers. However, the price for Headspace is even more than Calm, and I am not 100% what exactly it is they offer. The most expensive one coming in at £400!

Breathe:
The final app I downloaded was Breathe, and I have to say it was my favourite. I had never seen Breathe being advertised at all but it was recommended to me when I downloaded the other two so I gave it a go. When you open Breathe, you are immediately met with the option to dim the screen for 10 seconds to help relax. I really like this touch

It then asks you a series of questions about how you are feeling emotionally and physically, before asking for you to select up to 5 emotions

Finally, based on your choices it offers you various audio guides that they believe will make you feel happier and more mindful

I really like this feature as it feels more personal and is catered to your needs at that time. There are a great deal of audio guides, even if they are short. You can pay for more content and more features if you so wish. Breathe claim to also donate 10% of their earnings to help less privileged kids learn mindfulness practice, which is admirable

I feel like all of these apps have some key benefits and when all three of them are downloaded there are a plethora of different features and methods to help you. Although I personally enjoy Breathe the most for the personalisation aspects, I still will use Calm’s bedtime stories and Headspace’s mindfulness moments to help manage my Anxiety disorder. I hope this article helped some of you guys to use apps as a new way of coping with Anxiety. It is so easy and practical to use for a quick pick-me-up.

My Bedtime Routine – GRWM for bed!

I have received the odd message here and there from you guys asking about my bedtime and morning routine, so I thought I would have a go at writing the former here. This routine is the one that I do every night (when I have time). I have suffered from insomnia in the past due to my anxiety, however I find that when I complete every step of my routine, I generally have a good night’s sleep.

  1. Wipe off my makeup, and use an exfoliater, cleanser and face mask. My skin is super oily and acne-prone so I do adhere to a strict facial routine. You can see what cleanser and face mask I use here. Always apply these products in that order for maximum results!
  2. While the face mask is drying, now is the time I make my hot water bottle. This is specifically a winter routine, but I find that boiling the kettle and filling my water bottle and putting it under my duvet (to warm up the bed for me!!) is the perfect amount of time to leave my facemask on!
  3. Bio-oil, and moisturiser. Bio-Oil is a fairly new addition to my routine, but it is one I now can not go without. I am desperately trying to get rid of my acne marks so I can feel more confident not wearing makeup. I find that not only does it leave my skin gradually looking clearer, but it also has made my skin soooo soft and smooth! It also doesn’t clog my pores or cause breakouts, which is always the worry when something is advertised as an “oil”. Always remember to put moisturiser on as well to keep your skin healthy! Click the picture below to purchase Bio-Oil from Amazon at the lowest price I can find:

60ml Bio-Oil, £9.65

4. Now is the time I brush my hair to ensure that all knots are out and all dead hairs come out. And then, I put my hair into two Dutch plaits. The reason I plait my hair every night is that it makes it lovely and wavey in the morning, plus it stops your hair from knotting or getting in your way when you sleep. Below is a video of how to do a Dutch plait:

 

5. Now is the time that I practise yoga. Again, this is a fairly new addition to my routine, but I find it massively helps get me in the mood for sleeping, and to let go of all the stresses of the day. I generally do around 10-20 minutes of very chilled and easy yoga A video I often follow is below:

6. Make sure you brush your teeth and take any tablets you need to! I always take any daily tablets I need just before bed as I find it is the best time to remember them. I always keep my tablets on my bedside table. Now is the time that I turn off my main light and just have a lamp with a warm glow or perhaps a scented candle by my bed. I read, or I switch my phone to night mode and put the brightness all the way down.

I hope you guys like my bedtime routine and take some steps from this! I know it is a long routine but I just find pleasure in slowly ticking every step off of my list and carving out this time in the day for a little me time.

Let me know down below what your bedtime routines are like and what you guys do to relax before sleeping!

Love from Evie x

It goes Pom and Pom and Pom…

Just a random little post for you guys today but I wanted to share with you my new hobby: making pom poms!

One of my close friends was going through a bit of a hard time. She’s super girly and loves anything pink and fluffy so I had a sudden brain wave and thought it would be cute to make her a pom pom garland. I don’t really know where the idea came from,  but I am glad I had it as I have found a real joy in making these cute bundles of yarn!

I popped down to my local hobbycraft, and having never bought wool before I was pleasantly surprised with how cheap it is! Hobbycraft were doing a deal so I grabbed 4 colours: pink, yellow, blue and white. Classic cute colours. I got to work making my friend’s garland and had a nice time in doing so! The result came out like this:

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I had such a good time making those that ever since then I have not been able to stop! I have made so many pom poms in a variety of colours and sizes that I decided to start selling them for cheap on depop, so that I could fund to buy more wool and make even more! If you are interested, then why not check out my store (I am taking commissions!): https://www.depop.com/eviejrichards/

I enjoy making pom poms as it is a cute and relaxing task. I like the repetition of it and the outcome of lovely pom poms at the end! I have started making them while listening to my audiobooks for class, and it is a nice way to have some me time.

 

I think the point of this little post was to remind you guys (as well as myself) that it is important to try new things, as you will never know if something makes you happy. Be it a new hobby, food, or even a new podcast! I think I am going to challenge myself to broaden my horizons and try new things, and I think you should too!

I’d adore to know in the comments below what new hobbies you guys have stumbled across, and if you have any arts&crafts ideas for me!

Lots of love, Evie x

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Update: Prozac, Conzac – Spilling the Anxie-Tea

I was put onto Fluoxetine (Prozac, 40mg x 1 a day) about two months ago now and I thought it was about time to give you guys an update. You can view my original post here. I was prescribed Prozac to help my mild depression and moderate anxiety disorder, as in the months leading up to my prescription I had massively regressed. My attendance to Uni dropped, I stopped being social and I found it hard to find any energy at all. I cancelled my gym membership, ate a load of crap and gained hella fat. I was having regular panic attacks and could barely leave my bed some days.

Prozac takes around 6-8 weeks to fully kick in which is why I waited so long to give you guys an update. Basically- I am feeling a heck of a lot better! I have had only one mini panic attack during this time, my attendance is back up again and I have started going to the gym again (not as frequently as I like but certainly more than before). I feel generally happier and like a weight has been lifted off of me. I have been a lot more social, and have started being healthier. I don’t feel the need to binge on junk as much, and I find it easier to sleep!

Some cons are that ever since the day I started taking Prozac I have found that I have been rather drowsy 24/7. This does make sense I suppose as it is stopping my anxiety. I mentioned it to my GP and they said it was nothing to worry about and hopefully should pass. It is not as intense as the first month I was on Prozac, but I would say I am certainly feeling drowsy. Additionally, I had my first ever migraine. I am not sure if this is due to the Prozac, but I had never had one before and suddenly 2 weeks into taking Prozac I was awoken at 5am to the sensation that someone what gouging my eyes out and burning the sockets. I couldn’t open my eyes and despite having the curtains closed, lights off, under my covers with sunglasses on everything was still too bright for me. It eventually subsided and after a quick google search I found that this was fairly commonplace for people who have just started Prozac, and I have not had a migraine since.

Overall, I would say that being on Prozac has been a largely positive experience for me. My anxiety and depression have subsided (although they are of course not totally eradicated), and I am finding everyday life more manageable and enjoyable. Of course, this is my experience, and it may be different for everyone, so I would suggest talking to your doctor to see what path they think is best for you. It took me years to be prescribed Prozac, and I am so happy to now be nearly back to normal. I will give another update in a few months (or sooner if anything major happens!)

And now I give the conversation to you guys. Have any of you been put on Prozac, and if so then how was your experience? What non-medicinal methods/treatments do your recommend to me or anyone else suffering with chronic Anxiety and Depression? Let me know your thoughts down below in the comments!

 

Love from Evie x

‘Spark Joy’ – Book of the Week

Note: Sorry I haven’t written in so long! My new term at Uni has started and it is 50 Shades of Cray. I have a whole list of blog post ideas to do though so if you haven’t already then please follow this blog so you never miss a new post!

I’m sure you have heard of the hit cleaning sensation of Marie Kondo. If you haven’t, I implore you to go check out her new Netflix show ‘Tidying-Up with Marie Kondo’. It is such a feel-good show and absolutely inspired me to change my life (as well as this book!) This show and book are not just aimed at slobs or hoarders, they are even aimed at the most “clean freak” amongst us. The KonMarie method is not only about tidying, but also changes your perception of how you treat your possessions and house.

Marie tells us that it is of paramount importance to go through every single item that you own, hold it to your heart and ask yourself “Does This Spark Joy?” (with few exceptions for 100% necessary items such as passports and birth certificates, etc.) If this item does not spark joy for you, then respectfully thank it and give it away/throw it away. By every single item I mean every piece of cutlery, book, sock and shoe. This way, by the end of the process, you are absolutely surrounded by things that make you genuinely happy. I did this method and did give away a massive deal of my items (I would estimate around 70%) but now my space is way less cluttered, and I feel happy everywhere I turn.

Marie also teaches us how to fold clothes in a way that saves space and also that helps us see exactly how many of each clothing item we have. She teaches us how to organise, display and take pride in our items. Ever since picking up this book, I have become obsessed with organising, reorganising, tidying and cleaning. I have a great deal more appreciation for my belongings.

I would absolutely recommend this book and the KonMarie method of tidying to anyone with some patience and a real desire to feel more joy and comfort in their home. This book has genuinely changed my life and I can’t stop telling people about it! If you would like me to make a post about how I personally approached the KonMarie method, or perhaps what changes I have seen in my life as a result, then let me know in the comments below!

Here is the link to purchase the book on Amazon (where it is cheapest at only £7.87!) click the picture below:

 

Thank you very much for reading,

Love from Evie x