Spring fatigue – the real thing

Last week some of my classes got cancelled (and some of them I just skipped) so I ended up staying at home for four days straight. I had this great idea in my head that I will finally catch up on some uni reading and I’ll start writing papers and generally be productive. Well, the reality was the complete opposite.

After giving myself Thursday off to finish reading Guernsey’s Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I woke up on Friday morning completely exhausted and with absolutely zero energy and motivation to leave my bed. I did eventually get up but I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything that day. The same thing happened on Saturday. On Sunday afternoon I finally mustered enough energy to do what I neeeded to get done for my Monday classes.

I’ve always thought that spring fatigue was just a myth, something that affected other people. Well this year the little elf knocked on my doors as well and on his way out, he took all my energy and motivation. I am left empty and exhausted and in a constant state of worry and anxiety.

Some of this is also directly connected to my unstable mental health and so now I have to deal with draining mood swings which leave me disoriented and fragile. And I hate this feeling of helplessness, of thinking that no matter how much self-love you practice, some days you just wake up and the world crashed down on you and you have to crawl beneath the rubble to find your way back to the surface.

Okay, I’ll stop complaining now. University has been hectic lately and I can’t wait for mid May when things will calm down a bit. I have so many wonderful books on my TBR pile that I can’t wait to read. I’m also super excited to start a book club with a fellow bookblogger – though I don’t know when we’ll find the time to actually start reading what we want, not what we have to.

These past few days I’ve started reading some cheesy romance novels, just to take my mind off everything I have to do for uni. I love the predictability and the fact that my brains can rest for a while. I roll my eyes at the cheesy bits but since I only skim through the pages it’s not that bad. Sometimes you just need something easy and light to keep you company in the evenings. So this is where you’ll find me these days – licking my wounds with a romance novel in one hand and a chocolate bar in the other.

Goal setting and monthly challenges – Thanks, but no thanks.

For two months now, I’ve been setting monthly goals for myself to try and be more productive. After watching many Youtube videos and reading articles about the importance of goal setting and how much more likely you are to achieve a certain goal if you write it down, I thought to myself, well, maybe I should try it out.

My monthly goals were focused primarly on books and writing and then I also added a lifestyle section. Last month for example I challenged myself to a two weeks break from eating sugar and I actually managed to do it! This month I focused on my writing and so I challenged myself to write for 30 minutes each day.

When it comes to books and reading, I set a rough goal of how many books I wanted to read in a certain month and I also added some titles. These were mostly the books that were sent to me for review. At first I felt really motivated and whenever I achieved a goal, I ticked it off with a most satisfying feeling.

But then the initial euphoria started to wear off and I became increasingly frustrated and anxious. I kept looking at my to do list and if I took an afternoon off from reading and blogging and reviewing, I felt terribly guilty and I couldn’t relax at all. The list was always in the back of my mind but instead of feeling motivated to tick the goals off, I felt pressured into doing everything that needed to be done.

Even reading became a daily task, a must do, and the fun was sucked out of it. Finally I said to myself, enough, and I stopped looking at the list altogether. What I found works better for me, isn’t setting monthly or weekly goals, but instead writing down the things I’d already accomplished. For example, I keep a list of books I’ve read and reviewed and by adding new titles to it, I feel more productive and therefore have more motivation to continue with the work.

I’m not saying goal setting doesn’t work, it works for some people, but I’ve found that it has the opposite effect on me and only adds to my already high levels of anxiety. My memory serves me just fine and so instead of having an endless to do list, I keep it in my mind because I already know what I have to do. But by writing down the tasks AFTER I finish them, adds to me feeling more accomplished and productive.

I still have a monthly spread in my bullet journal (if you can call it that) to see what things I have to do for uni each week, but instead of writing down my goals, I just try doing the best that I can each day and I don’t feel bad about taking an afternoon or even a whole day off if that’s what I need. Productivity is great but burning out in the hopes of achieving it is not something I would strive towards.

Seasonal favourites: Winter 2018

Winter is almost over (finally!) and I thought it was time to talk about some things I’ve been loving in the past couple of months. Obviously the most important things on this list are books – I’ve had a pretty good reading start to the year though I think that’s starting to change. I’ve also watched some amazing films and TV series and I want to share them with you.

First of all the best books of this winter were (in no particular order) Uprooted by Naomi Novik, La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve posted reviews on all of these books so I won’t get too much into details here, they were all wonderful and one of my favourite fantasy books of all times and I can’t wait to read them again. This winter has been great for reading fantasy literature.

The next thing I want to talk about is my favourite TV series (and no, it’s not Arrow). I actually started watching Victoria again and I love Jenna Coleman so much, I think she’s great as queen Victoria. I’m not a huge fan of the actor who plays Albert but maybe he’ll grow on me, I am currently still watching season 1 so perhaps that will change with season 2. This series has reminded me how much I love period dramas. Downton Abbey has got to be my favourite TV series and Victoria is just as wonderful.

I’ve seen quite a lot of films this past months but the one that sticks out is Black Panther. To tell you the truth, I am not the biggest Marvel fan because the stories are too similar for my liking and the films packed with action and not enough character development, but I went to see Black Panther on opening night and I my mind was blown away. IT WAS SO GOOD. Not only was the story more original and complex than in your average Marvel film but the female characters were just amazing. I can’t wait to see more of them in the upcoming Avengers film.

Moving on to my favourite music of this past winter, I actually didn’t listen to any new bands. However, I did listen to a lot of Disney soundtracks. I know, I know, I’m supposed to be an adult. But I learned that listening to Disney songs while studying or writing papers really helps me relax. Even now, I’m listening to a piano versions of the songs on Youtube and I feel surprisingly calm.

I can go on talking about my favourite food of this winter (chocolate cake with red wine infusion), my favourite drink (mint tea) and my favourite piece of clothing (my Harry Potter sweat pants) but I think those are pretty self explanatory. I’m trying to decide about a favourite moment but there were too many of them to choose from (plus I forgot like half of them). For my last favourite category I chose favourite book purchase and it has to be the illustrated version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them because the illustrations are simply beautiful and I just love browsing through the pages.

I confess to being a bookworm

For today’s post I was inspired by the lovely Imogen from BookSundays (you can check out her youtube channel and Instagram account) because she posted a video called Confessions of a Reader where she shared some bookish facts about her. I absolutely loved that video and so I decided to share some confessions of my own.

  1. Even though I adore hardbacks and mostly buy books with hardback covers because they look the prettiest on my shelves, I secretly find paperbacks the easiest to hold in my hands and read.
  2. I’m a huge sucker for romance. Not romance novels, just love stories in general. In almost every book I read I try to find that one love story I adore and look forward to seeing how it progresses.
  3. My reading progress is super slow because I love to take my time reading a book and admiring how it is written. Also I want to immerse myself fully into the world of the book I am currently reading which cannot be done if I only skim through it.
  4. I create my own world around every book I read – I have tons of fanfiction inside my head. Tons.
  5. Having too many books on my physical TBR pile makes me super nervous.
  6. I adore fantasy above all but my secret ideal book is a combination of fantasy, drama, adventure and romance.
  7. I have several fictional boyfriends.
  8. When I compare myself to fictional characters I always find my life horrifyingly boring. So what I do is I read more.
  9. I might prefer reading to writing.
  10. Even though I know this only makes me feel bad, I constantly compare my reading challenge to others and it kills me to see other people read more than I do.
  11. Recommending books to my friends is great and I don’t mind lending them my own but whenever they take too much time to return them I tend to get anxious.
  12. I cry a lot while reading. But I also laugh out loud a lot.
  13. When I’m out in public I often feel embarrased by what I’m currently reading, like fantasy books aren’t “good enough” and I should be reading the classics.
  14. I’m not a fan of classical literature. I do understand why it’s important but I find that often people who say they adore classical literature only say that because they want to appear smart and well-educated. And when they say that, I just want to scream at their faces: read what you love, people!
  15. Often when I meet up with friends I don’t have anything to say because I’m practically living in the world of the book I’m currently reading and so that’s all I can think about.
  16. I love buying books for my friends. It’s like the ultimate sign of my affection towards them.
  17. I would love to start a bookclub but my friends either don’t read or they read other genres so it would be hard to pick a book that would suit everyone.
  18. I don’t understand poetry. I wish I did.
  19. When I don’t bring a book with me I tend to regret it so I try to always have a book in my backpack whenever I leave the house. Especially when I have to drive my grandma to the doctors. I’ll only get burned once.
  20. The part I dislike most in books, is the beginning. The first fifty pages are there just to set the mood but the real joy starts after that.

Best reading week ever

It’s Saturday morning and I managed to read 2 whole books this week plus finish 2 from last week and I’m planning on reading the fifth one in one sitting today so I start on my number six tomorrow. Did I lock myself in my room or something? Did I move to the middle of the forest or somewhere likewise remote? Nope. I decided to blow off uni for the rest of the week and so I had plenty of time to read.

Funny thing about reading this much – it makes me even more anxious and willing to read. I keep thinking about books (even more than normally) and if I don’t have a book in my hands I literally get nervous. But it’s the good kind of excitement (so far at least). I’m also cat-sitting my sister’s cats Zoya and Oscar this weekend and yesterday little Oscar slept in my lap while I was reading. It was so adorable.

Which books am I binge reading, you ask? The Giver series. I read the first part on Thursday, the second part yesterday and I’m planning on reading the third book today (I haven’t started yet by the way) and so tomorrow I can get to the fourth book. It’s really, really good. They’re not my favourite books and so I don’t adore them (probably because they’re not fantasy novels), but they are still insanely good and the plot twists make my head spin. The only thing that bothers me is the lenght, they are about 200-250 pages long and even though that makes them a quick read, I wish they were a bit longer and more descriptive.

Earlier this week I finished listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on audio and I started missing Hogwarts terribly but since I have so many books on my physical TBR pile I decided to stop there and not pick up the third book. I’m saving it for tough times. Then I finished reading Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones and again I really liked it but didn’t love it as much as I expected it. I’m afraid I already read all the best of her work and now I’ll only be disappointed by her other novels. I hate this feeling.

Besides reading I went to the cinema twice this past week. Black Panther was totally amazing because the story was a bit different than your usual superhero plot twist. It instantly became my favourite Marvel film although Iron Man still is my sweetheart because I just love Robert Downey Jr. I also watched The Post which was totally different but likewise amazing. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks are such talented actors, the only thing that bothered me was the fact that I didn’t quite understand all the background of the story, the politics, but I was still able to follow the story.

Since I’m getting anxious again (no book in my hands) I’ll finish here and start reading. Later in the day I’ll visit the cats again and hopefully they’ll be in a petting mood. I might actually manage to read 10 books this month. That would be a first!