DEALING WITH ANXIETY DURING A PANDEMIC

Saturday

This is a guest post from Sophie over at Girl Vs. World.

Hi, guys! It's Soph from girlvsworld here. The lovely Lauren has given me the opportunity to write a guest post for her blog regarding dealing with anxiety during a pandemic, which I'm super thankful for and really looking forward to. Today, we're going to be talking about dealing with anxiety during a pandemic.


Recently, my anxiety has been getting much worse, as being stuck inside leaves little to do other than overthink and become your own worst enemy. I have a full post about How to Protect your Mental Wellbeing Whilst in Quarantine, which may be helpful for you if you suffer from depression or any mental illness other than anxiety. 


Anyway, without further ado, let's get into my top tips for dealing with anxiety:


Woman using macbook pro
Image by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels

Don't constantly watch the news or check stats


This is the biggest tip I could give you if you're dealing with anxiety during the pandemic. Obviously be mindful and stay educated on the situation, but don't work yourself up by constantly checking the news and making yourself miserable. Yes, keeping informed on the virus is important, but so is your mental health and your days shouldn't be filled with panic and stress that is making you miserable.


Take some time out each day to watch Netflix (I have a post talking through My Top 5 Netflix Series I Watched in 2020), do something creative (write a blog post if you have a blog, or do something artistic if you like that kinda stuff!) or read a book. Taking time to do something you personally enjoy can make the world of a different when it comes to dealing with anxiety during a pandemic.


Go for a walk


This one may seem simple but it is SO important. Going for a walk is a simple yet effective, way of clearing your head and getting yourself out of the house during lockdown. Seeing other people out and about walking their dogs etc reminds you that you're not on your own and everyone else is in the same position you are.


Norfolk broads

It's also great to get out of the house so you're not staring at the same four walls all day, every day - that's not good for anybody! You are likely to feel way more refreshed after a good, long walk and more prepared to continue with your day (whether that be lounging round watching Netflix, or being productive on the laptop - either is completely fine... No judgement round here!)


Facetime your friends or family


For me, I have found this to be an absolute essential during lockdown so I don't start to feel lonely. I facetime my friends multiple times every day, especially at night when the loneliness and boredom hits a little more. Personally, my anxiety always hits more at night , so facetiming my friend is a fantastic distraction that reminds me there are always people on the other end of the phone ready to listen.


Everyone is going through the same situation, remember that. Whether you talk about silly stuff, every-day casual conversations, or have deep chats, it's great to have someone to be there. Never underestimate the power of a phone call - especially face time / video call as you get to see your loved ones face and really feel like they're right there with you.


So, there we have it! My top 3 tips on dealing with anxiety during a pandemic. If you ever need someone to speak to, you can DM me on Instagram or Twitter and I will always be there to listen to you. Stay safe, lovelies, I promise things will get better and there I always a light at the end of the tunnel. Make sure you're there to see it! 


Thank you so much, again, to Lauren for giving me the opportunity to guest post on her wonderful blog! I hope you guys enjoyed the post. 


Read next: 5 Books I wish I'd Read Sooner


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5 STEPS TO TAKING SUCCESSFUL INSTAGRAM PICTURES

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase a product through these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Since becoming more serious and consistent with my blog, I decided to try and grow my social media channels. Mainly Instagram and Twitter because I think these ones work best for my blog and I reached 3000 followers on Instagram recently. I did give Pinterest a good go in summer and it worked well for a while but I felt like it was taking up all of my time so I took a step back. Maybe I will try with Pinterest again but I just thought a break was needed and I haven't really gone back since.


Durdle Door, Dorset

Anyway, since I have been trying to grow my Instagram, I've been putting more care into the pictures I take and upload and I am going to be sharing how I do this. As you may have seen in my Goals for 2021 blog post, growing my Instagram is one of my main blogging goals this year.


I will also write a post all about how I am growing my Instagram in the near future too because that's the channel that is growing the quickest for me. But for now, I will just be sharing some tips on how I take my pictures. This could work really well for you or not work for you at all, it's just interesting to see different approaches in my opinion.


Tips on how to take pictures for Instagram


1. Upload content you love


Baked Camembert from The Wheatsheaf in the Woodfords, Wiltshire
In order to stand out from the millions of other people on Instagram, you need to be uploading content that is authentically you. If you are uploading content that you think your followers will like but isn't really you, then your followers aren't really going to engage with your brand and what you're all about. For example, if you're posting pictures of fashion when you are a book blogger then chances are your followers won't be interacting with your blog.

2. Try to create a theme


The accounts I see do well on Instagram are ones that have a theme. That means your photos on the grid look kind of similar to each other and there is a colour scheme. I don't actually focus on that too much because of my first point of uploading content that is you, but it can help to have a theme. This can be done by using the same preset on your photos, which I will come to in my next point.

If you are looking to create consistent branding for your Instagram then check out this Instagram Branding Pack.

3. Use Adobe Presets


Difference between ordinary image and Adobe Presets
This is not sponsored, I just use Adobe Presets for all of my Instagram pictures and it makes such a difference and really enhances my photos, making them look more professional. Presets can also help you create a theme without being inauthentic. You can take pictures that you love and that express you and enhance them and try and create a theme with presets. You can create your own presets on the Adobe app or there are a lot of people out there that create and sell great ones - whatever suits you best.

4. Treat everything as a photo opportunity


It's better to have more than enough photos because posting consistently is important for Instagram growth. If I am going out, a lot of the time I will take pictures even if something doesn't really look that Insta-worthy. You can always delete them later and they could look Insta-worthy once you have worked your magic in Adobe Presets. Even if they don't get uploaded, it's nice to create memories through photos.

5. Show your face


Lauren Kenny at Sculpture by the Lakes
For me, my most liked photos are the ones that have me in them. I read somewhere that audiences prefer to see your face across your channel because they can put more trust into you that way. I know lots of selfies and images of yourself might not fit with everyone's brand, but you should be uploading one or two, even if it's just introducing yourself. Then, people can see the face behind the account and know who they are following.

Sorting your content and deciding on the type of thing you are going to post and being consistent with it is the key to success on Instagram. At the end of the day, the images you put out there are the line between someone following you and connecting with you or not. 

If you found this post helpful, I will post about how I have been and am still growing my Instagram and will share my top engagement tips too. It's not just the pictures you post, engaging with others and using your insights is also important if you want to grow.

For more consistent branding across all of your social media channels, check out these Social Media Templates for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram Stories.

Do you have any Instagram tips? I am always looking for new strategies.


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Wool of the King

MY GOALS FOR 2021

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase a product through these links I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, visit my disclaimer.

I did actually write a goals and wishes post for 2020 too but it's been such a weird year I feel like it was hard to achieve them. Although, this has been my best, most consistent year for blogging yet. All the lockdowns actually helped my blog so there's one positive from 2020, but I really am looking forward to 2021. Hopefully things will be more normal but we'll see.


Lauren Kenny at Mudeford Quay


Blogging goals


1. Reaching 5000 views on a single blog post


This is a stretch but so far the most views I have on a blog post is 3400. At the beginning of 2020 the most views I'd ever had was 1400 and that was a complete fluke. I used to get 200 views if I was lucky so if my blog keeps growing the way it has been, I really hope I can reach this goal.


2. 5000 Instagram followers


I am going to really try to grow my Instagram this year. At the start of the year I had 1700 ish (I can't remember the exact number) and I'm starting 2021 with over 3000 followers. Again, it's a steep goal but I am hoping to achieve it. I will write some posts documenting my journey on how I am intending to gain more of a following. One thing that's important to gaining followers is consistent branding. Check out these social media canva templates to help with branding across all of your social media channels.


3. 20,000 monthly blog views


Again, another steep goal but the most views I've gotten in a month so far was 15,000 views back in November - so hopefully not too far off. See how I got over 10,000 monthly views this year.


4. 100,000 yearly blog views or over for 2021


This year I reached 78,000 views on my blog for the year and I only really started properly blogging again in April, so I'm hoping with log views starting from January this time will make this a realistic goal for me. I'm definitely going to have to plan my blog and content more effectively too. Check out THE ULTIMATE yearly blogging planner to help you plan yours.


5. Make money through blogging - DONE


I love blogging without making money from it but from seeing what other bloggers can make with their blog I may as well try. It would be so amazing to be able to make even a little bit of money through a hobby that I love but I still feel like I have a long way to go for this goal. In 2020 I have done several gifted ads so I just need to go that one step further. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!


6. Work on SEO and increase my DA score


This is kind of goes hand in hand with goal number 5 because I feel like most paid ads require a high(ish) domain authority score. I will be the first to admit that my SEO needs a lot of work so hopefully this is something I can improve in 2021. Again, any tips would be amazing. For those of you who don't know, a domain authority (DA) score is a score out of 100 that is to do with your SEO (search engine optimisation) and the higher your score, the more likely you are to rank higher on search engines like Google. A lot of brands will only work with you if your DA score is over 20 but some don't mind.


One resource I have started using already to help with SEO is the Google Analytics Cheatsheet mini E-book


Personal goals


1. Graduate university with a 2:1

I am hoping this is achievable for me, I usually get mostly 2:1s on my assignments so fingers crossed!! I am graduating this year, scary I know.

2. Cook more proper meals

If anyone knows me they know that I'm not really a cook. I've just always thought I was rubbish at it but that's only because I've not really tried properly. I've made a couple of things lately that were quite nice so I am going to try making more meals that I like. When I leave uni I will probably have to stop eating like a student.

3. Cut things out that aren't good for my mental health


I asked what your goals were on Instagram and this one from my friend Gee inspired me. It's so important to try and only be around things that positively affect our mental health. If something has a negative effect on me then chances are, I'm going to avoid it or cut it out this year. I am pretty good at doing this anyway but there's always room for improvement.

Post-Covid Goals


Zell am See

I would have a lot more goals if it weren't for Covid but after the way this year has gone, I have no idea what will happen. I may as well just share the things I want to do and if I can't do them, then fine but if I can it will be really nice to look back on this post and tick them off.

1. Go abroad


I LOVE travelling and going away and if we can, it will probably be the first thing I'd want to do. I don't even mind where I go but it would be so lovely to get away. We can hope!

2. Celebrate my birthday out of the house


This year, I spent my 21st birthday in lockdown. Although I had a lovely time, it would be nice to celebrate my birthday out of the house, maybe with a meal or something.

3. Go to my summer ball


I am in my final year of university which means this year's summer ball will be my last if it goes ahead. It would be great to go and celebrate finishing uni with all my friends.

4. Have a graduation


At our uni, the graduation ceremonies are held around November, so I am hoping by then we will be able to have a proper graduation but I am not going to set my hopes too high.

What are your goals for 2021?

If you'd like to see what I got up to in 2020 then head over to my 2020 round up.

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Wool of the King

MY 2020 ROUNDUP

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase a product through these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please visit my disclaimer.

2020 has been such a weird year, but it hasn't all been bad for me. I am going to be reflecting on my year and hopefully reminding myself that there have been some positives of 2020. This year has taught me that even the smallest positives are worth mentioning and noticing. It's been the year I've gotten most into blogging and I hope to set some new goals and do some even bigger and better things with blogging in 2021.

My 2020 Roundup


January

Jack Whitehall stood up tour

January is normally a kind of nothingy month for me. It's just after Christmas and things go back to normal. One highlight of my January was that I went to see Jack Whitehall live. Remember when you could do that? He was really funny and it was a good start to the year. My dad also turned 50, he's not going to like me for mentioning that. We had a lovely meal for him at Piazza, the Italian in Amesbury.

I also went out clubbing in January in Bournemouth for my friend Jas's birthday. Again, who remembers clubbing?

February

Mamma Mia the musical in The Mayflower

In February, I did 2 days of Work Experience at a PR company in Cardiff and I had a little hotel stay in Cardiff for one. I really enjoyed my time there and hadn't been to Cardiff before. I'd love to go there again. 

I also went with Joe for some lovely afternoon tea in London for Valentine's Day and we went to the Sea Life Centre in Waterloo.

My favourite part of February was going to see Mamma Mia the musical at the Mayflower in Southampton with my mum and grandma. It was so good!

March

Amsterdam Canals

March was the month that everything changed and everyone in the UK started to realise that Covid-19 wasn't going anywhere. I went to visit Joe at the beginning of March and we had the best time. We went to Bubba Gump in Leicester Square and we went to London Zoo too. That was the last time I saw Joe until July.

Just before the lockdown in the UK, I flew to Amsterdam with my friends and it was such a weird experience. We had a great time, however, the day after we got there everything started to shut down and it got a little bit scary. Once we came home from Amsterdam, everything in the UK shut down.

April

Sausage Roll birthday cake

My 21st birthday was in April, in the week where we saw the first big spike of Coronavirus deaths. I had booked to go to Rome and had plans to go to Bristol too but these plans had to be cancelled. Regardless, I still had a really good 21st and was able to appreciate the small things. Read all about how I spent my 21st birthday in lockdown.

The rest of April just consisted of working from home and a lot of sangria over the bank holidays. I also started properly weekly blogging in April. Before that, I was never really committed but I haven't stopped weekly blogging since.

May 

Lauren Kenny garden party

May must have been when mum, dad and I got really bored because I've gone through all my photos and we had a lot of themed nights in and we even gave Hollie a bath because she couldn't go to the groomers.

I was supposed to be at Bournemouth 7s festival in May so we had a festival garden party of our own at home. We also had beer pong nights, a VE Day party and made lots of Mars Bar rice crispy cakes: Recipe here.

June

21 birthday balloons

In June, Joe and I had our 2nd anniversary, we just had to celebrate it over facetime. Mum and dad had their 30th wedding anniversary in June too, and their friends sent them a cheese hamper which was the best part!

June was when you were allowed to go in people's gardens so my family friends threw me a 21st party in their garden because I couldn't have one before, socially distant of course.

July 

Sculpture by the Lakes Dorset

In July, I attended my first ever blogging event and went for a PR visit to Sculpture by the Lakes. I had the best time and would love to go to more blogging events. I also went strawberry picking with mum in the beginning of July, I love doing that in summer.

July was when the first national lockdown ended so I was finally allowed to see Joe again and some of my family after 4 months! Mum and dad bought a hot tub too so that was a highlight of the summer. I also went out for my first meal in months and it was amazing. 

August

Lincoln

August seemed a lot more normal than any of the other months. I finished my year marketing internship in August and managed to go to Lincoln to visit one of my friends and had the best time. 

Celebrating being allowed to go out again, we went to a cheese and wine bar and went out for cocktails. I went to see Joe in London for the last time before we moved to Bournemouth. We went to Battersea park because we could walk there from his flat and didn't want to come into contact with too many people, and it was so nice! Ended up getting so many steps in too. 

Towards the end of August, I got to watch one of my best friends do a skydive for charity and it was safe to say that I was a lot more scared watching than she was doing it. 

September

Seafood platter in Hastings

I moved back to Bournemouth on the 1st of September and it was really weird being in student housing again after a whole year of being at home and working. Due to not being able to see any of my friends for my birthday, I went out with a few friends for cocktails at Be at One in Bournemouth. They gave me a voucher to spend for my birthday so we used it on cocktails there.

Joe moved back a little later than me so I went to visit him in Hastings before he moved back and we had the most amazing seafood platter.

I was lucky to get a couple of nights out and bottomless brunches in with my friends before Covid-19 started picking up the pace again. One night out was an ABBA night and I LOVE ABBA!

October

Pitbull fancy dress

This was probably the worst month for me because it started off with me actually catching Covid-19. I was quite ill with it and it really got me down but now I feel lucky to not have had it any worse than I did. I also lost my sense of taste and smell for 5 weeks which was quite tragic but I appreciate being able to taste now more than ever! 

I had to isolate by myself in my room so my housemates wouldn't catch it and luckily they didn't. I won't lie, it was a really lonely time but I got through it which is the main thing.

After I isolated and got rid of the virus, I was able to start seeing people again. I went to Bingo Lingo in Southampton for one of my friends' birthdays and started working with my housemate's clothing company, Seven Nights Clothing. You are now reading the blog post of the Creative Copywriter for Seven Nights.

For Halloween, my housemate Maddie and I dressed up as Pitbull - once again supplying you with top quality content. We also went out for a bottomless brunch with our friends and that was the last time we saw them before the second national lockdown.

November

Sole bay fish and chips

Before the second lockdown, Maddie and I went to Suffolk for a little break and we had such an amazing time. After that, November was quite nothingy because we were stuck in again. I did manage to get out and do some nice walks around Dorset. It's been nice to be able to get out by the sea.

In November, I also reached my highest amount of monthly views on my blog - 15,000 views! Check out this Google Analytics Cheatsheet mini E-book to help you keep on top of your analytics.

December

Christmas mug and tree

In December, I went home from uni for Christmas. My mum and dad moved to a new house in November so I have just been getting used to it at the moment. It's really nice and Christmassy at the moment and it's in the middle of the countryside, about a 15 minute drive from my old house.

There's a really cute farm shop nearby that I talked about in my Things to do in Wiltshire post and we have been getting brunch from there. I've also been watching lots of Christmas films, wrapping presents and preparing for Christmas.

How has your year been? I will be posting my new year goals next weekend!

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Wool of the King