what I learnt from working too much

Monday 29 October 2018

At one point last month I had 4 physical jobs, as well as my blog; and I had just accepted a new freelance client. Initially I was excited about all the money I would have coming in by the end of the week but pretty quickly, everything started going wrong and I couldn't work out why; and then I realised. I had worked a 60 hour week (mostly on night shifts) and then kept going. I worked 9 days straight before I realised.

After complaining to anyone who would listen, a couple of people asked me why I was working so much and honestly, I had absolutely no idea. Any one of my jobs would have sufficed to pay for my rent, food and anything else I want or need on a weekly basis. Finally it clicked and I had to remind myself, this is my working holiday life not my back home and saving for a house life. I'm here to enjoy myself; I can work myself into the ground when I'm back home if I want to.
So I made a few changes in the past couple of weeks and although I am earning a little bit less, I'm back to enjoying life again! Here's what I learnt from working too much and why I won't be doing it again:

Stress Affects EVERYTHING 
By the end of that week, not only was I in physical pain but I was ill, arguing with Jonny about everything and I couldn't go to the toilet.

Happieness Over Money 
This one was hard because I am prettty money motivated but I've realised that as long as I have enough money, I don't need to make my life hard just so I can have more; and that goes for my saving habbits as well as my earning ones.

I haven't had as much money come in over the past few weeks but I have been much happier! Jonny and I went to Movie World on Tuesday and didn't take any notice of how much it cost. We got an Uber there, bought a pair of bugs bunny ears and ate ice cream for lunch. It was an expensive day but totally worth it. And actually, in the grand scheme of things it wasnt all that expensive - I must have spent $100/50GBP on the whole day.

On the other side of that though, contrary to how I used to live at home, I have also realised that I don't need to spend loads to have fun. Last weekend, Jonny and I got drunk and stayed in. We cooked dinner, cleaned the flat, had a bath and hit the gym with the boys when they got home from work at 3am and honestly; it was everything. 

Imagine having a job that you miss doing after a few days off. I actually love doing Uber but instead, I spent my evenings working somewhere that I hated because it earnt more money. Now, I no longer dread going to work and split my nights between Uber, writing or going to the gym. I still can't bring myelf to take a night off unless Jonny has a night off from work as well.

Ok one more thing, after wearing 7kgs of what I took in my carry on to Thailand back in January for the past 10 months, I got myself some new clothes this week; it always amazes me how happy a new pair of shoes makes me feel.

The Importance of Looking After Your Body
I thought I'd just take a couple of days off and start again on Monday but after 40 hours of cycling, it literally took me weeks before my legs felt normal and I never want to feel like that again. Now, I go to the gym a few times a week just to stretch. 

My first real gym kit! (So now I look like I'm actually supposed to be at the gym and not a bar crawl in Phuket.)

I also started to notice that crap food actually does makes you feel crap. With two foodie jobs and another one that involved me sitting outside Mcdonalds for hours on end (waiting for deliveries), I was eating who knows what at who knows when and I was feeling the effects but like I said, Jonny and I have started batch cooking healthy meals once a week so were getting better slowly. 

I Need Sleep
My mind what just whizzing around with what job where, when and who and even though I was exhausted, getting to sleep was almost impossible. On top of that, we go to bed at around 5am most nights by which time the sun is back and the birds are tweeting outside the window. It's also starting to get really hot here in Australia. I just cant function on broken sleep. 

So first, we got rid of the duvet and have been sleeping with just a bed sheet. I got some ear plugs and an eye mask. Then I started taking some sleeping supplements, Neuro Rest capsules from Utmost Me. They contain magnesium and 5-HTP which is supposed to help the mind relax and you know what, I think it works. That, combined with giving up two of my most stressful jobs have seen me sleeping through the night/morning and waking up feeling much more energised. We've also started to make a consoius effort to keep our room tidy becuase mess just puts us in a bad mood. Now we're just waiting for our furniture delivery so we can start putting everything in its place instead of on the floor.
So now? I have one normal part time office job (which I love; SEO like I did back home!), I do freelance writing from wherever I fancy and I uber all night. I make time to go to the gym, try to eat healthily and sometimes, I manage to go whole days without doing any work. Jonny and I usually get to bed at 3am and listen to Harry Potter on Aubible until we both fall asleep. We go to the cinema and we see our friends and life is simple again!

I just wanted to finish this post by saying sorry for the terrible quality of my blog photos since I left the UK. I left my good camera at home when I left and all I've got now is a phone camera and a boyfriend who doesn't understand the concept of taking blog photos.  

My experience with PCOS

Thursday 18 October 2018

Polycystic translates to many cysts, and so, having polycystic ovary syndrome means that my ovaries have many cysts on them. It affects loads of women and was something, that after a lot of faff from my local GP, I only discovered I had last year.

From the age of 16, I was in a long-term relationship and very quickly, went to the doctors and started taking Microgynon (which later became Rigevidon), the contraceptive pill which I continued to take for the next eight years.

A couple of years ago, two big black veins appeared on my leg and my GP told me that they'd be there forever. Luckily, they disappeared but not after I had spent a week freaking out about them. With a history of DVT in my family and a bit of a nosedive when it came to my mental health, in 2016, I decided it was time to stop.
I read online that coming off of the contraceptive pill was like dark clouds around you disappearing and that is exactly what it felt like. It was really odd and everyone around me noticed it too; but apart from masking my personality for most of my teenage years, it was also masking another problem. I didn't have another period for 18 months after that.

I went to a GP who initially gave me some pills to bring on a period. She told me that I'd need to take them for the rest of my life and that if I didn’t, it could cause cancer to develop. So of course, I took them straight away but soon I realised they were making me feel even worse than the contraceptive. Taking them for just a few days each month was messing me up even more, so there was no way I was going to be doing that for the rest of my life.

I went back and got referred to the hospital which was just as bad, if not worse. The GP there was a man who was absolutely useless & really condescending about the whole thing. He told me that I couldn’t get a repeat prescription and I would have to go back to see him every time I needed a new pack (for the rest of my life) so that I could get for these silly pills. In the end I went to a private doctor.

She sent me for an ultrasound and blood tests, which the local hospital where I started, lost; three separate times, but once she finally got them back, she was able to tell me that my problem was Polycystic ovary syndrome.

To my mums relief, she assured us that I didn’t need to worry about fertility as I had plenty of eggs, they just weren't releasing like the should be. Basically, if need be, they would have to just go in and get them. We told her about these ridiculous pills and she didn’t think it was a healthy way to go about it but I was off to Asia for three months that week and she told me to take them once while I was away, and we’d work on a better solution when I got back.

So that’s what I did. I guess one period over three months wasn’t so bad and at least it put my mind at rest about the whole cancer thing. The week I got home, after a 14 hour flight (which I am still sure had something to do with it), a period appeared without warning. I went back to the doctor and she said to see how it goes and keep in touch since I was going straight back to Asia.

I had a few light and sporadic cycles so I stopped worrying about it. In February, I got a copper coil fitted which has seen me having, heavy, but regular periods ever since and that's where I'm at now.
The post is written in collaboration with Nature's Best who are on a mission to increase awareness about PCOS.

Being a Digital Nomad in Ho Chi Minh City

Tuesday 2 October 2018

I wasn’t really sure what to call this post because even though it is true on some days, I don’t really call myself a digital nomad. That being said, I do take on remote freelance work sometimes and if I do it when I’m travelling, then I guess I am, for all intensive purpose, a digital nomad.

Whilst I was happy to be 'unemployed' and traveling full time when I was in Asia, having the option to take a few hours out from my day to sit down and top up my travel money is something I will always be greatful that I can do. Not only is the money a plus; but working online also keeps my mind active and was great for filling any boring gaps I had.

Heres what day as a backpacking digital nomad typically looked like for me.
Ho Chi Minh City ended up being the last stop on my Asian adventure whilst I waited around for my visa to come through so I was there for three weeks in total, by the end of it I knew the city like the back of my hand, I knew exactly where I was going most of the time; no need for sat navs. It’s not somewhere that people stay for too long because it's pretty intense but I really did love the city - it’s hot and sticky, loud, bustling and there are motorbikes absolutely everywhere but that’s what I’m all about, I’d pick a big foreign city over the beach any day.

Well and truly embracking backpacker life and not knowing how long I'd have to wait for my visa, I booked myself into the cheapest room that I could find; a 16 bed dorm at a party hostel called The Hangout; and I really enjoyed my time there. It cost £4 per night which included breakfast and two mixed drinks - talk about value for money. Plus the bigger, the better - more beds means more opportunities to make friends (and to find someone who was travelling with a pair of straighteners.) 

Waking up at around 8am I'd usually be the first one out of bed. Saigon is magical in the morning, for such a ridiculously loud and fast paced city, the early morning was when I found it most authentic, I  loved wandering through the streets as the stall holders set up their markets.
The life of Vietnam is hidden in the alleyways and it's where I spent most of my time. One morning when I first arrived, I went for a wander and found a little gem that I went back to every single day until I left. What looked like just another dingy smoothie place, where the blenders were held together with elastic bands turned out to be Saigon’s best kept secret. 

I couldn’t start my day without a visit and I’d spend a half hour just sat there drinking my smoothie and watching life go by around me. I switched between two flavours, Milo (chocolate) and banana or an mango and passionfruit, both equally delicious and 25k (70p) each. More often than not I'd get through three smoothies a day.
After that it starts to get really hot and sticky and a bit crazy out on the streets so with an hour that needed filling and in search of some more morning calm, I headed to the gym. I found a great one at The Luna Hotel overlooking the backpacker street which cost me a grand total of 70K (3.70) pay as you go. It was also where I showered because towels were free there and they weren't at the hostel. lol backpacker life.

Whilst breakfast was the most delicious meal of the day, lunch was my best bargain of the day. I always try to eat where there are locals so having sat down surrounded by Vietnamese people and ordered some chicken which cost 25k (70p again) I was amazed when I was brought not only the chicken that I had ordered, but a side of rice, some green veg, a bowl of soup and an iced tea all included in the price.
After lunch, I had no more excuses left to avoid doing some work so that’s when I finally sat down to do some. Usually I’d head to the hostel to do it because everyone was still asleep and it was the quietest place. It also had air con, toilets and plugs so it was just an easy, free option.

By 3 or 4pm, people started to emerge and it’d be time to finish up work and just enjoy being a backpacker. Some days I went off to explore with friends; manicures, sky bars, markets. Others, someone would sit down in front of me with a pack of cards and we’d just mess around for a few hours.
Whatever adventure we decided to go on usually ended up with us agreeing that we needed to go back to the hostel for a nap. People would be coming and going at different hours all throught the night but you could be sure that if you wanted to get some proper rest, the best time to do it would be early evening becasue everyone would be returning from day trips and preparing for an evening of partying.
The evenings began at 8pm when the free drinks started and finished at all sorts of different times depending on the night and the crowd. Some nights we'd just stay at the hostel bar and others we'd head out to the club's. Or sometimes I just went to the gym. Either way though, I was always excited to head home because it meant I had to walk through Bui Vien Street (backpacker street) which was where all the street food was at. More often than not I'd sit down at a tiny table and order myself a midnight feast. I had street food for every single meal after Jonny left because we didn't eat any while he was there; he was just too big for the seats.
After that it was time to head back to the room so see what awaited me there. Sometimes that would be the end of my night and I'd be able to get into bed and go to sleep. Sometimes I'd get back to find the whole room having a deep meaningful chat over a pizza at 2am.
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