We’ve almost arrived at the end of January – a month marked for millions by disappointment, fear and anger, as a certain someone began a certain job that he is certainly not prepared for.
Personally, this month has involved beginning a new term at work and university, adapting to a different schedule, prioritising self-care and supporting others. I’ve been quietly joyful about aspects of my own life while also occasionally overwhelmed by world events.
Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about, reading, listening to and watching during the first weeks of 2017.
What I’ve been thinking/talking about:
The clean eating debate
The past few weeks have seen a significant amount of coverage about clean eating, due to the recent BBC Horizon documentary. I first heard the term used by Cassey Ho / Blogilates in 2013 and took her advice on board. I went back to university that year with a short list of foods I could eat and grew anxious about consuming anything else. In 2014, I came across Deliciously Ella, Madeleine Shaw and other leading wellness figures.
My view of clean eating is complicated by the fact that I, like Ella Mills, avoid certain foods to manage a chronic condition. Wellness was something I latched on to when I was very ill, an experience that Natasha Lipman has also written about. It’s the restrictive mindset and low calorie intake encouraged (though not always explicitly) by many on the clean eating scene that worry me most. As someone who once had a panic attack after eating a brownie made with white sugar, I’m glad that the negative consequences of this trend are being exposed. I still deal with symptoms on a daily basis, but, now that I’m more flexible with food, I’m the healthiest I’ve been in a long time. See this recent article by Ruby Tandoh and this post I wrote last year for related thoughts.
I work and study part-time, which equates to a full schedule. Relationships, this blog and bubble baths are high priorities too. Over Christmas I decided that I’d also like to take up new volunteering opportunities that fit with my available time and energy. So, I recently began mentoring a current Worthwhile graduate and signed up to be a judge for 500 Words, BBC Radio 2’s children’s story competition.
The short-term, unstable nature of work in the social, cultural and higher education sectors can be intimidating and stressful. I like to have clear plans, but this year I’m trying to avoid thinking too far ahead. I’m optimistic about the next few months and focusing on enjoying what I’m currently doing.
What I’ve been reading (other than course texts):
- Outliers: The Story of Success
- The Heart Goes Last
- Five Practical Things You Can Do to Fight Donald Trump if You Live in the UK
- Kate Tempest on Brighton Festival, culture and community
- How the Social Sector Can Attract More Young Talent
- Meltdown of the Phantom Snowflakes
- Confessions of a Former Clean Eater
- When Will We Ditch the Idea of a “Perfect” Body?
- Squatters Turn Oxford University Building into Homeless Shelter
- Women’s March Events Round-Up
What I’ve been listening to:
- Wild Fire – Laura Marling
- Be a Work/Life-Friendly Boss – HBR Ideacast
- Ethical Clothing – The Guilty Feminist Podcast
- Emma Gannon and Laura Dockrill: You Don’t Have To Be One Thing – Ctrl Alt Delete Podcast
- Sofie Hagen and Susan Calman – Made of Human Podcast
- Caitlin Moran – Desert Island Discs
- The Abortion Act 50 Years On – Woman’s Hour
What I’ve been watching: