Category: Uncategorized

How to Take a Mental Health Day when You Aren’t Allowed One

About three or four weeks ago, I started feeling really burnt out and like I desperately needed time off from work. Mental health days were not something that we officially had at work and if I wanted time off, I would have needed to book time off from my PTO. (Fun fact- it wasn’t burn-out. I was experiencing the early stages of the Coronavirus). This got me thinking about how exactly one would go about taking a mental health day if that wasn’t something provided by your company.

Here are my tips on how to take a mental heath day:

1. Monitor Yourself for Signs of Exhaustion or Burn-Out: The idea here is for you to catch it before it becomes a problem. The second you realize you need a time-out, book your leave. Do not wait for it to worsen. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup. You need YOU to be performing at your best in life whether this is for family, friends or your place of work. Keep an eye on how you’re feeling so that you can refill your cup as soon as you need to.

2. Schedule Your Time Off in Advance: Note that I used the word “schedule”. That is because this is important. Request your PTO far enough in advance that you can ensure that 1) anything that is going to cause you stress can be taken care off BEFORE you take your mental health day and 2) you are able to plan a proper mental health day.

3. It’s a Mental Health Day…Act Like It: So no work emails (if it’s an emergency, they can call 911), no feeling guilt and no negativity. Do something for you and something that you would enjoy whether it’s watching a movie or shark-diving.

4. Maybe You Might Need More than A Day: You might need a mental health week as opposed to a day. That is perfectly okay. You do what is best for you.

A mental health day might not be something offered by every company but you can still (and should) take time off to destress and relax.

5 Things I Wish I Knew About Working in Marketing Before Taking The Job

Go to Marketing they said. It would be fun, they said. But no one prepared me for how different the Marketing team would be from my old team or what a drastic culture change I would have to adjust to. Here are a few things I wish I knew about Marketing before signing up to be an intern.

The number of reports and spreadsheets is also something I wish I knew before I took this job (ie. the number is ALOT!)

1. People treat me differently now– This is something I cannot get over. There are some people who treat me the same and they are few and far between (they are also my favorite people). However there are two types of people who treat me differently- those who are nicer to me which automatically puts me on edge. I worked in the same department for three years. If the way you are approaching me has changed, I do not know how to respond to that. The other group of people are those who do not speak to me at all. It’s like I have personally offended them with my decision to pursue a Marketing career. Considering the fact that I worked and studied for three years, trying to get into Marketing, this behavior personally offends me. But speaking of studying…

2. The importance of always being open to learning– One of the things I was really excited to give up (along with working weekends) was studying. Or so I thought. Moving to Marketing was exciting but the Marketing industry is always changing. If you want to be great at your job, you need to keep an eye on changing consumer trends. You need to follow experts in your field no matter what type of marketing you fall into.

3. It’s tough. The work is difficult– Another thing that surprised me about working in Marketing was that at the beginning, there was ALOT of tough days. There were days that I would come home and cry because I had no idea what was going on. To be fair, alot of this stemmed from the fact that the person I was supposed to intern under had gotten another job and left the company but it was difficult to go from knowing so much in my previous job to knowing so little when I started my internship. We all have to start somewhere and honestly those tough days were what made me better at my job.

4. Sometimes people don’t want you to succeed. At all– In my first week as an intern, our department was invited to an office event. Only a few people from back office was invited and a few people from my previous job. The brand managers and head of department insisted me and the other intern join even though it was our first week and we were uncomfortable about attending (atleast I was but I decided to rip off the band-aid). It was awful. Naturally I gravitated towards my old team and that’s where the issue started. Apparently those who had been one of the chosen few from my old team from the event were not happy to see me. I kid you not. I heard my name, turned around and then the staff hurriedly walked away whispering about me being there. I left the event in tears. I refused to go back the next time until finally one of the Marketing managers pried the story out of me. She dragged me to the event the time after that (and the time after that) until I had finally gotten used to it. I never went back to my old team after that. It broke my heart but it was better for my sanity.

5. There’s after hours work– In Marketing your tasks are duties are in a specific sub-field. For example, mine was paid media. So if my work was not completed in time, it fell to me to ensure that I completed it even if it was after hours. This took alot of getting used to since in my last job we were paid overtime for working extra hours but eventually I got better at my job and the after-hour work stopped.

I definitely wish I had known these things before taking the job. It would not have changed anything since I have wanted to work in Marketing for so long however I would have liked to have been more prepared. Growth is painful but so worth it in the end

Presenting…Marketing Monday’s

I start way too many sub-themes on this blog.

Anyway, a recent conversation with a coworker made me realize that while a significant amount of my time both during and outside work is spent on learning Marketing, not alot of that time is actually spent utilizing the information.

My solution- like most things- is to write it down. More specifically, I want to write it down here.

So I’m started a new section/sub-section and calling it Marketing Mondays. It’s going to simply be tips and tricks I pick up from working in Marketing but those that can be applied to you as a blogger or a brand.

These will be bi-weekly (so I can focus on providing a nice, decent chunk of information and not just rush through stuff).

I also hope that 1) this allows me to blog more without 2) taking away from the studies I should not be doing but do anyway (The number of online information you can find about Marketing is INSANE! Please can I just be given a Marketing qualification already?)

2022 First Quarter Wrap-Up

In the Summer of 2017 (more specifically, December 2017- a truly magical time in my life), my manager told me about how her manager had spoken to them about how the business set goals for each quarter. Her manager had remarked that it was such a great idea and he thought that the staff should do that too.

I would later go on to practice that method for years, dividing the year into quarters and then setting goals (personal, professional, financial and study goals) throughout the year.

For 2022, I didn’t have any goals. Due to a professional setback, I had decided to step away from my “work, work, work, study, study, study” routine and focus on my health.

Atleast the idea was that for the first quarter, I would focus on my health. But things did not go as expected.

Sure I lost 3KG and the only studying I did was one Hubspot course in Email Marketing. But besides from that my source of stress was still work. Specifically money.

The company that my dad worked at was placed on short-time, my dad was having issues with his heart and I was supposed to still be maintaining a healthy lifestyle because I had graduated from being insulin-resistant to being pre-diabetic (Go me! I guess there was one thing I was excelling at. Food. I was excelling at food). If you’ve been here for a while, you might remember that this is almost exactly like The Horrors of 2019

And then… the department manager told me these very simple words that caused me to melt down. “We’re working on your contract.”

So…some context. In December 2021, the internship contracts were supposed to end but because of some issues the interns were not offered permanent roles. They were given new titles which would be looked at in March. So it should have been an exciting time. How long have I been working and waiting for a role in Marketing? FOREVER! Sure, the manager telling me that it was close to becoming a reality made me slightly ill but that was fine, right? Everyone gets a little nervous.

Except I went home and got violently ill. I threw up everything I ate that day (and was morbidly fascinated by the fact that omg I can projectile vomit wow. Also why didn’t the carrots from my lunch digest completely? Is this why the doctors kept pushing me to eat veggies? Did they come out of me like that always and I just didn’t know? Honestly you would be surprised at the things one thinks of when one is bent over a sink trying to hold oneself upright and not fall face-first into undigested carrots)

I was mildly concerned but was still not going to pursue the issue. Until I realized the next day, I had an abscess the size of a golf ball on my arm. I was horrified. What was going on?

Again, I ignored it. I, champion of the “Listen to Your Body” squad ignored my body. My psoriasis flared up. I started having trouble sleeping. And then the department manager asked me my salary. I gave it to her. But it was then that I knew. I couldn’t do this. My entire body protested at the thought. My stomach gave a lurch that made me wonder if I was going to throw up at work and if so, how would I explain it? No, I’m sorry I just get sick whenever you mention my future job?

Desperate for answers, I went externally. This is a very important life lesson. Have a support system that 1) knows you personally 2) knows you professionally and 3) is calm, rational and non-judging.

I knew that I didn’t want to raise any eyebrows so I sat down with my former manager and explained my issues. She agreed that it might not be a good idea for me to run towards the thing that was making me sick.

I decided to get a second opinion from someone who I didn’t know as well but who seemed level-headed and of sound advice. All this confirmed was what I already knew.

I was devastated and I cried non-stop. I didn’t work for three years to behave like this. What was wrong with me???

But that day, I slept throughout the night without an issue, the abscess had deceased significantly by the next morning and my psoriasis flare-up was paler. I felt lighter and happier. I hated it but I had made the right choice.

At some point I need to figure out what it is I need to do and it terrifies me. I feel like there’s a big gaping hole where my future should be. But I also feel like I need to take the time to heal my mental health. There’s been a lot of things going on behind the scenes that’s been affecting me too so it is important to me that I take the time needed to process.

The Rake, an all-new powerful and passionate royal romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author L.J. Shen is available now!

Boston’s most infamous femme fatale meets her match in a dangerously mild Englishman who has vowed to never marry.

Emmabelle Penrose has cruised through life never needing a man, a plan that has worked stunningly well until about five minutes ago, when she decided she must have a baby.
Devon Whitehall is 6’2” of premium DNA, financial security, and British royal titles. Best of all, he fears the one thing she dreads the most: getting hitched.
Emmabelle figures it’s a no-brainer when Devon offers his services—sperm and involvement in her future child’s life.
What begins as an innocent, modern-family arrangement, quickly erodes into a web of lies, dark pasts, and unfurled secrets.
Inside this chaos, Emmabelle and Devon are forced to face the awful truth—they are capable of love.
Even worse, they might feel it toward each other.

Fall in love with Emmabelle and Devon FREE in Kindle Unlimited today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3G5rgoY
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TheRake

Add The Rake to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3Dp9J9H

Excerpt

One of the good things about Devon Whitehall (and unfortunately, there were many) was that he never took himself seriously. After I had shamefully banished him from my bed, he had stopped calling me. The next time we’d met, however, at a Christmas party, he had hugged me warmly, asked how I was doing, and even showed interest in investing in my club. 

He’d behaved as if nothing happened. And to him I guess nothing had. I didn’t know why Devon had never married, but I suspected he suffered from the same relationship-phobia I was prone to. Over the years, I’d watched him parade one woman after another. They were all leggy, stylish, and held degrees in subjects I could hardly pronounce. 

They also had the shelf life of an avocado. 

Devon never tried to get with me again but remained wryly fond of me, the way you were fond of the childhood blanket you used to snuggle with but would not be caught dead in the same room with it anymore. These days, he made me feel chronically undesirable. 

“What’s got your knickers in such a twist?” he asked, running his fingers through his thick hair. Streaks of cool wheat and gold. 

I wiped my eyes quickly. “Go away, Whitehall.”

“Darling girl, your chances of evacuating an Englishman from a bar on a Friday afternoon are slim to none. Any requests I can actually fulfill?” The casual benevolence rolling off of him made me nauseous. No one was supposed to be that perfect. 

“Die in hell?” I pressed my forehead to the cool bar.

I didn’t mean it. Devon had only ever given me good conversation, compliments, and orgasms. But I was really upset. 

He slipped onto the stool beside me, flicking his wrist to check his Rolex. I knew he wouldn’t answer me. Sometimes, he treated me like an eight-year-old. 

Our drinks arrived. He pushed the Tom Collins my way, handing my glass of chardonnay back to the bartender quietly. 

“Here, now. This’ll make you feel better. And then significantly worse. But since I won’t be there to deal with the consequences…” He gave a careless shrug.

I took a sip and shook my head.

“I’m not good company right now. You’d have a better time striking up conversation with the bartender or one of the tourists.”

“Darling, you’re barely civilized, and still better company than anyone in this zip code.” He gave my hand a quick but warm squeeze. 

“Why are you nice to me?” I demanded.

“Why not?” Again, he sounded completely at ease. 

“I’ve been nothing but horrible to you in the past.” 

I thought about the night I threw him out of my apartment, panicked that he’d somehow find a crack in my heart, pry it open, and sneak into it. The fact that he was here, pragmatic and unbothered, just proved that he had heartbreak written all over him. 

“That’s not how I remember our brief but joyous history.” He sipped his Stinger. 

“I kicked you out.”

“My arse had suffered worse.” He offered a dismissive flick of his wrist. He had nice hands. He had nice everything. “No need to take it personally.”

“What do you take personally?”

“Not many things in life, to be honest.” He frowned, giving it genuine thought. “Corporate taxes, perhaps? It’s essentially double-taxation, an outrageous concept, you must admit.” 

I blinked slowly at him, wondering if I was beginning to see a hint of imperfection in the man everyone looked up to. Under the layers of manners and chiseled looks was, I suspected, a truly odd man. 

“You care about taxes, but not that I humiliated you?” I challenged.

“Emmabelle, love.” He gave me a smile that would make ice melt. “Humiliation is a feeling. One must submit to it in order to experience it. You’ve never humiliated me. Was I disappointed that our affair had run its course faster than I had wanted it to? Sure. But it was your right to end things at any given moment. Now tell me what happened,” Devon coaxed. 

His accent seemed to have a direct line to that place between my legs. He sounded like Benedict Cumberbatch reading an erotic audiobook. 

“No.”

He studied me coolly, waiting. It annoyed me. How confident he was. How little he spoke, and how much he conveyed with the few words he used. 

“What do you want? We’re complete strangers.” My tone was matter-of-fact. 

“I reject that framing.” He slid a leaf of mint decorating his glass along his tongue. It disappeared in his mouth. “I know every inch and curve of your body.”

About LJ Shen
L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to nineteen different countries.

She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.

Connect with L.J. Shen
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2OhSvp1
Twitter: http://bit.ly/36ELHZc
Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2oMbFsu
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2AIOiTo
TikTok: https://bit.ly/3wDlGa7
Stay up to date with L.J. Shen by signing up for her mailing list:
http://bit.ly/36MnmAQ
Website: http://www.authorljshen.com/

Hello, It’s Me

I was going to start blogging again (those words sound fake even to me) but somehow time seemed to always get away from me.

Today was our Secret Santa at work and I got a really cute Harry Potter notebook. See pic below.

So I was minding my own business, flipping through this notebook when our Social Media Manager mentioned to me that this book would be excellent for me to start writing again. Firstly I hadn’t even thought of writing in this book. But then she said “it’s been over a year since your last post.”

I didn’t know how she knew that (but she was a little creepy like that when it came to our social media accounts) but I was stunned to realize she was right. It had been a year (possibly more) since I last created blog content.

So I know this isn’t actually proper content and is just a “I’m back” post but I’m back. I’m going to start posting more regularly. I’m done with my studies for a while so I really feel like I can commit to blogging again.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky

The Last Girl

The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I received a copy of this book in exchange for a free review. I originally was attacted to this book because of the cover and the title reminded me of “Final Girl” (the film). The synopsis caught me attention and I knew this was a must-read.
It did take me a few weeks to get to it because of life but I loved every second of it and sped through the book.
“The Last Girl” tells the story of Rachel Chavez, a traumatized female who moves to a new school and is struggling to fit in. She stumbles upon the “Mary Shelley“ club, a small but elite club of students from different backgrounds who all share the same love for horror movies and indulge in pranks inspired by urban legends.
But as time goes on, the pranks start to take a dangerous turn and Rachel realizes that it might not be that easy for her to start a new life.
I found the first chapter woefully cliché with the whole new girl who doesn’t fit in trope but after that the book picked up speed.
This was a really well-written book. The plot was kind of cliché but it was a great comfort read. I loved the references to horror movies and saw some of my favorites mentioned in this book.
Basically this book gave me the same level of comfort that horror movies gave to Rachel.
If you are looking for a thrilling read, I strongly suggest this one.




View all my reviews

Life Update: My Personal Experience of the KZN Unrest

I want to blog. I really do. But this is a fun, light-hearted book blog and I feel like it seems insensitive to just jump into discussing books with everything that has happened in South Africa recently.

I’ve deactivated most of my social media sites due to racist comments and threats but I still feel like I need to say something about the KZN unrest. So this is a piece I wrote during the first few days after we tried to return to normal. I’m still not completely okay and there are several things that trigger my panic attacks again. But mental health is a process so I’m trying to give myself the time and space that I need to heal.

It was the night of 11 July when I first heard the gunshots.
Naively I passed it off as fireworks even though something in my stomach warned me that something bigger was coming.
But President Cyril Ramaphosa had promised us that there was nothing to be afraid of. That the threatening messages on Whatsapp meant nothing.
The whole thing started off as a #FreeZuma protest, a protest to free former president Jacob Zuma. But somehow, somewhere, things escalated quickly.
The next day, 12 July 2021, I woke up to the news that the roads were blocked and a few industrial warehouses were broken into.
There was no police presence anywhere. So the looting continued throughout the day. I was at home with the background noise of explosions and gunshots.
Our desperation grew. As the voicenotes threatening violence continued, the communities decided that they would ban together in order to prevent a repeat of the 1949 Riots. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durban_riots))
So each community got together, came up with community watches and patrols to ensure that no one outside the area would go in and endanger the community. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Surely if you lived in the area, it made sense that you would be in that area. If you didn’t live in the area, it was pretty suspicious that you would be there considering most people were either hiding in their houses of patrolling. 
Later on, the government would go on to call this a repeat of the apartheid times. That by asking people where they were going or why they were in a certain area, it was racist.
It wasn’t done to be racist. It was done to ensure the community- regardless of race and colour- was protected as a whole. That only people from your community was in the area.
The President came and gave another speech. It meant nothing to us. Houses were being broken into (there’s even videos on Tik Tok), people were being shot and even kids weren’t spared.
And that is where my story begins. 
On the night of July 14th, we heard that someone had tried breaking into one of the houses on our road. (This was later revealed to be someone from outside the Phoenix community who got into the neighborhood because he said that he lived here. So the community patrol let him through). There was a multitude of gunshots and the dogs on our road went crazy. 
The shootout lasted for about 2-3 hours. The police managed to catch one guy but the others escaped in their van.
I was in bed, covered with a million blankets and trembling nonstop. Since the whole unrest started, my body was always so cold. I felt like a part of me had died inside.

I stayed curled in the fetal position, scared out of my mind, crying silently and mentally asking God to end it all. This was no way to live. Why wouldn’t anyone step in and save us?

But I knew the answer already. While the shootout was occurring in my neighborhood, several other neighborhoods were also under attack all at once.

By the time the shootout ended, some part of me had died. I had basically moved from living in constant fear to accepting that eventually I would die. It was just a matter of time.
No one deserves that kind of fear or that kind of hopelessness. But like I said, neither the government nor the police was anywhere to be seen.
They said that they had sent the army but we hadn’t seen anything.
By the end of the week, the army did eventually arrive and things were slowly calming down.
And that was when the Media started reporting on the Phoenix Massacre. 
The Phoenix Massacre refers to the many Africans that were killed in Phoenix. These people deserve acknowledgement. Their families deserve closure. All families and all victims of the Massacre deserve justice.
But the way the Media tells the story, the people from Phoenix are dangerous and violent. The Indians went after the African people in a racist-fuelled rage.
Both Indians and Africans were killed. There were drive-by shootings done by African people. There were Indians who refused to let Africans living in Indian communities go home.
There was racist tendencies on both ends. But I stress. It wasn’t all people. It wasn’t everyone in a certain race group. Not every person killed every person and those who murdered ought to be brought to justice. 
Right now there’s threats to the Indians all over social media and that’s ignored. The same way the government ignored the Whatsapp messages at the start of this unrest.
We’re warned that when the Indian kids return to school, they will pay for those who were killed.
The media has painted the Indian community as a bunch of killers. Now racist people who were looking for an excuse to attack have found one.
Indians and Africans are disappearing. But there’s nothing said about that in the Media.
The Phoenix Massacre is still being investigated (as it should) but there’s no mention of justice being brought to those who instigated this violence.
There’s no efforts to repair the relationships between Indians and Africans.
I work in an environment with people of various race groups. And honestly work is the only place I feel safe.
I spend my days at home, wincing and being startled by every little second, worried that someone is going to attack me. Driving to work I’m scared I’ll be the latest victim of a drive-by shooting.
Jacob Zuma still needs to re-appear in court. There’s rumors circling on social media that this isn’t over. Unlike the last time, I’m not going to ignore the grapevine. But I’ve been living every day in fear.
This is our new normal. And it terrifies the shit out of me.

Fiction Friday: June TBR

So I have slowly started reading again after the pandemic and boy has it been amazing!

The kind folk over at St Martin’s press sent me a few review copies which I enjoyed immensely and once I was done, I went straight to my bookshelf and picked out my next reads. Here are the books that are currently on my TBR list.

  1. Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting: This is the last book that I read and I loved so very much. This is a sweet best-friends-to-lovers book and while usually I detest this trope, this book does it beautifully.
  2. A Reckless Match by Kate Bateman: Anything by Kate Bateman is a winner in my books. I’m currently reading this and it is such a thrill.
  3. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi- I’m listening to the audiobook of this and honestly it really isn’t doing much for me. I think I might switch to ebook or paperback since I knew I loved the book when I picked it up on a whim. It was supposed to be a read just to pass time but it really sucked me in.

What are you currently reading? Do you have any recommendations for books that helped you out of a pandemic slump? I’d love to know below.

Life Update: May 2021 Edition

Hello again! It’s me, the inconsistent blogger (anyone else think that’s a great name of a blog? Just me? Okay then).

I know it has been a while since I posted but work has been consuming and I have been processing everything in the world. As you can see, I’m a slow processor.

Working in Marketing has been great. I ‘ve learnt so much. I’ve also learnt how much I DON’T KNOW and honestly that scares me. When not learning about Marketing from online courses during the week, my afternoons and weekends are spent reading online articles on Marketing.

It’s kinda like I’m in that lovey, dovey, don’t want to do anything but be with Marketing phase (when you consider how long I have waited for a Marketing job, it makes sense that I’m kinda obsessed with it).

That being said, however. I am aware that this is an incredibly unhealthy way to live and thus, I will be making changes to my life. I have been really lucky in that my team really values work-life balance and kinda stresses on it sometime.

So I have slowly but surely started getting back into the grove of my old habits such as Netflix and reading. I think it’s been three weeks since I started reading again and while I want things to go back to the way they were, I know it’s gonna take time to fall into a rhythm.

So moving forward I will no longer be posting weekly. I will try to have new blog posts up every two weeks but you can find me on Twitter and Insta, stalking pictures of puppies, planners and lots of books.

I’m also going to try and include more content that isn’t just book-related. I feel like book blogging seems a bit trival during a pandemic. But also. books= escape.

Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: