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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

I’m an eternal pessimist. Always have been and probably always will be. Invasive thoughts have made a home in my mind – and this negativity is difficult to kick out once you let it in.


During the first lockdown way back in March 2020 – how was it that long ago? – this mindset of mine amplified and I did not handle the situation well at all. We’re in unprecedented times and we’re allowed to feel the things we do, but I made it my mission to try to channel a different energy and during the second, I began to journal. I have to admit, some of these passages were far from positive. The thought of another lockdown in the winter months, especially after the blurry days of summer when the world started to feel ‘normal’ again, was difficult to come to terms with. Change isn’t always an easy process, especially when the change that lockdown brings means days spent alone, routines becoming meaningless and a stagnant feeling over everything. But the calm and ease that came with writing down my feelings, even if it was just a sentence, was immense. I began to understand the power of turning convoluted thoughts into a narrative, and the feeling of closure that was felt with every full stop.


I’m a big believer in romanticising your life, maybe that’s an effect of studying English, so I started making a note of ‘small joys’ found in the day-to-day. Even as the days began to overlap into each other and nothing particularly happened that seemed noteworthy. I thought I’d share some of these small joys, things that made me smile even with tears in my eyes, in an attempt to feel more positive with every passing day.



The cold air on my face during my daily walk, my favourite beanie, and smiling at dog walkers as I go by, humming to the music coming through my headphones.


Making fresh coffee in my mum’s fancy cafetiere, pretending I know the difference between the various bean types, jumping up and down to get my heart beating as I wait for it to brew.


Sending songs to my friends that I think they’ll like.


Solo dance parties to anything from Rage Against the Machine to the High School Musical Soundtrack.


Lighting candles in empty wine bottles.


Re-potting my monstera plant (hello Stuart); I think this is potentially my biggest achievement to date.


Long walks with my mum, mud on my boots, talking about anything and everything, and taking photos of the sky.


The song ‘October’ by Magnolia Park.


Getting my film developed and the anticipation that comes with seeing how they turned out.


The lights of the Christmas tree at night. I’ve bought some multi-coloured ones for my room to recreate the festive atmosphere.


Burning incense in the bathroom.


And taking a deep breath, holding it for as long as I can, then the release of breathing out.

Emma Stirland

Nottingham '21

Editor-in-Chief for Nottingham 20/21 3rd Year English Language and Literature student A bit of a coffee addict, lover of cats and candles and modernist literature