July Reflections: Holidays and Undoing Stress

I’m writing this post on the first day of proper rain in a long time: not like a light drizzle, or a sea fret, but a downpour. A deluge from the heavens. And I’m welcoming it with open, now soaking wet, arms. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve missed the rain. I have enjoyed the sun over the last few weeks too, though.

July kicked off a little unusually – I was in New York, 3474 miles from home and having a wonderful time. I was feeling so much better than at the start of June, that’s for sure. I was coming to the end of a nearly-month-long adventure with my friend that took us across 5 (and a half) countries from two continents. I had a great time and really loved New York. I’ve started sharing the photos from there, as well as the rest of my travels, over on Instagram if street photography is your thing.

Three days into the month and I was heading home – but not for long. Two days of unpacking, laundry, repacking and sleeping later, and I found myself on another plane out of London. This time however, I was accompanied by my parents for a ten-day holiday.

The first stop was Riga, the capital city of Latvia. I recently wrote a photo journal post about the three days we spent there so I won’t bore you with the details again.


From there, we took a slightly nauseating coach to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. And wow, was Tallinn pretty. I will be doing a photo journal post about it at some point, but it might be a little while from now; so for now take a peek at these shots.

But who am I kidding, the best thing we found there was a vegan chocolate shop that sold HUGE cinnamon rolls.

vegan, tallinn, cafe, cinnamon rolls, where to eat, estonia,

Vegan cinnamon rolls

The last stop on the trip was a ferry ride away in Helsinki, Finland. The highlights of which include finding delicious vegan ice cream (yep it’s true, food is a big part of travel) and seeing an anti-Trump protest.

Once I got home, I sank slightly. I felt a little deflated after the rushing around the globe of the previous sevenish weeks, and the chain of illnesses that dragged me down for nearly a month before that. I think my body realised it was now home for the rest of summer, and everything hit me at once. The weight of it all knocked me out with exhaustion for a little bit and I had to accept that to move forward I needed to take it slowly.

I need time to breathe. Time to recalibrate. I’m starting to dip my toe back into reading, writing, baking, drawing, yoga, walking, bullet journalling… Things that make me feel relaxed. I haven’t done a lot of any of these things yet but I’m getting there. Sometimes I don’t move as fast as I wish I could, but I think accepting the speed at which I can do things is important, and acknowledging that I’m still moving forward no matter what is helpful. As they say, slow and steady wins the race, and whilst I’m not necessarily trying to compete at anything, I am definitely channeling tortoise vibes right now.

I have become more confident with driving though (something I’ve had a lot of anxiety about since passing my test in 2016) and as a result have had several lovely day trips further along the coast than I could get to by foot. I feel proud of myself for persevering with things that I find hard, and overcoming my driving fear symbolises that quite well for me.



Ovingdean Beach

It hasn’t all been rosy though. I am trying hard to undo the stress of the past few months but my stomach is still struggling. Pain that seems so random can dominate my day sometimes and I still haven’t found my way closer to an explanation or a solution. This has a huge knock-on effect on my mental wellbeing and can really drag me down, but I’m trying not to dwell on this.

Instead, I try to hold onto the good things going on in my life. And perhaps the best thing that happened this month for me personally was receiving distinctions in both my Open University modules! It feels like the eight months of time and tears I dedicated towards them were all worth it in the end.

I am looking forward to August. Not in a ‘wishing the time away’ way, but just knowing that I have a chunk of time and space to carry on building on the things that make my body and mind feel good is nice.

How was July for you? ❤


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37 thoughts on “July Reflections: Holidays and Undoing Stress

  1. Bexa says:

    Wow Alys! Travelling around for 7 weeks is awesome and exciting, but I think I would be feeling pretty exhausted now too. You found some really tasty looking foods, yum those cinnamon rolls look mouth watering! I hope August is a great month for you and you feel better soon 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. seaofwordsx says:

    I hope you feel better soon and can rest ❤ Your travels sounds fun but travelling is always exhausting and can sometimes feel stressed for me. I hope you have an amazing August. Where do you live? In Spain it’s going to be 40 degrees this week haha I’m going to die 🔥🔥

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lavanya says:

    Wow. Congrats on the distinction. Also good luck for future college work. Trust me it’ll be exhausting but at the same time being in college teaches you a lot of things. It’s a must have experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nicculent says:

    Omg, I’m so jealous that you had the vegan gelato!It sounds so exciting and fun how much you travelled!take care of yourself girl.you must be tired!The pictures were so cool and you looked super pretty in the pink outfit!Love this post xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. crystalsandcurls says:

    All of your travel sounds absolutely AMAZING – and I’ve really been loving your street photography, by the way, I hope you continue 🙂 I think it’s somewhat natural to crash after a holiday (sadly) – where there’s a high, there’s a low. As someone who’s had lower abdomen pain that can (thankfully rarely) be kind of crippling, I totally understand how shitty it feels – especially because I don’t know about you but there’s nothing really that triggers mine? I hope you feel a lot better soon gorgeous girl xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alys says:

      Thank you lovely, that really means a lot to me ❤ That's very true! Omg you're the same?! That's exactly it, nothing seems to trigger it but it just appears for a couple of days and can wipe me out completely 😦 I'm going through some good days now though! I hope you're doing okay xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • crystalsandcurls says:

        ❤ ❤ & yep, it runs in our family lol not a clue what it is, but my aunt had to get keyhole surgery for them to just be like "eh, not sure 0 but it can't be massively serious, have painkillers". Honestly, it's so bloody annoying like if you know what triggers it you can avoid it but no such luck! I'm so glad you're feeling better though girly, may it continue! 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Alys says:

        Ugh that sucks! It kind of feels like the health services don’t really care about stomach things that aren’t ‘serious’. But it really can impact how you live your life/your mental health. I wish I knew my triggers, but it does help a bit knowing I’m not alone making it all up haha ❤ xx


  6. Phoenix <3 says:

    Now I need cinnamon rolls! Awesome that you got to travel and see so many things and eat so much yummy food (I’ve tried so hard to be vegan but the cheese still gets me…) Hope you feel better soon, Alys ! XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alys says:

      Haha same, why are they so good?! Thank you! I think turning vegan is a journey, and everyone gets there at their own pace! Cheese was the hardest thing for me too, but my tastebuds have changed now and I don’t crave it all… It’s strange! xx


    • Alys says:

      I think it would be weird to not be a bit scared tbh, like you’re in control of something that could potentially cause a lot of damage! It does get easier over time, it just takes some of us a little longer to feel comfortable. If I can do it you can 🙂 xxx


  7. Nora says:

    Wow, you have a lot of courage! Great post really. I’m glad you achieved all these things! It’s not easy to get into driving, I’ve been afraid too, but I believe I can do it. I want to visit Tallinn so much. And with Helsinki, I’m moving there this autumn. Great post xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. nowheretobeproject says:

    I love your approach to blogging, Alys. After reading, I always feel as if I’ve been to the best therapy session! You are honest, vulnerable and full of hope for the future. 😍❤️✌🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hannah says:

    Congratulations girl!! You deserve it so much. I absolutely love cinnamon rolls – not sure if the supermarket bakery ones are vegan but Asda do some frozen ones that are and I am addicted!!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. jennyinneverland says:

    Wow I’m amazed at how many places you’ve visited in such a short amount of time! Helsinki is one of the top places on my list! It’s also great that you noticed you needed some down time and relaxation, it doesn’t matter how busy our lives are, we all need that every once in a while 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. eviebraithwaite says:

    Ah sounds like you had so much fun travelling! But I’m not surprised that you’re exhausted. I couldn’t agree more that slow and steady wins the race – I’ve been feeling pretty lethargic and down lately too, just completely worn out. Taking some time out to read, watch a bit of Netflix, write, is what we need sometimes, even if it doesn’t seem like we’re spending our time productively. I love how honest you are in your blog posts!! You’ll love uni, as overwhelming as it may seem, I’m really enjoying it! Loved this, I hope you’re feeling better soon xx

    Evie x | https://eviejayne.co.uk

    Liked by 1 person

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