Self Care In A Time Of Crisis

I love participating in self care.

Sometimes, I participate too much self care.

Sometimes I’ll call it self care when all I’m doing it lying in bed all day and eating a whole jar of Nutella. I understand that this probably isn’t a good form of self care, but in a time of crisis, sometimes it’s all I have to cling onto.

Life sucks sometimes, and you need something to alleviate the thing that’s ruining your day. For someone like me, a depressed, anxious, often shell of a person, these life sucky phases can often seem like mountains that I cannot get over.

Over the last few days, I have been experiencing a time of crisis. I’ve been confronted with pretty much everything that makes me stressed and want to crawl under a rock. In these times, I could very well give up. Pushing on and moving forward isn’t always a possibility, and so recently I have amped my self care (healthy and productive self care, mind) and want to be able to share with you some of the things I do in order to stay sane when my situation doesn’t feel very sane.

Sleep

I know, I know. Going to sleep for long periods of times can lead to not getting out of bed at all, at least for me anyway. But turning in early and getting a good eight hours is always what I do when I feel stressed and mentally unwell. It makes you tired, so why wouldn’t I sleep? As long as it doesn’t turn into a depressive sleep, where I’m sleeping throughout the day and staying awake during the night, I find it’s refreshing and makes me feel prepared for the next day. I usually at least get into bed at eight and fall asleep around half nine, maybe earlier if I’m incredibly stressed but still have responsibilities the next day

Listening to particular bands/artists etc

You’ve heard of comfort shows and comfort eating, now get ready for comfort music! I feel like everyone has music that, even if it’s fast and shouty, can help you chill out. For me, I live for envoking nostalgia, so any album or artists that is associated with a good time, I’ll listen to it. At the moment, I have The Weeknd, Halsey, and the SKAM Spotify playlist on repeat.

Bujo it up!

I love my bullet journal. I love it even more in a time of crisis. It’s a great creative outlet where I can use pages to just ramble about the shit I’m dealing with. I’m the only one who’s going to read it, and if I post it to Instagram, it’s not going to be pictures of pretty cutouts and calligraphy, so I’m safe there too. Sometimes, I just wanna draw some roses and stars in peace, and it works.

Netflix binge

So far I have two Netflix binges on the go that work because once you press play, they just keep going. There’s no concentration, no having to think about what you’re consuming, even if whatever show you’re watching is difficult to follow. It makes noise, there’s pictures; kind of like a baby, you’re transfixed by the swirly colours. I’m not even kidding, sometimes I need a distraction as simple as this. Things I’m currently binge-ing: Fresh Meat and Doctor Foster.

Clean

Whether it’s just my room or the whole house. I feel a lot fresher and calmer after I’ve cleaned either myself or the space around me. The easiest is washing clothes; knowing that I’ll have clean clothes later on in the day makes me feel better, as does a clean set of bedding. Even just washing my hair or cleaning myself does the trick too. Hoovering, polishing, cleaning the bathroom (that’s a favourite), will at least give me something to do and force me to focus on one thing.

Ban Social Media

It depends on the site, but some of them I just have to log off. Twitter can sometimes be a big trigger; my anxiety and depression just love clinging on to world crises and emergencies and things that are out of my control. My brain likes to make me think about hurricanes and dictatorships and violations of human rights all the time, every second, and make me feel helpless to do anything about it. And now that we have Twitter, I can be overloaded with it with the tap of my screen. When I’m in a time of crisis, I can just about handle scrolling through Instagram and looking at pictures of books. So, until my crisis is over, Facebook and Twitter and switched off.

Things I don’t do, mind, are things that probably sound healthier and more appealing to others. But I have reasons as to why I don’t.

Reading – I can’t concentrate hard enough on the words. And, because I’m feeling so down, I end up applying those negative feelings to the book. If I was in a better mood, I could enjoy this book, and I don’t want to discard it because of external factors.

Walking – Too quiet, not distracting enough. Too much time to think, and over thinking is a major issue as to why I spiral in a time of crisis.

Exercise – I mean, I can’t even motivate myself to do this even when I’m on top of the world. My desire to exercise is a bit spontaneous and so I can’t guarantee I’ll want to exercise when I’m down.

What are some of your self care tips that I haven’t mentioned that help you?

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My Bullet Journal & Creativity

My bullet journal has become one of my many sources of my creativity, one that I didn’t think existed.

I wanted to talk about the ways in which I go about filling my bullet journal, including pictures, doodling, journal entries, and spread ideas. Every person’s bullet journal is theirs; there is not right or wrong way to go about filling it. Some use it for practical reasons, some for memories, and most for letting your creativity and imagination run wild. Do not use this post as a ‘how to’, but more as a ‘here’s some inspiration’!

Getting The Stuff

The worst thing you can do when beginning to bullet journal is buying all the things. Let’s be honest, you’re gonna be overwhelmed with all the options from journals to pens to washi tape. This stuff is not cheap, and so I would recommend accumulating your utensils over time. The most expensive thing you’re going to buy could be any one of those things, depending on your budget, quality, and accessibility. For me, I wanted a journal that was easy to use. This meant finding a journal that opened easily without closing by itself, so no tight spines, and preferably not a thick journal. Hardback journals can be good, but I had my heart set on a softback with grid pages. Grid pages? I’m messy and needs a guide. Blank pages are a death sentence for my creativity.

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In the end I chose a Moleskine Soft Large Squared Notebook. It comes with a piece of ribbon so when I open it, it falls straight onto the page I was working on, and also has thickish pages so pens and pictures don’t bleed through onto the next spread! Other journal brands I would recommend are Leuchtturm and Paipur. Of course, for someone on a budget, large supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsburys have an array of beautiful blank notebooks from as cheap as £3!

Pens? Washi tape? Accumulate. I’m left handed, and so I needed pens that dried quickly otherwise my hand would run across the page and smudge all my calligraphy that I tried really hard on. I avoid ballpoints, and enjoy Uni Pin fineliners in a range of sizes, but I use mainly 0.1 and 0.2 for most writing. I use fineliners for colouring too, which I think are all around 0.3. Washi tape has been a hit and miss for me. The cheap stuff is cute, but very bold colours and are very thick. I’m still struggling to find nice washi tape in the UK, but came across one in Waterstones for £2, but it was only one small roll. It’s slightly transparent with gold dots. Lovely.

Pens and Washi Tape are things you can make mistakes with. You can figure out which pens and tape work for you without breaking the bank. They’re also a great way to find your style!

Ideas & Style

“But Hollie? What do I put in my bullet journal??”

The answer is simple: ANYTHING YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE. Your bullet journal is yours, some like to show their pages, some don’t. Don’t feel like you have to make it look a certain way or have certain content to be deemed as a “good bullet journal”. Because here’s the thing kid, there’s no such thing as a good or bad bullet journals. Or maybe they’re all good. I don’t know, I just love bullet journals.

For me, I love monthly spreads. Pictures that represent that month for me, as well as little reminders about what I want to achieve that month. I also have specific spreads for large events in my life, including holidays, books that I especially loved, and even a spread for my dear SKAM.

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This is the spread I’m the most proud of. My June spread is good but I hadn’t really fell into my own style just yet. However this spread definitely represents my ‘inner style’ when it comes to how I want my journal to look like. It’s colourful, full of flowers, just like July. And of course, there’s a SKAM reference because I’m trash and I was thinking about it a lot while making this spread. I also love adding quotes from books, and films and music, this quote in particular is from Library Magic by The Head & The Heart (I usually listen to this kind of music when working on spreads).

Also, with thanks to Youtube videos on doodling in your bullet journal, I’ve managed to find flowers and wreaths that are easiest for me to fill into blank spaces.

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Sometimes I colour them, sometimes I don’t. It depends on the spread or what particular theme I’m going for. I don’t like overcrowding my pages with too much colour, and rather like sticking to specific themes. July was definitely a green and and gold/yellow kinda spread.

Other ideas for spreads are reading logs. I usually create them every three months because I’m a slow reader. They’re usually bookish spreads, with a list of books I read in those three months each with a rating, coupled my bookish pictures that are usually take from my instagram. In this case, the top picture is mine (and one you might recognize from my home page!).

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The majority of my spreads are journal entries; days where there’s been something I’ve wanted to talk about. Some people like to have two pages to represent one week and have an entry for everyday, but I never want to force myself to write something, and so that’s why some days have been skipped, and some days have lengthy paragraphs of stories.

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Here are a list of things you could include in your bullet journal, but do not feel you should be limited to. Remember, your bullet journal is yours and you should free to include whatever you want!

Reading Log
Photograpy Portfolio
Maps
Holiday Packing Lists
Books Reviews
Fitness Routine
Language Phrase Page
Constellation Chart
Comic Book Strip
Events Diary
TBR List
Birthday Diary
Work Schedule
Cleaning Schedule
Bucket Lists
Things That Make You Happy
& The List Goes On!

If you have any blog posts on your bullet journals, please link them, I would love to check them out!

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Mindfulness & Getting Your Shit Together

I’m so happy to be writing this blog post, because it means that I might have my shit slightly together at this point.

I am not the master of mindfulness, I am also not a doctor, therapist, councilor, psychologist or anything with a degree in taking care of yourself. I don’t have experience in self-care, the health care industry or even writing books on the stuff.

But I am currently practicing mindfulness, especially in taking care of yourself during stressful, anxious, and low times – all of which I’ve succumbed to for a good few months. I wanted to share the things that I’ve been doing to make myself feel happier, safer, and good – sometimes, even just ‘good’ is enough.

These are in no particular order, nor do I follow a schedule, a regimen, or other synonyms.

Reading

I feel like this one is a no-brainer. I’m a writer and I run a book blog, but that doesn’t actually mean I read a lot. However, now that I have more spare time, I’ve found it easier to just get comfy and read a big chunk of a good book. I often put reading on the back burner of things to do because I consider it so leisurely to the point of never getting around to it, so I’m happy that I can finally make time for it, usually just before I’m about to go to bed.

Going to bed early

Ah, the perfect segway. For a very long time, I have been a night owl. I would work and write and read until the early hours of the morning, almost seeing the sunrise before I decided to call it a ‘night’. But with getting up early, going to bed late is a big no no. And even if I had nowhere to go the next morning, sleeping in until 11/12 was making me lethargic and down. I want to be able to appreciate my whole day, and the only way to do that was to go to bed early. At the moment, 10:30pm is becoming my latest switch off time, but even an hour before that, I switch off my laptop, turn the WIFI off my phone, and wind down. I can already see that dark circles under my eyes disappearing!

Candles

I only got into candles recently, and I don’t know why I took so damn long. Yankee Candle is my new best friend, with autumn and wintery fragrances coming out that just make me feel so warm and cosy. My mum has been obsessed with candles for a really long time, but I just didn’t see the joy in them. They’re so calming, they smell great, and the ones I like only cost no more that £1.30.

Walking/Light Exercise

Now, I eventually want to get back into making it a routine to go to the gym in the mornings, but at the moment it’s just not possible. What is possible, however, is walking my dog, which I often do with other people as my dog is often the cause of my stress. They’re usually flat, country walks where I can take beautiful photos too (and have done), but sometimes we just go to a field and throw the ball with him for an hour or two. I don’t take my phone, and so I’m cut off until I come home, which is really nice.

Cleaning/Tidying

I don’t necessarily mean a deep, spring clean, but sometimes getting your shit together means decluttering and tidying the crap out of your house/room. At the moment, I am in the process of tidying my bedroom, doing one thing at a time to ensure it’s not so stressful, but at the same time seeing a gradual improvement. Even just little things like polishing and chucking away tat that you don’t need or use anymore can really help.

Leaving My Room

Let me explain. A lot of what I do (blogging, writing, reading) means that I often stay in one place for a large period of time. I don’t own a desk in my room, and so often find myself doing all these things on my bed. What I’ve started to realise is that it means that I don’t necessarily get up and start my day. I have my breakfast in bed, put my laptop on my lap and stay there until dinner. So now, as a means to combat this, I’ve moved my laptop into my dad’s study (with a desk!) and force myself to leave it there. If I wanna work, I have to get up, get dressed, and leave the room. And if I want to wind down and get ready for bed, I can’t take my laptop with me.

What are the things you do to de – stress? Let me know in the comments and I might try them out too!

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