New Year, Small Goals




How is everyone doing now we've begun 2021???


It's with some relief that we've finally said goodbye to the horrific year that was 2020.

But we haven't got this virus licked yet so although we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, we are still having to be careful about how we proceed over the coming months. It's all getting rather old and depressing now I know but hopefully we're on the home stretch.


January 1st is the generally accepted time we start setting New Years Resolutions - taking the beginning of the year as a chance to start things afresh and make changes. We all start with the best of intentions but within weeks we've broken the diet we started or the gym membership we paid for becomes unused!

Add to that the stress and anxiety we have been struggling with through the past year and by mid January any positivity we had managed to maintain will be quickly dwindling!


Does this all seem a little familiar to you?? Does to me too.

It's all rather depressing and not very soul satisfying which is why I've become more reticent in setting such resolutions in recent years.


Soooo, let's try and change our mindset a bit and approach things from a gentle, less judgemental point of view. Stressing ourselves out with extensive lists of what we want to accomplish in 2021 is just not going to work - at least not for me - especially with all the extra stress we've accumulated over 2020, so we need to find ways to be kinder to ourselves.


Making time to take care of ourselves is hard, especially if we have a lot of responsibilities but carving out time - even if it's just 10 minutes a day has got to be better than nothing.


When we talk about self care we're talking about things that nourish us - both physically and emotionally - things to soothe our souls.


So, below are my top 3 self care tips - remember these are ones that work for me and I do them every day - you may find others that work better for you and fit in easier to your life.

 

Meditation and yoga really help me unwind and destress.

If like me you like the idea of doing a meditation but find it hard to keep your mind focused on it, perhaps a guided meditation will help.

Having a voice there talking me quietly through it really helps my mind from wandering too much. There are plenty of apps and websites where you can find these types of meditations.

I'd recommend you start with a short meditation as it takes practise to sit still and be present so it will take time to work your way up to a longer one. My favourite of the moment is Dream Big Yoga Nidra from YogaGirl which really helps me relax by doing a full body scan (if you haven't heard that term before here is a brief explanation). I do it at night in bed before going to sleep and I find I sleep much better when I've relaxed every part of my body.

 

Being outdoors in nature has always been important to me. Even as a small child I would get stir crazy being indoors all day and needed to get out for some fresh air.

There's something so special to me about spending time by myself and my thoughts whilst listening to the sounds around me!

Whether you're in a beautiful wood, sitting alone on a beach or tramping up a hill this gives you time reflect without interruption.


Of course the restrictions we've had in place over the past year have been challenging but I have been so grateful that we can at least get outdoors for some exercise, especially as I don't have any outdoor space at home.


How long I take outdoors will of course depend on what else I have going on that day. So sometimes it's a brisk 10 minute walk around the block whereas others it will be a tramp through the woods. Given the opportunity, I would be out there all day!

And when the weather allows, I also take my work with me to the park so I can enjoy the sun at the same time as getting my work done.

 

Drawing is the 3rd part of my daily self care routine.

I don't often spend a lot of time drawing as I'm often so busy but I keep it to hand for when my brain gets to the point that I just need a break. I then do a small amount, depending on how much time I can spare. My favourite technique is pointillism. I find building up layers of colourful dots really calming and it definitely helps me chill out. It's not everyone's favourite, I'll admit but I find it very useful.

But there are so many drawing techniques you could choose to play with. Check out the projects my students have been working on over the last couple of years and feel free to contact us at the Art Journalling for Wellbeing Facebook group if you are interested in joining us.

 

So there you are, my 3 most important self care practices. There are many other things I try to fit in to my day but these are the ones that I HAVE to do.

And remember they don't have to be things that take large amounts of your time or are seemingly complex, they just have to be things that make YOU feel good.


Other ideas include -


*Baking your favourite cake.

*Making yourself some nourishing soup.

*Taking time to fully enjoy a cup of tea - in the garden perhaps.

*Writing in your journal.

*Pampering yourself - a facial maybe or a nice bubble bath.

*Try a new craft.

*Take a break from your phone / social media.

*Listen to an inspiring podcast.

*Gardening.


So I hope you find these ideas useful and we can start to move through 2021 in a less stressful manner? I look forward to seeing how we all get on!!


I've also added a few ideas and recipes to the blog Pinterest folder so please feel free to check them out.

Here's to a great 2021!!!