Posted in art, compassion, creativity, Planning and journaling, Setting goals and intentions

Creating a lockdown vision board

With the country in lockdown for the foreseeable future many of our routines will have changed and so will our priorities in life. With this in mind, I decided to create a vision board which focuses on what I want for myself right now. This post is all about how I made it and includes a brief explanation of each of the elements. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

As one of my goals for the moment is to experiment more with watercolour techniques, I created the background for the board by using a wet-on-wet technique and a limited palette of three colours. I used coldpress watercolour paper which did wrinkle a little but you couldn’t tell when I put it into the photocopier part of my printer. I copied it twice and then orientated them differently to create the two page spread.

After creating the backdrop, I thought carefully about my hobbies and interests and how I can engage in them further. I came up with nine ideas:

  1. to work on my drawing and painting skills
  2. to increase my strength and fitness
  3. to continue to work on my brush lettering (being a leftie makes it hard!)
  4. to grow my blog by posting regularly
  5. to develop my macro photography by using my DSLR in the garden to snap insects
  6. to focus on being grateful for my life even in these difficult circumstances
  7. to practise mindfulness to enable me to live in the moment more
  8. to use my compassion based learning to improve my self love and kindness
  9. to do much more journalling

Drawing and painting

There are some amazing online tutorials out there and I’ve already subscribed to a number of YouTube channels. One of my favourites at the moment, is Shayda Campbell’s florals work which includes lots of sketches of flowers and watercolour techniques which are really easy to follow. Another arty channel that I’ve recently started following is Hullo Alice for watercolour tutorials and bullet journal spreads.

Strength and fitness

I’ve already mentioned my daily yoga practice in a previous post and I’m continuing to develop my ability to do a variety of poses. The style I do is called Iyengar and I’m currently using this channel. I’ve recently ordered a folding chair which I’m hoping in sturdy enough to use.

Brush lettering

I’ve been doing brush lettering using my Tombow dual tips and Fudenosuke hard tip pen for a long time now but still find certain letters difficult. I’ve decided to practise more by doing the lower and upper case alphabets on alternate days and at least one quote per week in my BuJo. The practise sheets I’ve been using are from the magazine publication Simply Lettering. I’ve already made progress but I still think it’s super hard for lefties like me!

This blog

Whilst I was struggling with depression and anxiety I really didn’t have the confidence in myself to work on my blog. I had no ideas and no inclination to put pen to paper. But now, I’m pleased to say that I’m brimming with topics I want to write about and the words flow onto the page with ease. I’m back doing my Monday Matters series and I’m enjoying using my bullet journal again. Also, I hope to share with you some of what I’m doing to work towards the items on my vision board.

Macro photography

My DSLR has been in its case for months now and I’ve just been using my camera phone to take the odd snap. I splashed out on a macro lens a couple of years ago but haven’t really experimented much with it yet. I figure now, as we’re getting lots of insects in the garden, would be a great time to work on developing my skills in this area of photography. I’m not saying I’m going to get shots as wonderful as the one on my vision board but I’m going to give it a go!

Gratefulness

It’s easy to focus on all of the negative aspects of the lockdown but that’s a guaranteed way of getting myself depressed again so I’ve decided that one of the things I’m going to do each day as I socially distance myself, is to record what I’m grateful for. I bought a journalling book from Paperchase a while back called ‘5 Minutes Before Bed’ which includes space to write down your thoughts. There are a variety of different prompts and motivational quotes to keep me focused.

Mindfulness

I attended a mindfulness course at my local wellbeing centre last year and found it really beneficial. However, I haven’t really kept up the practise and really struggled to stay mindful during my period of poor mental health. But, I’m determined to focus on living in the moment and I’ve bought a journaling book to help me do this. The book provides a variety of activities to do to increased mindfulness and a space to write how you got on doing each task. I intend to do a blog post on this when I’ve completed some more of the book.

Self love and kindness

When you are struggling with your mental health, self love and kindness tend to go completely out of the window. I personally found that I had no capacity for self compassion and would constantly beat myself up over how I was feeling. Now, with an increase to my medication, I’m well again and able to show love and kindness to myself and others. I chose the bright heart hands image to remind myself that whilst working towards my goals, I want to remember to approach things with a gentle kindness.

Journalling

I’ve already mentioned the two journals which I’m using at the moment but I intend to reflect on how I’m doing my writing in my bullet journal regularly too. I find journaling really therapeutic and an important way of focusing the mind so it’s definitely something I want to do each day.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my vision board. As you can see, I’ve got plenty of ideas for self development that I want to put in place over the next few months. Maybe it’s given you inspiration for things you’d like to do whilst in lockdown mode. However, if this is not where your head is at right now and you find yourself lacking in motivation due to the current situation, then just accept that this is the case and focus on self care and self love to get you through. There’s nothing wrong with having lots of down time right now as you get used to life whilst social distancing. However you intend to structure your life in the coming weeks, remember to keep safe by keeping your distance and celebrate any small achievements along the way.

Until next time, take care,

Posted in Blogging, Setting goals and intentions

Setting goals for my blog

Today, I’m starting the free WordPress course on branding and growing your blog. I’ve just set myself some new goals which I’ve recorded in my BuJo but thought I would create a post identifying what they are and how I plan to go about achieving them so that you lot can have the chance to help and support me and hopefully cheer me on!

Goal 1: Establish a new weekly feature on my blog called Monday Matters and consistently post each week until at least the end of 2019

I generally schedule a blog post at the beginning of the week anyway so I thought it made sense to create a little more consistency. Hopefully, by writing my intention here it will help to keep myself accountable.

Goal 2: Publish a post at least twice a week for the next two months

This one is pretty self explanatory and with my new Monday feature, I just have one more to plan for each week.

Goal 3: Gain 20% more followers in the next three months

With consistent posting and improved branding which the free course should bring, hopefully this will happen! People have been really supportive so far and I’ve got some lovely comments and plenty of likes so I think other bloggers are enjoying my content.

Have you set any goals for your blog this month? If you have, I’d love to hear them and you can be sure I will cheer you on too! If you’re also doing the challenge you can find my post more easily if I tag it with #bloggingbranding apparently!

Posted in compassion, life hacks, mental health, Mindfulness, Planning and journaling, Setting goals and intentions, wellbeing, wellness

Practical ways to declutter your overloaded mind

Photo credit: Element5 Digital, Unsplash

There are a plethora of books and articles both online and in print about the benefits of decluttering your possessions in order to simplify your life and create more order. However, it’s not just our homes which can become cluttered and cause feelings of overwhelm and low mood. Our minds are equally susceptible and can easily become overloaded with worries, stresses and all of those emotions that come from spinning too many plates. Today’s blog post looks at practical ways of managing this mental clutter to improve our wellbeing.

1. Identify your current priorities in life

A good place to start decluttering your mind is to spend some time quietly reflecting on your life right now. Start to consider how you currently spend your time and use your energy and then begin to think about how satisfied you are with this situation. If you find yourself wanting to implement some changes, try focusing your attention on how you would like to live or what your ideal day would look like. This can help you establish what’s really important to you and enable you to prioritize. For example, you may decide that you are neglecting to look after yourself properly and need to give self care more of a focus or you might want to spend more quality time with your partner, your family or your friends.

2. Set some goals and instil some habits

When you know what your priorities are, you can work on setting some goals and creating some habits which help you to achieve these. For example, if having more ‘me time’ is at the top of your list, you may decide that you want to spend one hour per week learning a new skill or taking a class. If having more time together with your family is an area you’d like to work on, you might schedule a regular movie night, games evening or brainstorm or list of ways you would like to have fun together in your bullet journal or notebook. If you do use a bullet journal and like to have a habit tracker as part of your weekly or monthly spreads, your goals can inform the habits you choose to include. For example, if having a tidy space to study or work is one of your desires, you might choose to have a habit such as ‘ten minute desk tidy’ at the end of each day.

3. Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness is the process of bringing one’s attention to the current moment and concentrating on the flow of our thoughts, emotions, what is going on around us and bodily sensations without judgement. It can help us to reduce the time we spend dwelling on past events (rumination) or becoming anxious about the future and help us to become more calm and compassionate towards ourselves. Becoming more mindful can help to declutter our minds of worries and anxieties by creating a more relaxed state of being.

4. Take time to breathe

A big part of mindfulness and self compassion is about taking time out. Our busy lives often create minds which are full of mental chatter which we find difficult to silence. We can all find time to settle our minds by taking the time to slow down and a great way to do this is by changing your focus to a more soothing activity such as rhythmic breathing or a mini meditation. If, like me, you have a bullet journal or planner, try scheduling time to have a break as part of your daily plans or add meditation to your habit tracker. By being more mindful and checking in with your body and how you are feeling, you can also more easily recognise when you might need to pause or slow down.

5. Getting it down on paper

Another really helpful way of clearing mental clutter is to write it all down. There are many different ideas for how to go about doing this but popular methods include doing a ‘brain dump’ or regularly engaging in reflective journaling. A brain dump is basically where you put everything that’s on your mind down on paper or into a digital document. How you spill the contents of your brain is up to you. Some people like to just scribble down their thoughts and feelings onto a page of their journal or onto any random piece of paper they have available whenever they have lots on their mind. Others prefer the regular practise of creating ‘morning pages‘ where they dedicate time each day to writing it all down as soon as they wake up. Personally, I like to add thoughts and ideas to my daily plans in my bullet journal and spend some time each evening, reflecting on how my day has gone and writing a few things down underneath my bulleted lists. If you want to find out more about the bullet journal method for organisation, I recommend visiting Ryder Carroll’s website here or reading his book which explains the method in detail.

For specific projects, you may find that creating some sort of visual way of organising helps to get your thoughts on paper in a logical way. A spider diagram, is a popular method and one which you may have used at school. Basically, you start by placing your main thought, idea or topic in the centre of the page and then you add branches from this when you think of subtopics. These subtopics can then be broken down further by more branches, creating a kind of spiders legs effect on the page. A quick ‘Google’ search online shows lots of examples of this technique which can be a helpful way of structuring all of the information in your mind.

6. Avoid information overload

This point is particularly relevant to our lives today in the digital age. With so much information at our finger tips online, especially through our use of various social media platforms, it can be very easy to become overwhelmed and feel like we are ready to explode. There are many ways to avoid overloading ourselves with information, including limiting the amount of time we spend online. Also, if you have already spent time assessing your current priorities, then you can use this to inform what you focus on. For example, at the beginning of the year, I decided that I wanted to improve my gardening know how, so I thought about the steps I would need to take to do this and then spent time and energy improving my knowledge through reading about the plants in our garden, finding seasonal gardening tips online and watching gardening programmes on the television. I then recorded my learning in a garden journal. Also, avoiding negative and unreliable media sources can help your online presence positive and informative. For example, I tend to stay away from sensationalised news articles and always try to turn off my notifications for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a while when I’m super busy.

7. Out of your mind and into your body

In a previous blog post, I talked about ways to stimulate your vagus nerve and included plenty of suggestions about how to use the power of this cranial nerve to stimulate your body and relax your mind. By moving our attention to our bodies and reconnecting to the world around us, we create much needed space in our minds which helps us to gain better mental clarity. Going out into the garden to feel the fresh air, listen to the birds or get some sunlight on our skin, taking a quiet stroll in the local park, or even just putting on a favourite song and singing out loud whilst having a quick boogie can all help.

8. Take some time to unwind

Your brain needs regular breaks to rest and recharge itself and so creating white space in your calendar or planner is a must. Spend some time away from your phone or tablet and do something relaxing which makes you feel happy. For me, a walk in nature, reading a book or doing something creative, such as painting or drawing are some of my favourite ways to unwind. I like to create pages in my bullet journal for self care and ‘me time’ activities so that when I’m feeling frazzled, I can get some inspiration for self soothing behaviours.

Photo credit: Victoria Bilsborough, Unsplash

I hope you have found today’s post useful and it has helped to provide inspiration on how you might take steps to declutter your busy and active mind. I would love to hear any others ideas that you find work really well for you at times when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed.

Posted in Planning and journaling, Setting goals and intentions

My bullet journal: Word of the year, vision board for 2019 and goal setting for the month of January

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you’re all well and excited to see what 2019 brings. My husband is at work doing some overtime today so I’ve finally found some time to take photographs of my bujo spreads and share with you how I’ve created my vision board for the year and set some goals for this month.

I started a new Scribbles That Matter bullet journal last month in December 2018, so I’m not starting a fresh notebook but I am changing up a few things from last year and making some new plans in order to increase my time working on developing myself both professionally and personally in line with the recommendations from my favourite new book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

My word for 2019

I thought long and hard about what I want for myself and my handmade business for 2019 and after coming up with lots of ideas, the word which resonated with me the most was RESILIENCE.

Life is full of so challenges and pressures and it’s important to develop our capacity to deal with the various stresses and strains that are thrown at us and stay well physically, but also mentally. Wellbeing has been a big focus for my self care for a while now following some huge changes to my lifestyle.

Last year my word for the year was BALANCE as I felt I needed to work on ensuring I focused on dividing my time better so that I was able to balance my business and personal commitments much better. At the beginning of the year, I set lots of goals and thought really carefully about what I wanted but, I’m disappointed to admit that I didn’t spend anywhere near as much time following through on my intentions as I would have liked.

This year, I’m in a much more positive frame of mind and more determined to work on myself, ensure that all of things that get in the way of my good intentions do not hold me back. I want to develop my ability to deal with stress brought on by life’s challenges and maintain a stable mental wellbeing whatever life brings.

This is positioned right at the front of my 2019 bujo entries and will be looked at every day!

I’m really pleased with how the page turned out and hope it provides the inspiration for me to embody my word each and every day of 2019.

Be sure to share your word of the year and why you chose it in the comments below. I would love to hear what you’re going to focus on for 2019. Also what are your tips for making sure you keep your word at the forefront of your mind?

Creating my vision board

A page I made about vision boards and their use

In 2018, my vision board was poster sized, tacked to the wall of my craft room and was very inspirational, when I looked at it (which I really, really did for at least a few months!!!). This year, I decided to put my vision board in my bujo and look at it every day as part of my Miracle Morning visualisation exercises. I also decided to get my images from Pinterest so that I wasn’t limited to magazine bits and pieces from my collection.

I spent a long time perusing Pinterest, typing in pertinent words and looking for inspirational images. I then printed them on photo paper and trimmed them ready to paste into my bujo. I also collected words and phrases to accompany the images. You can see my finished double page board below.

Simple, and I hope, effective!
Close up of page 1
And a close up of page 2

What my vision board represents

  • the desire for a well stocked, tidy craft room
  • productivity in terms of my business
  • commitment to my Miracle Morning practise for the 30 day challenge and beyond
  • quality time with my husband
  • a focus on getting little birds in our garden and wildlife photography
  • a well structured and beautiful garden
  • exercise which works on improving my core strength (and hopefully ridding me of the dreadful sciatica I’m currently suffering from)
  • getting my nails in good condition and being able to paint them
  • learning more about flat lay photography and sharing more planner and journal spreads on social media.

What does your vision board for the year look like? I’d love it if you shared in the comments below.

Setting goals for this month…

To begin my journey of a happy and successful 2019, I set myself a number of goals for January. I split them into business and personal goals. I’m pleased to say, I’ve achieved some of them already and it’s only 6th Jan!

Ambitious goals for January

That’s all for now. I hope this post has inspired you to think about your intentions for 2019 and maybe try out a few of the spreads. Don’t forget to share your own ideas for the year. I look forward to hearing from you.

Much love,