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, mental health, productivity, wellbeing, wellness

Life during lockdown: A guest post from my student friend

Today, we hear from my friend Larissa who is a postgraduate student at our local university. I first met her at the compassion group which we both attended last year. I found her really lovely to talk to, so we swapped phone numbers and have stayed friends. We recently met for coffee and cake but I guess we won’t be seeing each other in person for a while now. Anyway, I’ll hand this post over…

Hi, I’m Larissa, a 21-year-old student living in Sunderland. In January I started a Masters Degree in Media Production, but obviously due to the global pandemic we’re all experiencing, I’m stuck at home.

How have my week days changed?

My weekdays have changed quite dramatically, before I was at University five days a week, learning production management, to use cameras, sound equipment and editing software. Now I have limited amounts of work I can do at home and most of my week days consist of playing Animal Crossing on my old Nintendo DS and trying out new vegan recipes.

I’ve also gone from seeing a twenty-plus group of friends and peers, to only seeing those within my household.

How have my weekends changed?

My weekends haven’t changed all too much in honesty, I do occasionally go out drinking on weekends when things are normal, but had been limiting how much I was anyway. However, recently myself and some friends had been having ‘Games Nights’, and I am missing getting together, relaxing and having a good laugh.

What’s one of the worst things about lockdown?

Undoubtedly, there were always going to be negatives about being in lockdown; most people don’t enjoy being stuck in their house, unable to leave. I had considered myself a home-bird until the UK’s lockdown began, but it has made me realise how much I enjoy the freedom of being able to leave my house and pop to see a friend, to the beach, to grab a coffee.

My mental health has also been negatively affected during lockdown; most people (including me) are likely experiencing anxiety regarding their own and other’s health, but personally I struggle with not being able to see my loved ones often (you might call me clingy), and as overwhelming as day-to-day life can prove to be, the lack of normal routine has left me feeling unmotivated and low.

What have you found to be positive about lockdown?

Of course it’s not all doom and gloom (although it’s okay if it feels that way at the moment), I feel there’s been an increase in community spirit, and lots of children in the area have been drawing and writing nice messages and sticking them up in their windows for everyone to see.

I’ve also started exercising daily, something I’d been meaning to get back into the habit of for months. Basically, I’ve had a lot of time to focus on practicing self-care and doing the things I enjoy such as:

-Meditation

-Sketching

-Writing (including this blog post, something I probably wouldn’t have been doing had I not been stuck indoors with all the free time in the world!)

-Gaming

-Cooking

-Spending time with my cat Loki

-Walking in nature (for the government approved one hour per day might I add)

I hope you and your loved ones are all staying safe and well. I know people are going through some horrific things collectively at the moment, but I suppose what I want to finish with, is use this time, if possible, to reconnect; whether that be with yourself, you loved ones, nature or whatever.

Thank you for reading, and if you liked my writing and would like to link up with me, you’re quite welcome to message me on https://uk.linkedin.com/in/larissa-hird-9b29b9183

Larissa

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about lockdown from the point of view of a student. I know Larissa is keeping in touch with people on Facebook, but it’s not quite the same as enjoying face-to-face contact time with friends and being with lots of other students during the week. Hopefully we can meet up for coffee and vegan cake again soon. Take care and message me any time,

Posted in Blogging, creativity, lifestyle, mental health, Planning and journaling, wellbeing

Welcome to my second little space of the internet…

I already had my little Etsy shop for selling my cute planner supplies, but I also longed for a space in which to write down my thoughts about planning, journaling, goal setting and general wellbeing so this blog was born. When I first started (back in Spring 2018 I think), I knew absolutely nothing about blogging but over the last couple of years, I’ve spent time reading tips on Pinterest and on the various blogs I found so I’m now a little more clued up and thought I’d revamp my initial entry on what my site is all about.

Basically, my entries are a mixture of planning and journaling ideas and spreads, my experiences of trying out a range of crafts and creative activities and mental health and wellbeing tips that I’ve picked up over the years as I develop my ability to cope with my various difficulties. I hope you find my posts both inspirational and useful and enjoy reading them as much as I find pleasure in writing them.

JournalSpringPage
A couple of pages documenting first signs of Spring in my garden. Selphy photos of a dunnock on the fence and some buds and tulips. A range of bits from my journaling supplies.

Thanks for reading, liking, commenting and following!