Tag Archives: Thoughts

Paused

I’ve not posted for a while. I’m not sure why. I had a plan for the month of June, but didn’t get around to writing anything. Even my bullet journal fell by the way side.

I think I just needed to put this on pause for while.

I’ve been working through some quite tough things in therapy, gone back on medication, and been super busy in work, it’s felt like something had to give a little. 

I have got back into to fitness though and that’s been helped by going with a couple of friends making it social and fun. 

Taking care of ourselves is not always easy and right now is taking a lot of focus and time. It is worth it and taking steps to develop my self love and body positivity are key. 

I’m bound to be back to blogging when it feels right, I just don’t know when that might be. I’ll always be on twitter and Instagram though so find me there! 

My Bullet Journal

I’ve never been able to stick to writing a journal. I couldn’t do the ‘dear diary’ thing all the kids of TV shows were doing when I grew up. I was never very good at getting my thoughts out of my head. No wonder I have trouble expressing myself. It’s one of the main reasons I decided to start a blog as I wanted to share what I was doing and how I felt about things in a creative way. I am not the type of person to write and then edit. I say what I want to and hit publish, simple.

However I have always been a huge fan of lovely notebooks and funky colourful pens. I loved being in school at a time when computers were still only used for IT classes. I still find if I need to remember something I have to write it down. So all my lovely notebooks have often just had scribbles of random projects I’ve been working on over the years. However there has been a change in the last few months as I decided to have another go at a bullet journal.

So as I embark on starting a brand new Harry Potter Moleskine beauty of a notebook I thought I would share my set up for May with you.

Lets just take a moment to appreciate the stickers that are hidden in the pocket of the notebook and that I have chosen to stick on the very first page (you know the page that is attached the cover so is not really a usable page? Yeah that one.)

I start my bullet journal with a a date and key. I keep it as simple as possible and have chosen symbols that I already use when taking notes in work. I can always add to it if I need to, but after a few months I’ve found these are the ones I use.

Next up I like to have a view of the whole month. I like to know what I’m committed to already so I can plan my time well and make sure I get enough downtime to enjoy the fun things. I use one main colour per month and the other colours will pop up as nice bursts every so often. This way I can easily see which pages belong together if I ever need to look back.

The next section I include is a gratitude journal. I’ve always had trouble keeping up with these if I’ve kept them separate to my calendar, but have found this works really well. I limit myself to a sentence at most, but some days it’s just a word or two. It’s nice to look back on, but the use I get from this is that it makes me pause for a minute and think of something I’m grateful for. I also try to put down something different each day, but don’t worry about looking back at the previous months.

The next section is my master to-do list. This is for the big stuff I need to do each month. It might include the stuff I don’t have to do regularly, or one off things, or things for later in the month I might forget about otherwise. I keep the day to day stuff in a later section and I also have an app on my phone for reminders so I’m pretty well covered.

I then move on to some trackers. First up is a mood tracker. I find this really useful to remind myself how my mood fluctuates and that all feelings are temporary. I added a simple note section to this month as found it useful to look back on when talking to my therapist about any sudden dips and the possible triggers.

The next tracker I have is a habit tracker. I have chosen to pick four each month and see how I get on. The aim is not to do each one every single day, but look at routine and relate back to my mood tracker. This month i am going back to basics on a few things to bring back some good habits and also work on one (getting up) that has been a stumbling block this last month. This is also where all the colours come out!

I think I’ve put the next section in the wrong place and will rectify that next month as it is not really a tracker and I think should be at the start of the monthly section, rather than in the middle. I’ve been doing a monthly reflections page for the last few years as it is a nice way to spend half an hour with a coffee and just look back and forwards in order to focus on the now.

The next tracker is all about the money baby. I’m working really hard on curbing some unnecessary spending habits as I want to build an emergency fund and save for holidays and other fun stuff. I’ve found since the widespread use of contactless has happened I have become lax in keeping an eye on my spending. I’ve got my spending spreadsheet, the banking apps on my phone and use Money Dash Board, but right now find backing those up by writing each expenditure down makes me think things through. I used this tactic in university and it work really well, so I’m bring it back for 2017. It’s quite time consuming, so I don’t think it’s a permanent thing, but a useful tool to pull out of the box every so often.

I then have a section to focus on my blog. I’ve scaled my blogging down in the last year and my aim is one post a week as I really enjoy it, I just don’t always make the time with my job being busy. This allows me to think and plan ahead and it works really well.

The next section is also one I find extremely useful. I used to have my therapy session and then move on to something else and was getting super frustrated with forgetting what I’d been talking about the week before. Then I saw something like this somewhere I can’t now find and made it my own. I now spend 5-10 minutes after my session just noting down a few things and then before my next session I can recap.

Then comes the biggest section – the day to day bullet journal. This is where I note down anything I want to each day. I haven’t set myself a limit and just let myself free flow and go based on what I need each day, which means some days have 2 lines and others take up a page. I take a look in the morning to note down anything I need to do and then return in the evening to check those things off and note my thoughts/feelings/questions about the day. Like I said at the start I keep it simple and make it work for me.

The one thing I have found that the bullet journal doesn’t work for me with is random thoughts or working through things to make decision. So I also have to have a separate notebook to do this. I find this work for me as it also means I can use my phone notes section for random thoughts and not feel it must be transferred to the bullet journal.

There is loads of inspiration out there on what a bullet journal could do for you, but don’t be afraid to make it your own. I cannot be arsed with an index as I know I won’t keep it up to date, therefore I also don’t need to number the pages! I’m breaking the rules, but who cares, I don’t have enough fucks to give for that kind of thing.

Happiness Planner

Before I decided to go back to therapy I bought the Happiness Planner after seeing it on Twitter and my friend Sheli getting one and posting her initial thoughts. Once someone I knew had given a review I was totally on board so I ordered the lavender 100 day version with the inspirational pencils.

I want to add more gratitude to my life and this seemed like a way to focus my effort to build some good habits around this over an 100 day period. They also do a yearly version, but I wasn’t ready to commit to that. The planner starts with some reflection questions to take a look at what makes you tick. There are lots of quotes and prompts in the planner to make you think.

So far I am love the planner and the pencils. Each time I go to write in it I pick a pencil that resonates or where I think I need a reminder for the day. This is also making me work on my hand writing as I have always wanted to have neater handwriting so I am slowing down when I fill it in and that makes a difference for me. I’m only a little bit in so I will update across the 100 days to let you know how I am getting on.

Choosing to spend my birthday on my own

I love my birthday, but this year after a Christmas I didn’t really enjoy because I felt so much pressure to be someone I’m not and constrained by family commitments, I decided to spend it on my own.

There is a big different between being alone and deciding to spend time on your own. I treated this like I was taking myself out on a date. It was special and I enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t feel lonely at all. I felt free-spirited and alive. I came home with a sense of knowing who I am and having had a good day and ready to put my feet up.

This wasn’t the plan originally, but something fell through that would have enabled me to be somewhere else and be with a friend. So instead of trying to arrange something last minute, I decided to do exactly what I wanted to do with no compromising for others. It felt like it took me ages to decide what to do, but it was really only a couple of days and I kept it simple, focusing on two three things I enjoy doing – visiting bookshops, having coffee or tea, and wandering around.

I took myself to London!

I wanted to wander so I got the tube to Covent Garden with the aim of ending up at a couple of bookshops I wanted to visit. Although Christmas is over they still had the sleigh and reindeer and it was a welcome sight as I wandered around in the sunshine.

I meandered around the back streets exploring shops and people watching as I made my way to Forbidden Planet. I had heard good things about the book floor and I was not disappointed. I could have spent a fortune in there on signed copies, but I didn’t. I added to my reading list and will be going back in the future when my favourite authors visit.

I then wandered on to Foyles and spent a lovely amount of time exploring the shelves of a large bookstore. I miss these types of shops and wish there was one closer. It felt so nice to pick up random books and explore titles I wouldn’t otherwise have seen. It felt peaceful to be there.

I bought myself two books. A coffee one because I want to learn more about brewing and one because it’s set in Toyko and I am super excited about going there in October.

I then wandered into Soho and found an amazing Japanese restaurant called Eat Tokyo and enjoyed some green tea and sushi. It was super busy, but the joys of Japanese restaurants is that they often have bar and I was not alone in sitting solo enjoying some lunch.

All the colourful sushi!

I then spent the afternoon wandering the theatre district alone Shaftsbury Avenue and observing the hustle and bustle of London. I wandered through Piccadilly Circus, up Regent’s Street and along Oxford Street, mainly because I knew the way and could wander without thinking. As it got darker I decided to head home, but I knew I wanted to make one last stop – Baker Street!

I took a longer tube journey back to the train station just to make this stop.  I went to 221B Baker Street and found Mr Holmes himself outside the tube station. It was a lovely stop to make as I headed home.

I love passing this tube station, but have not had reason to get off before. It was great to see the Sherlock Holmes silhouette in closer proximity and realise it is made up from lots of mini silhouettes. That made me smile as I headed home, back to the furballs waitng for me to feed them.

Christmas Musings

I love this time of year. I love the colder temperatures and the darker nights. I love being able to curl up under blankets with a good book and hot drink. I love wearing layers and long sleeves. I love the build up to Christmas. The festivities and the atmosphere are wonderful.

But I’m not a fan of the big day itself.

Being an introvert and dealing with depression and anxiety means the pressure of Christmas Day itself is no fun at all. This isn’t anyone’s fault, but rather how I feel about the whole thing. I love my family, but spending more than a few hours with them in any one go is enough nowadays. There is so much pressure for everyone to be happy and get along, but at the same time the old judgments and comparisons come out and it hurts. Why we do this to each other I will never know. It means I dread the time and then am on edge, which is no fun. Christmas should be about celebrating being who we are freely and whole with those we love and want to be with.

I plan on doing things my way this year and even if my family think it is selfish I am going to follow through for my own health and happiness. Luckily I live in the same town as my parents and we are all going to their house. I set myself up last year to not be there the whole time. I’m going to the boxing day swim at the lake (even if I don’t swim as I currently full of cold), which means I’ll be out of the way all that morning. I also plan on heading home to watch Doctor Who on Christmas Day evening. I’ve never done that before, but this year I am as I have to go feed the cats and the timing works out really well. I know that will recharge my batteries by stepping away for an hour. It’s about the small things for me that allow me to be myself fully and cope with the pressure of being the ones who love you best, but don’t always know you best, and sometimes won’t allow you to change. It is okay as long as you are true to yourself.

I am extremely jealous of people going away with just their friends or significant others. I would love to go away and explore somewhere new each year. I would love to see and experience other traditions around the world. It is something I am already thinking of doing in the next couple of years. I would like to meet someone to do this with or talk some friends into it (I have one who is keen) so even if I don’t meet someone I’ll still be starting my own tradition.

So this year I want to give people like me hope that it’s okay to be different and not feel like everyone else this time of year. We can make our own traditions and enjoy them by being ourselves in whatever way we can. This year for me it’s the small things, but in the future I am going to create something totally new and that is exciting. Others might consider it selfish, but we only live once and as long as we aren’t hurting anyone we must be true to ourselves.

I found this on The Berry and it made me smile and I know this is exactly what I will be doing when everything feels a bit too much this Christmas.

Merry Christmas Everyone! Enjoy whatever you are doing and know you are not alone. Reach out if you need to. That is the joy of living today and the internet and the communities on here are available all the time whenever you need them.

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