I’ve been lost in a bit of fog lately: looking at my career, life and future, and seeing only problems. I’ve got into a habit of being hard on myself, being afraid, and then being even harder. You know the spiral, right?
So, I thought a good first blog to help tackle the above would be to focus on what I’m already doing to take care of myself.
A reminder list of the things, some trivial and some not, that make me feel better.
Hopefully this will encourage me to actually value these things, and also guide the focus of what I’ll be writing about and exploring further on this blog.
If you’re reading this, somewhere across the big wide internet, and you have simple things in your routine that help each day be a positive step towards the next one – then please share suggestions. But for now, here’s what I’ve got:
Yes, it’s an obvious one. But we take tea very seriously in my family (why drink water when you can heat it and put a teabag in it?). We’re an English Breakfast/Tetleys family, appropriately brewed, with milk and no sugar. Obviously.
That said, my partner’s family are of the loose leaf persuasion (the mess) without milk (the horror). I’ve been slightly indoctrinated: I’ll now allow some loose tea to brew slowly in its special teapot first thing in the morning, taking it back to bed with a couple of mugs, and I’ll even have a floral mulch called Bed Tea some nights. Every time I spoon it into the sieve (read: faff) I think I may as well be bathing in it…But admittedly, it is sort of calming.
You see, we’re not just talking about a drink here. Tea is the offering and making and debate and sharing of it, which has eased me into many homes and offices. It’s a couple of minutes just to stop and focus on something known. It’s the relief of it.
However much I drink (and you really can’t overestimate this quantity) and whatever the occasion, it will always make me feel better.
I will definitely write a whole post on this, as I’m managing a skin condition called Rosacea and reading everything I could find on people’s experiences with it really helped when I was first trying to deal with flare ups.
That issue aside, just the act of washing my face is a really relaxing thing for me. It’s the first thing I’ll do when I get in – rinse all that day off my face. I was overly keen on this in my teens, attacking my problem skin with so many products and monthly exorcisms at my local beautician’s. Now I know my minimum, and stick to it. Keeping it brief, my main care involves (in a completely unsponsored way):
Now if you’re reading this, you should know that I’m a 93 year old trapped in a 26 year old frame.
Give me our sofa and TV, in Glasgow with my family and my brother (who knows literally everything about every film, TV show and streaming service), or down in Hampshire with my partner. Sit me there, cosily, with a cup of tea and a clean face. Happy as Larry.
4. NOT BEING ON SOFA
Understandably, I can’t have a wild TV evening every night. Luckily, I also sometimes get to have long dinners and adventures with my best friends from university. Often involving galleries/ museums/ National Trust properties/ anything with a blue plaque on the wall/ anything old at all, be it building or person.
I have so many happy memories of these explorations. Usually, the plan is the brain child of my bestest of friends… who is moving back to Toronto at the end of this year. So we are packing in many more trips into the weeks before she goes.
This is a note to self that if it’s a bad day, or bad news, or if I’m just not sure what I want for breakfast, I’ll feel better having made some porridge.
Extra points for good toppings.
6. HAIR OIL
Revolutionary. Seriously. I have a lifelong battle with my hair – it’s very thick, which is great, but it absolutely has a life of its own. It has decided I haven’t got enough authority to tame it, so it just lives its own independent life on my head. There’s just so much of it, after all (despite shedding enough each day to stuff a cushion).
Recently though, I’ve started doing more than just washing, conditioning, whacking on the hairdryer and hoping for the best. I’ve started using this hair oil (soon to swap to this) and my lord, everything in life feels so much better. My hair is still a nightmare but the silly, simple act of stroking this on makes me feel like I’m taking a bit more control. It makes me feel good. Simple pleasures.
There will definitely be further posts on this because it’s probably the main thing I do just for me. It doesn’t involve a screen, it’s creatively fulfilling without the pressure of making ‘work’, and it helps me feel calm. I grab my magazines, find images that make me happy, and arrange them into one of these:
- A notebook filled with style and locations I love.
- A sketchbook for my artwork (see below), where I also stick images I want to use in relation to this hobby – locations to sketch/paint, character ideas to costume, etc.
- A notebook filled with interiors ideas (my partner and I are decorating our new flat).
Further blog posts will hopefully follow as I get braver at sharing details of this rather random habit!
Side note: If anyone reading this ever needs to bribe or buy me a present for any reason whatsoever, I will love you with just a magazine (anything along the lines of fashion, art, lifestyle or interiors). You’ll buy me hours of doing this thing I enjoy.
I was an art student before I was anything else, and painting is the form I love the most. I can be really hard on myself for the “quality”, so I don’t paint as often as I like and talk about it even less. If I had a blog, I probably would discuss it more. Oh wait…