DIY Self-Care Tracker

The past few days have been hard for me.  I woke up yesterday with a reaction on my face.  It was painful and I had no idea how to fix it.  I spent most of the day applying a cold flannel to my face.  As a result, it calmed down a little.  Luckily I had today off work.  My plan was to blog all day.  Yet that obviously didn’t happen.  In fact, I spent most of the day in bed.  With Netflix on.  Being grumpy.  Not only is it causing me pain, it’s really affecting my mental health.  Self-esteem has never been my strong point.  Having burn marks certainly hasn’t helped.  While I could complain about it, this post isn’t about that.  Perhaps if I was a beauty blogger, I’d talk about it.  But I’m definitely not one.

And after spending all day in bed, I decided to get up and do something I could do.  I can’t magically remove burn marks.  They will take their time to heal.  I cannot rush that.  What I can do, however, is play with stationery and practice self-care.  Self-care comes in many forms.  I cannot tell you what it means to you – no one except yourself can.  There’s plenty of non-stationery related ideas, such as having a bath or going for a walk.  I’ve also listed some stationery related ideas in a previous post – my stationery self-care challenge.

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A Year of Notes to Yourself

Today has been a very “mental health” day for me.  This essentially means that I actually took time to think or talk about mental health problems or wellbeing.  It means, I spent a lot of time focusing on my own mental health today.  “Mental Health” days are really important I think.  You don’t have to go out of your way to do something.  It’s more about pausing for a moment and reflecting.  How’s your mental health recently?  Have you been looking after it?  Is there anything you can do to improve it?  Sometimes I think we forget to do this.  Physical health is usually easier to recognise, simply because if you’re in pain then you’ll know.  Although, it’s a bit like checking for any lumps or bumps or going for regular check ups.  I think mental health is something that’s easily neglected.

So today, upon reflection, I’ve decided to try and write some little notes full of love to myself.  I’m hoping to spend the next year filling a jar with things that matter.  Then, at the end of next year, pull them out and read them.  Alternatively, if I go through a rough period or have a low day, grab a few to read.  It will be full of happy memories, good thoughts, gratitude and lots of love.

I really wanted to address this today because I think we often forget about ourselves in the holidays.  Sometimes we get so busy trying to please others, buying them the perfect gifts or worrying about money that we just forget to pause for a moment.  Christmas is one of my favourite holidays but it’s not always easy.  It comes with financial concerns, stress, a mad rush, pressure and sometimes also loneliness.  It’s definitely not easy – especially when everyone around you might seem like they are having a great time.  I don’t have much advice in how to make Christmas better if you experience any of those things.  However, one thing I can always promote is self-care.  This is one way of helping your future days be a bit happier, I think.

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Goals for the rest of 2017

The last few months, in particular, have been pretty hard…  Though, in all honesty, I could easily say it’s been over a year (almost two) of difficulties.  Things that have made life challenging, for the lack of a better word.  Some of you may know about a few of the things I’ve gone through.  I imagine most people don’t.  However, this post isn’t about all of the negative things that have happened in life.  It’s about moving on – and more importantly, moving forward.  I feel like I’ve been stuck in the same place, perhaps even going backwards, in this time.  And that’s not okay.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of good moments in that time.  It’s just the bad ones are ones I never imagined could or would happen.  Recently, things have been getting better.  A lot better.  The hope that I had lost is starting to return.  The fear that I’ve been harboring is starting to fade.  It’s almost like the fire inside of me has been ignited again.  It’s not completely better, that’s for sure, but I have a lot more hope these days that things will turn out okay.  A lot of this is thanks to someone close to me.  Someone who made me realise how much I had neglected my self-care routine.  The Stationery Self-care challenge I started in September was due to him.

So, to help me get back onto my feet, I wanted to set some goals for the next two months.  These are things I aim to achieve by 2018.  Being productive helps me to feel better.

Blog related goals:
  1. Blog more often – At least 12 posts in November & during Blogmas!  I love Christmas so Blogmas sounds like a lot of fun to me.  I already have tons of ideas for it.  However, due to the issue of time, I feel like I would struggle to keep up with it.  So, as a compromise, I’ve opted to attempt to do it but I won’t be harsh on myself if I struggle.  At the end of the day, my mental health is more important.
  2. Instagram regularly – Post 3 times a week.  I have so many draft images or pictures I’ve taken to Instagram but fail to post regularly.  I would love to reach 1000 followers before the end of the year so posting regularly is definitely the first step to doing that.  If you want to help, please check out my channel and follow me!  (Incentive: I actually post discount codes there sometimes, which don’t make it to my blog or Twitter!)
  3. 2018 Project – There’s a challenge I want to set myself in 2018, so preparing for it before then will be key.  The project is a bit of a secret at the moment but it’s been hinted at a few times.  So you may be able to guess it but let’s see how it turns out!
  4. Twitter Chats – I love Twitter chats but often fail to make time for them… So this goal will be to try and participate in at least one chat a fortnight.  I know that’s not a lot but that’s one more than I’m doing every fortnight right now, no?
Sort of related goals….
  1. Christmas Cards – Make Christmas Cards to send out to friends & family!  I love handmade cards so I want to try and make more this year, enough to send them to everyone.  Perhaps include a letter with them!
  2. Stationery Self-Care – Incorporate self-care into each week and make time to have fun.  I’ll be sharing some of these things on my Instagram or Twitter, using #StationerySelfCare, please do join me if you wish to!  Find out more here.
  3. Set up 2018 Planners – Being a “planner girl” means I have so many planners.  I want to make sure that I set up the ones I plan to use in 2018 now.  This way I’m ready to start the year.
  4. New Year Resolutions – I love setting resolutions but struggle to keep them up.  This year, I want to decide on the resolutions in advance and prepare for them.  Some of them, for example, exercising regularly are ones I could start now.  Hopefully, this will help me to form a habit that will last into January and longer.  This could be art journaling!

So there you have it!  Eight goals that I hope to work on in the next two months to help make me more productive in 2018.  These goals will, hopefully, help my mental health too – especially the ones that require me to get a bit creative.

Do you have any goals for the next two months?  I would love to hear what you’re planning to do and how you get on with them!  We can keep each other accountable!

Stationery Self-Care

Self-care is a topic that I preach all the time. It’s so important for your wellbeing to make time for yourself. However, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve neglected my own self-care in the past few months. I have spent most of my time wallowing in self-pity, for sure, at the problems I was going through. My self-care game has been pretty lacking. In all honesty, I actually only noticed this because a friend made me promise him to look after myself when he’s not around. And on reflection, I realised that he may be onto something… So, in order to keep this promise, I’ve decided to make the rest of September the time where I try to reinforce the habit. And stationery makes me happy… Thus, Stationery Self-Care!

Since stationery makes me happy (I’m an addict, okay?!), a lot of my self-care ideas actually revolve around it. There’s plenty of ideas that don’t involve stationery but… eh! I thought it might be nice to create a list of stationery related self-care ideas that I can practice in the next few weeks. I figured, if I list them all now then I can use it as inspiration on the lethargic days. Since this is a long term game, I’ll definitely be putting non-stationery self-care on the list afterwards too. For now, this is a fun way to get started!

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Take a break, cut yourself some slack, take some time out

As a blogger, cutting yourself some slack is actually pretty difficult if you’re anything like me.  It’s hard to just let things go, when you expect better of yourself.  I always want to be productive and be able to say I’ve achieved something useful today.  Not being a full time blogger has it’s own set of advantages or disadvantage.  A con is that you have to make time to blog, outside of all of your other commitments.  You have to work full-time elsewhere or study alongside it, as well as having family responsibilities or social commitments.  This means I set myself regular goals and tasks that I expect I should do within a given time period and not doing them means things build up.   Last week, I had several tasks that I planned to do every evening, after work.  These tasks vary from chores to blogging related activities.

And honestly? I did zero of those things.  Literally none of them.  Nada.  Zilch.  In fact, I didn’t even attempt to do most of them.  I was at work in the day time, which meant I was out of the house on the weekdays.  I would got home, exhausted.  I’d sit around and think about the things I had to do that evening.  Then I realised I was way too tired to function properly and would end up sleeping instead.  They were meant to be short naps but the snooze button became my best friend in the evenings and I kept hitting it until I had to get up – just to have dinner.

And that’s okay…

Normally, I would feel down at this point. I would regret that I wasted so much time and had lots of unproductive evenings.  I would feel guilty, knowing full well that I was behind on the week’s tasks – that I would struggle to meet the goals for this week.  But I didn’t.  When I decided to sleep I made a conscious decision.  I choose to look after my mental and physical health over anything else.  My own well-being was far more important than blogging in those moment.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing posts for this blog.  But it’s not something I want to become a chore. It’s a fun task, relaxing even and it makes sense to write when I’m actually in the right mindset to be able to write.  Last week, I could barely remember my own name, let alone actually construct sentences.

I’ve been working a lot in the past few weeks, had a lot going on in my personal life and even had a really busy time with my blog.  Even with the blog related things, I haven’t had a chance to share most of it on here yet – don’t worry, it’s coming – but if you’re following me on instagram or twitter then you may have seen some snapshots of what I’ve been getting up to.  I’ve been to two trade shows, a planner convention and a VIP launch event – all simple because I love stationery and blogging.  I also have a pages of blog post ideas – so I don’t think I’ll run short any time soon.  In fact, I should be going to the Cross Sports Book Awards this evening too but sadly will end up missing it to go to the hospital.

That’s been alongside working extra hours to meet some deadlines at work, including the organisation of a launch party and tons of promotional materials that made me want to not look at computers for a while. I love designing and social media but after the weeks I’ve had at work, I kind of needed a bit of a break from it.  So I took those few evenings to sleep, recuperate and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

Remember to allow yourself a break

I wanted to share this little story with you as a reminder that it’s okay to have a break.  In fact, you should have one.  It’s good for you.  Taking some time out has helped me to think clearer.  It’s given me some time to stop thinking about today’s to do list but rather to think about the bigger picture.  I’ve come up with even more ideas or goals that I want to achieve by giving myself that space to step back and observe it.

With all of the tragedy in the news these days, it’s perhaps even more important to take some time to look after yourself and your mental well-being.  There’s so much overwhelming sadness in the papers or recent events, it’s heart breaking.  I’ve cried countless times whilst reading the news – especially in .  It’s truly heartbreaking and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by these tragedies.

I’ve spoken about the importance of self-care often but I think it’s something a lot of us neglect.  We forget about doing it.  Often, we’re so busy looking after others that we forget to make time for ourselves.  But honestly, if you’ve decided you’re going to have a nice relaxing bath tomorrow after work, put on some music and drink a glass of wine then do it.  If your friend wants to go to the cinema, don’t reschedule your bath time.  Put it in the diary, treat it like a priority.  Most people don’t cancel on plans they’ve made with friends or colleagues but are happy to cancel on their own plans.  I admit, there are times when you do need to be flexible and alter your plans.  But you do also need to pay attention to how much time you actually spend taking a break.