Category Archives: mindfulness

In a Vase on Monday: Create your own sunshine

‘Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine’ Anthony D’Angelo – American Educator

The weather has been a bit chilly and windy here in Salford, so for today’s vase I picked the brightest colours I could find in the garden – lots of different kinds of dwarf daffodils, including a solitary frilly one. Most of the Daffodils came from a mixed bag of bulbs from my local garden centre Bents. I added some bright yellow primrose, which opens as orange, and a frond of blue scilla. I matched them with an aqua glass vase, which I bought at the Eden Centre a few years ago – it’s made from reclaimed glass, has a metal hanger, handy for wedging stems against. The vase is really a tealight holder – it’s appeared before In a Vase on Monday, with daffodils but I didn’t realise that until I looked it up on the blog. There’s rain drops on the Primula and one of the Daffodils has been munched – oh well that’s Nature for you.

I probably sound like a broken record, but the weather has been very backwards and forwards in April in Salford. It’s been even more changeable than usual for April, – and not many April showers either. There was the brief hot, sunny 70degrees for a few days mid week, which ‘might’ have been our Summer/Spring. It was rather wasted as I was at work, but it did give me a chance to take some photos around Oxford Road. Doesn’t it look awesome and I love the living wall on the side of the Physics building. I wish there were more of these and more Cherry trees around campus.

Cherry blossom in April

Manchester and Salford look stunning at the moment with the many ornamental blossoms – I counted over 50 trees on the way home in so many shades of pink and white, on my 6-mile commute (and two miles in motorway in deep concrete cuttings). I must take some photos of the local ones around Monton – there’s four mature cherry trees on our Green, which definitely isn’t big enough for a cricket match.

As usual I’m linking up with Cathy from Rambling in the Garden; she has a beautiful collection of many shades of white, with streaks of green when you look closely. Like many things, if you look closely you see more. A good reminder for life generally – and doing this helps me be mindful too. I’m expecting to have Tulips in my Vase on Bank Holiday Monday, there are many coming though.

Blurt Foundation #blurtselfcareathon April

This finished today -Monday 30 April 2018. It’s been a reflective day for me.

I’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding photos to represent the topics – sometimes it was very thought provoking, other times the photo and description were straightforward – some photos I had already and some I took especially for the prompt. I made a couple of collages too.

I’d definitely do another of these prompts again. Have you seen anything suitable? Would you have a go? Let me know in the comments.

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Instagram: @becinmonton
Twitter: @becinmonton

Follow the Instagram hashtag – #blurtselfcareathon

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Thank you to The Blurt Foundation for all they do to help people like me – I’d have been a mess if I hadn’t found them. I’ve written about them a few times on the blog.

Follow Blurt Foundation on Instagram @theblurtfoundation
Follow the Instagram hashtag – #blurtselfcareathon

Follow Blurt Foundation on Twitter @BlurtAlerts

More resources and help for depression and anxiety at: www.blurtitout.org

The Blurt Foundation’s CEO Jayne Hardy knows so much about self care, she wrote a book about it :-). It’s available from bookshops Self Care Project

Follow Jayne on Instagram @jaynehardy_ and twitter @JayneHardy_

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I can see my neighbour’s stunning cherry blossom from my front door. Isn’t it gorgeous? It lifts my mood.

In the meantime enjoy National Gardening Week – hope you can get outside to enjoy some gardens, flowers and plants… or just a walk in the sunshine or doing something you love. It’s due to be a sunny Bank Holiday weekend so we’ll be making the most of it.

I’ll be taking notice of the small things too – #mindfulness. I’ve tapped into more of my inner sunshine despite being ridiculously busy.

We go to Australia in less than two weeks to see our awesome relatives so we will definitely see some genuine sunshine (inner sunshine too).

What do you have planned for Spring?

Carpe Diem,

Love Bec xx xx xx

April #BlurtSelfCareathon from Blurt Foundation – Join in with your selfcare?

Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.
– Deborah Day, Author Be Happy Now

I’m really looking forward to joining with The Blurt Foundation #blurtselfcareathon in April. Selfcare is something I try to do every day.  I really enjoyed doing #blurtmerrycalmness it’s helped my #mindfulness practice, helped my #wellbeing and finding words and photos to represent each word.

It will mostly run on Instagram, but I thought I’d do some overview posts here too.

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I’ve got lots of ideas of what pictures to take and what I want to write about to fit with the daily theme. I find that having a concept to think about each day, makes me think more mindfully. I do know that taking photos, being outside and being in the moment helps me enormously with my anxiety and living with chronic pain from arthritis

Background

I’ve done a couple of these photo prompts before:

  • December 2017 – #blurtmerrycalmness
  • January 2018 – #savouringJanuary@gabrielletreanor – Gabrielle writes about wellbeing, slowing down and self care, being in the moment, mindfulness advice for overthinkers (like me). I really enjoyed this photo prompt too but I’ll write about this another time.

Want to get involved with #blurtselfcareathon?

I’ve been discussing the #blurtselfcareathon on a peer support group on Facebook and some people were a bit stuck about what photos to take and what to write about.
So I thought I’d write a post showing some of my photos for the December prompts. I hope you find it helpful.

My advice

  1. You don’t need to post every day – there’s no pressure with this.
  2. If you want to keep things more private there are closed facebook pages – or just email yourself
  3. It’s your selfcare – do it your way 🙂
  4. It’s can be a good idea to look back to see what you wrote – and see how far you’ve come.
  5. in some ways these photos prompts are a bit like a diary/journal
  6. For me taking photos are part of my self care but they don’t need to look ‘instagramable’ or ‘touched up’. It really doesn’t matter what photo you use to represent your ideas.
  7. have fun with it 🙂
  8. go at your pace – catch up or skip days if you want to.
  9. Have a look around the hashtag

Here’s the prompts for December 2017 – #blurtmerrycalmness

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Journalling old favorites and new memories – In a Vase on Monday

Everything is going to work out just fine. Probably – Anonymous 

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’d notice I like quotes nearly as much as I like taking photos, especially of flowers. One of the reasons, I take photos is to keep a record of things, what’s flowered when, whether it’s early or late, beautiful gardens and views, as well as nature in its widest sense. It helps me remember good times, and also reminds me where things are – literally like the bulbs, but also so I don’t have to remember things in my overloaded brain!

This week’s In A Vase on Monday old favourites which have good memories for us, including the vase and something new – the sign 🙂

  • A standard size Cerise pink dianthus and some pink and white dwarf dianthus.
  • lilac violas – these were part of our wedding centre pieces.
  • Fuchsia – this is a hardy one which grows outside our kitchen window – it was in a Vase last week.
  • The vase is recycled purple glass bought at the Eden Centre in Cornwall. It has appeared before, usually, with sweetpeas.  Most recently was  July 2016 (blissful), when I wrote about our engagement 🙂
  • The sign was given to me by a great friend. It also appeared in our wedding centre pieces.  You ALL know how much I like being in the garden 🙂

Cathy, who hosts the meme over at Rambling in the Garden, has some stunning orange and white amaryllis this week. I’ve never grown Amaryllis.   The idea of IAVOM is to pick, and display, flowers and plants from your garden or locality each Monday.  The diversity of vases from across the world is staggering. It’s wonderful to see the Spring across the world in Australia and New Zealand. Just what I need on a freezing cold but sunny day in Manchester.

Small purple glass bud vase with lilac violas, pink and white dianthus and pink fuchsia

29 November 2017 – In a Vase on Monday purple vase with dwarf lilac violas, pink dianthus and hardy fuchsia

I take photographs of all sorts of other things too, receipts, recipes, books to read, useful websites, notes I’ve made, etc.  I find it easier to have visual records and use journals and lists. I use Trello for electronic lists (I’ll write about that another time) and I’ve got a simple electronic diary shared with My Chap.

Writing things down, taking photos and also help with my planning, wellbeing and making memories, as well as self-care. I’ve tried out bullet journals but it doesn’t work for me; I think it’s the pressure to complete things every day.

So I thought I write about my daily planning and what journals/books I use. They definitely helps me with #365daysofselfare

My daily planning tools – journals, diaries and lists 

CalmCalm the Mind, Change the world by Michael Acton Smith

This is a lovely book – it explains mindfulness and meditation in a very straightforward, simple way and gives you ideas for activities in Nature, with Children, Food, Friends, etc.  It has quotes and poems too. It’s a pretty book which is why I’m reluctant to write in it 😉

I’ve had it a couple of years, and I dip in and out, using it to inspire activities or self-care depending on what I’m doing. Often, I use the gratitude, highlights and what’s made me feel calm today? How and note these down in my It’s going to be OK journal. 

I don’t use the app associated with Calm; mainly because I’ve never got around to downloading it 🙁 I’m using the Headspace app at the moment, guided meditations on YouTube, and in particular, guided body scans. These connect well with my yoga practice too.

29 November 2017 – Calm Journal, Weekly Planner and It’s Gonna be Okay journal

Stigu Journal – a rest and zest handbook

I’ve written about Stigu before (including last week) and I’m just starting to fill in my 2018 Stigu.  It’s a mixture of a diary and a journal/notebook. Each month has a theme – Reflect is November’s theme. The left page is for notes and suggestions for activities.

This week’s suggestion resonated with me – a puddle reflecting only what’s above it, for example, clouds,  and keeping no ‘memory’ of what’s passed.   Stigu asks us to imagine what our minds would be like if we could practise this?

Weekly Planner – from Sainsburys!   

It has days of the week, notes and to do list. This is where all the detailed, mind dump, boring lists like the shopping! reminders for bills, clothes for yoga, etc are recorded.

It’s Gonna be Okay – An inner truth journal

As the photos show, this has a quote on one side, date, What Im hanging hope on todaythe prevailing outlook for the day.   I use this as a reminder of how my days gone, a narrative, notes – what’s gone well what hasn’t. The odd rant too.  It’s very much my secret, private thoughts. It has a quote for every day and sometimes I just flick through it looking at the quotes.

29 November 2017 – It’s Gonna be OK journal inside layout

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Stigu journal and Its going to be OK journal also helps me record my symptoms too.  I don’t really use paper symptom or habit trackers – pressure to fill in boxes (or not fill them in!).  They’re a prompt to monitor my arthritis symptoms in a health app. I was part of a citizen scientist project, in 2017, called Cloudy with a Chance of Pain, which monitored the impact of the weather on arthritis and pain symptoms. The full results should be out next year.

So for my #365daysofselfcare today, I went for a walk around Monton. It was freezing, but sunny skies and I wandered around taking photos.  I’m very grateful to live where I do, close to woods and a canal, yet only six miles to the centre of Manchester.

My self care plans this week include walking more and more gardening – #OneHourOutside and #bekind too

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Do you use journals or diaries? Do you use them for self-care or recording gratitude / positive events? Let me know in the comments or any suggestions you have

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx xx xx