I try to be mindful in my life and activities every day ‘try to be in the moment’, it doesn’t always work out, so I just start again the next day. I try not to overthink too. There are many organisations, groups and people that help me with my mindfulness – in particular, The Blurt Foundation, Spark Support and Gabrielle Treanor. I love following photo challenges, so I was thrilled to see Gabrielle has started a prompt for September 2018 – #BreatheSeptember2018 launch on Instagram. This is the third year she has run this – you can check out previous hashtags too. People get involved on twitter and facebook too.
My Previous photo challenges
I wrote about what you might want to include in a photo challenge in April 2018, when I asked if readers wanted to join in with this hashtag:
My advice for getting involved with photo challenges:
There’s no right or wrong way to do a photo challenge – it’s up to you. Don’t feel you have to post every day, nor does it have to be public photos. Just do whatever is best for you 🙂 Previously, I’ve joined these photo challenges:
“Calming the mind is yoga. Not just standing on the head.” Swami Satchidananda
This week, despite the heat in Manchester, I’ve done quite a bit of gardening in the evenings, when most of our North facing garden is in the shade. I notice my mood is better if I’ve spent time outdoors, especially pottering around and watering the plants. I’ve rationalised my plants into bigger pots, pushed together so that I can water everything I need to and bigger pots retain the moisture. It’s also the first summer I’ve watered shrubs in the garden. It takes me about half an hour to water the pots (with a watering can and water from the water butts). We have had so little rain here – and the temperatures have been in the high 20s for a couple of months. Also, I’ve put succulents, sedums and drought tolerant plants in my hanging baskets. Gardening helps me be mindful – as does yoga.
7 August 2018 – posy of sweetpeas, lavender and dianthus – with The Book of You and a Be present yoga print
How yoga helps my mind, body and spirit
I’ve been practising yoga, on and off, for about 12 years, starting completely by accident. A friend of mine had a pal who was learning to be an Iyengar yoga teacher so needed people to practise with. It was right next to work, straight after work so it seemed a good thing to do. It changed my life.
When I was younger I had poor spacial awareness and was always tripping over, which lead to some hilarious incidents including my Steve (my former partner) pulling me out of a peat bog as I’d sunk up to my knees and was slowly falling face forward into the bog. Another time I went flying, just as a busload of tourists came round the corner in very rural Ireland. I was always collecting bruises from bumping into things.
It’s a long time ago, but the first things I noticed doing yoga was that it helped me stretch (especially my hamstrings), helped calm my brain as I was concentrating on breathing and the position of my limbs. I learnt to do corpse pose (Shavasana) not ‘banana’ pose as my first Yoga teacher Jacky named it. Yoga isn’t a quick fix – it took me about 6 weeks to see the real benefit. I carried on with Jacky’s classes and then John Aplin for years until my work pattern changed.
‘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.
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).
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.
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
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.
You don’t need to post every day – there’s no pressure with this.
If you want to keep things more private there are closed facebook pages – or just email yourself
It’s your selfcare – do it your way 🙂
It’s can be a good idea to look back to see what you wrote – and see how far you’ve come.
in some ways these photos prompts are a bit like a diary/journal
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.
have fun with it 🙂
go at your pace – catch up or skip days if you want to.
Have a look around the hashtag
Here’s the prompts for December 2017 – #blurtmerrycalmness
You are enough, just as you are, right now – Anonymous
December weather in Monton – below freezing
It’s been minus-four all day both today and yesterday in Manchester (Mon 11th/ Tue 12th December 2017), it’s been gloomy but a biting wind. For a change, we swerved the heavy snow, hitting the Midlands instead, there was some snow on the hills that ring the city on Friday Night and during Saturday. We rarely get much more than a smattering of snow, where we live in #Monton, as it’s very flat, near canals and rather built up (the ground is too warm for snow to settle). Not that I’ve seen much of any snow, as I’ve been wiped out by a cold and in bed – my arthritis pain was a bit full on too. As usual, My Chap has been looking after me 🙂
In a Vase on Monday
Still, it could be worse, Cathy who hosts In a Vase on Monday at Rambling in The Garden in the Garden has a Vase of snowdrops and rose hips among rather deep snow this week. There are Northern and Southern Hemisphere contributions so there’s always something lovely.
12 December 2017 – In a Vase on Monday – rosemary, pelargonium and lavender in the Salford gloom
Today (Tue) I felt a bit better, so I wrapped up well and dashed outside, as I could see pink flowers on a very well sheltered hanging basket, and snipped a few stems. It was the trailing pelargonium (pictured in my blog header), I’ve managed to ‘over winter’ for five years now, along with another pink standard (non trailing) pelargonium. Also, I found some lavender and did a little pruning of the rosemary that grows in the front garden and my mini bouquet was ready. I picked one of my mini jugs, partly because it had lovely pink roses on it, but also because I bought it at Bodnant Garden in North Wales in summer 2016. We got engaged there in the Rose Garden 🙂 Reminding me of sunny summer days 🙂
You are good enough as you are right now
This is my mantra at the moment – it’s been a tough year but I’m much better than I was. The picture frame and quote ‘you are enough just as you are right now‘ were used as a photo prompt for an Instagram Challenge I’m following from the Blurt Foundation (www.blurtitout.org) for December #blurtmerrycalmness. As it was so cold I took the photo in the porch at the front door; it has been a popular spot for photos recently as it gets the best light and is dry 😉
The photoframe and card represents DAY 7: WORTHY. I think it’s difficult at times to believe you’re good enough, especially if you’re ill and have long-term health conditions. I’ve been working on accepting I’m enough. Mindfulness and affirmations help with this too.
Today’s prompt is COMFORT (DAY 12); it’s a picture of our ramen soup we had for dinner but of course, comfort comes from many things, not just physical aspects of life. Ive spoken before about how much IAVOM helps me – how flowers, plants and the great outdoors lift me.
About the Blurt Foundation – INCREASING AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING OF DEPRESSION
Blurt produce a range of resources for people with #anxiety and #depression including these Card Decks – 12 cards in each with affirmations (£8.95 if you buy them separately). They suggest pulling them out, steadying your breath and reading the cards. These two cards ‘spoke’ to me today…
12 December 2017 – Press pause, You are enough and Believe in yourself cards – produced by Blurt Foundation
I received these cards as part of my monthly Buddy Box from Blurt. they describe the boxes as a Hug in Box. These can be ordered as a one off, monthly, for a friend or send a Random Act of Kindness (Blurt pick someone to receive a box who really needs it).
My December box is due this week – and it will contain The Selfcare Project written by Jayne Hardy, Blurt’s Founder and CEO. The book is published on 14th December and can be ordered on Amazon – Print, Audio and Kindle.
I’m really looking forward to reading this book – the blog posts and resources from Blurt are excellent. I’ve written a few times about Blurt before – #blurtfoundation
I’ve got much ‘better’ at self-care over the last few years but there’s always new options and ideas. Self-care, mindfulness, yoga, affirmations are part of my daily life now. I’m on a journey and I’m not at my destination yet.
Doyouhavefavouriteaffirmations? What’s your #365daysofselfcare routine? Are you going to join in with #blurtmerrycalmness
By the way, I decided not to include any fuchsias in my vase to give you all a rest from them over the last few weeks, but there are a few flowers under the kitchen window sill. Have a look on #fuchsiato see more 🙂