Mindfulness and Crafting

After my anxiety went a bit sky high again this summer I had to have an Occupational Health report done by a doctor. During the chat we talked about hobbies and he remarked that even though it’s good to have hobbies all mine could be classed as solo ones that didn’t help when I would isolate myself when ill. His suggestion was that I look at how I could make them so I got to spend time with people rather than myself. Discussing it with a work friend it then became a kind of joke that I needed to be more ‘people-y’.

I enjoy crafting although I’d at that point only really done some knitting and bead making so I joined the office craft club. In the last few months I’ve been learning lots of paper crafts and created cabochons (clear glass beads that are painted) amongst other things. I’m not very good at it. My cutting out skills leave a lot to be desired and sometimes the finished output does look like it was done by my inner 6 year old than my real life 46 year old self but I love it. It is definitely one of the best decisions I have made this year. I’ve made new friends, got involved in some volunteering by selling poppies and just generally had a laugh. At the end of November I went to a Crafternoon Tea event which again involved paper crafting but with the added joy of tea and cake thrown in. What’s not to love.

Next year I have more of the same but am also signed up to have a go at silk printing and felt sewing. Over the last few months I’ve given thought to digging out my sewing machine and actually learning how to use it (my mother will be stunned, she bought me it 5 years ago and it’s never left the packaging) and just recently I’ve had the urge to bake again. That has to be at least 10 years. I’ve added a few photos below of some of the things made. As I said not everything is perfect but the peace of mind it brings and the stress release you get from crafting more than compensates for any finished product.

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365 Ways to Beat Stress

I’ve been reading a book called 365 Ways to Beat Stress by Adam Gordon and while all 365 hints, tips and meditations are worthwhile there were a few that jumped out enough to write this blog. The books isn’t out yet but you can buy it here and the blog review will be on my sister site For the Love of Books on release day.

Keep Something Absurd or Incongruous on your Desk

Our bank of desks at work is full of crazy things that catch people’s eye as they walk past. It started last Christmas when the retail store John Lewis started selling robin ornaments for Xmas which were then given paper kimonos when we drew Japan in the World Cup sweepstake. Currently we have a tree decorated with mini carrots which are the emblem of supermarket Lidl for 2018’s Christmas campaign. For me, on my desk, are the spiders that everyone insists are octopuses (octopii?) which I made for craft club. I’ve a post coming tomorrow on craft club so I’ll say no more for now.

absurd

Swings and Merry Go Rounds

This reminded something from when I was around 18 or 19. I think it was in Manchester’s Hyde Park but don’t hold me to that. I remember all of us, new adults, laying on the merry go round, firstly staring at the sky as it spun and spun then closing our eyes. Sinning around with eyes closed felt like we were going in the opposite direction to what we really were. I also remember taking lots of photos as we spun and had some amazing (if I say so myself) pictures of the sky. Sadly my life got very chaotic for a while after that and I no longer have them but it’s a memory I cherish especially on a summers day.

swings 1swings 2

Practise Origami

As part of the craft club I’ve been learning a type of origami called tea bag paper folding. Teabag folding is a paper craft art for embellishing greeting cards using small square pieces of paper (e.g., a tea bag wrapper) bearing symmetrical designs folded in such a way that they interlock and produce a three-dimensional version of the underlying design. I’ve had a couple of goes now and while I still need more practise it definitely keeps you in the now and is very calming.

Lastly Balancing Female Hormones Naturally and Learn Sign Language. I sent pictures of these to my friend. While I appear to be going through early menopause in the manner of my aunt (little to no symptoms) rather than my mum (psychosis) my friend has a terrible time every month. She’s also signed up to learn sign language in January. I love the fact that it is seen as a calming, stress busting activity.

There are so many more things in this book I either do or want to do. I found it a timely reminder to stop every now and then and live rather than just exist.

 

Action for Happiness Optimistic October Days 1-4

I haven’t done any daily blog posts for a while and was planning to do one this month as the Action for happiness calendar is Optimistic October however life has been a bit busy and so the first 4 days are going to have to be crammed into the first blog.

Day 1 was to write down your most important goals for the month. I have the usual; to work on my weight loss and health journey and to start and not get behind on my Open Uni course as this years module starts at the weekend. I also wanted to write something about work. Now I’m in the middle of a big restructure and as I’ve been frustrated in my current role for a while I’ve been doing my usual of wanting to run away and get a new job. Which is a bit daft when you think about it as I’m about to start a new job under the restructure. So my goal then is to do nothing (hard sometimes) and sit and wait to see what happens next. However I have a meeting with my mentor at the end of the month to look at my competencies as while I need to give the changes a chance I don’t want to miss out should an opportunity arise and it’s something I’ve put off for quite a while.

Day 2 was to do something constructive to improve a difficult situation. I started the day off in a bit of a bad mood (again due to work). My response was to simply get my head down and learn what is needed to do to deliver a training course next week. I also made sure that the volunteering and job shadowing opportunities I needed to book were up to date so I ended the day feeling much more positive

Day 3 – think of 3 things that give you hope for the future: I met up with one of my peer group friends from my development course and we talked about development, career opportunities and ways to save money. Plus all the usual catching up over coffee chat. I also know that I now have about 15 months left before I’m debt free. And I’ve been building on all the questioning and talking I’ve done over the year to build new friendships.

So today is Day 4 – Set a goal that links to your sense of purpose in life. This morning I had no idea how to do this one but then I spent the morning in a focus group about women’s networks in my part of the civil service and getting a group of women on board in helping me set one up for my office and it reminded me how much I enjoy moving people forward in life and giving them ways to feel empowered. I have some action points to do which kind of fit in with setting a goal as the goal is to ultimately have a successful network in my office (which holds 2000 people so a big ask).

It’s been quite fun doing it so far. I’ve not enjoyed work much this week, mostly because it’s the first one back after 2 weeks annual leave and I’ve been quite tired plus I’ve had quite a bit of learning to do. I’m ending my working week feeling quite inspired because using these optimistic goals has helped me focus on what really matters and take actions to take my own life forward

On The Up #mentalhealth #wellbeing

There’s been a big difference already since the last post. Now I’ve admitted (to myself as much as others) that I’ve been struggling with my mental health and taken steps to put into action some support I already feel much better.

Everyone handles their mental health issues in different ways but for me I need to be active and so on Monday I went back to work. I’m no good at sitting at home, I just brood on stuff and make it worse.

I’m a big believer in positivity and that positive thoughts breed positive actions and I’ve found that by thinking positive this week and talking to people about changes that need to be made that events have turned up to help me do just that. The universe is listening.

I had a really good chat with my manager who is turning out to be really supportive. I’m ambitious so we’ve been looking at ways to stretch myself without making myself ill.

I’m actually looking forward to my next gym session. Until Sundays induction I had never been in a gym (always done exercise classes) as I found them intimidating but this one I think will work for me. I’ve kept up my 10,000 steps in between and feel really well within my body.

And then lastly (it is only Wednesday) our sports and social club have started a ‘staycation’ event over the summer basically offering lots of little events that you can do. I’ve signed up for 3 walks around the city centre and some crafting. One is making book marks and the other is teabag paper folder. I have no clue! But they sound like fun. I’ve not done neither of these things before and it actually fits in with my 4 point plan from the occupational health consultant.

So a big turnaround from this time last week when I found it difficult to leave the house and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.

There’s been a big difference already since the last post. Now I’ve admitted (to myself as much as others) that I’ve been struggling with my mental health and taken steps to put into action some support I already feel much better.

Everyone handles their mental health issues in different ways but for me I need to be active and so on Monday I went back to work. I’m no good at sitting at home, I just brood on stuff and make it worse.

I’m a big believer in positivity and that positive thoughts breed positive actions and I’ve found that by thinking positive this week and talking to people about changes that need to be made that events have turned up to help me do just that. The universe is listening.

I had a really good chat with my manager who is turning out to be really supportive. I’m ambitious so we’ve been looking at ways to stretch myself without making myself ill.

I’m actually looking forward to my next gym session. Until Sundays induction I had never been in a gym (always done exercise classes) as I found them intimidating but this one I think will work for me. I’ve kept up my 10,000 steps in between and feel really well within my body.

And then lastly (it is only Wednesday) our sports and social club have started a ‘staycation’ event over the summer basically offering lots of little events that you can do. I’ve signed up for 3 walks around the city centre and some crafting. One is making book marks and the other is teabag paper folder. I have no clue! But they sound like fun. I’ve not done neither of these things before and it actually fits in with my 4 point plan from the occupational health consultant.

So a big turnaround from this time last week when I found it difficult to leave the house and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 184 Motivational #365daychallenge

Today was the total opposite of yesterday. Well apart from rushing out of the house without a coat and nearly being late for a conference call but the rest has been good.

I had a meeting with my mentor who works in a building on the other side of the city centre. We went through the development course I am on and how it’s gone so far then discussed the different steps I want to look at next. She has made some contacts to introduce me to people in jobs I would like to explore so I can set up some shadowing.

Then we looked at the competencies needed for jobs. In the civil service this is the way they recruit and it can be a nightmare trying to give the best example of something you can to sell yourself in 250 words. I have a few already which she’s going to check and going forwards I have a few more to write so I have them to slot into any application. This is the hard part – doing them in the first place. She is going to sense check them and make sure they sell me as much as possible.

I left the meeting really motivated into my next steps. I have a few ideas of jobs I’d like to do and even though it’s never fun writing up competencies I have some good ideas to note down and build into something.

And it’s nice to have that time to just think about yourself and what you want and have a person to bat ideas off that can then help you explore what you really want.

Then I got to walk back to my office on a glorious sunny day. So today has been a good day 🙂

 

365 Day Blog challenge Day 183 Frustrations #365daychallenge

Today has been a bit of a frustrating day after a relaxing weekend. I woke up to the sound of my neighbour having some kind of argument with slamming doors. This was about 6am and he’s normally so quiet so a bit unusual. I also could only hear the one voice so intriguing as well! Sadly he’s not been there long and I don’t know him well enough (as you never see him) to get any gossip.

So I didn’t wake up too well. Then the bus was delayed by 10 minutes. It didn’t really affect anything in getting to work but along with having to go back home before I caught the bus as I’d forgotten my locker key it added to my negative mood. Sometimes I feel a bit anxious going into work. It stems from a previous job and so I often go into the city centre early and spend 20-30 minutes having a hot drink sat somewhere first. Usually this means I get to work unstressed and not rushed. However it didn’t work today and I still felt really anxious until about lunchtime.

Then my conference call to discuss data I need for my job has been put back 2 days. To top it all off my  outlook for emails has been really slow and keeps crashing. All in all I’ve spent most of the day counting the hours down until I can go home again.

I did get some encouraging texts from my friend today so that made me feel a bit better. Sometimes there are days like this where we feel everything is not awesome and nothing seems to work. Sometimes it’s okay to acknowledge that and let it run it’s course. For me it doesn’t usually last too long and so I don’t fight it.

To quote Gone With the Wind – Tomorrow is another day… (and tomorrow is my late working day so if nothing else I’ll get a lie in #positives)