From a little girl with a big imagination, to a former nerd in high school who loved her English lessons, writing has always been something I’ve felt connected and drawn to. I used to love the lessons where we could make up our own stories, and I’ve always found it fascinating what our minds can conjure up when we get in the writing flow. To me, there’s nothing quite like it. It’s a meditative practice.

Creative writing isn’t something I have even thought about in years, never mind something to go back to. To be honest with both of us, I thought stories were for high school, and pointless when we reach ‘adulthood’. (Another post for a later date, I’m sure).

However after listening to Sara’s podcast episode on the Hashtag Authentic podcast with Megan Hayes, I felt compelled to order her book, Write Yourself Happy: The Art of Positive Journalling.

I’ve had a journal for years, but over that time it’s become more of a gratitude practice. Which is completely great don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t a place where I expressed myself in my writing. In the book, Megan talks about different positive emotions we experience, and asks the reader to write their thoughts about them, for example, joy, hope, serenity.

I’ve nearly finished the book and I can’t believe how much I’ve enjoyed tapping into that creative writing flow, and describing each different emotion and what it means to me, personally. I’ve completely fallen back in love with it.

I’m a bit nervous to share the following, but I really wanted to, so here goes! These are a few of the sentences that I wrote.

JOY: Joy is finding spare change, that hint of luck you never knew you needed. The gesture of a loved one, showing you their appreciation, no matter how big or small. Joy is puppy kisses, hot salty liquid on your nose, excited squeals and wagging tails. Joy is where life leaves you speechless, you want to soak up every detail. Joy is where you can feel the magic.

GRATITUDE:  Gratitude is a hot cup of tea on a cold winter day. Gratitude is something you always forget you have, it’s finding out that maybe that insignificant thing didn’t matter all along anyway. Gratitude is mother nature welcoming us with open arms, kindred souls uniting together, neither one realizing just how much the other was needed.

HOPE: Hope is the song lyric that resonates with you. Hope is powerfully brave, it is the knowing that it may not be easy, but still showing up anyway. It is the courage to keep calm, and carry on.

I definitely want to learn more about creative writing, so hopefully it’s something I can continue to share on here with you all.

 

Will you be having a go at positive journaling/creative writing?

 

It’s time for another one of my favourite posts to write! Here’s what’s made me happy lately: edition 4…

 

  1. Porridge! Maybe it’s the cosy weather we’ve been having, but I’m a sucker for porridge with banana and of course, all the drizzles of honey! It feels oh so comforting, and it fills me up too which is always a winner in my book.
  2. Consuming content. I am loving the online blogging world at the moment, and the fact that there is such a plethora of content for me to gobble up. I’m loving podcasts as much as ever, and I’m signed up to some great newsletters that I am loving reading on a quiet evening. It definitely has me contemplating on whether I would like to share my own newsletter, but it doesn’t seem like the right time right now. Let me know if you’d like to see a post on exactly what and who’s blogs I’m obsessed with at the moment and I can share them with you!
  3. Getting my hair done. I’m not a frequent visitor to the hairdressers, because lets be honest, who likes to sit and just stare at themselves for hours? But I loooove the finished product, and you feel so fancy and polished after, which isn’t a usual feeling for me!
  4. Instagram engagement! Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself here, but I’m really happy with the Instagram engagement I’m getting lately. I feel like I have such a wonderful community on there and I love chatting away and seeing everyone’s inspiring pictures.
  5. Creative writing. I won’t bang on about this too much as I have a full post coming up all about it, but after buying Write Yourself Happy, I’m so into the world of positive journaling and expanding my creative writing. It feels so good and I always feel uplifted and rejuvenated after.
  6. New books! I’m definitely on a book buying hype lately but I just can’t stop myself! I’ve got Crazy Rich Asians on my next to be read list, but I’ve also got my eye on a few others too. I love getting stuck into a new book, the bigger the better I say.
  7. Work. My day job isn’t something I talk about a lot on here, but incase you didn’t know, I’m an accountant/administrator for a family business where I work 4 days a week, usually in the mornings and early afternoon. I’m at a place where I feel my confidence is constantly building, and I’m not as intimidated to try my hand at new areas like I once was. Plus, we have 2 dogs in the office too which is always a bonus!
  8. A new winter coat. My mum treated me to a new winter coat the other day, which I’m very happy with! I chose a cream/beige parka from H&M and it came to around £35, very similar to one I saw in Next which was triple the price. I’m excited to wear it when the weather gets cooler.
  9. Girls trip! When I’m writing this, me, my mum and sister, are all headed to Sheffield this weekend for a bit of shopping/spa trip. I’m very much looking forward to it!
  10. All the good TV shows. A bit of a silly one, but I’m loving all the good stuff we’re watching on TV recently! We recently watched Stacey Dooley’s BBC documentary on fast fashion which I would highly recommend, but then I’ve also been loving Strictly, Bake Off, Made in Chelsea etc. I love having time off from scrolling on my phone and getting glued to a tv show. Any recommendations on what else I should be watching?

 

What’s made you happy lately? I’d love to know, so feel free to share in the comments below!

 

In my opinion, everybody should have their own well-being toolkit. Each tool can provide a different thing in supporting you. They are things that you can reach for when you feel out of balance, or even just a little down in the dumps. I reach for mine when I feel like I’m flagging or need a bit of restoration, kind of like a manual restart that you’d do to your computer.

What’s in my toolkit?

Yoga and meditation practice. This is something I’ve been working on for years, with its ups and downs. It definitely isn’t something you can get straight away, but with patience and regular practice it can become such a great, calm force in your life. Even just a 10 minute meditation can make me instantly feel more grounded. Yoga makes me feel more connected to myself than I ever have, and with that it encourages me to be a little kinder to myself too.

Nature. Going outside and getting fresh air has always been something that’s worked wonders for me. I remember as a teenager going through a bad break-up and the only thing I looked forward to was my daily walks with my family. Nature reminds me of something greater than ourselves, and that we all are on the same journey in the end anyway.

A support system. I feel very lucky to have a great support system, and people who can help guide me, and give me advice when I need it. Plus a great puppy who is always up for cuddles and kisses!

Journalling. Writing down things I’m grateful for every evening has become part of my daily routine, and it honestly does make such a difference. Especially when I make an effort to look for the super simple stuff, like a phonecall to my dad or making myself a cup of tea.

Creative play: Life without this wouldn’t be the same for me. I need time to draw, colour, paint, photograph to be happy.

 

How to work out what you should put in yours:

  • Things that make you feel happy.
  • What calms you down and makes you feel chilled?
  • What’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
  • Are these things that involve other people, or can you do them alone?

 

 

Whats in your well-being toolkit?

 

I know that ‘slow living’ can seem a bit of a buzzword these days, but when I discovered it, I knew it was something that I was immediately interested in and wanted to know more about.

The fact that people were writing about a different way to live, one that sounded much more up my street, felt like quite the revelation, and maybe I wasn’t the odd one out after all for not committing to the regular 9-5, busy weekend, city break hustle. Of course you can still abide by the slow living lifestyle even if you do do all of the above, but maybe it might take more getting used than for someone like me, who lives a small town, needs my own space, and likes time to rest and recharge.

 

What does slow living means to me?

To me, slow living means a life of no judgement. Not feeling guilty for making time to rest, not putting everything on your to-do list so it looks completely overwhelming, and not being ashamed to live a little differently than your peers.

It means being mindful of your actions. Dedicating time to not just complete, but enjoy the daily tasks you set yourself. Giving yourself time to breathe, and think, and work out what you want your next move to be. Setting intentions that feel kind to ourselves. Accepting when it’s time to put the cards down and have a nap. Walking the dog and noticing the change of seasons in the environment.

In a sentence, for me, slow living means always remembering the bigger picture. The reason we are here living and breathing. It isn’t for Instagram, to make a million pounds, or to have the best handbag collection.

It all comes down to love, for me anyway.

 

How can I incorporate slow living into my everyday life?

  • Take your lunch breaks! Invest in a great book you’ve been meaning to read, don’t look at your phone for the next 30 mins, and enjoy your lunch reading a chapter.
  • Work out what exercise feels best for you. If you don’t like the gym, don’t go for a while and find something that feels better for your body! Exercise is not punishment.
  • Have a slow morning once a week. Have breakfast in bed, laugh with your other half, cuddle your pet. Don’t rush to get up and get ready. Enjoy the time you have.
  • Be mindful when possible. Brush your teeth with care, feel the breeze on your face, the taste of water when you’re thirsty. It all makes a difference.
  • Watch how you talk to yourself. Keep it positive, and if you need a boost, maybe have a look at affirmations.
  • Spend an afternoon doing whatever you want. Yes, really!
  • Remember, you have a choice. If you have to do something, you might aswell give your best.

 

 

What does slow living look like to you?

 

Autumn is officially here! And for today’s post, heres some little sneak peeks of how I’m planning to spend the next few months..

1. Paint pumpkins. Believe it or not I’ve never actually painted pumpkins before, and I really want to re-create those gorgeous mini pastel ones you see on Pinterest. One Saturday afternoon, it’s happening!

2. Try one of the Starbucks seasonal drinks. I don’t often go to coffee shops because I don’t actually drink the stuff, but every Autumn I like to try out some of the sweet sweet drinks just as a little treat. Plus it makes me feel like an Instagram cliche which is okay by me (well, sometimes anyway)

3. Re-watch the Harry Potter series. After finishing all the books a few weeks ago, now is the perfect time to make a start on re-watching the series. I’m trying to get Dan to join me as I’m a total wimp but he seems a bit reluctant at the moment.

4. Go to the arcades. This isn’t a seasonal thing, but I’ve got quite the itch to go visit the 2p machines at the seaside, plus maybe snag a few of Dan’s chips too. I think we’re headed over there next month which I’m looking forward to.

5Buy presents in advance. October is a bit soon for me to mention Christmas (sorry!!) but this year I do want to get a head-start on picking up a few little things here and there that catch my eye. That way it feels a lot less stressful when the weeks come around quickly.

6. Make the most of the seasonal props on Instagram. I really want to gather up all the gorgeous crisp leaves and use them for an Instagram photo. Plus when I’m looking back in months to come it will be a great way to remember the season!

7. Do more creative writing. This is something that I’ve only just started doing thanks to Write Yourself Happy, the book I’m currently reading. I journal, but apart from that I don’t write very much. I’ve always loved English at school so this little project feels great I have to say. I always think writing is so therapeutic, and sometimes you express things you didn’t even know you needed to get out! Look out for the book review in a post coming this month.

 

Do you have any plans for this Autumn? I’d love to know!