Monday, 19 March 2018

Motivation Monday

Today is the day. Yes, I am back after a long hiatus, and it's been an eventful start to 2018 already, and not all of it for the good. No-one can ever know what the future holds for them, but the key to keeping all of those life balls in the air, is to just go with it. Play the hand you are dealt as we are often told.

March 20th is also the International Day of Happiness, but why try to be happy on just one day of the year? Take your own direction into happiness and discover the joy of creativity. You never know where it might take you.

"Happiness is a direction, not a place." 
- Sydney J. Harris

Food for the mind.

Raspberries are delicious, and healthy,
but the painting itself was also a fun experience. 

Easier said than done I know, especially when there are burst pipes, bins to take out, gardens to maintain, and all manner of day to day stuff. So how do we maintain that level of motivation that keeps us going? In this week's Bitesize I looked into how creative activities can have a positive effect on our mental health. it's nothing new, and there are many scientific studies that prove that by taking up a creative activity, we are more likely to build a positive mental outlook on life.


But don't just take my word for it. Here in the UK, the BBC are carrying out their own survey on how taking up a creative activity boost wellbeing, and keeps you happy. Take the survey

Taken from Bitesize, here are some extra tips on how to stay well.

With snow on the ground, and biting winds,
finding refuge in the studio for even a short time,
can lift the mood. 

  • Take Deep Breaths Breathing deeply and slowly for a short time slows a racing heartbeat and regulates your feelings of panic or anxiety. The old method was to breathe into a paper bag, and I think they were on to something there. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Listen to each breath as you draw in slowly through your nose, hold for a moment, then breath slowly out through your mouth. This has an immediate calming effect, and eases stress, or feelings of panic. 
  • Mindfulness Or meditation brings your thoughts into the present moment. It can help you to block out negative thoughts and feelings, and really calms the body and mind, as well as:
increase your awareness of your thoughts and feelings
manage unhelpful thoughts
develop more helpful responses to difficult feelings and events
be kinder towards yourself
feel calmer and able to manage stress better
manage some physical health problem, like chronic pain
  • Quiet Time Life is busy, with our time being taken with work, family, and the day to day stuff that we all have to do. Phones, and the internet have made us available 24 hours a day, and it can be almost impossible to find time for ourselves. That's when an activity like painting can really save us. Switch off the phone, and the laptop, and the tablet. Go old school with some music or an audio book, get out the paints, and spend some time with you. It doesn't need to be a whole day, it could be just an hour, but you will feel so much better for it.
  • Breaktime. Remember breaktime at school? That happy time when we all headed out for some fresh air and a breather. Be kind to yourself. Once you have completed a bit of painting, give yourself a teabreak. Walk away from your work, head out to the garden, or balcony and take in some big breaths, (see above). Look into the distance if you can as this will exercise and rest your eyes after all that close work. Focus on something. This could be a bird, or even a cloud, and just be in the moment, (don't forget to drink your tea).  
  • Set Limits. Facebook has brought us all much closer together, and the friendships we make there can be generous and lasting. But, if we are honest with ourselves there is also an element of competitiveness, with many artists only putting our their good work, then calling it a sketch. We know this isn't true, and I find this sort of posting utterly defeating to anyone struggling to find their way. Limit your time, and only look at postings that help you feel positive. I now limit my time on social media, and only post things that I feel promote a positive vibe. 
  • Love What You Do You know me, and this one is my own personal mantra. For me, if something is neither amusing, nor entertaining it has no place in my spare time. Like one of my design heroes William Morris stated 
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

Your spare time is important, so fill it with the activities, and people you love. We all have to do the day to day stuff like the ironing, the cleaning, and the taking out of the bins, and many will be holding down full time jobs, so when we get a moment to ourselves, do something you love.
To find out more about Bitesize, my fortnightly tip sheets, and to sign up for the free tutorial package Visit the website

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