Winter Blues

Does your mood get affected by winter? How do you coop with that?

At the end of september I started to see it: light came later in the mornings and dark came earlier in the evenings. It still was warm and slowly the leaves started to turn yellow and red. O my, I love autumn, everything is so beautiful! I went outside a lot, searching for mushrooms and other typical autumn treasures and life was good. But then the clock was set from daylight saving time to regular time. When I get up in the morning it’s still dark and when I come home from work there is about 1 hour daylight left. The rain came and the wind and there was the first time I had to scratch off the ice of my car. It’s cold and it doesn’t matter how much I heat the house I keep feeling cold. I want to sleep (a lot) and I want to eat, preferably things with lots of fat and sugar (also a lot). My skin is itching and I know it will start bleeding soon. It’s only november, winter hasn’t begon for real and that is scaring me. How will I survive this years winter? And please, please don’t be too cold or rainy or snowy. Oh I know this feeling. Hello Winter Blues, really, you don’t have to pay me a visit each year.

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This isn’t new and I have a survival plan. I know I have to take good care of myself: eat healthy and regular, find things to look forward to, things to enjoy, give myself enough rest and stay active. This seems to be easy, but it costs a great amount of energy. I was searching the internet for more tips, but had a hard time to find new ones. I found 1 about taking vitamin D supplements. This is the vitamin we get from sunlight. I’ve never taken that before and it’s worth a shot. Another tip was to embrace the season. Yes! Changing my mindset would definitely be a great idea and probably work very good. But how do I do that?

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I read something about affirmations. If I understand correct these are lines you repeatedly tell yourself. Words to live by. I believe in the power of words.  And I do think that how you speak about something influences how you experience that something.

So I will try to find positive words for this time a year. Everything better than a depressed ‘here we go again’ and I’m going to make a list of positive things of wintertime.

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A self loving self portrait

You have to value yourself to see why it is so important to take good care of yourself. I have the tendency to forget what I am worth, it’s so easy to put the needs of others before my own needs. It’s what I learned as a kid: be kind and help others. I don’t think my parents wanted me to neglect myself and feel bad about myself, they didn’t want me to be selfish. Caring for yourself isn’t selfish, knowing what you are worth isn’t being arrogant. You have to take care of yourself to be able to care for others and knowing what you’re good at makes all kind of processes run smoother.

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This painting I made a few years ago. She doesn’t look like me, but she represents me. Above the hearts I wrote good qualities about myself. This weekend I will find time to make a new portrait and rethink about my qualities. I hope you join me and share your portrait on the facebook group.

Your portrait doesn’t have to look like you, you only have to feel some sort of connection to it. Maybe you’re not a drawing/painting person. That’s fine! You can make a collage portrait or copy or alter a photo of yourself. Anything that feels good for you.

5 (or 6) parts of your being that need care

Welcome back in my Self Care journey. Last week I came up with a list of things I could/should/would do daily to take care of myself. I tried to take at least 10 minutes a day to be in silence, but it’s much harder than I imagined. Building up a new routine will take some time. I try to forgive myself for not being perfect.

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This week I want to look at the bigger picture. There are a lot of things that are good for our (mental) health we don’t need to do every day. Things that are too time consuming or too expensive to do very often. Other things are nice for weekends, but not for working days or maybe they are not offered every day. Besides doing everything everyday might be a little stressful 🙂 I’ve found 2 blogposts about the different aspects of our lives that all need to be cared for. In this post are 5 elements and in this post there are 6. I think the first link is easier to read and the categories are easier to understand, but the second link also has the element professional and since I work a lot of my time I think it is important to look at that aspect as well and I like the wheel. So I created my own wheel with the subjects of the first link + proffesion. I wrote in dutch, my own language feels more real than english does. It’s easier to find the right meaning of a word in your own language.

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I like how everything in life is divided in categories and thinking about the things I do to feel satisfied in all these areas made me happy. Rest of the week I keep thinking about these aspects and fill the wheel more. I suggest you make 1 too, it will help you to set priorities in the future. And 3 more circles as inspiration. Just make 1 that you feel good about. You don’t have to make a wheel, you can make separate lists if you prefer.

I also made a habit tracker. This was a bit tricky to me. I have so many habits I would like to change, do more or less of them, and the list became longer and longer and I started feeling overwhelmed and demotivated. I reminded myself I am allowed to make these changes step by step and made a new list with things that are important now.

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It’s in dutch again, sorry for that. My 6 categories of the weel are now 4 categories. I’ve combined intellectual with spiritual and called it mind. I see the difference between those categories, but I feel both of them feed the mind. Maybe I’m wrong, future will teach me. Then there is a list with chores and basic body care. For a lot of people these are obvious things to do like: shower, eat 3 meals, make the bed, do the dishes etc. To me they are not that obvious, I neglect a lot of things when I’m not feeling to well. I can’t find the energy to do those things, but I know they will give me twice a much energy if I do them. The last part of habits are the things I had put on my daily self care list of last week.

Every day I take a moment to cross of the things I’ve done that day. I think about what I have done for my body, mind and soul (probably the best summary of the categories) and I write a few things in a log. With this tool I hope to teach myself to do some basic stuff. It will also help me to track how often I do certain things. This list will probably change every month.

What do you do to take care of you in every aspect of your life? Do you think a habit tracker could help you too? And something to look forward to: Now I’ve made my goals clear I want to dive in the actual care taking part, this thursday a creative care post will come online.

Namibia

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O my! I think we are now visiting the most beautiful country of the world. Seems every picture of Namibia is stunning! I’m so glad I took this passport challenge and get to see all this beauty. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to see it for real.

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People have lived in Namibia for a very long time. I try to discover how old these rock engravings are, besides the 6000 BC that is said in the linked website I also find 300 BC and even 27000 BC. I don’t know what is true, fact is they are very very old.

During the European colonization of the world the biggest part of Namibia belonged to Germany. After the end of WW1 this area was given to the UK, under the administration of South Africa. South African laws where implemented, including apartheid. At the end of the 1950’s the first movements for independence are formed. It took until 1990 to become an independent nation.

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The official language is english, but only 2 % of the inhabitants speak english as their mother language. The language that connect the several tribes is afrikaans. 80-90% of the people have a christian religion. The capital is named Windhoek and you can find desert, savanne and wetlands in Namibia. So far for the facts, if you like to read more go here.

I have watched this documentary by National Geographic, again I can not believe how beautiful this country is.

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According to this blog this risotto is food from Namibia, because of the colonization a lot of european flavors are added to the Namibian kitchen. It was a good meal with a nice combination of sweet and sour.

Again I could not find books about a country. My library is disappointing me. I did found a novel as an ebook about a man telling his story to a prostitute in the capital of Namibia. I downloaded it, but hadn’t time to read it.

Journal of me #2

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

I’m not a morning person. I need time to wake up. First thing I do is banging on the alarm to make it shut up. I hate the alarm, it’s noisy and makes me cranky. Also I go to bed too late and I want to sleep more, much more! I’m a snoozer so that annoying sound is there again in 9 minutes. Time to start the day.

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Simple daily self care

Now I know how my days look like and what I do on those days it is time to start thinking about the things I want for me. I found this blogpost and I think it is helpful for the next step, I suggest you read it.

Stop putting potion in your body. Ofcourse this makes sense. I wouldn’t drink arsenic, I know that’s bad for me. But I love my sigarettes, cafeine, wine and sugar. Last spring I did a 10 day detox. It was all about super healthy eating, lots of vegetables, no meat, no caffeine or alcohol, no sugar or glutes, taking special showers and drink lots of water and ginger tea. Joining the program I received a mealplan + recipes so it wasn’t too hard to do since everything was written and planned for me. All I had to do was follow the directions. I learned I sleep much better without caffeine and alcohol and my stomach is much more at ease without using milk. Drinking a lot of water keeps away candy cravings and getting enough vitamins gives me energy. But that was last spring and now I drink my coffee again, forget to drink extra water and I enjoy my glass of wine. But I have experienced not having these things are making me feel better. I will drink only 1 cup of coffee a day, drink enough water and wine is only for the weekends. And yes I do know I have to quit smoking, but that idea freaks me out! I’m not willing to give it up.

Self care list. Things to do on a daily basis to take care of myself. Some of these things I don’t do (often) right now, but I think they will help me.

  • get enough sleep
  • eat 3 meals
  • drink enough water
  • brush my teeth
  • shower
  • use bodylotion/hand cream
  • be in silence
  • write in my gratitude journal
  • read
  • be in a clean/tidy enviroment
  • reflect the day
  • drink a chai chocolate milk (in a pretty cup)
  • do yoga
  • draw/doodle

Priorities. This is hard, I think I need all of the above things. But after thinking about how much influence those things will have I come to this list. Doing this will teach me if this is the right path for me. If not I can make changes to it. Trial and Error. I had doubt about the gratitude journal, because I committed doing it for 30 days. Making it a need gives me the feeling of it being a must. That can’t be good. Taking care of yourself is also accepting that sometimes your commitments can not be done. I am permitted to make mistakes. fullsizeoutput_13e

Make your needs non-negotiable. Sure, but how? Sleep and brushing my teeth are already my daily routine, don’t have to change that. I will put a bottle of water and a tube of hand cream in my bag so that I can use it any time I want. I will set an alarm for lunch and at work I go to the canteen and not stay at my desk. Finding silence is the hard part. At work there are all sorts of machines buzzing and people talking. At home my husband is listening to music, playing videogames, watching tv. I think the attic is silence. I go there for 10 minutes a day.

Use your energy wisely, Be ambitious, but don’t overwhelm yourself. I think those are more tips for the trial and error section. I start doing these things and see if it works for me.

What are your needs, wants and bonuses? How do you incorporate them in your daily life?

I think this post and the previous 2 are enough to think about in 1 week. It is now time to start doing. Please share your experiences of making self care a part of your daily routine and the things you’re thankful for on the facebook group.

 

 

 

WOYWW 388

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My desk last night. Going trough my sketchbooks I found this big eyed girl and she was screaming to get some color. I gave her a fast layer of color with my new water soluble crayons. They where a gift and I love them. The pile of magazines I still need to read on the left top is growing. I’m looking forward to christmas vacation and have time to go trough them, only 7 more weeks!

The notebook you see is my idea of a journal. It’s not really an art journal, it’s not really a diary but sort of combination of those 2. It gives me the opportunity to practise some art, to jot down my ideas, to write about the things I want to remember and to do some soul searching. I’m using a little book called “1000 questions to ask yourself” that was given by a magazine. It’s very helpful in a self care project I started. Life is speeding by and I don’t feel good about that. I want to be more aware of what I feel and do and I want to get things done and I want to take better care of myself. If you feel the same you might be interested in this blogpost and join me.

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I’m really amazed how well those crayons color. This is just the first layer of color. I use more layers to try to get some shading in her. I don’t pay much attention to the first layer, it’s more a step to get away from that scary ‘and now I’m going to use paint, can’t erase that’ feeling.

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And some more atc I made for an advent calendar. It’s challenging to come up with so many designs. And I can’t wait to see what I received. Counting down to christmas will be so much fun this year.