Taking care of yourself

The Sweet Art of Doing Nothing

By Kerrie Basha

Our lives now are ridiculously over-scheduled and crazy busy. Most of the time we are juggling a little bit of everything. Our fabled newfangled technology now means that we’re increasingly expected to be always contactable and never out of reach. This means we work more hours, even if we think it’s just a little bit here and there. We have less down time. The delineation that used to be there between work time and home time is a fluid continuum that some days doesn’t seem to even exist anymore. This is the same for our school kids, who can no longer escape a bad day but instead have it writ large on social media. We lose our me time. Our recovery. Our recharge.

There is a card that comes up a lot when I read tarot in the city, as I do once a week, that suggests taking some time to yourself. For yourself. The reaction is generally rolled eyes, perhaps a reluctant nod of the head, it has once been genuine horror. For some people the idea of even just five minutes to themselves doing something as simple as sitting in the sun with their phone out of reach and out of earshot is untenable. This is a tragedy of the highest order, the lost art of doing nothing in our modern world.

In drama, it is called “action and recovery”. This idea demands high levels of work followed by extreme levels of being idle, just sitting and doing nothing. It is a zen habit of the highest order and considered one of the most difficult to master. There are websites devoted to teaching time poor stress heads the how-to’s of this art, which strikes me as fundamentally ridiculous. Perhaps, as you are now, time spent reading about doing nothing is better spent, you know, doing nothing.

Today I spent many hours in the sunshine. I watched bees buzz in the golden rays of the lavender. I watched the wind move the trees and every so often when a cloud drifted across the brightest of blue skies, I watched it meandering too. I read a little and thought a lot. I played with my talking cat and smiley faced pup and lay on the warm ground with them. I stared out across the golden grasses waving from the paddock in front of my home and let my mind just wander. I did not call it back.

This evening as night has fallen and the hearth is crackling behind me, I feel rested and content. I feel absolutely no guilt and that makes me smile most of all. The time I took for myself today was wonderful and I am so proud of myself for making it.

This week coming, as life comes at you from all angles, take a sec Bohemians and put your feet up. Take a whole moment, a few more if you can. Schedule it in if you have to. Lock the gate and open all the doors. Turn off the phone. Back away from the screen. Get thee outside and lay on the grass in the sunshine.

It turns out that doing nothing is really something.

Kerrie is an experienced tarot reader, energy healer, astrologer and writer, living in the Lower Hunter Valley in Australia. Living out of the big smoke on a sprawling property with acres of trees, sweet rainwater filling the tank and a crackling hearth in Winter, she is connected, joining the dots between her life and this world, this earth, this place.

Bohemia has a home on Facebook, you can join the bustling community of Bohemians there for regular inspiration, and find the majority of her dreamy visual output on Instagram @bohomofo

How To Overcome Self-Doubt

By Kate James

I had always dreamed of becoming a writer. I was one of those little girls who read under the covers with a torch late into the night. Books were my most treasured friends. When I imagined a future career, I could think of nothing I would love more than to write inspiring content that would help other people to make sense of the world.

Eventually, once I had my own business and it came time to put my writing in front of other people, it wasn't just daunting - it was slightly terrifying. What if no one read it? What if no one liked it it? What if I never fulfilled this lifelong dream?

Most of us write about topics that are close to our hearts so we're not just exposing our writing, we're sharing a significant part of ourselves. It’s no wonder we have moments of self-doubt.

Over the years, I've found that there are practises that help me stay grounded.

Remember your purpose
If you haven't taken the time to work out your 'why', do this now. What is the difference you want to make most in the world with your writing? Stay true to that and always keep it at the top of your mind. When you find yourself questioning whether to continue or having moments of self-doubt, come back to your purpose. If you're staying true to that, it doesn't matter whether people like your writing or whether you have a small audience or a big one. Remember that you’re doing this for you as much as anything.

Go gently, give yourself time
Take the pressure off. This doesn't need to be a race. You can take as long as you need to. If you're under pressure to make an income from your online business or blog, it's not a cop out to take a part time role for a while to give you a little more breathing space.

Be mindful, be here
Take a deep breath and come back to this moment. Be grateful for what you've already achieved. If you'd imagined you'd be this far down the track six months or a year ago, you would have been happy but now that you're here, it’s likely that you're pushing yourself to be somewhere else. Remember to celebrate the small moments and remind yourself that the journey is even more important than the destination.

Be inspired by others
No matter where you are on the path, there'll be someone further along than you. Try not to compare yourself with others (as difficult as that can be at times) but rather, use people you admire as inspiration.  

Reconnect with the real world
It's easy to be consumed by the online world. It's addictive and alluring but it's not necessarily the place where you'll feel most grounded. Block out chunks of time every day to be offline. Reconnect with your ‘real life’ relationships and spend some time in nature to remind you that there’s still so much else in this world to be thankful for.

Kate James is a coach, mindfulness teacher and the author of ‘Believe in Yourself & Do What You Love’. She works with people who want to develop the self-belief to transition into their own creative startup. Kate can be contacted at totalbalance.com.au.

Self-Care For The Pregnant Blogger

Self-Care

By Loveday Why

Self care has at last, beautifully and naturally, come into my life during these last months of my pregnancy. I had a reasonably precarious start to this wonderful and surprise baby journey and, at one stage, was put ‘on rest’ for two months. Got to say, not even that slowed me down fully. 

I’m a naturally high energy person. The positive side is the get-it-done attitude and the creativity high; the not so helpful stuff can be the random afternoons spent feeling strung out or wiped out and, more seriously, on the brink of burn out. But today and yesterday have been self care days. Straight up. Ritual usually assists me, but these past couple of days I haven’t done anything in 

particular. A little light stretching, meditation, some relaxation tracks designed for hypnobirthing, spending time cuddling and connecting with my inside baby, writing a little, napping a little, getting outside into the sun a little, filling my body with hydrating smoothies and watching a trashy TV series. The union of zen and modern life with, at its core, carelessness. 

Because sometimes I think (for someone like me) even ‘self care’ can feel like a bit of a standard I need to live up to. If I note the warning signs and think: ‘Lovers, slow down. Go do the self care thing’ I can feel quite pressured about maximizing that time and really making it count. Whereas if I simply roll a rug out in the garden and gather some books and notebooks around me, often I’ll not open a single one. 

I’ll just stare at the sky, watch the leaves lifting, listen to the comforting chatter of the chickens, let a bee alight on me. These moments of total unstructured daydreaming stillness are the most pure form of self care for me. And I feel the relaxation pour through my body like a soothing drink for my soul. My grandfather used to say: ‘it is very important to just do nothing.’ After the war, he would sit staring out of the window for whole afternoons sometimes. Who knew what he was seeing? 

I expect if we had asked him though, he would have simply said: ‘I am seeing what is there.’ Because self care is private and it is exactly what you want and need it to be at the time. I have come to follow the moon in my self care, especially now baby is here. Full moon and new moon are intense periods of growth for this small bean, so these are naturally my slower times. I don’t rush now because there is someone else whom I simply cannot rush. Someone else who is doing more important work than I am. Someone who is co-creating their body with mine. To connect to the earth rhythms and the moon cycles is to see clearly that all things require periods of dormancy in which to regenerate. 

To have my baby guiding me already to a path of greater stillness, flexibility and pure carelessness or surrender, which to my mind is true self care, is a wonderful gift. 

Three top tips: 

  • Throw out the self-care guide book. Trust that your body will guide you into a state of complete surrender. If that means a day of absolutely nothing, so be it. Your self care doesn’t need an end game. 
  • Spend time outside in nature, walking slowly along a Winter beach while the waves roll in and out, or lying in a sunny garden while the clouds drift by. To change your perspective on life is key and nature is the best place to feel loved and wanted, yet wonderfully small. 
  • Relaxation meditation tracks on YouTube will help kick-start your self care and will wonderfully rapidly slow your mind, release adrenalin and allow for full body regeneration. 

Loveday is a writer, cook, dancer and coach, offering nutritional and spiritual wellness services from Dunedin, New Zealand. Specialising in helping those challenged by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, on her blog she shares healthy recipes and simple shifts into vibrant, heart-led living. Always on the move, always with an eye on the ocean, she is currently nesting in anticipation of her first baby coming into the world. You an find her blogging here, on Facebook or Instagram.

Image: Unsplash

 

Free DIY Printable Poster // Slow Down

Truth be told, I have trouble slowing down.

As much as I try to sit still, meditate, be present, watch the world go by and every other thing I know I should be doing, my busy brain betrays me. Fast is in my nature. I’m a fast talker, fast walker. My brain is always thinking, creating and brainstorming ideas. I like writing endless lists and dreaming up new projects. I like to be on the go, seeing, exploring, doing. But I’ve realised lately that this is a pattern I’ve created, a habit I feed on a daily basis and a disservice to the hard work that I’ve done.

There is time to be quick and productive but only if there are times to be slow and contemplate to balance it all out. So this week I am focusing on balance, I’m stepping into the slow lane and taking things down a notch. I’ve noticed that by removing the digital distractions and moving my body, only then does my mind begin to be still. I’m exploring new techniques to master the art of slowing down and while the struggle may always be there, I am well aware of this necessity to slow down. Not only for my sake but for those around me. How often do we overlook our loved ones around us that support, guide and listen to our questions, concerns, business problems and occasion breakdowns?

Sleep, rest, replenish. Move  your body, nourish.  Let go – of your disappointments, fear, self-doubt and the opinions or judgement of others. I love this article by friend, Jess Lively who honestly talks about this very subject, reminding me yet again that as bloggers we need to come together to support one another in the quest to slow down. 

Visiting Blog Society for the first time? Well a big hello to you - and here's hoping you have a kick-ass, self-care April! If you're interested in more fun content, free advice and a beautiful community of global creatives, then join our tribe here.

Balance: How To Blog While Being Fair To Your Family And To Yourself

blogging-taking-care-of-family

By Robyna May

I wonder how many times, in how many families, the scene plays out. It’s nearing dinner time. In about half an hour, baths will need to be run and children will need to be settled. An amazing idea for a blog post has entered my mind. I quickly sit down on the computer. Intending to be only a few minutes - just to jot down a rough sketch. Time ticks on and dinner doesn’t make itself. I have once again tried to snatch time that doesn’t exist and I know that I am being unfair. But I fear that if I let the idea go, I will never catch it again. This is how my blog posts are written - stolen bits and pieces of time, patched together.

When I am inspired, the words fall and I catch them. But inspiration does not wait for an appropriate time. If I schedule time to blog, I can find myself in front of a blinking cursor, desperately trying to recapture what came so easily in my head only a day ago.  If I blog when the mood takes me, then I am battling with children who are demanding my attention and a husband who wants to me manage my time better. Like so many women, I blog about being a mother and a wife.  It feels so terribly inauthentic when my words convey how much I love my children to the world and my actions convey some thing entirely different to my family.

Creative people everywhere struggle with this issue - how to feed your creative spirit whilst maintaining the other parts of your life. Passion can be all-consuming and insistent. It wears the cloak of importance and urgency so very easily. To put that passion to one side requires a discipline I find at odds with my creativity. Writing is not my only passion. I love to sew and to paint and to read. These projects are finite. Not so blogging.  A blog is not just a place to write, it is a place that needs tending. There are communities to be a part of. There are blogs to read. There are images to produce. There are skills to learn. If left unchecked, I could lose myself in the whole vortex of blogging for days.  There is always something to do on the great blogging to do list. And I am one of those people that strives to have a list full of struck off items.  

As bloggers, we have exactly the same number of hours in the day as everyone else.  Bloggers work and look for work, they care for parents, partners and children, they study, they volunteer, they spend time with friends, they have vast lives outside of blogging.  It wonder if it looks like bloggers have excess spare time they have decided to fill with words. Realistically, I think bloggers have invested time in their passion for writing. Perhaps their teenaged days were filled with journals and dubious poetry (mine were). Perhaps they have narrated their lives in their own head since they were little (I did and I do). What drives people to blog isn’t a sea of time to be filled, it’s passion and creativity and words and a desire to share. But is a passion that needs to fit within life. It needs to be balanced with partners and kids and friends and family and work. I often struggle to find that balance.

My husband doesn’t read my blog. He doesn’t understand the need to write. He knows that it takes me away from him and the kids for stretches of time. He knows that if I don’t write, I get twitchy. He knows that I need it and he thinks I should manage time better.  When the blog enjoys modest monetary success, he becomes a little more interested. But on the whole, blogging remains a mystery to him. He knows it’s important to me and so it is tolerated.  After his work and looking after our two young boys, we have precious little time for each other. Too often blogging intrudes on that time.

My kids don’t understand the blog. They want to play and they want my attention. When my arms are full of laundry or dishes, my kids understand that I am doing chores - that I cannot play right at that moment. When I sit down to the computer, my one year old reaches out for me. My six year old wants to know why he can’t have screen time if mummy is.

To be the best version of me, I need a creative outlet. At the moment, that outlet is blogging. In that space I am more than mum and more than wife. I can test out ideas, I can push boundaries and I can push myself. I meet interesting people. I learn incredible things. It is a window to a wide and beautiful world. But sometimes I need to make a choice, close that window and focus on my family.

I have thought about ways to create balance this year.  Here are the things that I think will work for me: 

  • Scheduling time specifically for blogging and communicating that with my family. With the understanding that blogging time is mine and I should not be interrupted. On the other side, I won’t blog on the computer or phone outside of that time.
  • Within the schedule, include all the various blogging tasks and focus on them ONLY when they come up. 
  • A constant notepad and pen for capturing the fragments of inspiration. Taking down a word or phrase should be enough to access the memories at a later date.
  • Understanding what is urgent, what is important and what is neither. Making sure that my priorities align with what I really want my life to look like.
  • Making time for myself that doesn’t include writing or blogging.
  • Understanding that not all life experiences need to be translated into blog posts, not every drink and dinner needs to be instagrammed and not every joyous moment with my boys needs to be on Facebook.
  • Investing time and money in writing workshops and training so that I can trust myself to write both when the inspiration is running hot and when I need to dig deeper.
  • Avoiding the comparison trap.
  • Remember why I blog in the first place and hold fast to it.

I honestly believe that being able to express creativity through blogging makes me a better person, mother and wife. But it cannot consume all of my spare time. Excuse me, I am off to play with my children and kiss my husband.

Robyna May writes as one half as the Mummy and the Minx, a blog dedicated to empowering mothers and inspiring minxes.  She writes about getting the mojo back into your life after kids and expanding possibilities when they contract after having babies. Her passions are writing and creating beautiful things. She has unkempt hair, a crazy, messy house, a racing brain and a heart overflowing with love.