twentytwentyone

I mean, how do you even begin this post? I love writing these yearly posts but this year is just hitting a little different isn’t it? I don’t want to spend much time speaking about the elephant in the room, cos at this point we all know what’s up. I’m finding that constant mention of the pandemic is making my heart race. I’m sure it’s the same for many of you. So instead I want to just keep this post short and hopeful. Short because I don’t have much hope in me right now. Hopeful because we can’t exist without it. Whatever the situation, no matter how deep into it you are, no matter how much your mental health is holding on by a fraying thread, no matter how much you want to give up, no matter how much you’re dying for a hug or a proper pint or a maskless breath of fresh air, I think there is always hope.

Every single thing that happens in your life is temporary.

Read that again.

Every single thing that happens in your life is temporary.

I’m obviously not talking about death (etc.) here, don’t try and get smart with me. But what I mean is that every feeling and mindset and set of circumstances you find yourself in will be fleeting. Your world twists and turns and evolves constantly. Often quicker than you can keep up with. (2020, am I right?) A lot of things in our lives will feel out of our control, and honestly, a fucking lot of it is. But a lot of it isn’t. And that’s all we’ve got. So that’s what we should focus on. That’s where we find our hope. Make it tangible not abstract. Regain autonomy of our lives amongst the madness and fear. So I think that’s what we should all work on this year.

Just take a deep breath. Right now, go ahead, I’ll wait.

Okay. Push out of your brain all the things in your life right now that are unchangeable. I won’t list any because we all know the things that relate to ourselves specifically. Now I want you to let the things you can control float to your mind’s forefront. What is there? Maybe make a mental list. For me, a couple of things popping up are what I read, what activities I give my spare time to, how I nourish my body (mental/physical).

These are the things that are going to give us hope this year. So spend a little time thinking about what you would like from them. Maybe you’re into resolutions so you quantify your thoughts and write a list of goals. Maybe you’re not and you just think abstractly for a moment. Whatever works for you. But what I want you to do, any time over the next few months that you feel overwhelmed or hopeless or that you’re spiralling. Just stop. Everything. Pause for a second. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. Then circle back to this little list and think of one small thing you can do that day to develop one of them. Could be a walk. Could be putting a frozen pizza in. Could be watching your favourite tv show. Could be a nap. Could be as simple as getting yourself a cup of water. The things we’re controlling this year are not big. They’re the inconsequential every day, that all link together to become the most important parts of our lives. You might not be flying to Bali this year but you might give yourself ten minutes each day to journal and that is equally magical.

So what am I focussing on this year? A couple of little things.

  • I want to move my body more, however that feels right each day. Could be a run, yoga, some pilates. Could just be a walk. I’d like to incorporate more walks into my week, something positive I’m taking out of 2020.
  • I want to drink more water. I used to drink a lot but I’ve noticed now I’m usually sipping a black coffee. Oops!
  • I want to start working on my novel again. I didn’t touch it at all last year. Yikes. But I’m starting super small with just reading what I have and fixing any typos. You can have bigger goals but just break them down and down until they’re achievable little actionable tasks.
  • I want to read widely but slowly and intentionally. I had a very intense reading year last year, and I’m glad I did it and I had a lot of fun. But it was a lot. This year I want to find some new favourite books but I also want to fit in some tv, haha.
  • I want to connect better with my friends. I’m a famously bad messager but I don’t want to be. And checking in with people is so important, even more so now. So I’m working on it.
  • Oh and I want to buy a house. That’s not small but damn it, it’s happening!

So this ended up being a medium sized post. Turns out I had more hope than I realised. I hope you do too.

If you need help, reach out. To somebody, anybody. Could be me, doesn’t have to be. But don’t suffer alone. We truly are all in this together. And we’re surely reaching the home stretch now.

I hope your twentytwentyone is sublime.

Peace x

Kyoto – Phoebe Bridgers

ASMR for Beginners

So you may have heard of ASMR. Or have a vague understanding of it. Oh it’s that weird thing when people whisper in your ear or tap things or crunch carrots or something, right? From the outside ASMR seems so bizarre. I’ve sort of known about it for a while now but just never got round to exploring it. I thought it was weird and didn’t know if I’d ever enjoy it. But I wanted to know more. So what is it? Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is the experience of a tingling or static sensation on your skin. You can feel it all over your body but usually it begins on the scalp. It is typically triggered by sound or visuals and it induces positive feelings, relaxation and even low-grade euphoria. No wonder millions of people keep talking about it then.

Recently a Booktuber I follow posted a video titled: ASMR: reading you Harry Potter||Conniebell. And I thought, you know what, I like Harry Potter and I have been wanting to see what all the fuss is about so I gave it a go. Did I like it? Jesus, it was weirdly relaxing.

In that particular video the girl does a quick bit of book tapping then reads the first chapter to you in a whisper. I know what you’re thinking. What the heck is book tapping? Ha. I thought that too! But I was just about to go to bed, had my lights out and was just listening to the video and when she tapped the book I could feel electricity on my skin. I had the same sensation on my head as when someone gives you a head massage. Euphoric. I felt goose bumps. And I thought, alright, I’ll play. So I started scouring Youtube to discover a bit more about ASMR. See the thing with the relaxation technique is that there’s so many different types. And you may hate some but love others. So you just have to search for the types you like.

I started my research with books and found I really like book tapping which is simply someone tapping their fingers on a book. It definitely give me low-grade euphoria; it’s like an invisible hug. A lot of people also do book scratching which I don’t particularly like. In real life when my nails scratch on something it kind of goes through me so I wasn’t surprised I didn’t enjoy the book scratching, but I’m keeping an open mind for the future. I also found, at least in terms of book ASMR, that I prefer there to be no talking whereas other people love that.

As I widen my search I found three channels I liked (Gibi ASMR, ASMR Darling and ASMR Rooms) but there are thousands out there for you to discover. The two former channels do a large range of different ASMR. Both do videos where they tap different random objects which I think is my favourite. I don’t mind talking in those. Another type that AMSR Darling does is she acts like the camera and microphone are you and gives face and head massages etc. I was skeptical but I thought it was quite relaxing. I’d definitely suggest trying a massive range of videos when you’re experimenting. Just because you think you won’t like it doesn’t mean you will. The final channel ASMR Rooms is this lovely channel where the woman makes hour long videos of different rooms in books. I listen to the Harry Potter ones. So say, for example, you click on the Hogwarts Library video it’ll be an hour of pages turning, fire crackling, pen scratching. It’s just audio of what would be in that specific room. I also like the Forest of Dean video. As these videos are so long I normally use them as background noise when I meditate or for when I fall asleep. But how you use any video is totally up to you!

I’m a definite beginner to ASMR but I’m interested to see where it takes me. There’s many types I have not discovered yet but I’m excited to and I’ll keep you updated on my progress. So this week’s self-care task for you is to go and explore ASMR. I challenge you to not find at least one sensation that works for you.

Peace.

Wait For It – Hamilton Original Broadway Soundtrack (because I cannot stop listening to this album thanks to Beth!)

journal prompts for beginners

So I get that journaling can seem a little intimidating if you’re new to it. Or maybe you’re a practised journaler but sometimes just stare at the page wondering what to write. I’ve been both of those people. And it can be off putting. But I truly believe that the practise of writing your thoughts down can bring many benefits to your life so this week I’m going to give you some journal prompts to get you started. Simply pick one and start writing.

1. What actually got you to this point? Why have you sat down and opened a notebook to write?

2. What scares you?

3. What is something you don’t like about yourself and how can you change?

4. List all the places you want to go in the world. Why do you want to go there?

5. Write about the movie you saw most recently.

6. Write a letter to your future or past self.

7. What it stopping you from being happy?

8. What are you grateful for?

9. What does your ideal day look like?

10. Write about someone who inspires you.

11. What do you day dream about?

12. Write about why you love yourself.

13. What do you need more of in your life?

14. Write a letter to a friend that you’ll never send.

15. Simply write about your day. Step by step, what you did.

Happy writing, kids.

Peace.

Did We Miss The Morning? – Seafret