28 January 2022
20 January 2022
“Where’s the green” she frowned at my painting. I hadn’t actually asked for her opinion and was a little taken aback. The colours were ones I liked. When I’d picked them I hadn’t planned on justifying my choices to anyone else.
“More ice cream, less sisters” was the feedback from my tutor. It was a two hander play about sisters. I didn’t get it. Wouldn’t less sisters mean more stage time for melting confectionary? Sounded more like performance art than a play to me.
Often feedback can feel disheartening, baffling or irrelevant whether you’ve asked for it or not. It’s not the fault of the person giving it to you, they’re telling you what they think. It’s on us to get from feedback what’s going to be useful for us and leave the rest. This is how I approach it now..
This week I’ve been complimented on my hardcore exercising habit, my soothing voice (someone suggested I’d be good at voice over work which was cool),the style of my writing and the ultimate compliment, I won a writing competition. Not too long ago I would have cringed to tell you that.
22 December 2021
I worked my tail off on that project. I didn’t feel I had a natural affinity for photography, not the professional kind. I was more point and shoot. Apertures and F stops put my head in a spin. So when my photography teacher told me I was doing excellent work I was chuffed until…
7 December 2021
30 November 2021
I haven’t painted since I was at school. It was one of my favourite subjects. I could spend three days painting the one picture, lost in my flow. Even a picture of a gate.
But I wasn’t encouraged to do art at university. Both my teachers and parents persuaded me it wasn’t a useful subject to take. So instead I took history and didn’t paint or draw a thing for over a decade until…
I used to be the kind of person who waited for the muse to strike. I’d drop a project for days or weeks even until I felt in the mood to work on it. When my imagination was firing on all cylinders it felt amazing. In the fallow times it felt like I’d never have an idea again.
26 November 2021
17 November 2021
I was writing a ‘who done it’. I had my setting. I had my lead character, victims, multiple suspects and motives coming out of my ears. But how was I going to choose who done it?
I love the early stages of creating something new when you get lost in your imagination. When bursts of inspiration come to you while you’re walking along, ideas tumbling into your head as you shower. It’s exciting, full of possibility, a rich seam ripe for picking.
But sometimes it’s a bit much and you just want to work out who done it. That’s what it was like for me with my play. I was stuck in that initial brainstorm phase. How was I going to decide how to progress as all the different ideas jostled for my attention?
11 November 2021
It was Monday morning again and I’d scheduled in time to write some blog posts. Usually I love writing, seeing the story form in front of your eyes. Refining it like a gardener pruning a bush into a pleasing shape. But today I’d been noodling around at the edges of it all morning, feeling busy but not really getting anywhere. Essentially killing time until the weekly check in with my coaching group.
“So how is your day going?” The coach went around the Zoom room asking each of us. And that’s when I admitted it for the first time -
8 November 2021
“Stop making things up” came the irritated voice from the bench behind me. I took a sly peek over my shoulder to see a dejected little girl, candy floss in hand, being told in no uncertain terms that unicorns do not exist. And even if they did they would not be found paddling at the seaside.
My heart ached for her. This was one of many blows to her imagination she would have to face in the years to come -
As a creative it’s easy to get lost in the detail, particularly if you’re a perfectionist. A whole project can be held up while you debate the perfect word choice, shade of pink or width of a line. When I start to agonise over the details I think about this…
28 October 2021
This morning I’ve been battling with tech. A fifteen minute recording I thought would be child’s play turned into much more of a palava when the software refused to recognise the mic. It could have set me off kilter for the rest of the day.
18 October 2021
13 October 2021
Back when I was a graphic designer there’d be times I’d find myself staring at a blank screen worrying my last idea was the best I’d ever have. Some days I felt I was churning out utter rubbish and decided I was done as a designer, spent. I’d have sleepless nights tossing and turning as my brain desperately tried to come up with the goods. Which funnily enough didn’t help and the next day I would be more tired and feel even less creative.
Even now it’s tempting to keep staring at the blank screen when I feel stuck despite the fact I know it doesn’t help. What has changed is I’m a lot quicker now at realising it isn’t helping and I have a few go to methods to share with you which get the ideas flowing again.
I don’t like The Great British Bake Off. There, my guilty secret is out. Sorry but I’m more interested in eating cake than baking or looking at them. Cookery shows just aren’t up there for me. I do however have a grudging respect for the show and a soft spot in my heart for Nadiya Hussain.
27 July 2020
21 July 2020
You know you need some respite from the stress of this crazy world. The full on demands of your job. The mountain of emails you plough through every evening to try and head off the next day’s avalanche. The chaos going on in your mind.
Maybe you’ve signed up for the gym or meditation classes but you haven’t managed to make it there with everything else you have going on. You know you need to relax but somehow it always ends up at the bottom of your to-do list.
Doing an hour of yoga or meditation every day sounds nice but it’s never going to happen. You get up early enough as it is and there’s no time when you get home. So what can you do to relieve stress and rebalance?
13 July 2020
Your life is stressful -
- You worry about the future and ruminate on the past.
- It feels like it’s been going on for a long time.
- You don’t know how it started or maybe you do (bad period at work, anxious parental role models). It might be one thing or ten things.
- You might be frustrated with yourself for stressing over tiny inconsequential things.
- You’re fed up of it and want rid of this stress and anxiety
- Where do you start?
6 July 2020
Not dealing with the bills, not progressing with our careers, not making that important phone call. There are lots of things in life which stress us out and we know we’d feel better if we got on and did them but often we don’t.
The effects of long term stress can be unpleasant. Bad digestion, poor sleep, lowered immunity and trouble making decisions can all be effects of stress. So when we know what it is that’s stressing us out why don’t we get on and deal with it?
2 July 2020
Often it’s what we’re saying to ourselves in our heads which stresses us out. “I’m never going to get that promotion, I’m not good enough.” “It’s all going to be a disaster.”
No wonder we don’t feel good when we have a running commentary of doom and gloom whispering in our ear 24/7. How exhausting, and demoralizing.
So what’s the alternative?
Don’t think bad thoughts? Wouldn’t that be nice. But I’m not going to tell you not to have the thoughts because if you could do that I’m pretty sure you would have already.
With the recent changes thrust upon us lately by the coronavirus many of us are learning just how much we can do online. Zoom, a platform many of us had never heard of before lockdown may now be your best buddy.
24 June 2020
16 June 2020
Okay I’m not saying a massage is going to make you feel you’re the best thing since sliced bread. It won’t make you go from hiding in the corner at parties to being the compere. However what regular relaxation can do for you is help you to gain a more balanced view of things.
It doesn’t sound much but it’s huge. Imagine not blaming yourself for everything that happens including the weather or beating yourself up because you’re not perfect. When you’re more relaxed it’s easier to live with mistakes and misunderstandings and enjoy the imperfect parts of life.
Many relaxation techniques are built around progressive muscle relaxation or breathing and for good reason, they’re very effective. However if you’re someone who’s weirded out by their own body sensations you’re not alone. Of course it would be great for you to become calm and at ease with those sensations, and that’s something you can work on. However in the meantime when you’re stressed or anxious it’s good to have some techniques you know will help you to relax.
8 June 2020
4 June 2020
We all get frazzled sometimes. Life gets on top of us. Too much to do, too little time. The demands of work and family. Stress of illness or uncertainty. With the lifestyle changes we’ve all made recently due to Coronavirus we may have more stress and anxiety in our lives than ever.
With thoughts swirling around our heads and the physical stress on our bodies it can feel like a cycle we can’t get out of. But there are things we can do ourselves to help reduce the effects of stress and anxiety.
There are three main categories of relaxation.
Being grounded in the moment Physical relaxation Using your imagination to relax Being grounded in the moment Being grounded in the moment is often called mindfulness. It’s bringing yourself into the here and now by paying attention to the moment you’re in. For example noticing what you can hear, see, smell, touch, taste.
When you think about it how often is what’s stressing you out actually happening right now?
28 May 2020
It’s not always about learning to meditate or starting a yoga class.There are many ways to relax.
One person’s relaxation might be another’s nightmare and vice versa. You might love to plonk away on the piano, do DIY, paint, write stories or read books. Cycling might be your thing or gardening.
Most of us have done something at some point which absorbed our attention, got us into that flow state and helped us relax.
18 May 2020
Sometimes a dark cloud can descend on you out of nowhere. Suddenly you might find yourself worrying about something you said to someone or playing the old ‘what if’.
Other times it can be a feeling which hits you out of nowhere. Just as soon as they come those thoughts and feelings can go but if they don’t there’s a method you can use to send them on their way.
18 April 2020
Tossing and turning. Demanding the thought go away but finding it’s still there three hours later gnawing at you. Even a small niggle can feel like a huge mountain of a problem after the sun goes down. It’s difficult to let things lie when they’re not resolved. It’s like our brains go into overdrive, prodding us to stay awake and do something about it. So how can we put them to rest and get some shut eye?
18 April 2020
You know relaxing is good for you and you want to do it. The only trouble is whenever you start you find yourself nodding off. Maybe you’re the person at yoga who always falls asleep at the end and is embarrassed when they wake up snoring. Maybe, like someone I know, you went to meditation classes but sat there digging your fingernails into your leg to stop you snoozing. You might even find you’ve become anxious about relaxing as you worry about nodding off.
18 April 2020
You’re in limbo right now, like everyone else. When will we have this Covid 19 beat? When will the kids go back to school? When can you stop working from your kitchen table and get a decent cup of coffee? You don’t know how long it will be before you can go for coffee with your friends or visit your family. You can’t make definitive plans and us humans like making plans.
18 April 2020
You might be aware you need to relax more but you struggle to justify spending time chilling out when you have a to do list longer than your arm. How can you justify the time to laze around when that project isn’t going to finish itself or those dishes are waiting to be washed? It’s a bit like stretching, you know you should be doing it but it’s not as sexy as pumping iron and getting a sweat up.
18 April 2020
With Coronavirus virus keeping us all indoors massages, drinks with friends or whatever methods you usually use to relieve stress may not be on the menu. On the other hand being at home more doesn’t necessarily mean you have more time if you’re trying to work, look after someone else or homeschool.
Luckily there are ways to relax at home which you can incorporate into your day without taking up more time.
18 April 2020
Worrying whether you sent that email, stressing over getting your project in on time, feeling anxious about a meeting. Overbearing boss, your spouse, kids, parents, utility bills, demanding customers, stress can come from anywhere. And it keeps coming day after day like a relentless wave. You might find yourself tossing and turning at night chewing it over or losing time staring into space trying to think of solutions through a fog of panic.
18 April 2020
It might be tempting to sit on the sofa drinking wine and ordering pizza while you’re stuck indoors but your body, and your mind, won’t thank you. Late nights and bad food won’t do anything for your stress and anxiety levels. And with everything that’s going on in the news and social media right now your levels may well be high. You’re mind and body are not separate entities. If you want to feel relaxed you need to look after them both.