Lifting my emotions in 2018

This month I’ve been taking part in RED January – a community of people who’ve committed to being active every day in January. So far I’ve been on 7 runs and taken 7 long walks. It’s had the benefit of getting me outside on days when I would rather not have, which turned out to be just what I needed.  If you’d asked me this time last year if I wanted to do this, I’d have laughed out loud. So how did I get to this point?

At the end of 2017 I decided that I wanted to spend some time on myself. It had been a hard year and I felt drained and quite low. I didn’t want to spend a huge amount of money on city breaks or spa days (although I do love those too!). I wanted to find some things that would boost me in an on-going way. Here are some of the things I did in 2018 to boost myself:

Running

I’ve been running on and off for years, all the time wanting to enjoy it but never really getting to that point. In 2018 I took steps to help me enjoy it more and I’ve continued that into 2019. One of the best things I’ve discovered is Park Run – a timed 5k run every Saturday morning at 9am. The joy of Park Run is threefold: it’s not a race, it’s very friendly and you’re never last as there’s always a tail walker who crosses the finish line after everyone else. Tonbridge Park Run is incredibly well attended, with at least 500 people every week. It’s that feeling of being part of something big that’s so encouraging.

I first started running using the couch to 5k app by the NHS. A friend and I ran together using it and the slow build up of stamina, across 9 weeks, was great for building our confidence.

I then discovered an amazing app called Zombies Run! which tells a story, interspersed with your own play list. It’s written by Naomi Alderman (who wrote The Power) and throws you into a post Zombie apocalypse world where you are Runner5, sent out on missions to rescue people, find supplies and investigate various conspiracies. It’s funny too and I found it really kept me interested and motivated to go on a run.

This year I’ve joined Beginners 2 Runners. My aim is to increase my amount of runs to 3 per week. Beginners 2 Runners helps complete beginners to build up to running 5k. It also has a 5 – 10k course as well as bi-weekly runs of 5k or over with a group of like minded people. I’ve really enjoyed my runs so far and everyone’s really friendly. What a great find!

Gratitude Journal

I’ve been using a gratitude journal for a couple of years now and I love it. Every evening I write down one thing that made me happy/feel good that day. Sometimes I struggle to find something and some days I have lots to record. It makes me focus on the positives in my days. I also love to look back on previous months and see the build up of good things. I’ve always found something to note down, even on the toughest days.

 

 

 

Creativity

This one’s so important for me. Even with a creative job like photography, I still feel the need to create in other ways too. In 2018, the wonderful Tonbridge Creates started. It’s a pop up shop, that sells work by local artists and crafters. They also run courses and I went along to two workshops by Hannah and her Press on how to linocut. It was so lovely to do something completely different from my job and take away a linocut print I was proud of. Hannah’s workshops are so well priced and she’s a mine of information and creativity.

Being creative is so important. It reduces stress, gives you a sense of achievement and you can fit it into your day fairly easily. Imagination is a muscle, it needs to be exercised to keep it in shape. Children are really good at this but we often lose it as we grow up. Creativity helps build that imaginative part of ourselves and adds a whole different side to our lives.

Reading

I wrote a blog about this at the end of last year. I love reading and I had a plan to get back into it in 2018. Take a read here:
http://hushabye-photography.co.uk/babies/reading-in-2018
Basically, if you feel you haven’t got time to read then step away from the computer and make time, it’s doable.
There is another option though, how about audio books? Even though I love reading books, I also love listening to audio books (not at the same time!) I listen to them when I’m editing my shoots, cooking or even in the car.

In Conclusion

These are just 4 things I tried in 2018 to help me feel more like myself again. They might not chime with you or you might not have time for them all but I hope they inspire you to find some time for yourself. Last of all, I battled with feeling guilty about spending time on myself last year. My advice is: Don’t feel guilty! You are an important person and deserve to spend time on yourself x