I want to do something a little unusual today – and talk about a Topic. I have a book-related point, but the thought came from a non-bookish place.
I have seen so many posts recently on the blogosphere, on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, where people are talking about the ways they are struggling and what they’re doing to help themselves. It’s amazing to feel that we can be open about these things, we don’t have to pretend we’re ok all the time. Why should we? And I think that telling your story is really important not only for yourself, opening that up, but also because you don’t know who might be helped by it.
So, I wanted to talk about some of the resources which support me when I’m having a rough time. Some bookish, some non-bookish with a book-related twist. Everything can be bookish if you try hard enough, right?
My confession: I have wicked anxiety. It’s gotten worse over the last year, and it can swing to feeling really low pretty easily. It’s something which I struggle with, it can be really debilitating, and it has actually cost me some really important people and opportunities – which is just something I have to accept. Sometimes I am not the easiest person to be around, I make mistakes and can be really difficult, because I’m not in a good place myself. And I can’t always do everything, which frustrates the poop out of me. But all of that has to be ok. This is the journey that I’m on.
So, that’s where I’m coming from. I’m not particularly embarrassed by it… But it isn’t something I talk about much either.
And what do I do about it…? Well. As you all know, books are an amazing form of escapism, and I definitely retreat to my favourite worlds when I need a break. But I wanted to talk about some of the other tools which really support me. And, if you’re going through some stuff right now, maybe it will help you too…
I love this woman! It would be no exaggeration to say that her yoga series changed my life. I went from a non-functioning mess, to a functioning one, in the space of about a year. Yoga isn’t for everyone, I know, but it enables me to be balanced and calmer, it helps me deal with my jitters, and it just gets me out of my own head and out of my own way. Plus, it’s free! Free is good.
There are some fantastic books about yoga, but seriously, do yourself a favour and just check Adriene’s YouTube channel!
Magic! Yes. Obviously… But also, aromatherapy!
I was brought up in a really science-y family, and things like essential oils were very much derided as non-scientific, mumbojumbo, claptrap. I get it, people make some really outlandish claims about essential oils! You hear people talking absolute rubbish, and it’s off-putting. But it isn’t all like that, and I’ve found them really helpful.
If you’re looking for a gentler, more holistic way of supporting yourself, I highly recommend you look into aromatherapy. It’s been so good for me.
I’ve found these books super helpful:
Neal’s Yard is an amazing shop in London’s Covent Garden, which sells all kinds of oils and things that smell good. There are so many recipes and ideas in this book, and it’s just super, super pretty.
This book is the least pretty, but the most useful for anyone just starting out with essential oils. It has all the basic “this is what this is”, and some easy beginner tips. There is a plug for Young Living, who are a company that deals in essential oils, but you can ignore that if you want.
The most technical of the three books, I love the illustrations and the more detailed background to aromatherapy in this book.
If you don’t know where to begin, I recently got my Young Living Starter Kit. It isn’t the cheapest, but it is the best value for money, and they have the best quality oils. Plus, they have a charitable foundation which supports local communities.
The Premium Starter Kit costs £125 and comes with 12 oils and a really cute diffuser. They also have an Essential Rewards programme where you sign up for a £50 minimum recurring order of oils every month, or other products, and you get free stuff.
Anyone who’s heard me talk about ARCs knows that I. Like. Free. Stuff…
I feel like it’s genetic… True story, my grandmother has visited an assisted living facility she has no intention of going into about six times, because they give her a free M&S voucher every time. We’ll go a long way for some free stuff in my family…
I’m currently surviving on a combination of:
When I joined Young Living and got my Starter Kit, I enrolled through a friend and she got me involved in all the Facebook groups. I’ve made some wonderful friends through those groups, and I’ve found it’s a great place for support and encouragement.
If anyone else is interested in aromatherapy and would like to try it out, please do get in touch! I have a contact page, send me an email or drop me a line in the comments. I’ll whip you something up, post it right over. It costs me basically nothing, I already have the oils, and I’d just be super happy to help you and share the oil love. Free stuff, right? It’s something we do a lot in my oil groups, and I’m really enjoying that sharing process – so I wanted to extend it over here!
Most of us here are frustrated writers… Anyway, I know I am… In my head I’m already a super famous author with an assistant, six dogs, a big house in the countryside, and am indulging my eccentricities. I just need to write that bestseller, already… Anyway, I think for those of us who write, who need a non-verbal outlet, and are maybe a little on the introverted side – journaling can be a great release.
This is a very female-centric recommendation. So, apologies to the gentlemen! Nothing saying a man wouldn’t appreciate Bleeding Ink, but it does have a focus on the female experience.
I love the different prompts and ideas for things to journal about, I feel like the book really gets you thinking about things in a different way. It’s very positive and assertive, and just generally gives you that kick up the butt. If you follow Brooke on Facebook or Instagram it’s just a great community of people who are happy to talk about their experiences, very supportive, and I’m sure you’ll end up making some great friends there.
Mindfulness is a great tool to have in your belt. It helps you stay focused, reduces stress and anxiety, and is something even qualified mental health practitioners are recommending these days. I like The Mindful Life Journal a lot, I thought it was non-jargony, non-cringe, and full of helpful quotes and ideas. It was a useful resource.
There are thousands of other things you probably do to support yourself when the waters of life get a wee bit choppy. These are just three things which work for me! What other things do you do, bookish and non-bookish? What books do you recommend for when we hit those bumps?
And, if you do want to try the oils, please let me know. Go to the contact page or drop me a comment down below!