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How to enhance your creativity using white space



Have you ever noticed that all of your best ideas come to you in the most unusual places. Like when you are in the shower or just about to fall asleep or driving your car? 


So basically just about any place you are unlikely to have a pen and paper lying around, right?  


One theory for why that may be is that all of the above are examples of mental white spaces. 


I’ve been really fascinated to discover this idea of mental white spaces and how they can help you to enhance your creativity. 


Because ask any writer, the thing about creativity is that it needs space to breathe. It is near impossible to work our creative muscles when we feel overwhelmed or under pressure. 


For us to be at our creative best, we need freedom, a fresh mind and a willingness to let go.




You may have heard of white space before. 


In page layout, illustration and design, white space is known as negative space. It is the portion of the page or canvas that is left unmarked. It is the space between any writing, pictures or diagrams. 


It is called negative space rather than blank space, because white space actually has a very important purpose. 


White space provides visual relief and allows our focus to be drawn to the other important elements in the design.


As I am beginning to learn with my wardrobe, a lot of colours and patterns mashed together can be overwhelming to look at and that is why white space is used, to create balance.


The idea of mental white space is much the same. 


There are certain activities and daily rhythms that provide balance and mental relief for us. It is these moments of repetition and calm where your mind is free to wander that your creativity can be unleashed. 


So how do you go about adding more white space into your life?




Enhance your creativity by using mental white space:


Just consume less 


As tempting as it is to avoid being alone with our thoughts, it isn’t very helpful for our creativity if we spend all our time consuming masses of information. 


I know this is hard because I am a huge information junkie. I LOVE reading blog posts and news articles, listening to podcasts, and watching YouTube videos. I’d much rather scroll through the apps on my phone than sit quietly while waiting for the kettle to boil.


But one of the easiest ways you can bring more mental white space into your life is to simply consume less information. That means not filling up every quiet moment you have in the day by scrolling on your phone. 


Instead, make use of those mundane tasks like washing the dishes or putting the grocery shopping away to practice being present in the moment and allow your mind to wander. 



Go for a walk


Yes, I know this tip is on every single self help list ever, but I won’t apologise for putting it here. 


Going for a walk gets you out of your current space and into a new environment. Outside there are so many things to observe and take inspiration from.


Moving your body also has this magic effect of relieving stress and bringing mental clarity. So a simple walk can be all it takes to bring forth a brilliant idea that’s been hidden away underneath all your stress.



Try free writing


Elizabeth Gilbert talks about free writing in the form of ‘morning pages.’ The practice of just writing down whatever thoughts come to mind first thing in the morning. 


Free writing is great because it takes a lot of the pressure out of writing. I think part of the reason we get creative blocks is that often when we write, we have an agenda.


We want to get a blog post published, a caption crafted or an email sent. And even in my journal I can become unconsciously controlling about the words I write, steering clear of those tricky, uncomfortable emotions. 


So just taking the time to spill whatever thoughts are in our heads onto paper can enhance our creativity. 


Free writing can bring forth things that are keeping us stuck, as well as ideas that may later be useful for some project or other.




Get creative


Something I find so refreshing when I experience writer’s block or a dip in my creativity, is to work on something completely different. 


I like to branch out into some other creative discipline, to give myself a break while still using my imagination.


For me, that looks like taking to my sewing machine.


It is totally different to writing but it also requires thinking outside the box and coming up with new ideas. Also, the whirring of the machine as it casts stitches is somewhat hypnotic and thoroughly relaxing.


But you don’t need to be a whizz with a needle and thread. You could try painting, creating stop motion videos, pottery, needlepoint, the options are exciting and endless!


Stop rushing


I’m absolutely terrible at slowing down. I love having a plan and getting things done.


This has a negative effect, being that I tend to rush through my days hopping from task to task. Sometimes while I am working on one task I’ve got another five things I need to get done swirling around in my head, fighting for my attention.


Creating white space could be as simple as slowing down and giving your full attention and time to the task at hand. I think this is especially important for tasks that seem trivial, such as folding the laundry or vacuuming the floors. As I mentioned earlier, those mundane moments are often when our best ideas come to us.


Taking your time in those boring daily tasks could actually be exactly what you need to enhance your creativity.


I’m definitely going to be making more of an effort to decrease my consumption of information, so that my creativity has space to breathe.


And I think slowing down wouldn’t be the worst idea either!


Have you heard of mental white space before?

How embracing hygge can help you beat the winter blues



When we made the decision to move back home we never really gave the difference in temperatures a thought, and then winter hit and we became very aware of that difference.


Both of us had grown accustomed to Auckland’s coastal humidity and frequent, unpredictable showers. Our home town is further south and inland, so the climate here is quite different to that of Auckland.


In winter, we often wake to find frost blanketing the backyard, and our breath swirling in clouds around us. It is rather chilly walking across the kitchen floor and condensation is constantly dripping down the windows. 


On the whole, I have found the obvious shift in the seasons to be refreshing.


There is something about that visible change that seems to make me more aware of time passing and therefore, I am more mindful as each day goes by.


However, I am still not immune to the blues that many face during the winter period.


I hate how a great deal of the day is lost in darkness. I hate how I feel sluggish, slower and less motivated to get things done. I hate that my fingers get so numb that I struggle to use my keyboard.


Winter is hard. 


But there are some people who know exactly how best to beat the winter blues because they have to endure much longer winters than the rest of us. 


You have probably heard of ‘hygge’ by now, the Danish secrets to embracing the winter season.


In Denmark, winter is cold, long and dark. Some days they only get 7 hours of daylight and therefore, they need to find ways to help keep their spirits up, which is where hygge comes in.


Last year, I read ‘The little book of hygge’ by Meik Wiking (which is really great by the way) and in it he describes hygge as,

an atmosphere and the experience, it is not about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling we are safe that we are shielded from the world…to be able to let our guard down”


In the book, Meik shares his hygge manifesto which is accompanied by lovely little drawings. I liked it so much that it is printed out and stuck on our fridge. 


Since this is the first proper winter I have experienced in the past five years, I have been trying to put hygge into practice.


To make the most of this season and to keep myself in good spirits until our side of the planet warms up again.




How embracing hygge can help you beat the winter blues:


Dressing for the season


Something I love about winter is that the temperature stays relatively consistent. I can bundle up in multiple layers without worrying that by midday I’ll be too hot/cold.


The key to being cheerful in winter is dressing for the season.


Alfred Wainwright said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” I have to agree with him. I don’t mind muddy ground, icy winds or drippy rain if I am dressed for the occasion.


And the great thing about winter fashion is that simply flinging a coat and scarf on can make any outfit look stylish.




Eating seasonal produce


I am passionate about eating with the seasons. As tempting as it may be to eat tomatoes, peaches or capsicum in the winter just because we can, I choose not to.


Winter fruits and vegetables are perfect right now. They are ripe, cheap to purchase and suited to the kind of meals I’ll probably eating.


Pumpkin whizzes up perfectly into soup that warms me from the inside out. Oranges are sweet and contain vitamin C to help me fight off colds. Potatoes, onions and carrots add bulk to stews that are comforting after being outside in the chilly wind.  


Eating seasonally just makes more sense.


Creating a cozy home


We have almost covered the entire perimeter of our flat in fairy lights at this point and I’m not at all sorry about it. I love the warm, soft lighting that they provide in contrast to the stark white light bulbs we currently have (that I refuse to get rid of until they blow.)


To make our home more cozy I have come to terms with the fact that there will always be a red blanket strewn haphazardly across our brown couch that clashes horrendously. You win some battles and others you must concede. 


One battle I do intend to win is against that musty, wintery smell that can linger when the house stays closed up for too long. I have several room sprays that I use on rotation that work like a charm.




Chasing the sunshine


The hardest part of winter for me is the lack of sunlight. After days and days of grey skies, I start to feel really off and so I am learning to chase the sunshine.


Whenever there is even the tiniest hint of sunshine, I will sit outside and eat my lunch. I find that even those few minutes over lunchtime or while I hang my washing out on the line make a world of difference to how I feel.  


There isn’t an awful lot of sunshine so you have to make the most of it while you can.


Bringing the outdoors, indoors


One of my favourite hygge ideas to adopt was including more natural elements in our home.


For me, that was just an excuse to fill our living room with plants, plants and more plants. 


Having an array of houseplants brings me such peace. I love watering them and misting the fussy ones and making sure they are getting enough sunlight.


But if you lack green fingers, then other natural elements you can bring into your home could be logs, wooden furniture, pine cones, dried flowers, grasses, seed pods and woolen rugs.




Gathering with friends


Due to the bleak weather, going out in winter isn’t always possible or very enjoyable but that doesn’t mean your social life has to come to a grinding halt.


Having friends around for supper is such a nice way to spend a dreary winter night. It doesn’t have to be a big drama to host either, just get everyone to bring something to share and then you can enjoy the company without having to spend most of the evening in the kitchen.


I can’t think of a better way to raise your spirits than spending quality time with the people you love.



Hygge has taught me how to slow down and enjoy life without feeling guilty. Winter is a dormant season for many plants and animals and I think most of us need that change in pace too.


With just a smidgen of creativity, winter doesn’t have to be so dull and dreary. Try adding a little hygge and see if that helps you beat the winter blues.


If you want to print out your own hygge manifesto to stick on your fridge, you can download the graphic I made (because most of the ones I found online from the original book are awful quality.)


15 positive affirmations for confidence


Gaining confidence is something I have been trying to achieve for most of my life. 


I suppose that makes sense since it isn’t something that happens overnight but rather is a process, one that may take a lifetime to complete. It reminds me of the way the leaves of a fern gently unfurl. Tiny, microscopic changes occur as the plant allows itself to take up more and more space.


That’s how I tend to think of confidence as well – Being bold enough to take up space.


These days it seems like a lot of us (especially women) are doing the opposite. We are shrinking, hiding or worst of all, apologizing for taking up space.


We minimise ourselves and try to avoid making any sort of fuss.


We are so afraid of disappointing people that we prioritise others needs before our own, leaving us burnt out and exhausted.


We want to be these super women who can do it all without even breaking a sweat so we refuse to ask for help or admit when it’s all too much for us to handle.


And we allow ourselves to believe this lie that we can only show up once we are perfect. Because nobody wants to see our mess, our flaws or our imperfections.


“Just as bravery is not the absence of fear, neither is confidence the absence of imperfection.” – Ashton Smith



Recently, having to muster the strength to face people has been a real struggle. My life circumstances have felt overwhelming and having to slap on a cheerful face or make small talk with people outside of my home was simply too much.


I guess I fell into the trap of believing that I could only show up once I was perfect too.


In my head, the reason I didn’t want to face the world outside my windows was because I was too messy. I had too much drama going on in my personal life. Everything felt too uncertain and too complicated.


It is easy to blame a lack of confidence on outside circumstances. I tell myself these stories often…


I will feel more confident when I have a full time job

I will feel more confident when I am a married woman. 

I will feel more confident when I have my own house. 


These outside factors glimmer with hope. Surely they will give me the safety and security I need to be myself in this world. 


If I just figure out what I am going to do with my life, if I just have a place of my own to come home to, then I’m sure I’ll be brimming with confidence. 


But the truth is that life is filled with uncertainty. There will always be room for us to grow into and that will always bring doubt and fear. 


And hard as we try to keep all our ducks in a row, life throws curve-balls which make our outside circumstances too unpredictable to base our confidence on.


We won’t gain confidence from external circumstances because confidence comes from within. 


We have to belong to ourselves before we can find belonging anywhere else. We have to feel safe and secure within ourselves rather than looking to find that security in our relationships, job or the home we live in. 


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How do we build confidence within ourselves?


That’s the tricky part isn’t it?


Something I have been learning from my counsellor is how to use truth coaches or what I call affirmations for confidence.


Giving ourselves some words or a phrase which helps us to coach our mind to think differently. So that instead of dwelling on our doubt, fear or lack we can be reminded of the truth.


Building confidence within requires us to start thinking about ourselves differently.


We have to acknowledge that we have flaws and weaknesses but we shouldn’t let them hold us back.


Confidence is leaning into your strengths, showing up despite your weaknesses and recognising the places where you can grow.


And let me tell you, these affirmations have made a world of difference for me. As I repeat them in my head or write them out in my journal I can feel something shifting inside me.


These words carry truth and that is powerful.


Most of my insecurities stem from feeling like I am not good enough and don’t quite measure up. So these affirmations are what I have been using to counteract those negative thoughts.


If you feel like you aren’t enough or need to change something about yourself before you will be worthy of belonging then I encourage you to start speaking these words to yourself.


I hope they will give you the courage to face whatever today brings…


15 positive affirmations for confidence:


One. Nobody knows what it is like to be me.


Two. I am incomparable, I am one of a kind.


Three. I am fine the way that I am.


Four. I don’t need to be anyone else.


Five. I bring value to this world.


Six. Everyone likes me here unless they say they don’t.


Seven. No one can make me feel inferior.


Eight. I am the author of my story.


Nine. My opinions, feelings and ideas are valid.


Ten. I will not stress about things I cannot control.




Eleven. I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to be me.


Twelve. I believe in myself and my abilities.


Thirteen. I am deserving of my dreams.


Fourteen. I am great at what I do.


Fifteen. I am proud of myself.


If you like these then take a look at my post: 25 self love affirmations.


Leave a comment below and let me know which of these affirmations for confidence stood out to you the most.

The rise of influencer marketing and what it means for authenticity online



For some time now, Instagram has been my least favourite social media platform.


When I first started blogging, I jumped on absolutely every social media platform –like you do–  and I treated Instagram like a visual diary.


I used it to document all of the sweet, funny, lovely moments of each day and I would connect with other bloggers who were doing the same. 


But A LOT has changed since then.


These days, with the rise of influencer marketing, owning an Instagram account comes with a lot of responsibility.


As a member of the platform, if you want to be taken seriously, you are required to curate an aesthetically pleasing feed for your followers.


There is no room for spontaneity or images that depict real life anymore. Influencers have created a world where everything needs to be colour coordinated, perfectly proportioned, edited and filtered so that it looks like something you would find inside a glossy magazine. 


I really struggle with how fake some of these accounts seem to be. Authenticity is something I value a great deal, as I talked about in my post- authenticity and finding happiness by being myself.


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At the beginning of this year I found that logging into Instagram made me feel not only bad about myself, my home and my life but also about my creative endeavors.


I felt that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get a perfectly curated feed. I never knew what to say in my captions. And recording videos for Insta-stories made me feel terribly awkward. 


Instagram reminded me of the way I used to feel in high school.


How there were all those little cliques and segregated groups. The sporty kids, the nerdy kids, the quiet ones and the popular ones.


No matter how much I told myself we were all just PEOPLE, I always felt intimidated by the popular kids. There was something about them that I could never match up to. They always made me feel inferior with their designer jeans and the effortless way they managed to always be the centre of attention. 


That’s how I used to feel on Instagram. Small. Insignificant. Impossibly confused. 


My feed seemed to consist of influencers with hundreds of followers whose picture-perfect lives were a billboard for everything I am not.


For the longest time I have just felt left out and left behind. 


I am no supermodel. I don’t have abs worthy of bikini-on-the-beach shots. I don’t go out every Friday evening to share snaps of my cocktails. I don’t have a beautiful all-white, marble counter-topped kitchen.


I’m just well, ordinary. 


Most days I go without wearing make up. I prefer to make coffee at home rather than spend money going out all the time.


I feel embarrassed taking pictures of myself in public with everyone looking at me. And my bedroom is dark, cozy and totally un-aesthetically pleasing. 


But nobody wants to see ordinary on Instagram. They want flashy, beautiful, and air-brushed. They want a real-life fairy tale all sparkly and tied up with a bow. 


So it leaves me wondering, where does someone like me fit in? What have I got to share that people would actually care about? 


I couldn’t answer these questions for awhile so I just stayed away.


I hardly ever posted. I became an Instagram lurker, one of those people who likes pictures and watches everyone else posting but never participates. 




But slowly I drifted back and decided I would take Instagram seriously again.


If I wanted to be a serious blogger, then I needed to not just lurk online but to participate, to share and be part of this world.


So I started editing my photos to make them a little nicer. I started putting in a bit more of an effort to figure out the colours and style that I wanted to display in my feed. 


I started to see Instagram as just another outlet for my creativity


I discovered it could be another place to be curious, excited and inspired. 


And in the process I found there was a community of people just like me. People who weren’t there to make sales, who didn’t look like models, who weren’t portraying these impossible standards. 


I found people with the same values as me.


Who were passionate about mindfulness and living intentionally and being present in the moment.


People who weren’t pushing consumption, asking their followers to buy more and more and more. People who just wanted to share their art, their words and their pictures with the world. 


My kind of people.


And so Instagram has become one of my favourite social media platforms. I place where I can connect with other creatives. I place where I can feel inspired and uplifted. I place where I can create and share my work. 



I think the rise of influencer marketing is a double-edged sword.


I hate the way it encourages mindless consumption. The way it makes us feel like we are always lacking something. The way it portrays a lifestyle that is unrealistic, even for those taking the photos.


But I love that it enables small businesses and lesser-known creatives to shine. I love that it makes connection and community possible. And that this form of marketing gives power back to the people.


How do we choose authenticity over perfection online?


By following people who are genuine.


Those who share their behind-the-scenes and aren’t afraid of the messy aspects of life. Those who are honest about which of their content that is sponsored. Those who only share what they truly love and believe in.


By un-following people who make us feel less-than.


You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. It doesn’t matter how cool or popular they may be, you don’t need to compare yourself to them. There are only so many people’s pictures you can scroll through in a day, so they might as well be people you actually LOVE to follow.


By choosing community over competition. 


Search for people who care about the same stuff you do. Find your community and build them up. Comment on, like and share others accounts, there is enough space for all of us to be creative and successful.


Let’s chat about this in the comments…


How do you feel about Instagram, influencer marketing or social media in general? 


3 lies about your self-worth you need to stop believing



I’ve been run down by one of those hideous, can’t-see-it-but-it-still-hurts colds. The kind of cold that gives the illusion of not being so bad but in reality, feels like your brain is too big for your head and is trying to squeeze its way out. 


I hate being sick. Everyone hates being sick. 


Usually people hate sickness because of the icky symptoms. The relentlessly runny nose, the scratchy sore throat, the pounding head and watery eyes. It’s a cocktail of discomfort that nobody likes to swallow. 


But secretly, if I am being truly honest, the reason I hate being sick is that I can’t do anything


In my weakened state I am forced to lie down, to rest my eyes, to drink cups of soup and watch old re-runs on TV. 


And somehow, deep down a little part of me still gives into the lie that says my self-worth is determined by my productivity. 


It’s why I currently dread Mondays so much. While everyone else sets their alarms hideously early and gulps down their coffee so they get to work on time, I wake up and am reminded that I have nowhere I need to be. 


It feels like a kick in the gut every time. It sends me into an absolute funk at the start of each week. 


I feel like a kite that has come loose from its string. Untethered and floating aimlessly. No purpose, no meaning, no value. 


But the stupid thing is, I AM still being productive, my guilt is misplaced, my shame is invalid


Right now I am doing some online study, I am writing for my blog, I am curating content and connecting with others. I am not wasting time and yet I feel this strong sense of unworthiness. 


I blame this on the messed up world we live in, with its endless hustling mentality, with its thirst for collecting accomplishments, with its need to seek approval from everyone else.  


It’s just too easy to get sucked into those wonky beliefs. 


But I have to say, I am mighty tired of feeling like a failure for not quite matching up to these expectations. 


More and more, I am needing to shrug my shoulders into grace like you do a sweater. Right now, especially, I am needing a reminder of who I am, what makes me valuable and where my worth comes from. 


So as much for me as for you, here is some encouragement for your heart today.


3 lies about your self-worth you need to stop believing…



Your worth doesn’t come from your work. 


Your value is not measured by how much you get done each day. You cannot simply work more, hustle more or stretch more into each day to make yourself of greater importance. 


As a type A personality, I always struggle with this one. I like that if I put in effort, I can see the results. I like knowing that my hard work pays off. The idea that I can’t earn my worth is difficult for me to wrap my head around.


But coming to a place of understanding that productivity does not make you whole is a huge relief. 


If doing more won’t make us more worthy, then doing less won’t make us less worthy. Therefore, I can rest. I can just BE. I can slow down and enjoy life without feeling guilty.


I’ve always liked that quote that reminds us we are human BEINGS not human DOINGS.


We don’t have to earn our rest.



Image by: tend + mend



Your worth isn’t related to your career. 


There has been such incredible progress for women in this area. Nowadays, there are so many opportunities for us to excel. There are so many ways we can make a living, so many things we can do to keep ourselves busy. 


But with all this progress, I feel an underlying pressure to pursue the sort of career that the women who came before me couldn’t. 


I feel privileged to have the choice but that being said, it should be a CHOICE


Whether we stay at home and raise sweet babies, bake cakes, and cultivate beautiful gardens. Or whether we wear snazzy suits, have a personal assistant and the only way to see us is to make an appointment. Or whether we split our time between home and the office. 


Regardless of our choice, we are worthy.  



Your worth isn’t determined by your success. 


Time and time again I feel the thorny fear of failure tightening around my chest. 


So often this fear is what puts us off even trying something. We are so scared that we might fail and therefore be a failure. 


But simply failing doesn’t make you a failure. Failing means you were daring enough to even try! 


The thing is, no amount of awards or accomplishments will give us meaning. Successes and failures slot neatly into the boxes of wisdom and experience, useful to draw out for future endeavors but completely irrelevant in terms of our value as human beings.


Win or lose, we have purpose here.


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And while we are on the subject, here are some more lies you shouldn’t be believing about your self-worth.


Your self-worth is not determined by…


Others opinions of you.

What you wear.

How thin you are.

Whether you went to college.

How much you know about politics.

Whether you can throw a rugby ball.

How good you are at dancing.

On and on we could go. 


These are just the lies that shame feeds us, keeping us small, keeping us tame, keeping us from reaching our full potential. 


Because here is the truth: your worth is innate, intrinsic, a part of you regardless of anything else. 


You cannot earn it. You cannot lose it. 


I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel free. I can do or be anything. I can try and fail at anything. I can wrap myself in love because grace says, no matter what…I am worthy.

8 ways to calm down when you are feeling anxious for no reason



I originally sat down to write a post on perfectionism but as soon as I started, I realised something. I’m not really a perfectionist and I don’t have much to say on the matter. 


I would be of no use to you. I don’t have any advice for people who obsessively use rulers and match the colours of their clothes pegs. I am not that person. 


What I am however, is highly strung. I know all about feeling anxious for no reason. 


I carry anxiety around with me like most ladies do a purse. 


I am hopeless without structure and routine. I need to be able to plan ahead. I need to make sure I am adequately prepared for any and all eventualities. 


Spontaneity, completely throws me off, it rips the rug right out from under my feet. 


The older I am getting, the better I am becoming at letting go of control. I am slowly learning how to cope with uncertainty so that it doesn’t paralyze me. 


But sometimes when we feel ourselves slipping, we need strategies to help us calm down. 


We need tools to help us cope after a stressful day. A routine that can help us to prepare ourselves for something uncomfortable like a dentist visit or awkward phone call. 


We need to have a way of cooling off and resetting, a way of bringing harmony into our every day lives. 


Because sometimes there is a clear and obvious reason why we are feeling anxious, but sometimes we are feeling anxious for no reason at all


These coping mechanisms are especially important for highly strung people, those of us who are always just teetering on the edge of becoming overwhelmed. 


We need to know our limits and make sure we take extra special care of ourselves. 


So as a highly strung, often anxious person, these are my personal coping mechanisms. These are the ways I practice self care. This is how I manage to stay sane. 


8 ways to calm down when you are feeling anxious for no reason…


Focus on your breathing


When we get very stressed we tend to take short, shallow breaths. The problem is, this only encourages our body’s ‘fight or flight‘ response which ends up prolonging our feeling of stress.


The very best thing we can do in any stressful situation is to focus on our breathing.


Make a big deal of both your inhale and exhale. Pause and try to count a few seconds after each. Make your breathing as long and deep as possible.

jessica hagy illustration

Illustration by Jessica Hagy.


Listen to gentle music


Although technically not music, I love listening to nature sounds, especially rain or thunderstorms. There is something soothing about hearing the rhythm of nature. (Unless you look up whale sounds, there is nothing soothing about that!)


My favourite album to listen to when I am feeling anxious for no reason is ‘Be Held‘ by Christy Nockels. This is a collection of lullabies for adults which never fail to bring me back to a place of calm. 


I also made a playlist of slow, peaceful songs which I’ll put on in the car or as I am working to put myself at ease. Music has a way of reaching us that words simply cannot. 



Try using a relaxation exercise 


In one of my tutorials at university we spent the whole hour learning different relaxation exercises. At the time I thought it was a bit kooky but now I can appreciate the value of it. 


The only one I can actually remember involves your five senses. 


It goes like this… Find yourself a quiet space and close your eyes. Begin breathing deeply. Then start to take notice of each of your senses individually.

What can you hear around you? What can you smell? Open your eyes and what can you see? 


Slowly become aware of your surroundings and allow your tension to dissipate.



Just write


I always find healing in writing. I always manage to un-twinge my tension and stitch up the wounded bits when I write out exactly how I am feeling.


The most important thing to remember is that your journal/laptop/back side of a napkin is a safe space. Allow yourself to write freely without judgement.


You cannot fully let go of the built up pressure inside you if you are fretting about the things you are writing. So no judgement, just write.



Paint, draw or colour-in


Those adult colouring-in books became really popular a few years ago for a reason. Being creative is relaxing.


Painting, drawing and colouring-in bring us back to the present. They allow us to be adventurous and playful, to make a mess and just have fun.


They also distract us from the fears and worries that can overwhelm us. Sometimes what we need is a little distraction, a little moment of rest from all the hustle and stress.



Go outside


I am a nature girl. My happy places are all outside. I love the softness of the beach, the ruggedness of the mountains, the quietness of the forest.


I need greenery and I need wide open spaces. Nature is soothing for our souls.


While you are outside, try out the relaxation exercise I mentioned above. There is nothing more uplifting than listening to the early-morning birdsong.


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Get clean


Have a shower or run a bath but make it an experience.


Fill the bath with bubbles, allow the steam from the shower to soak into your pores, bundle yourself up in a warm, fluffy towel afterwards.


Often it is the simple things that bring the most pleasure. For example, when I want to feel especially luxurious I take the time to moisterize properly. I find the nicest, sweetest-smelling body lotion and I make myself soft all over. Simple, but delightful.



Talk about it


Bottling up your feelings will never do you any good. Be brave and open up to someone.


It often will feel like the last thing you want to do, but the effort it takes will always be worth it. Just make sure you speak to someone who is gentle and understanding, no judgement in your writing, no judgement in your speaking.


I’d love to know, how do you practice self care when you are stressed?

Do you ever find yourself feeling anxious for no reason at all?