author, mental health, pandemic, Writing

Caring For Mental Health In This World

2020 was a rough year for a lot of people. Thankfully it wasn’t horrendous for me – I still had a job, I still had a house and a car and I had my health. However, 2020 was still filled with anxiety and uncertainty. It definitely was not an easy year, even if my year was better than a lot of other people.

A lot of people understand the stress and anxiety that many have gone through this year. Everyone’s story is different, and not everyone will understand why certain things caused you anxiety. It’s important to remember that your anxiety is valid and is a part of your own personal journey. Not everyone will experience the same thing.

“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.” 

Joubert Botha

I make sure I continue to power forward each day and I try not to let the anxieties overwhelm me. It can be difficult, and there have been days where I’ve stayed in bed for most of the day, but I try not to let my anxiety dictate my life.

I may spend a day isolated because of my mental health, but I try to pick myself back up the next day and continue forward. I let myself feel my feelings, that’s why you have them after all. But I won’t stop everything and stay in bed for weeks on end. But, it’s perfectly okay to spend those days in bed or isolated at home. Sometimes you need it. Sometimes your mental health won’t allow you to do anything, so it’s okay to take care of yourself and isolate when you need too.

“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.”

Lori Deschene

It’s rough at the moment being forced to isolate no matter what. Even the most introverted people need some escape, and it was extremely limited in 2020, and continues to be an issue in 2021. I love my home time and I love my alone time. I am very much an introverted person, but even I have been going stir-crazy in this isolating time. It’s been hard to keep a positive attitude, but I know there will be an end soon and the craziness will calm down.

I’ve neglected my writing a bit during COVID lockdowns, due to mental health, but I’ve jumped back on the bandwagon this year and I’m trying to find the motivation and I’m trying to push forward. It’s time to get my groove back and not let this isolating time beat me down anymore.

2021 will be my year. I will finish editing my novel in 2021. I will write a new novel in 2021. I will move forward and leave the chaos of COVID behind as best I can!

author, holidays, mental health, writing

Getaways Rejuvenate Your Mind and Soul

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

Ibn Battuta

I have always loved holidays and travel. I love being able to explore places and get away from my day to day routine.

Unfortunately, travel in our current COVID pandemic is an issue. With countries and even states shut down, it’s hard to get away and travel.

I am so grateful that my country has opened up in-state travel, as I was recently able to take a little holiday away from the mundane daily life.

My husband and I went on a trip to a city a few hours away from us and we spend a few days resting and relaxing. We were able to explore a little and do some fun activities, as most tourism destinations have opened up again (only for people within the country of course).

I found it really beneficial having this holiday. It helped me to calm my mind and allow my normal inspiration to flow once again.

It is so incredibly beneficial for your mental health to take breaks and take time to relax. I found it so helpful to wind down for a few days and rejuvenate my mind and soul.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

Jawaharial Nehru

My creativity has jumped again and I’m able to write more and the ideas are flowing once again! It is incredibly helpful to spend some time away and be able to relax like we were able to.

It’s hard getting back into the daily grind, but I am finding it a lot easier to work and study and write again after my few days away.

I definitely can not wait until the next holiday!

“Adventure is worthwhile.”

Aesop
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10 Tips to Writing at Home

“Everything you can imagine is real.”

Pablo Picasso

I know most writers usually work from home anyway, or a quiet area alone in a café. Or something along those lines. However, there is something different when it’s more essential to be working from home and no longer your choice.

There is also something different if you live with others than are now at home all the time, either because they’re working from home or have unfortunately lost their job.

I found it difficult during these times, having my partner at home to distract me and being forced to only write at home. It’s important to maintain motivation and happiness during these times, and I came up with 10 things that have helped me say productive over the past month or so.

1. Noise Cancelling Headphones

These are honestly the best thing I have invested in. I find it’s easier to focus and do my work more effectively when I can’t hear what’s going on around me. I usually put some music on, from my specific writing playlist, and focus on the task at hand. Not being able to hear things around me lets me get into the zone and get writing!

2. Set Up Rules With Others at Home

“I love rules and I love following them, unless that rule is stupid.”

Anna Kendrick

You need to set time for work, and work is writing. You need to let others know when you’re disappearing to do your writing, and when you need to be left alone.

I needed to set this up with my husband and tell him when I was doing something that I needed to focus on. Working at home together than be tough when it comes to distractions, but it helps to set those boundaries and let others know when you need to step away and focus on work.

3. Have a Morning Routine

It is so important to have a healthy morning routine and stick to it. Not only does it help your mental health, it also helps your productivity. Try to get up around the same time each morning, get out of your pyjamas and eat a healthy breakfast. Include whatever you want into your morning routine, but try to stick to it each day and push yourself to have that healthy morning routine.

4. Exercise Every Day

I usually incorporate this into my morning routine, but sometimes I just go for a simple walk in the afternoon. Exercise really helps your mental health, and you need to take extra care of that mental health in the current world.

Whether it be a high intensity workout, going for a run, doing some yoga or going for a walk, it really helps to take the time out during the day to get your endorphins up and stretch your muscles. It helps your mind muscles to strengthen and improves your mental health, which positively impacts your writing ability.

5. Make a To-Do List Each Morning

I find this helps me to stay focused and know what I need to do each day. Since I do University, I include things like time to study and when my classes are each day. It helps to have this planned out in the morning and know what I need to do during the day. I can plan my writing around other things and it helps keep my focused towards my study goals and my writing goals.

6. Set Deadlines

“If you work on something a little bit every day, you end up with something that is massive.”

Kenneth Goldsmith

It really helps to set your own deadlines and try to stick to them. Things like ‘write 500 words a day’ or ‘finish 2 chapters this week’. It really helps to have deadlines to meet each day, or each week. It helps keep you focused and fighting towards your end goals.

7. Have a Dedicated Workspace

I never saw this as overly necessary pre-COVID, but once the pandemic hit and we were home bound, I came to the realisation that a dedicated workspace is so crucial.

I have a home study set up and it helps to sit down at my desk and take that specific time during the day to write and focus on my work. Occasionally I will change positions and write on the couch or outside, but I find the dedicated workspace works really well for me.

8. Minimise Distractions

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”

Winston S. Churchill

It can be hard to stay focused at home with animals, family, food or social media. I find I sit down to write and 2 hours later I have accomplished nothing because I was sucked into conversations with my husband and scrolling through social media.

It’s important to minimise distractions as you can, using things like social media lockouts and noise cancelling headphones. By doing this, you can stay focused on your task and be done sooner than you would while being distracted.

9. Take Breaks

Like any working person, you need to take breaks. You can’t expect to sit in front of a computer for 5 hours and smash out a heap of writing. Everyone tends to get bored and unproductive after sitting in front of a screen for so long, and words start to mush together.

Breaks are important for your mind, and for your health. Taking breaks throughout the day helps keep you focused and your mind clear so that you can keep pushing towards your goals.

10. Be Kind to Yourself

You need to take a step back and remember that we’re all human and we are all going through tough times right now! It’s okay to have off days and it’s okay to spend a day not leaving your bed. The important thing is to not let this be every day, and to keep pushing on where you can. You feel bad, so take a day off. But get cracking back into the next day. Try to not push yourself too much, we’re going through a lot right now and it is okay to feel horrible and have a day, or a few, off. Just take it one step at a time!

“Believe in yourself, take on your challenges, dig deep within yourself to conquer fears. Never let anyone bring you down. You got to keep going.”

Chantal Sutherland
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Behind The Scenes – Back In Action

“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up.”

Les Brown

Bring on the writing inspiration! I’m back baby, and I’m so happy that I am! I’m still struggling a bit with my motivation, and editing my novel is definitely not what I’m doing at the moment, but I’m still back! I’ve started working on a new novel and I’m stretching my creative muscles once again.

I think most people are on the same page as me at the moment – struggling with the COVID-19 crisis and just trying to get through each day. I’ve decided to stop worrying so much about it and start making the most of the time I have inside.

I’ve set up a bit of a schedule now. I make sure I get up around the same time each day, even if I’m not doing anything, I make sure to do some exercise every morning and eat a healthy breakfast (as tempting as waffles are, I can’t eat them everyday {not even in a pandemic}).

It’s good to have that routine in the morning – it gets me ready for the day and helps me remember that losing my old routine isn’t the worst thing in the world.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Zig Ziglar

I always try to write a bit each day again. I went a solid month without writing a single thing, and honestly it was the worst month. I hated not writing and my creative brain was screaming at me by the end of the month. I’ve worked up to being able to write everyday again, and I’m glad I’m back at that point.

I’ll keep writing and pushing forward. COVID-19 will not stop me or my creativity. Anxiety may be high, but I have the ability to write and push my creativity onto paper despite the fear and anxiety around.

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Losing Motivation in a Pandemic

“One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.”

Chinese Proverb

It has been a while since I have posted! It’s been a difficult few months, and for a while I completely lost all motivation to do anything. It’s a different world now than it was just a few short months ago, and I’ve really struggled with the lack of control and schedule to my life. It’s just not the same anymore, and it’s taken me many months to find a groove again.

I work in grocery retail, so I definitely have not been out of a job the past few months (thankfully!), but it has also been very crazy and incredibly draining.

People have been vicious, cruel and aggressive during the worst times, and that really affected my mental health and my motivation. I never felt like doing anything at the end of the day.

As someone with diagnosed anxiety disorder, this pandemic has been like a knife in the back. My anxiety has been high and it’s been a struggle to keep going during the crisis. Thankfully, thanks to beautiful healthcare professionals and beautiful people in my life, I’m working through the anxiety and I’m able to be productive again.

It has gotten better now, and I’m thankful that things are calmer here in Australia than other places around the world. I’ve finally started to slow down and treat myself better again, taking time out of the day for meditation, exercise and starting to write once again.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you’ll ever know.”

A.A. Milne

It’s important not to beat yourself up at this time. It’s a crazy world we’re living in right now, and it’s not uncommon to lose motivation and feel down. I still don’t have much motivation, but I’m trying to push myself to write again and find that groove, especially since this seems to be our new normal for a while.

I’m eager to get back into my writing, and I am looking forward to expanding my brain again and coming up with new ideas and editing the hell out of my novel. I’m going to make the best of the rest of 2020, that’s for sure!