Sometimes I do find it hard to find the positives in life. It is so easy to get bogged down with negativity, especially if you are watching the news. And of course, because of the time we are currently in! This week I'm discussing being positive. As always I'd love to know your thoughts either here, Facebook or over on Instagram...
I remember thinking at the start of this year how much I was looking forward to the launch of my business, spending more time with family and friends now we were established in our house (and country!) - maybe fitting in a holiday. It seems 2020 has had other ideas! I mean, who could really have envisioned this year the way it is... a sci-fi writer maybe!
So remaining positive is something I have been struggling with. I have learnt a new appreciation for things, things I did take for granted before. You know, like going to a shop and being able to browse at your leisure. I know lock down has eased but I do not find shopping a luxury anymore.
So how do you stay positive or try and be more positive when the world around you is full of negativity. For me, it is the words, illustrations and things I see.
Rainbows have taken on a new significance during lock down. At the start of lock down children were encouraged to make their own to display on the window for everyone to see. I thought this was a great idea, not only did it give children something to do, but it made the "daily walk" around your local area that little bit more fun. There is something about rainbows that is just beautiful.
When I asked some of my friends and followers about what a rainbow means to them, it initiated a few interesting discussions.
What do you think/feel when you see a rainbow?
I wish it had gold at the end in real life
NHS, rainbow babies, wizard of oz
Ooh pretty, feel a little awed, makes me smile
Connected with pride
Appreciate the look of it
Peaceful and lucky
Make you feel happy, pretty magical when you see a real one
Makes me feel happiness, just all the bright colours together.
I love how the light refracts by different amounts depending on the wave length, it’s more than magic, it’s science.
One particular piece of feedback really stuck with me, the story of how a rainbow effected changed the fate of a particular spider!
“I hate spiders… when I came across a spider’s web in the garden the sun shone on it, and it was all coloured.. It looked like a dream so I left it there and shut the door.”
The spider’s home was saved!
But why? Why do we like rainbows?
Bright colours against an often grey sky .. Plus the prospect of gold.
The associations of rainbows and unicorns, all things mystical.
Because like the process behind rainbow formation, when you meet stormy times in your life if you tackle it with a light heart, you will find beauty
It’s something that doesn’t happen everyday, like when the moon is massive, when the sky is pink, or you see a shooting star. It seems almost magical because it’s not man made like most of what we see and we aren’t used to seeing it every day.
Reading and taking part in these discussions about such a simple thing as a rainbow really makes me realise that we should all have some rainbows on display in our homes! If you look back at the responses and pick out the words I have made bold, all this language is positive. There seems to be something about rainbows that makes us feel happier and more positive overall.
Another thing that I have been thinking about a great deal recently are the words we consume. If we allow ourselves to watch countless minutes of news each day, and bask in that negativity, it will have an overall impact on our outlook- and mental health. I am not suggesting we ignore the news and the world, but perhaps limit what we take in. Find the more positive news items, read something uplifting to counter all the sadness that the media often focuses on.
Social media. Oh yes, social media. It can be so brilliant and so useful but only if we use it in a moderate way. It can be especially easy to compare ourselves to others on Instagram (for example) and I am definitely guilty of doing this. But when I feel myself going down that road, I take a step back and reevaluate why I am there in the first place. It's not to compare myself to others, but to seek a connection to other parents, other mums going through the same journey as me and it’s to promote my business and discuss my small business journey. It's to find the little nuggets of advice on food or all things parenthood related. And I do find alot of positivity. Mostly because I choose to follow uplifting and positive people. And that is key.
Surround yourself with positivity online and if you come across something you don’t like or agree with, unfollow or delete! When I first started my Instagram account, I thought I had to follow everyone or whoever followed me. I thought I was being “rude” if I didn’t take part in those “mummy loops”, "follow for follows" but I realised at the end of it all, it wasn’t for me. Those sorts of engagements didn’t feel genuine and therefore didn’t sit right with me. So I decided to make sure I was following the people who I genuinely was interested in engaging with and viewing their posts (as Instagram is designed!). But what it means is the people I am left with, I can build a proper and meaningful connections with. At the end of the day, it’s not about the numbers, but for people to actually engage with me! It is very easy to feel like you are doing the “wrong” thing on social media. But if you are being yourself, genuine and on the whole positive (I mean I am human and it’s also important to “keep it real”, no one is positive 100% of the time) that you can’t really go too far wrong.
So back to my inspiration for the blog this week. Stacie Swift’s book You Are Positively Awesome.
Being very aware of my own mental health recently- you know what with living through a pandemic with two young children at home. I realise I need to take better care of myself. I have spent the past 3 plus years thinking of my children and then husband first - and they remain at the top of the list, but my well-being has now made it onto that same list. But where do I start? I know myself very well and as much as I would love to be one of those people who journals every day I just would never keep it up. I downloaded an app where I could write my thoughts up on my phone, but I am not really a big fan of typing on my phone so this also fell by the wayside. The physical book journals I found were, to me, just basically blank pages bound in very nice covers with lovely writing etched on the front. It just wasn’t what I was looking for. Nor did I really want to spend a whole chunk of time reading up lots of different books when my time is so limited. (Yes I get the irony, struggling to make time for making time for me!). But I have to be realistic, I am juggling so many things at the moment. So I was looking for something, only I didn’t know what it was. Until up popped on my Instagram, the account of Stacie Swift.
Whaddya know, a rainbow!
Through this search, I have realised something. I don’t need a textbook, I don’t even need to listen to a podcast on positivity, I don’t need to sign up for a 10 week mindfulness course (of course if I had time I would do all these things) I simply feel happier when I look at nice things. It is such a simple revelation. But it works. I open up this book by Stacie Swift and part of the reason I love it is because most of the pages are simple reminders like this one above from her Instagram. And you know what, I smile. I flick to the next page, and it reminds me again that I can do this. Within the book are activities that you can do to help expand your thoughts on your own self care etc. But they aren’t long activities, but ones I can dip into now and again when I carve out small blocks of time for me.
Do I sound ridiculous? Maybe. But can self care and feeling happy be as simple as appreciating art, positive words and colourful drawings?
Let’s look at another rainbow shall we?
This is why I love walking around nature and taking in the view from across a lake. There is nothing complicated about those things. And yet they bring me the most joy. Playing a game with the children and the sound of their laughter - joy.
Another perfect book example, and a book which has proven extremely popular throughout lockdown is Charlie Mackesy's The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. It is such a positive book but it is put together in a very simple way. There are no hard hitting questions or even really demands on your time, but it just serves to remind you in a very gentle way that you can do this. There are some lovely messages within. Almost everyone I know who has a copy has said how much the illustrations and sentiments warms their hearts. And some pretty famous people are on board too.
‘A wonderful work of art and a wonderful window into the human heart.’
‘Love, friendship and kindness – this book speaks a universal language.’ Bear Grylls
Of course, I know all life’s problems can’t be solved by a pretty picture. But it might make you feel better about them, give you a moment to smile and maybe give your mind a break from whatever dark thoughts are clouding it.
Wishing you a fab rest of the week and weekend ahead.