I set myself two challenges this month as a way to help lift my mood. I've been feeling very lost and low since Mum died and I felt these might be a way to start to pick myself up again. I'm aware that creativity and nature are both excellent mood shifters and so this month I've focussed on adding tiny bits of both back into my life.
So challenge number one was 30 days wild, organised by the wildlife trusts www.action.wildlifetrusts.org
I started the month determined to make this one work and as we reach the end of June I'm pleased I've managed to find time to be outside everyday. At the start of the month, to inspire me to carry on I took photos each day and shared them on Instagram. I really loved the incentive to get outside and Wills and Zach have risen to the challenge too. And the daily photo has been a huge side benefit. I haven't taken so many pictures in a long while and hope to create a photobook with a photo for each day documenting the challenge. We went camping and lost internet signal so my daily postings on Facebook and Instagram dried up but the wild activities and the daily photos have continued. I'm feeling excited to have achieved this. At the beginning getting outside each day was such a challenge. It was a struggle to motivate myself to get everyone dressed and out the house. Now, at the end of the month, it has become much easier and even enjoyable - something to look forward to - which is a brilliant improvement.
Of course, one of the reasons for taking on the 30 days wild challenge was because I'm aware of how nature and fresh air and time outside can lift a low mood. I was also feeling a long way from my gregarious outdoor sport instructor self, keen to stay in and stay small, away from people. I'm still finding being with people a challenge but I have definitely noticed a return of my desire to be outside. We had 2 camping trips this month and have planned another 3 for July, getting lots of use of our bell tent and lots of relaxing, rejuvenating time outside.
The other challenge I have taken on is a creative one that runs through June and July run by Daisy Yellow Arts and involves doing something creative on an index card every day.
This has been a more challenging goal in some ways. It is purely for me so I have found it hard some days to give myself the time to be creative. The thing that has spurred me on with this one has been the thought that 'a happy mamma is a happy family' and the understanding that if I carry on in this dark place of grief and guilt and anger and sadness my wee family of creation suffers. By putting myself and my feelings last I am not serving my family well at all... it's a hard pattern to break.
I've had fun with the index cards though. Especially when Andy has been around to be responsible for the children so I can concentrate. Some of the index cards I love. Some are embarrassingly awful. That is all part of the process. They aren't about perfection and by reminding myself of this rule I've found myself becoming a little bit more courageous in the artistic choices I am making. And that is all part of the process too :)
I'm still not where I'd like to be in terms of my mood and just how I am feeling day to day and yet life is starting to look better. I can see that my motivation is returning slowly. I am starting to shine a little bit more...