At this time of year, we are encouraged to think about renewal and how we can better ourselves after the excesses of Christmas. This version of wellbeing resolves around losing weight, getting more exercise and eating more healthily. It revolves around denial and comes with a lot of GUILT!
I have spent this holiday ill. Like many after a long period of keeping going, looking after our families through these Covid-times, eventually the stress takes its toll. Although I find the pared-back beauty of winter inspiring, my need ‘to winter’ often goes ignored amidst the expectations of Christmas – the visiting, present buying, food planning etc. This year my body made the choice to stop, I succumbed to a virus and an enforced hibernation began.
Whilst my body gave up and I retreated, I have been thinking about what wellbeing really means and how to give my mind, body and soul the reset they need as we head into 2022.
On reflecting on the year that has just passed, the word ‘denial’ has come to mind. The pandemic has forced a change to all our lives and many of the social connections we took for granted have been denied or compromised. Lockdown and ensuing health needs have changed the way my family functions and the space for myself has been denied – or shelved. “It will only be for a few weeks”, became for a few months and now looks likely to be for a few years.
As women, we can be prone, expected, encouraged to take our fulfilment from putting the needs of others first. This extended period, without respite has left me feeling limp. I would like to hit the big ‘reset’ button and get back to exercise and a low-carb diet but there is something bigger that needs fulfilling first.
Our wellbeing comes from feeling whole. I am an artist and a tutor, teaching online courses in connecting to your soul and expressing with your own voice. I write these words often and I really believe in the power of creativity, passionate about enabling and empowering it in others.
But recently, a piece of my jigsaw went missing – the free time to daydream, to doodle, create and make. Not in a focussed ‘I am an artist’ way – but in an absent-minded, childish and playful way. My inner child needs attention! I am not meeting my own basic wellbeing needs if I am not nurturing hers.
What is that basic need for you? What is it that makes you, YOU? What can you fulfil that is part of your jigsaw of holistic wellbeing? Is it to draw, to make, bake, sew or grow? Is it rearranging the furniture or getting your boots on and putting your face (with Skin Elixir on!) into the wind to connect with nature? Giving ourselves the permission to engage with ourselves, to fulfil our own basic needs is such a radical act of self-love but we deny ourselves again and again.
“Doing and making are acts of hope” Corita Kent
It really wasn’t so long ago that all of us were makers for a living, or of necessity – carpenters, tailors, bakers, sewers and growers. Creating is so rooted in our being but in our 24/7 screen filled world we have become constant consumers not constant creators. We forget that it’s our human instinct to make and do. So, before you start your list of things you should give up and feel guilty about, I invite you to sit and think what you can create. And when you have connected to yourself and can take a small step towards that radical, empowering act of self-love – I am sure that you will feel better for it. Wishing you a year ahead that prioritises self-connection and creativity.
Five ways to take time for your creative soul:
- Go for a walk – take photos of the details that you notice
- Write down what you enjoyed doing as a child
- Pin up a picture of you in simpler times – ask yourself what your hopes and dreams were.
- Listen to a poem/song/podcast with your full attention
- Meditate – take time to just be
Small steps of self-care connect us to ourselves and lead to wellbeing and an uplift in energy.
Helen Hallows is an artist, tutor and mentor. She runs online creative courses to kickstart your creativity and share her ideas and techniques. Helen also runs an online group – ‘Helen Hallows – The Nurtured Artist’ bringing together a community of like-minded souls.
Find her at www.helenhallows.com and
🌿The Skin Elixir blog is in the top 20 UK Skin Care Blogs. https://blog.feedspot.com/uk_skin_care_blogs/