Finding Ones Creativity

There are some myths you grow up with you may struggle to accept such as “there is a book inside everyone waiting to be realised” or a song, maybe even a great work of art and all you need to do is release it to the world. I have struggled all my life with this concept as many do I have come to learn. Whatever it is lurking inside me the subject matter eludes me, what story to tell in my book, what lyric or melody for my song or what vista for the picture.

However, one concept I can truly get on board with is that everyone does harbour a degree of creativity within themselves whoever they are. So no book, song or picture but how about a beautifully crafted cake or staged presentation of a meal.

To my surprise, it turns out to be woodworking. I know right, what a showstopper. As you may know, cooking is my passion but my creativity is set free when I am in the workshop. I use the term workshop loosely here as what I really mean is half a dozen simple tools in a shed, but it has become the workshop because I said it is so.

I bought myself an orbital sander for a task I needed and it turns out it was quite therapeutic and immensely satisfying so obviously once finished I cast my eye around for something else to sand, anything to sand, even the dogs started to look nervous. With a constant stream of vocal “NO’s” echoing around the house I was fast running out of options. Not to be defeated I retired to the workshop to sulk and there it was, the key to unlocking my creativity.

Sitting in the corner was an old piece of wood about the size of a chopping board covered in dust and cobwebs and what could possibly be identified as bird droppings. I scraped and scrubbed, wiped and cleaned and soon had something I could pick up without reaching for the rubber gloves. Yes, sorted, back to sanding and oh my, it looked awesome as the grains and character of the wood started to slowly show through.

Beautiful but misshapen, so back to shopping; one saw and one router later I was set. The workshop was now truly a workshop and not a figment of my imagination. So I cut the wood so it was sporting straight edges which I then zipped around with the router to make all shapely. It was surprisingly easy when you have the right tool for the job. A bit more sanding because I could and my board was looking drop dead gorgeous.

The icing on the cake was when I then added some wax to the main surface and polished it up with a soft cloth, the transformation was unreal, and everything just popped. It was one of those moments when you wish life had a pause and rewind button so I could replay that moment again and again.

My project was complete and like a phoenix rising from the ashes my piece of scrap wood that was probably destined for the fire or bin had become my work of art and will probably feature either in the kitchen or as a setting in future blog posts, I just can’t decide at the moment.

The only down side to this journey of self-discovery now that my creativity has been set loose to roam the corridors of my mind is that instead of sleeping when I go to bed I lay there for hours planning my next project…oh well…

Have you ever discovered the joys of woodworking?

How have you realised your creativity?

* This is a collaborative post.

Is Anxiety Ruling Your Life?

It seems that in more recent years, there has become a greater awareness of mental health. Mental health disorders are considered common throughout the United States and research shows that millions of people are affected each year. Mental health disorders range from milder issues like anxiety and panic attacks to more extreme disorders of depression, borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia.

The common condition of Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects 3.1% of the U.S. adult population over a 12-month period and 32% of these cases are considered as a severe condition. This disorder creates excessive worrying about issues such as employment, finances, family, relationship and health. Sadly, it seems that only half of the sufferers look for help to aid anxiety, while the other half may not be aware that they could be actively getting professional advice or seeking out alternative therapies to improve their wellbeing.

Don’t Let Anxiety Stop You from Focusing on The Future…

Many people find that when they are anxious or depressed, they find it difficult to not only focus on living in the now, but also being able to focus on a positive future ahead. Anxieties and loss in confidence can hinder you from making plans and having inspiration on what you want to do in your life. Often, having goals for the future can especially help someone to look at making positive changes, even if it’s just one step at a time. Some people have also found that having something to look forward to and getting positive insight for the future from a tarot reading, empowers them to focus ahead and to feel more confident about life. Anxiety and stress can easily feel like it is taking over your life, but learning how to manage it by taking small steps, can make you feel more in control, making a huge difference.

Why Do We Get Anxious?

Anxiety and stress disorders are one of the most common issues in mental health, but they can also be one of the easiest to recover from. Most stress and anxiety is caused by feeling vulnerable, weak or out of control of your life. Often it may be because you are feeling unhappy about certain circumstances that you believe are beyond your control. Perhaps you are in a difficult relationship, or maybe you are miserable at work? Also, family issues and disagreements can cause anxious feelings and may be causing a stressful living environment. Professional counsellors have helped many people with these problems by educating them on how to take more control of their life, how to safeguard themselves and how to avoid or remove themselves from situations that may not be good for them. Mindfulness has also proved to be a useful therapy that enables people to focus on the here and now.

Alternative & Complementary Therapies

Treating mental health disorders with complementary therapies and alternative health is often successful but it very much depends on the person. These therapies are believed to increase wellbeing, promote better mental health and help a person to learn how to relax. Some therapies are not regulated, so it is important to work with someone who is fully trained with a professional qualification. Therapies range from aromatherapy, reflexology, Indian head massage, shiatsu, reiki, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy and hypnotherapy. There is not yet enough research being done to prove that these therapies truly help mental health disorders, but many people have found that they certainly lessen anxiety and stress levels, helping them to feel more relaxed.

Many mental health disorders need professional treatment, whether it’s medication, early intervention teams, professional talking therapies (counselling, CBT etc) or in extreme cases, electroconvulsive therapy. While every mental health disorder should be diagnosed and professionally recognised for appropriate treatments, we should also consider that perhaps some conditions like anxiety, could be alleviated by other treatments. However, anyone suffering from these conditions should always seek professional diagnosis and advice before looking to alternatives.

* This is a collaborative post.

4 Ways To Boost Your Body Confidence

If you’re not happy with the way you look, now could be the time to make some changes. Whether you’re self-conscious about your weight or you’re not happy with your hair, a lack of body confidence can really take its toll on your self-esteem and even your quality of life. To help you feel better about your appearance, take a look at the following four tips.

Banish those bad hair days

It’s amazing how much a good haircut can affect your confidence. So, if you’ve started to feel like every day’s a bad hair day, why not book an appointment for a restyle? Switching up your hairstyle is a great starting point for an image overhaul. Whether you go shorter, get extensions, go curly, go straight or change colour, your new do could help to put a spring back in your step. Check out this season’s latest trends online or pick up a magazine for some inspiration, and don’t be afraid to try something completely new.

What if you’re worried about thinning hair though? It’s not quite as simple as booking a restyle if you’re concerned that your locks are falling out. You’ve probably heard about men’s hair loss treatments. For example, Finaseride for hair loss, which is better known under the brand name Propecia, is taken in tablet form and it can be an effective treatment for male pattern baldness. In fact, 90 per cent of men who use it experience hair regrowth. You might not realise it, but there are specialist treatments available for women too. For example, if you have female pattern baldness and you want to stop or reverse your hair loss, you may want to try out a lotion containing minoxidil. Up to a quarter of women who use this treatment see hair regrowth.

Find sustainable ways to get in shape

Are you sick of perpetual dieting and do you struggle to stick to your fitness routine? For many people, losing weight is a lifelong battle. However, there are ways to make getting in shape easier. For example, rather than trying to completely cut certain foods out of your diet, why not simply reduce your portion sizes at meal times? This is much easier to keep up than a restrictive eating regime.

When it comes to exercise, try to find ways to incorporate more activity into your daily schedule. For example, could you swap your car keys for a cycle helmet on your commute to work? Cycling to and from the office each day can be a great way to burn calories and get fit. If you catch the bus, perhaps you could try getting off a couple of stops earlier to give your legs more of a workout. Simply getting into the habit of taking the stairs rather than the lift should help you burn calories too. You could also test out a new sport. From swimming to badminton, there’s no shortage of options.

Don’t expect miracle results straight away, but this sustainable approach to shedding weight makes it easier to stay trim over the long term.

Revamp your wardrobe

For an instant body confidence boost, treat yourself to some retail therapy. Refreshing your wardrobe with some gorgeous new clothes is one of the easiest ways to feel better about yourself. Make sure you pick out silhouettes that flatter your figure, and try out new combinations and colours to really revamp your look.

Even if you’re waiting until you’ve trimmed down to restock your wardrobe, there are still some staples you can pick out that should make you feel great about yourself. From chic blazers to fabulous footwear and showstopper jewellery, some new additions to your clothing and accessory collection could work wonders for your self-esteem.

Stop comparing yourself to others

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, resist the temptation to continually compare yourself to others. It’s virtually impossible to feel good about the way you look if you’re always judging yourself against images of airbrushed celebs. Instead, focus on learning to love your quirks and features. Doing this should help you to carry yourself with more confidence and it could save you a whole lot of stress.

* This is a collaborative post.