Changing The World: One Book Date At A Time

PieLiving with a chronic physical and mental illness had led me to spend a lot of time managing feeling poorly and struggling. Having spent time in hospital, including a year as an inpatient on an eating disorder ward, I learnt a lot about self care and soothing myself when things are hard. Gradually I realised that I could come up with an idea that combined my love (and the boost it gives to my wellbeing) of craft, vintage and reading to come up with something that might help others who are going through a challenging time. #DateWithABook was born and it has continued to grow from there onwards.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me– C.S. Lewis.

Illness can lead you to feel really isolated. You can face days where you are really limited in the amount of energy you have, or motivation to do the things you would love to be doing. This was one of the starting ideas for my book dates. I wanted to reach out to people who might be finding things tough and offer them something to help them through that moment. I’m a lover of everything old and vintage and the idea of rehoming a beautiful old book felt like the best way to go. Giving these books a new lease of life whilst helping others just seemed perfect! The idea is that a book date is a way to reclaim date night and rest and rejuvenate with a hot drink and a cosy homely coaster with your set.

We read to know we’re not alone– William Nicholson, Shadowlands.

So, what do I hope to achieve with my little book dates? Well… quite a lot! I believe that sharing a #datewithabook can be a huge act of kindness, offering someone who is struggling a piece of calm, distraction and an excuse to have a night off. Or it can be a perfect piece of self care for yourself, to help with the stresses that we face day to day. A date with a book can be a way of reconnecting with someone who needs some extra love or showing you care when you can’t ‘fix’ a situation someone is going through.

Praise for #datewithabook

I absolutely loved recieving my date with a book parcel in the post. Kate made one up based on my likes for me to enjoy on maternity leave. Good value for money and such a wonderful idea for a treat to yourself or for gifts to others. Will be ordering from her again in the future.- Jenny

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I received my date with a book yesterday and it’s wonderful. I almost didn’t want to open it as it looked so pretty. I’m currently about to sit down and start reading. I will definitely be using you again. It is such a lovely idea.– Lindsey

Fantastic idea. Love this. Date with a Book. Something really different, original & unique. Brought for a friend, who Loved it to & has been showing friends. Whole thing arrives Beautifully packaged in soft tissue paper. Makes a Wonderful gift for Any occasion. Or No occasion at all.. Just to say, Thinking of you. Hello. Etc.– Annette

Such a unique idea! It was very exciting to receive the package as you don’t know which book you will get and I was not disappointed! I received a book from an author who I’ve never heard of, and I cannot wait to read it! Prompt delivery too!!– Bisma

There are lots of different #datewithabook sets available in my Conscious Crafties and Etsy stores. I’m just in the process of a big restock to make way for a beautiful array of Christmas gifts, ideal for the person who has everything. Use the discount code BLOG10 to get 10% off any orders over £10. I also have a #datewithabook advent calendar full of literary themed items.

 

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Breaking The Avoidance

353aad1ef4e8029ad92a66931546e982I’ve definitely been avoiding blogging for a while. I’ve had ideas and at times even made a start on a blog; but then the avoidance breaks have jammed back on again! I don’t think it’s even been intentional, life is just very very busy at the moment.

I’ve completed my second week back at Uni and so far it’s been good… hard and weird but good. It’s funny, I was so stressed with all the what if’s of going back to studying that I lost site of all of the positives. It’s been an anxiety filled whirlwind but I *think* I’m on top of everything… I’m working part time alongside Uni, so I’ve had to juggle my workload and try and keep some time free to destress and really focus on my self-care. I was cycling home yesterday thinking that maybe… just maybe… it’s going ok! I think the negative stressy part of my head is waiting for me to start to really struggle, waiting for the inevitable time when it gets too much. But the reality is that it’s going well and I’m really enjoying it!

Perhaps I’m working towards being in a place where I can let go of that negativity or just notice it as my anxious inner self, acknowledge it’s there and let it float off in a mindful way.

Today I’m aiming to finish my first draft of my ethics form… watch this space for exciting mental health research hopefully coming soon!

I’m not sure what I was aiming to get out of blogging today… I guess I’m hoping to break the back of the writers and perfectionist block so I can get back into the swing of things.

Day 4: Find some time for a little self love

IMG_3594I’m loving #SelfCareSeptember already! It’s been really nice researching new ideas and having to think a little outside of thebox… I mean… I’ve got a whole month to fill with ideas! I’m going to add my research sources, ideas and all things self care to a Pinterest board, so click and follow. I’ll be adding all of the #SelfCareSeptember posts and other ideas and inspiration so have a look and follow me!

For my fourth day of blogging this month, I wanted to share some fabulous tips about finding some time for some Self Love from Gala Darling, an inspirational teacher of radical self love from New Zealand. Her website is awesome and you should really check it out for some fab ideas and information. I’m probably going to be talking about some of her ideas on my blog again as they’re great!

Radical self acceptance is a tricky one especially if your relationship with yourself is a little on the rocky side. I’ve found developing any kind of self acceptance quite a challenge, but it was something that I’ve put a lot of work and a lot of therapy into! I think the key is to keep working at it, you’re not going to learn to accept yourself and love yourself over night and perhaps thinking about the amount of time you’ve not shown yourself acceptance… then maybe you will see that it might take a little time to relearn and reprogram your head
. That’s no reason to admit defeat or give up before you even give it a go, it’s definitely possible and worth it!

So what kind of things can you do to try and show yourself a little more self love? One lovely idea of Gala Darling’s is to think about 5 attributes you inherited or learnt from your parents, it can even be 5 things your relationship with them taught you. Noticing some positives can lead you to realising that your have positive and worthwhile qualities. I learnt a lot in therapy about positive logs and the benefits of noticing positive qualities or attributes you have in the war against unhelpful negative core beliefs you have about yourself or rules that you lead your life by.

Why don’t you have a go at thinking about a positive qualities you have. Maybe starting in a matter of fact way and thinking about skills you have could work, that’s how I managed to have a go!

Thank you to everyone who has been following, sharing, commenting and generally been getting involved with my monthly feature! It’s so encouraging and makes it feel really worthwhile… so don’t stop yet! Also, if you’ve got any top tips or #SelfCare ideas, then please drop me a line via my contact page or send me a Tweet/Direct message and I can include your ideas too 🙂

Where have you come from? 

The road to recovery is long and winding. Sometimes it might feel like you’re not on the road or you’ve lost sight of where the path is. I think about it in a way that we talked about pathways in the brain whilst I was on Naomi. The road to recovery is like a forest path ahead of you, you’ve been told about the destination and you may have been there before or been somewhere similar but the details are a little foggy. Other people who’ve been there are telling you how great it is but the path to get there is quite a challenge. 

So you’re heading to this slightly unknown place along a path that you’ve got directions for but they’re not the best and sometimes the landmarks aren’t quite right or you have to stop and take a breath or you even go the wrong way and have to retrace your steps. It’s a hard way to go but occasionally, I urge you pause for a moment and look at the path behind you and see how far you’ve come. Think about where you were yesterday, a week ago, even a month ago and spot the differences. Search out the tiny improvements you’ve made and celebrate the progress however small. 

I bet you can think of at least one thing that’s better now, and if not, perhaps ask those around you or even better, get them to write it down so you can keep your little bits of proof. 

 The photo isn’t particularly relevant but it’s the art journal page I was doing when I decided to blog tonight!