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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Can I Make Recovery Fit?

The other day I wrote myself a kind of mantra about recovery:

Some days in recovery aren’t easy. Sometimes you might feel like the world is surely about to end, you can’t face getting out of bed and it feels impossibly hard. This is where true recovery is born, where you find the resilience to keep going when it feels hard. Remember that your head may well be selling you the idea of relapse as a positive… like it might make you feel better right now… you even get that kind of homesick feeling for a time when you were poorly. But the reality is that even the way you’re feeling right now, is better than the good days of being unwell. Keep strong and keep fighting!

As a student, recovering from a mental health problem can at times feel like a huge challenge. Or course it’s not restricted to students… it applies to anyone who is doing ‘life stuff’ at the same time whether it’s working, studying, looking after a family… anything that divides your attention. Recovering from any mental health problem can often feel like a full time job that requires a lot of attention, but our reasons to recover are the ‘life stuff’, so we tread this fine line between focusing enough time on each area. I guess it’s that classic plate spinning game; the focus needs to be enough in each area to keep the plates up but actually it’s not the end of the world if occasionally something slips or drops.

I had a couple of flat days recently where I was ok… but finding the extra energy I needed to be up and out of the house early just felt too much. It was a better option to have a quieter and easier start and think about the work I could do from home until I built up my resources again. I felt guilty for missing a couple of bits of contact time and teetered on the edge of beating myself up for being a bit of a failure etc. (all the negativity my brain wanted to feed me!). When I took a step back and thought about it though… it was ok for me to be taking a personal day to boost myself up. The reality was that I worked better, slept better and generally felt better afterwards. It was what I needed and had it been a ‘work’ day, I might have booked it off to allow myself that space to rest my brain.

University can feel a little unwieldy at accommodating mental health at times. The holidays come at their prescribed times, rather than when you might most benefit from a day or two off. Another way to look at it is to think about what you would do if you have a stomach bug! I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t force yourself to attend all of your contact time regardless of what your body was doing? I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t just think you need to ‘man up’ and battle through. You would take a day off to get back to strength and then head back ready to face to world!

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At the weekend I spent a day exploring Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire with one of my loveliest friends. I didn’t do any Uni work that day, but felt refreshed and better able to tackle it because I’d had such a lovely day.

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Taking the personal time to just reset is such a great form of self care, perhaps we should think about it more as a necessary task rather than a luxury. Recovery can fit in with life and it’s totally possible to juggle things so you can focus enough on each, but there will undoubtedly come times when it’s slips for a moment. The balance may not be quite right, but it’s totally ok to take a moment to regroup ready to get to it again!