I’m really proud of this video. It’s not your typical favourites video. Instead of just the makeup/skincare/whatever else products I’ve really enjoyed using during the year, this is about all the things I’ve discovered, or started doing, in 2015 that have made a huge difference in managing my anxiety and stress levels.
I wanted to film this instead of write it up for a couple of reasons:
- That way, I could show you each of the things better, e.g. give you a little look inside the Calm book.
- I actually just really really love making videos okay.
So please go ahead and watch it. I know I say this all the time, but I’m so excited to share it with you.
However, I will give a brief run-down of everything I talk about in the video here, for those of who you can’t be assed watching 15 minutes of me rambling about stuff.
I love this book. It’s written by one of the guys who created the Calm app, which is a guided meditation/mindfulness app that I’ve used in the past and found to be very beneficial. The Calm book is full of different ways to, well, stay calm while dealing with all the stresses of modern living. It’s full of tips and ideas for ways to practise mindfulness in different aspects of your life. It’s also not meant to be read cover-to-cover: rather, you can flick through the pages and read bits and pieces as you please.
If you watch my video, you’ll see how beautiful and colourful it is inside, which makes reading it all the more enjoyable. I like that each page is different, and that the book contains lots of pictures. The visual element is very appealing to someone like me, who doesn’t read books all that much.
I keep Calm on the little shelf beside my bed, and reach for it whenever I need to. If you want to check it out, it’s sold at Whitcoulls for $30.
2: Lush bath products.
Taking baths has been my ultimate way to de-stress this year. I discovered Lush at the end of 2014, and all year I’ve been trying different Lush bath products whenever I can. I wish I had a bath in my flat in Wellington, because there are definitely times when I wish I could sink into a lovely, bubbly, lavender-scented bath and relax for half an hour.
I’ve talked about Lush and bathing plenty on this blog already, so I won’t go on about it for too long here. Just really quickly, for anyone who hasn’t tried many (or any) bath products from Lush, I’d like to direct you to a couple of my absolute favourites. The lavender-scented Twilight bath bomb is my favourite year-round bath bomb. It’s just beautiful and incredibly relaxing. And if you prefer a bubble bath, I’d recommend trying Green bubbleroon – a really fresh-smelling (not to mention adorable) little bubble bar.
3. Studying in cafes.
I find that one way to minimise stress when you’re studying is to keep your home space and your work environment separate as much as possible. What this has meant for me, living in a flat, is that I try to take my work out with me as much as possible, and find a good space to study, instead of studying in my room all the time.
I used to just spend hours up at uni studying, but this year I started spending more and more time in cafes instead. It was a much more relaxing environment, and I found I was able to concentrate better and for longer. Favourite spots this year included Starbucks Lambton, The Annexe and Clark’s Cafe.
4. Weekly planner.
I started using a weekly planner in the first week of 2015, and I have used it every week since. It’s such a simple and obvious thing to do, to plan out your week, but for me it was an incredible decision. I love my weekly planner, and it made such a difference in terms of managing my anxiety. If you struggle with anxiety and stress, try keeping a weekly planner in 2016.
I’ve loved writing posts for Iron Beth every week. It’s been amazing the report I’ve received because of the stories I’ve shared on here. What’s even more amazing is that both friends and strangers have said that they’ve found my posts on mental illness helpful and informative. I hope to continue working and growing Iron Beth in 2016. I want to return to a strong focus on talking about mental illness, so hopefully more and more people will become aware of what it means not to be well in your head. I want to keep doing what I can to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness, and to help others who may be going through what I’ve been through myself.
I never burnt candles until this year, but I wish I’d gotten on the bandwagon earlier! Lighting a candle is now an integral part of my evening routine. It really helps me to relax before bed, ensuring a better night’s sleep and less anxiety during the night. I have Tess to thank for inspiring me to get some candles (she has a buttload in her room). The ones I get are by The Aromatherapy Company. You can get them from Farmers and I like them because they’re pretty affordable, without smelling like lollies or cheap perfume.
This is definitely something I want to do more of in 2016. As someone who is sensitive to the elements, I don’t run outside (only on the treadmill at the gym), much as I’d love to go for an evening jog along the waterfront. But going for walks is a good compromise. In terms of relaxing, it’s probably even better: less intense and strenuous, while still being exercise. As a student and a blogger I spend a lot of my time indoors, hunched over my computer screen. It is therefore really important that I get outside for some fresh air, and to look at things that aren’t rectangles. I’m glad I managed to get out on some long walks in 2015, and hopefully there’ll be even more of those in the year to come!
Well, there you go. I hope you enjoyed reading/watching this, and that maybe you could find some inspiration here somewhere. And yes, I’m aware that my numbering was a bit off in my video! By the time I noticed, it had been rendered and my big laptop (with Sony Vegas on it) was in the shop getting fixed, so there was nothing I could do. Let’s all wish that 2016 brings tighter editing skills and more attention to detail in the world of Iron Beth.
Wherever you are in the world, and however you’re celebrating, I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas. Try to extend kindness and empathy to your fellow human beings. I’m going to be trying my best to do those things too. And for those of you who are interested, there’s a second video below – another Christmassy makeup tutorial, because I wanted to do it and I felt like being festive.