Breathe

I’ve been away for a while. A lot has been going on; I’ve changed jobs, I’ve changed out my car (after 8 happy years of motoring together), I’ve been juggling a busy schedule and I’ve been working hard to maintain my commitment to volunteer each week.

What I’ve not been so good at is taking time out. Time to breathe.

I find I can’t sit still when I know there’s tasks to be done. Dishes in the sink, laundry in the basket, dog hair on the floor: these chores all weigh on my mind. I’ve realised that whilst I’ve been trying to keep the household afloat, and at the same time adapt to a new job, I’ve been letting my personal downtime slide. My “me-time” activities – reading, baking, sketching, even blogging – they’ve all fallen by the wayside. By way of example; at the end May I’d read 7 books this year. This figure, at the end of October, still stands at 7.

Mindfulness, the act of bringing your attention to the present, is exceptionally prominent in both the press and social media. Now, more than ever, we are aware of the importance of downtime and self care. It prevents burnout, allows us to appreciate the moment, and generally makes us happier people who are a joy to be around. So why do we feel guilty taking time out for ourselves? – I believe it has something to do with perception. I, like many women, feel that I am expected to portray the notion that I am on top of things at all times. After a full week of work, evening activities/commitments, cooking and housework, “down time” just keeps slipping further down the to-do list. There’s always a higher priority. I don’t want to be seen to be failing.

Today I read a BBC news article about the so-called millennial phenomenon of FOMOMG (Fear Of Missing Out on My Goals). This is the situation where the fear of missing your own personal life goals causes the goal-setter both stress and anxiety. I definitely can relate to the women in the article. I judge my “life-progress” based upon a mixture of milestones set by the generation before, the progress of my peers and the achievements of those who I follow on Instagram. Dwelling on what I have and haven’t achieved can easily spiral into blind panic. My teenage, or even early twenty-something year old self, would have anticipated that I’d be married with kids and in a senior role at work by now. Life doesn’t quite work out how you imagine it though… I’ve sometimes got to remind myself how lucky I am already.

So, in order to prevent myself from becoming a large ball of stress, I’ve decided I need to make a conscious effort to chill. I’m going to work hard at “allowing” myself free time to do all the (on the surface) frivolous tasks which I enjoy and make me chirpier in every aspect of my life. I’m not going to set any fixed targets for my downtime, for fear of adding to my already bulging to-do list. Instead, I’m just going to make time to breathe.

I’ll keep you posted with how I’m getting on.

#Easydoughsy #Aberdeenshire #Aberdeen #Breathe #Relax #Selfcare #Scotland #Scottishblogger #Aberdeenblogger #Slowdown #Blog #Challenge #Community #FOMOMG #Metime #Mindfulness #Wellness #Relaxing #Chilltime

BBC article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45894506

 

Fancy a slice?

Cake is an ice breaker. It’s a little piece of comfort. You could be having ‘one of those days’; you’ve been caught in a sudden downpour of rain whilst running late for the bus and now have frizzy hair and a see-through shirt, plus your boss has just asked you to give a presentation in 20mins on a topic you’re not really sure you totally understand, and you’ve just seen that your ex has posted a photo on Instagram of his super-hot new girlfriend who looks like she’s not eaten a square meal in months, aaand then you’ve unexpectedly started your period and have no tampons in your handbag, so you’ve had to stuff a pile of toilet roll into your pants to get you through ‘till you can go to the shop at lunch time – all the really Earth-shattering stuff which isn’t important, but actually, really is… then someone offers you a slice of cake. And it’s like a big hug on a plate. I mean, I’m aware the answer to the meaning of life may not necessarily be as straightforward as 42, but a slice of cake can provide a moment of solace like nothing else when you hit those little lows.

Comfort isn’t shouted about enough. In fact, it’s almost referred to in a derogatory way; “I’ll go stick on my comfy (read: most-unflattering) pants”, “she’s gotten a bit comfy (read: fat) in her relationship”. But comfort doesn’t have to mean boring, stagnant or lacklustre. It’s about celebrating security and a few moments of joyful wellbeing. I like to feel comfortable in the clothes I wear, but I also want to look good. I want to be healthy, but I also really enjoy having that biscuit or cake. Everything in moderation is my mantra.

I grant that in certain cases we do need to push our own boundaries, face the fear and all of those other go-getting clichés. Without lifting self-imposed limitations or restrictions we would never move forward, for fear of failure. I certainly need pushing out of my comfort zone more than most. I seek comfort and reassurance through the tiniest of rituals and routines which I feel help me get through the day unscathed. Yet, new challenges allow us to grow and develop both our confidence and skills. This is something I am excited to explore. It is still reassuring to me, however, to keep some of those old comforts in the proverbial horizon, just visible out of the corner of our mind’s eye, you know – as back up.

Baking can be a vessel to challenging ourselves. It’s relaxing, sometimes perplexing, often frustrating and allows us to fail in a non-threatening environment. Anyone can bake; any age, any ability, it’s not just a mystical black art for those with too much time on their hands. Like anything, having a go is the key to success. I like to use visual representations to explain my processes and recipes, without the usual accompanying jargon. It’s baking made easy. I hope it’ll inspire you to get in the kitchen and expand your skillset too. Once you’re eating that first homemade cupcake you’ll wonder why you didn’t begin sooner.

So, here on Easydoughsy, I hope to step outside of my own customary boundaries and share with you some of my most favourite recipes, fashion quests, lifestyle and wellbeing discoveries. Whatever the topic, we’ll always keep that comforting slice of cake there in the background. Make sure you follow the Easydoughsy Instagram account and blog here at Easydoughsy.com for regular updates.

Baking doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be Easydoughsy.

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#comfort #comfortzone #challenge #cake #baking #bakingmadeeasy #stepbystep #Scotland #Aberdeenshire #Easydoughsy #blog #firstpost