Monday, 15 January 2018

15 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

Apparently today is 'Blue Monday'. a day in the middle of January that is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. I don't know if there's any evidence to support that, but ever since Christmas, I haven't been able to shake those soul-crushing Winter Blues, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

It's the middle of Winter, it's cold, dark, and dreary, Christmas is a distant memory, life has slowed down again, and it's still ages 'til payday. In short, January is the worst. After a month of festive cheer, celebrations, parties, indulging, socialising, and getting showered with presents, it's no wonder January seems so dull and boring in contrast, and so many of us feel the effects of the Winter Blues. January is brutal.

The Winter Blues hits me like clockwork as soon as Christmas is over every year, continuing for most of January and sometimes even 'til Spring. I lose my motivation to do anything, boredom crushes me, I feel suffocated by the darkness, and feel stressed and miserable because I have no money and nothing exciting to look forward to. Sound familiar? Luckily, I've got plenty of coping methods I try to employ to help me beat those pesky blues, and I thought I'd share some of them with you today in case they might be helpful to you or anyone suffering with their mental health at this time of year. Please note, these are by no means official, medically proven ways to treat the blues, SAD or depression, just methods that work for me, and if you're really struggling with your mental health, please talk to your doctor for professional advice. They should be able to help you find the right treatment for you, or refer you to someone that can. At least confide in a friend or loved one, and let them know how you're feeling. Don't suffer in silence; you have nothing to be ashamed of.

If you're interested in reading some tips and ideas from a fellow suffer, then here are my 15 ways to beat the Winter Blues...

1. Plan Something To Look Forward To
Book or plan something to look forward to- a holiday, a concert, a trip to the theatre, a night out with friends... something that will fill you with so much excitement you could burst. It helps to have something exciting to concentrate on and keep going for, especially during the really bleak days.

2. Do What Makes You Happy
Do whatever it is that makes you ridiculously happy, whether that's spending time with your favourite people, watching cat videos in your PJs, going to see your fave bands play live, exploring somewhere new, making things, or going out dancing. Whatever it is that sets your heart on fire, do it!

3. Start A New Project
Start a new project, preferably something that will take a little while to complete, so it can keep you busy and distracted for weeks or months. Crochet a blanket, upcycle a piece of furniture, learn to paint, take up gardening, learn photography, write, start a blog... the possibilities are endless. I find cross-stitching, painting, and creative writing particularly relaxing and therapeutic.

4. Colour Those Blues Away
Pick up a colouring book and colour those winter blues away. There are loads of colouring books for adults now, and trust me, colouring is so therapeutic. It's a great mood-lifter, and should help you to destress, and relax in minutes.

5. Play Some Happy Tunes
Play your favourite happy, uplifting songs up loud. Avoid listening to anything melancholy.

6. Watch Your Favourite Feel Good Movies
Watch your favourite feel good movies with a big bowl of popcorn or your favourite chocolates. It's an instant mood-lifter. Mamma Mia, Julie and Julia, Steel Magnolias and Little Women never fail to make me smile and lighten my mood.

7. Keep Yourself Busy
Try to keep yourself busy. I find boredom only aggravates my SAD, so I like to keep myself as busy as possible to distract myself. I'll usually get crafting, blogging, or writing, but getting lost in my Instagram feed, catching up on some housework, or binge-watching a new TV series works just as well.

8. Hang Out With People You Love
Spend some quality time with the people you love and enjoy being around. Avoid spending time around negative and toxic people that only bring you down. You deserve better than that.

9. Get Washed and Dressed
Get out of your PJs, get showered, put on fresh clean clothes, and spend some time doing your hair, and make up, if you wear it. I don't know about you, but I always feel so much better after a good shower when my hair's all nice and clean, I've changed in to some clean clothes, and put my face on. I feel so much better equipped to face the day.

10. Treat Yourself To A Hair Cut
Get a hair cut. Whether you go for a trim or a whole new look, a good hair cut can be a huge mood-lifter, and give your confidence a boost, too.

11. Eat Well, Drink Plenty Of Water, and Exercise
Eat well, drink plenty of water, and get some exercise to get those endorphins pumping. You don't need to spend hundreds of pounds joining a gym; exercise outside for free! Go for a walk or a run, make use of a skipping rope, dance, take the dog for a walk, or follow an exercise DVD at home.  

12. Get Enough Natural Daylight
Get as much natural day light as possible. Try to get up as close to sunrise as you can so you can get the maximum hours of light available, and make sure you get outside every day for at least 10 minutes to soak up enough Vitamin D.

13. Go For A Walk
Wrap up warm, get outside, and go for a long walk. Breathe in the fresh air, take in the sights and sounds, soak up a little day light, and clear your mind.

14. Avoid New Year Diet and Exercise Talk
Avoid reading fashion and gossip magazines which are filled with diet and exercise talk at this time of year. Reading articles that shame size zero celebrities for gaining three pounds and bombards you with diet tips will only make you feel like crap.

15. Talk To Someone
If you're struggling with your mental health, please don't suffer in silence; talk to someone. Confide in a friend or family member you can trust, and ask your doctor for help. They may be able to offer some treatment to help you or refer you to someone who can. If you can't speak to a loved one or a doctor, there are mental health helplines you can call, which you can find a list of here if you're in the UK. I know it's scary, but there's nothing to be ashamed or afraid of, and you're not alone.

How do you beat the Winter blues?

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Sunday Favourites #310

Here are some of the things that have been inspiring me this week...

This colourful leaves chai spice cake from Sugar and Cloth is so pretty.

Somebody make me a batch of Club Crafted's cosmic brownie fudge; it looks amazing!

A fun and colourful free printable wall calendar from Studio DIY.

How cool is this woven tapestry cake from A Subtle Revelry?! It looks so realistic!

I love these fun DIY clay barrettes from Oh Happy Day. I think they'd make awesome brooches, too.

I adore this DIY rainbow fringe blanket from Club Crafted.

I would love to get my hands on this tropical cross stitch kit gift set by Han Hand Makes to add some tropical vibes to my walls in time for Summer.

I love everything about this photo of Aww Sam's living room. I wish my living room looked like this!

I'm in love with these DIY galaxy gradient glass plates by A Kailo Chic Life.

And A Kailo Chic Life's DIY rainbow roving woven basket is pretty darn perfect, too.

This sweet DIY rainbow cake topper from Tell Love & Party.

I'm so inspired by this amazing DIY pin organiser by Oh Joy. I might just have to give this DIY a try...

Lovely Indeed's homemade marshmallows look scrumptious.

Make up artist Georgina Ryland's intricate body paintings are incredible.

Beautiful colourful collages by Sara Wenokur.

Lovely Links

 A women penned a moving Facebook post before passing away from a rare cancer and it's so inspiring. You can read the post in full here.

If you'd like to see more stuff like this, check out my Pinterest and Tumblr. You can also find all previous Sunday Favourites posts here.

What was your favourite part this week?

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Wednesday Wish List

It feels like forever since I last put together a Wednesday Wish List, even though it's only been about a month, so I thought it was about time I put together a new one. 

These are some of the fashion and beauty pieces I've been coveting lately...

This rainbow-coloured firework necklace from Tatty Devine is spectacular.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10

I adore all of these beautiful dresses and skirts from Hell Bunny. (These are the plus size versions, which go up to a 4 XL, but they also have straight-size versions of each piece on their website).

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Alice in Wonderland has always been one of my favourite Disney films, so I'm completely smitten with Loungefly's collection of Alice in Wonderland bags and purses. I love that the designs include the bread and butterflies, oysters, and rocking horse flies!

The Too Faced Chocolate Gold eyeshadow palette is so dreamy. Just look at those eyeshadow shades!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Kate Spade bags just keep on getting better and better.

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I'd love to get my hands on these four frocks from Lindy Bop, especially the Do Re Mi deer print Corinna (#3).

1 // 2

This red embroidered ruffle hem top, and embroidered tea jumpsuit from ASOS Curve.

Modcloth Ruffle Shirt Dress

And finally, I'm in love with this green polka dot ruffle shirt dress from Modcloth. It's the perfect shade of green, and the style is so pretty.

If you'd like to see more of the fashion and beauty pieces on my wish list, check out my style and beauty wish list boards on Pinterest. You can also find all previous Wednesday Wish List posts here.

What's on your wish list this week?

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Sunday Favourites #309

I'm here with my first Sunday Favourites post of 2018, and I've got some wonderful things to share with you this week. I hope you enjoy them.

How cute are these rainbow doughnuts from Club Crafted?!

I'm also loving Club Crafted's awesome DIY rainbow clutch.

Always remember you are made of amazing things!

These DIY Buffalo check rosemary soaps by A Beautiful Mess look amazing.

A Beautiful Mess' mermaid shell sweatshirt DIY is the perfect DIY for all the aspiring mermaids out there.

If you still need a calendar for 2018, check out this free printable calendar from Lu Loves Handmade. It's gorgeous.

I love this sweet cacti cross stitch kit from Han Hand Makes.

This pretty DIY quick weave wall hanging from A Beautiful Mess.

 This DIY knotted blanket from Tell Love & Party looks so cute and cosy.

I'm digging this cacti duvet set from New Look.

Another pretty free printable calendar for 2018, this time from Lovely Indeed.

I need this Sunnylife rainbow doormat in my life.

This giraffe embroidery kit from Namaste Hand Embroidery is so beautiful.

I've never seen Gilmore Girls, but I love this pink letter board cake from Best Friends For Frosting.

Lovely Links

If you'd like to see more stuff like this, check out my Pinterest and Tumblr. You can also find all previous Sunday Favourites posts here.

What was your favourite part this week?

Friday, 5 January 2018

My Goals For 2018

At the beginning of each new year I always feel motivated to better myself, and set myself some goals for the year ahead. I don't set myself big New Year's resolutions, like losing half my body weight overnight, becoming a millionaire, or giving up my dress habit, and won't this year, either, as I know I'll never achieve them, but I do like to set myself lots of fun, smaller goals to work on before the year is through. It gives me something to aim for, and I suppose it makes me feel like I'm achieving something even though I'm not able to do all the things I want to in life because of my chronic illnesses.

This year, I've come up with a lot of things I want to aim for in 2018, and I thought I'd share some of those goals with you today.

Don't worry; I'm not about to start announcing some 'new year, new me' bollocks; it's a new year, but you'll get the same old me; I'm not planning to change who I am just because society makes us feel like we're not good enough the way we are. I might attempt to become a slightly better version of myself in 2018, but chances are, I won't succeed, and it's not the end of the world if I fail.

Here are 15 of my goals for 2018:

Craft Regularly and Try Lots of New Crafts
I've come to realise I'm rarely more content than when I'm making something with my own two hands, so I want to craft as much as possible in 2018, and also have a go at lots of new crafts. I want to do lots of colourful cross stitching, learn how to crochet a granny square blanket, improve my embroidery skills, make more hoop art, have a go at making wreaths for Spring / Easter, try decoupaging, perhaps do some jewellery making, try needle felting, make bandannas for Rosie, and all kinds of other fun creative things. I basically just want to spend the whole year making things.

Paint Regularly and Try Gouache Paints
Last year, I began watercolour painting again after several years away from a paint brush, having completely forgotten how relaxing and enjoyable it could be. I want to keep painting regularly throughout the year, improve my watercolour skills, and also try working with gouache paints for the first time to try something a little more vibrant.

Improve My Photography and Photo Editing Skills
Photography and photo editing are two areas of blogging I really struggle with and I admit they need a lot of improvement, so I'm going to keep working on improving my skills and the quality of my photos throughout the year.

Read More
I've been making the effort to read more over the last few months and I've enjoyed every moment of it, so I want to continue reading regularly in 2018 (every day, where possible), and try to read a lot more. I'm not going to set myself a target number of books, except that I want to read at least one book a month. It doesn't sound like a lot, but I think it's more than I managed in 2017.

See Fall Out Boy Live Again
Fall Out Boy are touring in the UK again in March, and I'm determined to get out and see them on stage again. Their shows are always phenomenal, and so much fun. I haven't got tickets yet, as I'm still skint, but plans are afoot...

Continue Training Rosie
My Tibetan terrier, Rosie, still needs a little work with some of her training- especially with recall and not jumping up at people- so it's something I'm going to commit to working on with her until we've cracked it. She's a really intelligent dog, so I know she'll get there.

Shop For Christmas and Birthday Presents Throughout The Year
I want to be super organised this year, and shop for presents for birthdays and Christmas throughout the year to help spread the cost, and keep the stress of last minute shopping at bay. I did this the year before last, and it really took the stress out of present-giving. I'm intending to pick up presents as and when I see the perfect gift and can afford to, and build up a good present stash so I can be all smug when my Christmas shopping is all finished while everyone's running around the high street like headless chickens in December.

Build Up My Wardrobe Again
I had to sell a lot of my wardrobe just to get by last year, so now things are a little better financially, I want to work on building it back up again. I'm not planning on going crazy, but a new dress here and there would be nice.

Blog More Quality Content
I want to work hard to improve my blog content this year, as I wasn't happy with my blog at all last year. I always put 110% in to every post, but I wasn't satisfied with my photos, and I just wasn't able to blog about everything I wanted to- mostly because I wasn't often well enough to take the photos I needed for the posts. I need to find a way around my health issues when it comes to photography, and I want to do my best to blog more quality content. I want to blog more fashion, beauty, and lifestyle posts, and basically make Polka Spots the best it can be.

Blog Outfits Again
I didn't blog a single outfit in 2017, mostly because I didn't have any money for new clothes (can you believe I only bought one new dress in 2017?!), and because my next door neighbours had builders working on their house every fucking day of the year and I didn't feel comfortable taking photos in the garden with them around to see me. It makes me sad, as sharing my outfits used to be the main reason for my blog, and I really miss it, so I want to try to share outfits again this year, even if it's only every now and then.

Revamp and Rebrand the Blog
The blog is long over due a revamp, and as I hate my blog name, I also think it's time for a rebrand. I had intended to tackle this last year, but I wasn't able to due to lack of funds for the blog design I wanted. The blog's a mess, so it's about time I got it done.

Be More Interactive With You Guys
I completely failed at keeping up with blog comments and messages in 2017, and I'm ashamed of myself for it. I know an apology isn't good enough, but I will do my best to keep up with them in 2018, and be more interactive with you guys. I'm going to sit down and have a big catch up as soon as I'm feeling better, and then make sure I keep on top of them.

Keep Up My Survey Answering Game
I got in to crowdsourcing (answering surveys online) last year to make a little extra cash, and it's something I want to continue doing regularly this year, too. It doesn't bring in a lot of money, but it soon adds up. Last year I earned enough to afford all the Christmas, birthday, and Easter presents for my family and friends, as well as a few treats for myself, so I'm aiming to do the same this year. I just need to keep myself motivated, which can be the hard part, as a lot of surveys are boring as hell!

Visit Somewhere New
I doubt I'll be getting away for a holiday this year, but I'd like to try to visit at least one place I've never been before, even if it's close to home. 

Some Places I'd Like To Visit In 2018
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Badbury Clump woods (for the bluebells in the Spring).
The Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums in Oxford.
Christchurch, Oxford.
London (it's been far too long).
Whipsnade Wild Animal Park.
Blenheim Palace.

What are your goals for 2018?
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