calm

January in a nutshell

Real talk. It’s been a grand total of 8 school days since my summer holidays ended, but it feels like I’ve been slaving away for years. I’ve found this slightly concerning due to the fact that I still have approximately 107 days (!!!) of school to go, and that’s not counting the total of about 12 weeks throughout the year that make up exam sessions. I guess this is why people keep telling me to pace myself (i.e. don’t turn into little-miss-frantic-study-work-all-night-team-no-sleep 8 days into the game) SO, as much as I would love to write a nice, neat post on staying calm, and being zen, it’s not quite that simple. Namely because I’m still figuring it out too.

Trying to balance all the homework for classes, essays and assignments, and still having time to study and do all the other school-ish responsibilities leaves me feeling like I don’t have time for much (or anything) else. But, despite the fact that the last few days of school have been, well, hard, something I have been getting right (small victories, friends) is making a little time each evening to wind down a little and help my mind calm down. Mostly it involves a few minutes on the Calm app, and reading a few pages of a book, (and not going to lie, some nights I just skip it, using the argument that its 10 minutes extra of sleep). Anyways, let’s see how long I can keep this whole calm thing up, but I would really recommend you try it. If you are forgetful like me, set a recurring reminder on your phone for around your bed time so that it becomes a routine of sorts. Hope it helps!

And if you need me, I’ll probs be in my room, burning too many aromatherapy candles to try and stay calm, whilst going through the 1214363 tasks in my bullet journal.

Nabeela x

On Prioritising

priority /prʌɪˈɒrɪti/ noun

Life in the twenty-first century is busy and demanding. It feels as if the world never stops and that no matter how hard one tries, one will always miss out on something. Often, it feels as if we are being pulled in hundreds of directions all at once. There are so many tasks that demand our attention, and demand it now. It is the age of immediate action and instant gratification.

The reality is, there is only so much you can do. You are one person, with one brain and two hands. You simply cannot do everything. This doesn’t mean you are weak or inadequate. It simply means you are human. So please, don’t be disheartened by this. In fact, the earlier you realise this, the better for you, and those you interact with. Something I’ve had to learnt the hard way is that it is better to do fewer things, and to do them really well. Quality over quantity, my friends.

So, next time you start feeling overwhelmed by the many tasks you seem to be drowning in, might I suggest you try something new. Take a step back, get out some paper and make a good old-fashioned list or “brain-dump”. Seeing the contents of your mind on paper may surprise you, particularly when you see how many tasks aren’t quite as urgent as they may feel.

Your time and energy are your most precious commodities. Don’t underestimate the value of them, and don’t give of them too freely. Also, make sure you leave enough of them for yourself. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Nabeela x

On Journaling

In a digital world where we are always connected to others, it can be all too easy to become disconnected from ourselves. The world is full of noise, both literally and figuratively, and sometimes, it can be so loud that our own thoughts feel like too much to deal with. After all, we can only think about so many things at one time.

The thing is, with the information-overload that we face on a daily basis, it’s easy to feel as if our brains are simply overflowing. I know that personally, this usually sends me into a state of minor (read: sometimes, not-so-minor) panic. It gets a bit much.

Something I’ve been using on and off for the past year or so as a way to cope with my ever-busy brain is journaling. I’ve recently been taking some time on a more regular basis, to write things down and clear up some space in my head. It’s been really beneficial to me, so I thought I would share some practices you can use if it is a method you’re interested in.

01. / Start slow

Don’t put huge amounts of pressure on yourself to write pages and pages daily. Start slowly, and ease into it. Do whatever feels manageable and helpful to you. The minute it starts becoming stressful, and feels like a chore, it defeats the purpose of the exercise.

02. / Be flexible

Don’t try too hard to make it pretty or to always use your best handwriting (If that is something you enjoy, make that a separate journal). Make it feel low-effort and write in a way that feels comfortable, natural and easy for you.

03./ Set a time

I am aware that this slightly contradicts point 2, but hear me out. By introducing some journal time into your schedule a few times a week, it turns into a lovely, meditative and calming ritual to help you de-stress. You may find that you’ll look forward to the time you get to spend reboot your mind.

04. / Keep it safe

By keeping your journal in a place where you know no one will read it, you’re giving yourself peace of mind, and the freedom to just write and let your thoughts flow. Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t make sense or if it seems a bit messy. It is meant solely for your own benefit.

I hope you find these pointers helpful. Journaling truly is a lovely analogue way to deal with busy minds in a busy world.

Nabeela x

Lately 06 / Exams

Alas, I have not disappeared. My radio silence has been due to school becoming pretty all-consuming this year. I know I’ve been quite quiet on the socials too, often only been posting once a week on Instagram to share my weekly project. Safe to say its been slightly manic. As exam season sets in, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Don’t abandon your wellness. Deep breaths and take each day as it comes. In the June-July holidays, you can expect some cool content, but for now, its going to be a bit quiet around here. Good luck for exam season, lovelies.

Much love

Nabeela x

On Keeping Your Room Calm and Tidy

Your environment can have a big effect on your mood without you even knowing. It has been said that a clear room equals a clear mind. Sound far-fetched? Try it. I have definitely found that the state of my room has a direct effect on how calm I feel. I can’t work (or sleep well, for that matter) in an over-cluttered, messy room- I simply find it too distracting and overwhelming. I’d like to think that I’m finally reaching a point where I’ve figured out a few ways to keep my room in a general state of orderliness without it feeling stiff. I’ve also been working towards having a calming space that is easy to unwind in. This can be difficult to achieve as a student, because chances are that you study in your room too, so it is important that you allocate certain spaces for certain activities, no matter how small your room is – but more on that another time.

Here are some things that I find help me in keeping my room clutter-free and calming. It also helps me to ensure that my room doesn’t turn into a complete mess within a few days of life’s general crazy busyness.

01. / Clear daily 

Although this might seem annoying, by doing a quick 5-minute tidy-up daily, you can keep the clutter at bay. I usually just spend a few minutes picking up dirty clothes, packing away anything that belongs in cupboards or drawers and throwing away unwanted papers. I usually do this in the evenings before bed (it can be quite therapeutic actually – or is that just me?! LOL) but pick a time that suits you and run with it.

02. /  Keep your surfaces clear

This is just about the easiest way to instantly make your room look and feel clearer. Cut back on the excess (be flexible though. Your room doesn’t always have to look Pinterest-perfect. You live there, remember?). Best advice I’ve ever been given. Best advice I can give.

03. / Give it a home

You might find that there’s always that one object that kind of just floats around because you don’t really know where it goes. To avoid having any of your things just floating around, ensure that everything, no matter how small, has a home. This way,  when the time comes to pack it away, there is an actual place to put it.

Here are some things you can do to create calm vibes in your room.

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01. / Candles

Candles don’t only create a calm mood, but they also leave your room smelling positively delicious. I currently only burn candles that don’t have any whack ingredients – don’t want any nasties floating around in the air. My current faavourite is this lemongrass one from Wellness Warehouse. It’s made from soybean wax, so it can be used as massage oil when it melts – double whammy. My other favourite candle is from Rain, but it’s quite old (as in, I found it in a chest somewhere in our house), so I don’t think it can be bought anymore.

02. / Colours

I’m the kind of person who actually really adores colour, but chooses not to show it in my dress or decor choices all that often. The only place in my room that is really colourful is my workspace, but that’s just what I like. Find a colour story that works for you, and try and stick with it. It’ll make your space feel less crazy. I find that having a more cohesive colour palette in my room makes for a more relaxing space, and is easier on the eye.

03. / Plants

Anyone who knows me well enough in real life (or even online) will know that I adore plants. Not going to lie, if I could, I’d pack up my room and move into someone’s greenhouse in a heartbeat. But seeing as that’s not exactly realistic (yet – some day maybe), I bring greenery into my space by keeping houseplants. They’re air-purifying, beautiful and quite literally add life to the space. Not a very good plant parent? Don’t despair. Just pick up a cactus. The only way I’ve ever killed one is by drowning the poor thing from too much water. (Oops).

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So there you have it, folks. My best zen room tips and tricks. (How am I not a Hygge spokesperson yet?) Hope you found this helpful. Until next time x

Nabeela x

Offline

I’ve always admired people who have the will power to have “offline days”. As bad as it sounds, it can be extremely difficult to disconnect ourselves from the hustle and bustle that is constant online. We don’t want to miss out on a thing.

Social media gives us a rush that is described by some as a “runners high”.

That rush of joy we feel when someone retweets, follows or likes what we’ve posted is what some think is happiness, but to me, I think it can take away the ability to look for happiness in less materialistic and superficial places.

I’m not at all shooting down the internet. I’m so grateful for how much my blog and personal brand have grown thanks to the exposure I’ve received on Instagram.

All I’m saying is that we need to know where to draw the line.

We find ourselves starting to live for the media. We have this idea of what life should look like and find ourselves constantly comparing our own lives to the beautifully curated feeds we see on Instagram and Pinterest. I’m guilty of it and I’m sure I’m not alone on that one.  Its that constant, unrealistic benchmark that we have set for ourselves and that society has set for us. Emphasis on unrealistic.

I’ve heard people at school say things like “She has such a busy social life! Have you seen her Instagram?” or “Her Instagram has all these photos of her hiking up all these cool mountains. But she’s so clever. When does she study?” Hello? Earth to us all? Instagram is not real life!

I recently listened to a podcast where I heard something very interesting. The hosts were discussing how Instagram has been called ‘visual crack’. Its so easy to get sucked in and spend hours looking at curated photos and then feeling depressed about own, less perfect-looking lives in comparison.

We’ve become obsessed with likes, comments and follows.

Let’s try and change up our barometer for joy.

Let’s go back to the old days where we got joy from spending time in nature or with family, and not only from a retweet.

My personal challenge for 2017 is to have a ‘offline Sunday’ as far as possible. The email can wait.

I challenge you too, to see if you can stay offline for a bit. Even if its just for an hour or two a day where you unplug and connect with yourself and others in a different kind of way.

See how carefree and happy it’ll make you.

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I’ve seen these truth-filled words all over the web, so I created this illustration. All the elements were done by hand first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nabeela x

 

 

 

 

Monotasking 

Hello 

The other day, I found myself frustrated that I couldn’t focus on the article I was reading whilst listening to a podcast. I felt half-focused on both and didn’t really know what I was reading or listening to. 

In today’s crazy, race-like life, it can be difficult for us to focus on one task at a time. Most think it’s a superpower to be able to multitask. I, for one, think the real superpower is to be able to monotask. Zone in. Focus solely on one task, when you have a thousand other things shouting at you to be done. 

We need to be a bit more mindful and intentional with the way we spend our time. Imagine how our productivity levels could spike if we were focused solely on the task at hand at all times! 

Now, with exam time on our doorstep, make sure you’re fully focused on what you’re learning and not trying to do too many things at once. The time has come to monotask. 

“Your calm mind is your ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.” – Bryant McGill

Nabeela x

Slow: What’s The Rush? 

In today’s busy, crazy, chaotic life, it can be difficult to remember to breathe, reflect and take some time to slow down.
When delving into minimalism, I came across its close cousin: slow living.

What is it? Well, in my understanding, it’s about taking more time to do the things you really love and do less time doing the things you don’t. Simple, right? Easier said than done though.

It’s about more intentional living. Curating your time. Doing things more intentionally and being more mindful.
You’ll notice that once you slow down a bit, you’ll see the beauty in the ordinary. Indeed, this beauty is everywhere and in everything. We just rush past it and don’t take it in enough.

 
Try and be more intentional, more mindful, more peaceful. Maybe, try listening and observing more than speaking.

 
Taste the flavours in the food you eat.
Feel the air that blows through your hair and on your skin.

Hear the birds waking you up in the morning.

See. See the world through a new, more mindful and intentional set of eyes.

We’ve become so set on looking for the imperfections, the wrongs, the pain. We try to fix that. And that’s alright. But why not embrace the beauty too?

 
This Spring, and next year, which will be my sixteenth one, I want to wake up again, see the world through new eyes and be more mindful.

 
In the words of Carl Honore, it’s time to embrace your inner tortoise.

 

‘Nature does not hurry and yet everything is accomplished…’ – Lao Tsu
I think nature is trying to tell us something.

Nabeela

 
(Considering this piece of writing is about slowness, I wrote it really fast. The words were just flowing!)

 
TEDtalk recommendation:

In praise of slowness – Carl Honore

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