Have a Happier Exam Session

Exams are undoubtedly the most stressful time of the year in any student’s life. The pressure is on and the nerves are set. Believe it or not, exams have been pretty bearable for me this time around (1 week in and all is well). They don’t have the be awful.

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01. /  Organize

Although it may seem obvious, having a structured study plan helps to ease the nerves immensely because you know you’re on track and its easy to see what you need to do each day. Writing a to-do list every day when I get home has been helping me so much to clearly see what I need to achieve before the end of the day.

02. / Move 

I haven’t stopped any of my usual exercises and it’s been such a great way to relieve stress and relax. If you’re usually very active and you stop completely, chances are that you’re not going to feel very good, or at ease. So be sure to make time to move those muscles.

03. / Eat well

Eating healthily and drinking lots of water helps you to have a clearer mind and a happier body. Try some healthy snack options instead of chips and sweets (which’ll make you feel sluggish and unenergetic). Here are some snacks to try:

  • Carrot sticks and hummus
  • Cucumber cubes and feta
  • Banana and peanut butter smoothie
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit

04. / Sleep 

I know all too well how easy it is to come home early and think there’s so much time to do the things that need to be done, and put it off until later, but the afternoon turns into night real quick. Rather space your work out over the day rather than staying up too late and missing out on sleep.

05. / Unwind

Make sure that you still take time to relax, do things you enjoy and follow your self-care rituals. Its so important in order to stay happy and healthy during this time.

All the best to everyone writing!

Nabeela x

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On Chasing Perfection

Today, after listening to a highly insightful episode of the podcast, Stuff Mom Never Told You, I started thinking about chasing perfection – something I often ponder over. You’ve heard it all before. How social media, and Instagram in particular is detrimental to self-esteem and mental health due to the curated, perfect nature of the content shared. But after hearing some scary statistics, it opened my mind even further to just how big the problem is.

Don’t get me wrong. Instagram is a wonderful tool. Without it, there are some opportunities I would never have had. However, its become only too easy to gloss over someone’s feed – with perfectly cohesive, magazine-worthy snaps of themselves dancing around in pretty pink dresses at sunset or sipping yet another latte from the coolest spot in town – to believe that they have it all going. To think that their life is perfect. And then comes the dangerous part. The part where we start comparing ourselves to the person in the photo. Our own lives seem dull and uninteresting in comparison…

REAL

One of my favourite hashtags is #HonestInstagram.  A much needed movement of online vulnerability and honesty. The truth is, Instagram is NOT (and I repeat NOT) real life. It really isn’t. What is shared is usually the most glamorous, impressive, glossy parts of the sharer’s life. Not the raw, real stuff that actually happens most of the time.

At the end of the day, we’re all just humans trying to figure out this thing called life. No one is perfect. Everyone screws up. By being more present and being aware of these facts, you may find more peace and unshakable happiness. Disconnect sometimes. Allow yourself to do stuff just for the sake of it, and not to document and share everything with the world.

You’re worth so much more than the number of followers you have and how many likes and comments you get on your photos. Never forget that…

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

 

 

 

 

Simple

Hello

Minimalism. That’s what’s on my mind at the moment. Every little thing about it interests me. The simplicity that radiates from it all is what really attracts me. I am find myself constantly downsizing. My clothes, papers, craft stash, accounts I follow and mailers I’m signed up to. I find myself constantly cleaning up and clearing out. Its as if all I want to do is get rid of the things that drain the calm and peace from my mental and physical space.

I’m young. I’m only in high school, which means I obviously don’t live in my own house. The only space I have that is completely mine is my bedroom. There are other spaces in the house that I share with my siblings and the rest of my family, but my room is mine alone. I love that. I love knowing that I can do what I want in and with that space, and it won’t really affect anyone else. I feel like excess stuff detracts from the calm. Extra papers, old clothes, unused lotions, unworn jewellery, they all just add to the clutter. I don’t hoard things at all. As soon as I don’t need something anymore, I get rid of it.  A part of me has always been a minimalist. Now I just know what to call that part.

Minimalism is something strange too. The thing that makes it strange is the fact that its so difficult to define it. I’ve been doing research, reading lots about it and listening to TEDTalks and podcats about topics like simplicity, stillness and ‘less is more’. The funny thing is that sources contradict themselves. One article I read gave tips to becoming minimalist. One of them was something along the lines of “Remove everything hanging on your walls as far as possible.” Another one said “People seem to think minimalism is about having less. It’s not. It’s about having enough to make you happy and no more.” This baffled me at first. I was trying to understand a concept and I couldn’t fine a place or person that would explain it to me. Then, I realised its because actually, minimalism has a different meaning to everyone. To some, its all about possessions. To others, its about living a life that you enjoy fully and wholeheartedly. It all depends on you.

I decided to think about what minimalism actually means to me. It means simple. Only hanging onto possessions that make me happy. Thinking before I buy something. Being mindful of what I say, think, do, taste, hear, smell and see. Only keeping the necessary things in my life. Not letting unpleasant or negative people get to me. That’s what minimalism is to me. Its exciting. To have a goal that doesn’t revolve around money or things. Its like having a saving-up list, except instead of saving up money, you just have to learn more and more about yourself to be happy. I find myself finding more joy in the simple little things that are now pleasures to me. Sunday morning runs around the block, weekend ice-cream cones, getting into bed and just thinking, ocean air, comfy shoes.

A really good TEDTalk I listened to recently, which I highly recommend is called Less Stuff, More Happiness by Graham Hill. It’s a very old one, but it’s still very relevant and I love it.

Stay happy.

Nabeela

(Yes, I will be signing off my posts like this instead now. Its my name and it feels more genuine)

Lately 04 / Minimalism

Hello

Recently, things have been quite quiet over here. My excuse? School is literally taking up ALL my time. Grade 9 is crazy busy, as we still do 11 subjects. We’ve handed in subject choices for next year, and I can’t wait. Also, if you missed it, I ventured into an area that is new for me in terms of blogging. I’ve been having a bit of a creative block, in the sense that the things I’ve been making aren’t very ‘bloggable’. I wrote a post here about bedside table styling – be sure to have a read!
Summer is coming, which means longer days of sunshine and bliss. I’ve been reading lots of wonderful books this year, to unwind and relax. Some reads I would definitely recommend are Quiet by Susan Cain and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a fan of this book. Its so good!). Also, lately I’ve been listening to podcasts too. They’re great, because its almost like reading a book, but you can do something else that doesn’t require to much concentration at the same time. Some of my favourite podcasts are all of the Elise Gets Crafty podcasts by Elise Blaha Cripe and Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert. Also, although its old, Susan Cain’s TED Talk, ‘The Power of Introverts’ is golden.

I’ve also been reading up about minimalism. Its something that interests me because minimalists always seem so happy, spending their time only on things that they truly love. I’ve been doing lots of decluttering, physically, mentally and digitally.

Other than that, my days have been filled with school, occasional runs and promenade walks and lots of watercolour painting. Also, my #366 challenge is still going strong over on my Instagram.

Holidays are soon, and I can’t wait for a bit of a breather from the mad daily routine, before finals start. Hopefully, I’ll have some more content coming soon. (I’ve been so two-minded about what I post. Sometimes, I’ll have an idea, but when I do a photoshoot, it just doesn’t seem to ‘work’. Anyone else feeling the same?)

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Keep on keepin’ on.

Miss Artsy-Crafty xxx

Minimal

Hello

Over the last two years, the minimalist trend seems to be everywhere. Naturally, I fell in love. The monochrome clothes, home décor pins on Pinterest and let’s not forget those pretty, well-curated Instagram feeds that make you want to delete all your photos off your feed and only wear black tee-shirts. I have to admit, I did go through a phase for a few days where I was all into the monochrome buzz and I took all the typical minimal photos and tried to only wear grey and pack all the most colourful things in my room away. Sometimes I still have ‘minimalist’ days. But, it got too hard as a lot of my room décor has colour in it and so do my clothes. Thus, I gave up on minimalism.

Recently, a minimalism ‘cheat-sheet’ caught my eye on Pinterest. When I started reading up a bit about minimalism as a lifestyle (and not just a clothing and décor style), I was surprised to find that I already do many things that ‘minimalists’ live by. That’s when it hit me. It minimalism really a style or it is a lifestyle? The answer (to me, at least) is the latter. I decided to share some insight into minimalism through my eyes. Here it goes!

‘Stuff’ Declutter / Detox

This is really important. This year, I’ve found that I’ve matured quite a bit when it comes to my possessions and clothing. I’ve had this urge to clean, clear and ‘detox’ my possessions and my living space. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve basically worked through most of the spaces in my room, and decided what to toss, what to keep and what to donate. What also really helps is if you allow yourself to have one junk drawer that you keep all the things you are unsure about. The only thing you mustn’t do is just leave it! You MUST sort through that drawer at the end, and tidy it up.

It’s a surprisingly fulfilling process and it will give you new insight on your stuff. Don’t feel guilty if you bought something you’ve never used. Everyone’s done it. But by keeping it, its not doing anyone any good. You may as well donate it to someone who will put it to good use. I’ve also read in a few places that physical clutter can contribute to mental stress. Try to keep your sleeping and working spaces especially tidy and display the items that make you happy and spark joy. This will make your space feel like your own and it’ll be calming too.

(A good book to read to inspire some cleaning is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Although I don’t agree fully with everything in the book, it’s a good read) .

Social Declutter

No, I don’t mean getting rid of friends, so don’t worry. I’m talking social media here. Do you sometimes find that you follow so many accounts on Instagram that you hardly see the things you actually want to see and it takes forever to get through your feed? We’re all in that boat with you.  Do an audit of who you follow every so often and unfollow accounts that don’t excite you. Its alright, you don’t have to feel guilty! Instagram isn’t real life. Its also vital to your own inspiration that you don’t see the only a certain kind of thing over and over, as this can stagnate your own creativity in the long run. I make this a habit and find it fun to find new things that inspire me. Also, unsubscribe to all those email lists you joined spontaneously. I went through a stage where I subscribed to EVERY email list I came across just so I had pretty-looking emails in my mailbox (What was I thinking?!). I went on what I fondly refer to as an ‘unfollowing spree’. I am now only subscribed to a handful of blogs and newsletters that I really enjoy reading and find inspiring. Another thing to try is have a day of the week when you have a ‘social media detox’. You don’t engage in any form of social media for the whole day – its refreshing. You’ll be surprised how free you’ll feel and its good for those creative juices to have only your own ideas in your head for a day and not have them bombarded by all the others we see online. (Its something I’m definitely looking forward to doing next year – its not possible for me to do this year because of my daily project).

Buy Less

This is much easier said than done, I know. We have to be mentally conscious when we shop because we’ve gotten so used to buying things because they’re pretty and on sale. We eventually end up with a closet full of clothes we hardly wear. I experienced this last summer. I found so many tops I loved and bought that I only realised how much I actually had when I did an audit of what was in my cupboard. Because I’m still at school, it means that I only wear my clothes in the holidays and on weekends – I wear uniform the rest of the week. I ended up wearing each of my tops once or twice the whole summer. I forced myself not to buy any new things for the rest of the summer and wear all the clothing in my cupboard.

Experience over material

The thing that first set the ball in motion in my head about experience over material was a concept relating to this that I read about in a magazine. The way I understand, it goes as such. For a month, you spend the same of money that you normally would, but you don’t have anything to show it at the end of the month. (Naturally, food wouldn’t count because, well, its food and it wouldn’t be there at the end of the month anyways, but you get my point). It fascinates me and I always think about how I’d love to do something like this when I earn my own income some day. Instead of spending your money on buying stuff, you spend it on doing stuff instead. Imagine how much you could do if you knew you weren’t going to be buying anything except the necessities for a month!  I definitely know what I’d do. You don’t have to go all out, but maybe do something where every time you are tempted to buy something you really love but don’t need, you put the money aside to do something fun and enjoyable instead. It’s a good incentive to stop buying excess too.

Quality over Quantity

The phrase itself says it all. Instead of buying many things that are of unsatisfactory quality, buy fewer things that are good quality and well-made. It applies to many aspects of life, too. I’ve been trying my hardest to implement this and its been making me really appreciate the things I own.

I really hope you enjoyed reading about my take on minimalism and that it inspires you to down-size your possessions. You don’t have to do everything in one go, but you’ll find that once you start, you won’t stop!

Happy decluttering!

Miss Artsy-Crafty xxx

Lately 01

Hello

When I first started writing my blog, I read loads of other blogs and all they seemed to write about was themselves. And there and then I decided that that was exactly what I wouldn’t do on mine… But I did realise that I’ve never really written anything about myself at all over here…

I’m writing this from the place I am on holiday at. I’ve decided to fill you in  a little about what I have planned for you over the next two or so months that I am on holiday. I have a post planned with an artist that makes the most beautiful art prints and sells them on Etsy. I am looking very forward to sharing this with you. I also have a post planned with a local business that sells the most beautiful purses, bags, wall hangings and bedding. I am so excited to share all of these posts with you and I also promise to share some of the recipes I try out!

Have a fabulous day and if you’re on holiday, enjoy it!

Miss Artsy-Crafty xxx