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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

New year things

This is going to be quite a year. A year of many lasts and also, many firsts. For one, I’ve got about seven more months of being a minor, and yes, I intend to make the most of my last few months of not being an adult. (It even feels weird to type that word). Also, it’s my last year of high school, which is, of course, bittersweet to say the least. I’m preparing myself for a pretty manic year, but also reminding myself that it’s about 10 months of hard work, and then nearly 3-4 months of rest time. There are lots of big decisions to make this year, but I’m learning to just take each day as it comes, because dwelling on things for too long will most likely just put me in a big panic, and that’s the last thing I need.

So, this year, I want to do lots of meditating, praying and journaling just to keep control over my thoughts and emotions, and I’ll be popping on here to write, because writing is what I love and its important to make time to do things you love, no matter how crazy things feel.

I’ve decided not to set too many crazy goals and resolutions because they often just turn into yet another avenue for me to place unnecessary pressure on myself, and goodness knows that is not a good look. I’m going to try instead to set one or two ‘focuses’ every month just to have something to be mindful of, and see how that goes.

I honestly hope you have the most wonderful year, and that you learn lots about yourself. There will be ups and downs, and you will get through it.

Happy new year, friends.

Nabeela x

A Note on Exams

It feels like I write a post like this every exam season, but the truth is, every time the exam period comes around, I notice new things, and learn more about myself, and others, and what works to get through heavy workloads and stressful times.

I’ve always been a planner, so planning and organizing my studying  feels very natural to me. If you’re someone who struggles to maintain order and stick to a plan, a more brief outline of the content you need to cover before your exams will work just fine. I always find that having a clear plan of what work I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it helps to ease some of my anxiety around exams, because I can see that I have enough time to get through everything.

My friends and I start asking teachers for breakdowns as soon as we get back to school in term four. It really helps to know what content needs to be covered as early as possible. For subjects where these breakdowns aren’t given, I make my own, and just keep a running list as the term progresses.

Try keeping your room and desk area neat. It  can really help to unclutter your mind. So if you have a few minutes, just spend it filing away important papers, recycling the ones you don’t need, taking the dirty mugs down to the kitchen and sorting out your pens. It’ll do wonders.

Making sure that you get enough sleep is important too. As easy as it is to stay up until 3am before a big paper, it’ll catch up with you and you’ll burn out really quickly. Set a bedtime rule and try and stick to it as best you can. (Mine is 11pm – mostly).

Lastly, just remember that no matter how important and anxiety-inducing exams may feel, they’re just exams. You have a life after them. Your self-care doesn’t have to stop. Work hard, but allow yourself enough time to just pause and catch your breath.

Hope this helps a bit. I wish you all well over these exams!

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

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

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

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