It takes a while to get used to using this old-fashioned razor (lots of little strokes are better than one big one), but it works.
The Motueka estuary is an important area for lots of birds (the most celebrated are the godwits). When I was at the tidal pool there was a white heron perched by the pool and a kingfisher was a repeat visitor to a little log that stuck out of the mud.
Being midwinter in New Zealand, it is not really the time to be swimming in tidal pools. But whenever I'm in a situation like this there is a voice in my head (my sister’s) that tells me I should go in. So I did.
It was bloody freezing.
I spent the last week of June and first week of this month in a cabin at the top of the South Island. A change of scenery can be inspiring, as long as there aren't too many distractions and I can maintain some kind of routine.
Being close to nature helps to clear my mind and being able to exercise in it helps me generate ideas, or solve problems.
A couple of years ago I wrote FAB Club 2 in Tenerife, where I was able to swim every day in a tidal pool (Motueka does have a tidal pool, but it wasn’t really warm enough to swim!). This time the location near Motueka was surrounded by native bush with a convenient hill to walk up and I was able to cycle into town for supplies or to go to a cafe. I was also able to take time out and meet up with my friend who lives in Mapua.
I am sure that the location helped my subconscious produce the story that it had been thinking about for the last year. I am very excited about this book and I can't wait to see what my niece and nephew think before I send it out to my editor.
Take a break and reduce anxiety.Read More
20 years ago this month I was working in an office job in the pharmaceutical industry. It was incredibly stressful and despite 12 hour days I felt I couldn't keep on top of things. I was living in London and commuting three hours a day. I had very little time to exercise or get out into nature. Inevitably, I flipped out and the upshot is I became a self-employed cartoonist.
Ever since that time, I've been prone to bouts of anxiety. This may surprise people who know me, but it is because I organise my life so that I don't have many situations that provoke anxiety.
Recently I went on a trip to Melbourne and found myself feeling more anxious than usual. This inspired me to draw up some of the ways I had to handle it and sparked a miniseries, some of which I’ve put up before. I thought it would be good to collect them all here.
Here we go:
People who read my newsletter will know that I plan every week. Being self-employed, it is easy for tasks to stretch to fill the time available, so unless I can allot time for those tasks, a lot of things will never get done. In this way I can make progress with personal projects (like the book I am working on now, Forget Kids - Get a Dog). I also try to make sure I complete projects ahead of deadlines to give myself some breathing space. And lists! I don’t know how people can deal with busy lives without lists.
Friends are important. And I'm not talking about Facebook friends here. The wine helps too…
I used to do a yoga class and the thing I liked best was the bit at the end where you lie down and focus on your breathing. Partly I enjoyed the meditative effect. Partly I was just happy that the yoga class was over.
I find working in the garden incredibly calming. Except when I go out for 15 minutes and then realise an hour has gone by and I still haven't got any work done.
We so miss Billie and though we get to borrow a dog every now and again I think we're ready to give another dog a permanent home.
Whether it is creating art, or experiencing art.
No matter the weather, walking by a beach (or in the Port Hills. or in a forest) always makes me feel better.
Earlier this year I spent a month without social media. I didn't post to Facebook, or Instagram, or twitter. I found it liberating and resisted coming back to it. Now many of my posts are automatic and I only interact with them when people comment. That said, if you think this post on how to reduce anxiety would be helpful to someone, please share it any way you see fit!
The boyf and I went to our first climate change march when we were in Melbourne. I doubt it will be my last.
Illustrated advice on reducing anxiety.Read More