Text and Images - Dom Read
There is so much uncertainty in the world! There is so much to worry about and feel shit about. Corrupt politicians, dangerous corporations, climate change to name a few, that pile up, on top of all the bollocks going on in your own life. It is easy to feel negative and helpless in a world filled with so much shit and suffering.
Despite all this, if you still manage to find a way to keep going and keep trying then you are strong. Stronger than you imagine. It is easy to be pessimistic about these things but if you can keep going, then you can believe that things might get better.
It can be hard to imagine or comprehend but if you believe it you might start to see it.
Don't give up on hope, things can always improve.
Sending you love, I believe in you buddy!
Text and illustration - Dom Read
"THE MOUNTAIN SHRINKS WHEN YOU TURN AND FACE IT."
We have all been there and it isn't unusual at all.
There is this little something or maybe it is a big something whatever it is. It is bothering you. Just a bit at first but it is bothering you nonetheless. You know it isn't that big of a deal really or maybe it is but either way you avoid it. You don't acknowledge it and you pretend you are not bothered by this itch, this thorn in your side. You push it down and carry on.
Except you can't carry on, not completely. It is always there, in the back of your mind, growing and growing. This demonic creature sits on your back and grows heavier and heavier. The more you ignore it the more terrifying it becomes and the more it weighs you down.
It doesn't have to though. You can beat it.
Now I know it sounds like I am oversimplifying the problem. I am not. This will be hard, it will be scary and it will take a lot of work that I will not deny. But if you do this, you will take the power away from the thing you are avoiding. You will stop feeding it and will make the first steps in the battle to overcoming, overpowering and overthrowing it.
Turn and face your problem. Look it right in the face, say it's name, say you are not afraid of it. Write it down, write down what could happen if you don't tackle it and what could happen if you do. Look at both lists and then begin to plan how you are going to take down this terrible titan that has been slowing you down.
You have got this chaps.
You are strong and you are powerful!!
Don't give up on hope and don't let the bastards in your head get out of hand or grind you down!
Text - Franc Gray Illustration - Dom Read
If you are lucky enough to not really get down we commend you positivity warrior, please share any tips or advice you have for us. But chances are if you are reading this you may be feeling low or may be looking for some suggestions on how to feel better in yourself when you do feel low.
Remember it is normal for your emotions to ebb and flow like the waves of the sea. Sometimes the ocean is rough and turbulent and sometimes it is stiller than a sheet of glass. The bad times remind us to really appreciate when things are good. Take the rough with the smooth and know that the winds are always changing.
The most important thing to remember is patience. It may not seem like it right now but times always change. If you don't wait it out, you rob yourself of the chance for things to improve. Don't put pressure on yourself, be kind and hold dearly onto the knowledge that you haven't always felt this way.
You are not alone. Your emotions may have you feeling very isolated and stuck in solitude but you are not alone in this. There are millions of people both past and present who have felt similar or worse than what you are feeling right now. Whilst this may not help you currently, may even piss you off, remember if they made it through so can you. Fight back against the loneliness. Talking it through will be hard but it really does help. Reach out to a friend, a family member or failing that seek professional help. The Samaritans are there to help and advise you day and night. Regardless of your circumstances they are there for you. Do not suffer on your own, call them on 116 123 or head to their website
https://www.samaritans.org/ they have professional operators trained to listen, talk you through your thoughts and help you in anyway they can. The service is free and there to support you.
Listen to some music. Your favourite song or album may not be top of your list of things to do when you are feeling shit but blasting some music you like can really help calm you. A good method we found that personally helped us was finding an album and listening to it again and again. Find solace in the words or the melodies. Stick with it, learn every word, learn every beat and keep playing it. You will eventually begin to feel better. It will distract your mind and keep you busy. In the future when you feel down, you can flick on that album and sing your heart out, finding solace in the words that helped you before. If you feel better before you learn all the words, then no bother, you did it mate!!
Write it down. Perhaps you just don't want to talk to anyone, it's too raw and talking about it feels too intense. Get it off your chest though, write down your pains, scream into your notebook and take your anger out on the pages. When you have wrote all the negatives down on the paper, write a positive... You haven't got any positives?? Well you just wrote down what was troubling you, releasing it from your system, so there you have your first positive. The first ray of light to write down hold onto that, the list of positives will grow.
Draw or maybe more like scribble. Writing is all well and good but sometimes you just want to release that pain. Quickly, viciously and hard. Don't hit anything or anyone, it doesn't help we can promise you that. More pain just creates more pain. Grab a pen, grab a book, some paper or an old envelope and just draw. Don't think just let your emotions flow through your hand. Remember you aren't trying to draw anything you are just letting what you a feeling flow through the nib of your pen.
Don't try and numb it. As tempting as it may be, no amount of drugs, drink or sex makes it go away. We understand the easiest thing to do, is to run away from what you are feeling. Masking the emotions with intoxications and distractions works for a while but the thing is once the hangover fades you still feel shit. At this point it is very easy to fall into a routine of getting out of your head for momentary respite, it helps for a while but just prolongs the healing process. Face your fears, you our bold, you are strong and you are powerful believe this and you overcome anything.
Set some goals. These aren't set in stone and are not there to make you feel bad if you don't reach them. They are soft targets to give you some meaning and focus. We would say write them down and stick them on a wall so you can keep them in forefront of your mind. Work towards the step by step on your journey of growth and healing.
And finally we will leave you with this.
How do you eat an elephant? Or how do you eat a palm tree? (if you are vegan)
You don't know?
One bite at a time, my dears, one single bite at a time. No rush we have our entire lives to eat this elephant...
If you have any feedback, comments or suggestions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!! We always want to hear from you!
We believe in you and we know you can do it!
Keep Swimming and Keep Smiling.
Thanks for reading.
Franc and Dom x
Text - Franc Gray Photos and Illustrations - Dom Read
So in these uncertain times there are many reasons to feel negative. Having to isolate and distance yourself from friends, family and your normal routines can be very difficult. We don't how long this will last for and that unknown is very hard.
The most important thing is to stay hopeful, be patient and be fair on yourself.
If possible try to reframe the situation in your head. Isolation doesn't have to be a hindrance if you can see it as an opportunity. Here are our top tips to help you stay positive during these turbulent days.
1. STAY CONNECTED TO FRIENDS, FAMILY AND NEIGHBOURS.
It is very easy to feel alone in isolation but we are very lucky to be surrounded by the technologies that we have available to us today. Stay in contact with your friends and family through social media, text, phone call, video call or email.
This is a perfect opportunity to check in with pals or relatives who you may have fallen out of contact with. Even just a short message, to let them know how you are doing, can mean the world of difference to them and make you feel less alone.
If you feel you don't have anyone to reach out to then drop a card or piece of paper through your neighbours letterbox. include your mobile number in the message and let them know you are there to chat to if they need it. We are all in same boat at the moment and communities are coming together in camaraderie. You might be surprised by the support you receive.
2. KEEP BUSY.
With such a drastic change to normal life and your daily routine it is easy to feel at a loss with what to do! Don't put pressure on yourself but remember now is the perfect time to make a start on things that your busy life doesn't normally allow.
Tidy the house. A tidy room is a tidy mind and allows you to focus on the more exciting things that you can get on with!
Do some gardening (if you have a garden of course). We have been having some lovely weather recently and gardening is the perfect thing to get you outside in the sunshine whilst also keeping your mind and your fingers busy. With it being Spring there should be lots of little flowers popping their heads up for the first time in a while. You don't have to be anything fancy just get outside!!
Read a book. A great way to help the time pass whilst also keeping your mind occupied. You can relax with a cup of tea and lose yourself in an interesting book. With a lot of delivery services still going you can order yourself a book online and be engrossed a couple days later.
If possible we would say buy from local, independent bookshops who will be struggling without customers coming into their shop. For example The Book Hive in Norwich is a great place to order from if you are local. They will also be able to help recommend a book if you don't know what to read!
Do some exercise or get active in some way. The endorphins released from doing some exercise are a great way to help raise your mood. Perhaps not during due to all the sweating but you will feel great afterwards.
Naturally what that exercise is depends on your interests and abilities. There are thousands of home workout videos on youtube. Or for example Arnold Schwarzenegger has put on his website his workout routine for staying fit without a gym http://www.schwarzenegger.com/fitness/post/stay-at-home-stay-fit you can find it through that link.
If you would prefer something more casual then I would say give some yoga a try! This is something that you can progress daily with, even with light practice. 30 Days of Yoga with Adrienne is great place to start or check out Sarah Beth Yoga. You can find both of these yoga channels on youtube.
Start a new hobby. Now what that hobby is is completely up to you, you know better than us what you want to try. This could be the best time to get going on whatever your heart has dreamed of but you have never had the time to begin.
You could get started on that business idea you have had brewing, make some notes and start planning. Write that book, draw that picture, stitch that embroidery, pick up your guitar, learn to juggle. If you don't know where to start find a tutorial online to support you in your journey. Amazon truly is your best friend in this situation, they are able to bring you all the supplies you need to get your hobby started.
Flick on the TV and put your feet up. Whether that is with your favourite film, a brand new series or just some shite that is on Telly. If you've got one dust off your games console - beat that boss that you gave up of or start a whole new game saga.
Spend time on your cooking! Flick on your speakers, have a dance, pour yourself a glass of wine and pull out those cookbooks. Really cherish the process of creating yourself or your friends and family a delicious meal made with love and care. If you are veggie or just fancy a delicious change follow @cooking_with_matty for some tasty treats!!
Go for a walk and enjoy being outside. This is very important if you are feeling the cabin fever. Obviously be careful and make sure to follow the government guidelines on social distancing but don't feel trapped in your house. Go once round the block, walk to grab some milk or go for a stroll in the local country side where you are unlikely to come into contact with other people.
3. DON'T OVERLOAD ON NEGATIVITY AND SOCIAL MEDIA.
If you are finding the current situation a little overwhelming, then it is more than okay, to limit your intake of negative information. Keep updated and keep in the know but don't inundate yourself with doom and gloom. We recommend getting your information from the NHS website and the government website. Check these once a day to see how the situation is developing but apart from that turn off the radio, don't watch the news and don't listen to the people on social media saying how bad things are (most of them don't know shit). Links to those websites are as follows : NHS - https://www.nhs.uk/ UK Government - https://www.gov.uk/
These are dark days my dear friends but these times will end. If we stay calm and stick together as a society, obviously not literally - social distance people, we will make it through! We will beat this together and we will come out the other side.
We would love to hear how you have been beating the boredom and what you have been up to during isolation. If you have any tips that you think we have missed then let us know!!
Keep Swimming and Keep Smiling.
Keep Calm and Carry On.
Thanks for reading.
Text - Dom Read Photography and Illustrations - Dom Read
As someone who has always been quite pessimistic and prone to heavy bouts of depression I have researched and practised a large number of different methods to try and stay positive. They have worked to varying degrees but I always stay aware that no one thing or activity is the solution.
A positive attitude and outlook is something that takes hard work, focus and determination. You have to constantly adjust and improve as time goes on. Something that works for you one day might no longer cut it the next. This is completely fine but it is up to you to find the next thing that keeps you going, no one is going to do it for you.
I have decided to create this blog in order to share with you some of the methods, techniques and findings I have come across. Now I share these things as simply ideas or methods that have helped me on my own personal journey. Some of them may seem stupid, unrealistic or out right ridiculous. Some of them might work, some may not or perhaps all of them will be helpful to you. It is up to you to take what you want from the things I write I just share these things as they have helped me. And I hope that perhaps the might help one of you reading this, even just a little bit.
Now before I begin I just want to say; you are appreciated, valuable and special. You may not see it but you affect people's lives daily. If you are struggling you are not alone, not the first and not last. You can make through I believe in you.
And remember my dears a glass half full lasts longer than a glass half empty!