The week that started 23rd March 2020

On mental health and the risk of depression

I’ve been pretty worried about spiralling back into depression, and I could feel the tendrils of low mood, motivation and energy dragging me down.

Thankfully, I was able to realise that early, within a day or so, and do something about it. Some of the things that have been helping me include stuff I learned in cognitive-behavioural therapy, such as ACE activity planning. ACE stands for Achieve, Connect, Enjoy, and the idea is to aim for a healthy balance of stuff that gives a sense of achievement, connection and enjoyment.

Mid-week I started using NaNoWriMo’s Stay Home Wri Mo campaign to help me with my mental health, yay!

Enjoying

  • Reading Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown and nature writing poetry by Mary Oliver
  • Playing Wingspan boardgame: Started playing this last Sunday, and so far I’ve played it pretty much every day since. Love it. Particularly appreciating offline fun lately. (Some days I’ve been on my laptop for 14 hours, for work and personal life. It’s a lot, and it’s exhausting.) Hat tip to BirdNote, because that’s how I heard about it in the first place.
  • Listening to Hello from the Magic Tavern story podcast

Connecting

  • Pretty blessed on this front, since I’ve been able to participate in meditation sessions, creative writing workshops and work remotely.
  • Video chatting with friend
  • Sitting in my parents’ garden meditating has been great too, when I’ve felt up to it

Achieving

  • Using the pomodoro technique for writing and for work, especially effective when I synchronise with other folks:
    • Last week one of my friends called me every 25 minutes to coach me through a task.
    • This week I’ve been meeting a friend in zoom for 25 minute writing sessions. We connect, say hello to each other, then write in silence.

I’m looking forward to…

Being offline more

I need more screen-free time in my life. Working on that. I started scheduling screen breaks in my work calendar, that’s definitely helping.

Writing

  • I want to write nature poetry every day in April, as part of Camp Nanowrimo
  • I’m excited about responding to adrienne maree brown‘s prompts for visionary fiction. I might flex my sci-fi musings… Would love to politicise my nature writing, so that’s something for me to play with. Mary Oliver’s Rain starts to go in that direction, I think.

Last night, in the rain, some of the men climbed over
the barbed-wire fence of the detention center.

Rain by Mary Oliver

Dancing

This week we had our first virtual dance class at work. It was dancehall and it was amazing. Next week we’ll have afrobeats.

On hope and despair

In Seattle, this time last year, I made 6 boon companions, because of the People of Colour caucus at the first Global Gathering of Liberating Structures practitioners. Meeting with them across the ocean continues to inspire and restore my spirit.

This week we reflected on what restores us. And, separately one of my London friends, asked what restores us in a meditation session. Really been helping me a lot to reflect on that, and be supportive of the restorative practices of others.

Some things I’m finding restorative lately:

  • Prioritising my mental health
  • Being supported by my employer
  • Witnessing organising around social justice

What to do in this pandemic, and sources of inspiration for action

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-LsogChFFM/

dino: hope, hopefulness, that’s the realm of the survivors. it’s not too late for y’all. grief shows us what we love, what we most want to protect. it swallows everything extraneous. and so much of what you love is still here. and tomorrow is another miraculous opportunity to change, to protect it.

dino: grieve like the trees in october. but don’t forget you are nature, and spring is certain.

a telepathic communion with dino, by adrienne maree brown
This map is amazing work. I wonder if any organisations have done, or are working on, something similar for outside of the USA..

The week that started 3rd February 2020

Botany After my first introduction to botany lesson at the weekend, I recapped what I learned. Monocotyledons Dicotyledons alliums, e.g. garliccereals, e.g. rice, quinoa, cornbutcher’s broom pretty much everything else I saw a photo of the widest tree in the UK, a yew in Stafforshire at Shugborough Hall. And I saw that holly bark has […]