Happy & Well

The YOSC #10: A follow-up (and a name!)

The YOSC: Entry 10! WELL I have done this now for 10 weeks straight! And my radical self-care project finally has a name. It isn't brilliant or hilarious, but it is sticking. I named the file on my computer where I am keeping the illustrations "YOSC" (for Year Of Self Care), and it sounded kind of funny to my ear, made me think of a Dr Seuss-ish abbreviation of Yas Queen. And then when I googled it and found I would share the acronym with such esteemed organisations as the Ypsilanti Otters ...
Read More

The External Brain

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #9 Achim is a pretty techy guy. I nerd-brag about what a good modern handyman he is. He fixes our broken screens himself, even took apart a ricemilk soaked laptop and was able to revive it. He always knows about new geeky things well before I do and he's pretty good at optimising tech to make life easier. But for the last year or so his top brain organising tool has been a little paper notebook which he has dubbed his "external brain". I know a lot ...
Read More

I guess what I’m saying is, I think I meditated

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #8 I cannot count the number of times meditation has been recommended to me. I think it's one of those things that makes such a big difference for some people that they tend to become big evangelists of the practice. That and the fact that my personal grievances basically read as a litany of antonyms for the benefits of meditation, particularly all the stuff about improving concentration and attention, easing stress and anxiety and boosting immune function. I read this stuff, and I'm like GIVE ME THAT. But then ...
Read More

When better isn’t best

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #7 This week I am just taking a minute to refocus. I think I got a little off track there, at least in my head, and somehow all this thinking about self-care and learning to take better care of myself started quietly morphing into self-improvement and learning to BE BETTER. It came from a good place, eat better and exercise so I feel better, learn to meditate and plan and stay on top of the mess in the apartment and admin stuff, in order to mitigate my stress ...
Read More

Can a hat make you happier?

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #6 Last week I got a new hat. I am so happy with this hat, that it stands out above all else when I think over the week. The thing is, I am perpetually dissatisfied with my clothing. I am conscious that this all sounds a bit materialistic, but my new sunshine hat has got me musing a lot about clothes, and I think maybe it's not. (more…) ...
Read More

Ok then, let’s talk

The 2017 Self-Care Project: Entry #5 Hey Guys. Ok. So this week, I'm going to talk about something that I don't really want to talk about. Because, that's boring and self indulgent and such a downer, Elena. Because what if my mom reads it and worries about me? Because what if people think I'm whining? Because it's MY problem, so I'd rather just recede into my own coping and nurturing strategies until it passes. Because I'm FINE and I've got it under control and I don't want to talk about it so let's just talk ...
Read More

The 2017 Illustrated Self-Care Project

“You treat your future self terribly.” Says my husband, as he grabs a bowl to catch the carrot peelings I am flinging around with abandon in the process of making supper. He’s said this to me many times while I go about making my disasters, leaving expired passports until I can hardly sleep with worry, letting the chili crust up the bowls, staying up wayyy too late for the 3am wake-ups and 6am mornings of babies. "Girl!" He pleads, exasperated, "be kind to your future self!" It’s one of those Achimisms I tend ...
Read More

On getting over imposter syndrome…

This post is about imposter syndrome. Specifically, mine! I've had a stubborn, recurring case for, oh, pretty much my life. As a grad student, parent, creative professional, um... person who cooks things people actually like...? And so on. But I am pleased to report that it seems I am finally kicking the old affliction! Hallelujah. So I've whipped up (haha) a post on the topic, my own story and magical strategies included. This spring I flew to London for the weekend all by my sweet self. It was for a creative bloggers' conference called ...
Read More

Johan Lindström: A softer side of fatherhood

Happy Father's Day! In honour of the day, I have something really special for you - my first ever interview! With Swedish illustrator, animator, and dad of three, Johan Lindström! I was struck by his giant, gentle, technicolour depictions of fathers on Instagram, and had to talk to him! We discussed his inspiration, his experience as a stay-at-home dad and a freelancer, and his beautiful way of challenging norms and raising the societal value of the softer side of parenting for dads. So good, guys! First - though, I know, this day can be a hard one ...
Read More

What if our “deficits” are really our strengths?

Hey guys. So, today I want to talk about a gorgeous perspective shift that has made my life so much better. It's an idea that comes from my occupational therapy (OT) school days, and like so much from that time steeped in the badass world of knocking down barriers, empowering and enabling people, it's had a huge impact on my approach to living. During my master's, my professors managed to snag the brilliant and intrepid Dr. Winnie Dunn for an evening to speak to us. Dunn is an OT and researcher, well known for her work on sensory processing. Her book ...
Read More