how I’m cutting down my screentime

2020, books, creativity, lifestyle, mental health, writing

Hello!

I know that I don’t need to reiterate that quarantine is hard, we all know that, but one thing a lot of us have inadvertently spent a lot more time doing is looking at screens – from scrolling through Instagram, to working from home with a less regimented schedule, to Netflix to video games; so much of our entertainment is on screens.

Something I’m noticing more and more recently is that spending all day going from my phone to my laptop to the TV and back isn’t doing me any good – I don’t think it’s helping my sleep and I know I feel better when I’ve spent some time away.

I thought I’d collate a little list of the off-screen things I’m really enjoying at the moment so I can come back so it when I’m feeling a bit uninspired and maybe it’ll give you some ideas too!


  • cross stitch

I bought one of those little kits from Hobbycraft before everything closed and then ignored it for weeks. So when the weather picked up I sat outside with my cross stitch and it was lovely – I’ve been doing it on and off and I’ve nearly finished it now. It’s lovely to sit down and follow a pattern and make something creative – something that takes just enough brain power to keep you occupied but not enough brain power that it’s too hard. I’ve just bought a new kit from Etsy and I’m really excited about it.

  • knitting

I swear I have other creative hobbies that aren’t related to sewing. In my house I have one set of knitting needles and one ball of wool, but my mum sent me a pattern to make ‘ear savers’ which is essentially a headband to make face masks more comfortable for front line medical staff so I’m learning new stitches and hopefully I’ll actually be able to make something useful. Once you’ve nailed the new stitches it’s very therapeutic too!

  • making lists with coloured pens

Post-quarantine lists, things to do in quarantine, daily to do lists, weekly meal plans – everything is more exciting when you use coloured pens.

  • skincare

Spending even 5 minutes just to look after your skin and moisturise, maybe doing a face mask or a foot mask – it feels like a nice to make that time to treat yourself! Go all out and have a bath if you like, I have to wait for our new bath plug to arrive though and that’s a bit anticlimactic.

  • reading

I know I’ve been banging on about reading a lot this year but considering my goal for 2020 was 12 books and I just finished my 20th and I’m feeling more creatively driven by reading and writing than I’ve felt in an awfully long time, I’m justifiably excited about it. With the weather being typically British (unpredictable), reading is the perfect activity for sitting out in the garden catching some of that vitamin D or snuggled inside while the wind does its best to tear the trees down. So many of us have an ongoing ‘to be read’ pile and we might as well make the most of trying to cut it down a little whilst we’re encouraged to stay indoors.

  • gardening

I don’t necessarily mean landscaping your garden to make raised vegetable beds and only eating your own homegrown produce this summer! I mean making the most of the space you have (a windowsill, a balcony, any outside space) and growing something – there’s so many lovely indoor plants that can flourish at this time of year.

And it doesn’t have to be expensive – I bought a bag of soil, a small set of pots, a selection of flower seeds, some basic tools and gardening gloves in my weekly Asda shop for less than £20 and the joy of watching the seeds I planted turn into little shoots and flourishing is so satisfying and going out and watering them every day is incredibly therapeutic. I have to resist buying more every time I go shopping!

If you’re not sure where to start, I believe you can buy kitchen windowsill herb kits and grow the seasonings you use to cook! Our kitchen doesn’t have a window so I’ve opted for flowers this year but I definitely want to try tomatoes, peppers and courgettes next year!

  • journalling

If the world feels a bit big right now, I can’t express anything more therapeutic than getting all your feelings out on paper. It usually makes me feel like a weight has been lifted from my chest, sometimes it’s just a little bit so I can take a slightly bigger breath and sometimes I feel light as air but getting your feelings out of your head and onto paper is so healthy.

Then if you want you could even destroy the paper – I think I’m going to ceremoniously burn my journal when I’m finished with it. I can pretend it’s symbolic about a ‘chapter of my life ending’ but let’s be real; 1) a fire pit in the summer with friends is the best so might as well provide some kindling, 2) same applies to a BBQ, 3) there’s some parts of my life documented in that journal that I would really enjoy destroying and 4) it probably would be quite symbolic and provide a nice sense of closure.

The destroying isn’t the key part – it doesn’t even have to be on paper; you could make a private social media account that’s just for you, you could do it on the notes app on your phone or have a document on your computer. You can do it however you want in whatever medium you want, but I thoroughly recommend it.


If you’ve got any hobbies or activities that you’ve taken up during quarantine – whether to spend more time offline or to help your mental health – leave them in a comment below! We can make a big master post of ideas!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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20 Things I Learnt Before 20

2016

Hello!

It was my birthday yesterday and I thought just to round off my 19 years, I’d write about 20 things I’ve learnt before being 20! And that’ll be the last I mention my birthday I swear.

1. Life goes on – things keep moving whether you want them to or not and more often than not it’s best to let yourself have a moment and move along with it (and more often than not, it’s easier said than done).

2. Don’t pretend to like stuff for others – music, make-up, clothes – you’re your own person and not liking something doesn’t have to be personal.

3. Don’t blame yourself for everything – while it’s so easy to think everything your fault, nobody’s perfect and beating yourself up isn’t going to change anything.

5. Savour those who make you feel loved – because people who put as much effort into a friendship as they get out are truly valuable people.

6. Don’t leave assignments to the last minute – just, do your homework. Seriously.

7. Sometimes, jam on toast is the answer – particularly at 2am.

8. If you don’t like something, you’re the only one who can change it – bad people in your life? Get rid of them. Bad habits? Change them. Only you can make your happiness.

9. Blogging is something I can do forever – it’s not a life lesson but genuinely, someone find me a job where I blog all day every day because I would love it.

10. I’m actually way more indie hipster than I realise and I don’t care – I actually quite like it.

11. Growing up is terrifying.

12. Travelling is the only thing I know I want to do – the list of places I want to go is longer than the list of actually concrete ideas for my career.

13. Wishing you could do something is useless, go learn to do it – you won’t be good at it straight away, but you’ll be better than if you didn’t try.

14. Music shows a piece of the soul – and it’s so expressive.

15. Art is everywhere and everyone has the capacity to be creative – but no one shows it in the same way.

16. Cooking is such a valuable skill – and it’s so much fun too.

17. Learn and embrace culture – because being narrow minded and blindly patriotic for your whole life is boring if nothing else.

18. Study and learn forever – just to keep growing as a person.

19. Always make things – for me it’s blogging and writing, for others it can be anything but staying active and making things is so satisfying.

20. Your 20s are the best years of your life – they can’t be any worse than being a teenager.

Happy Birthday me?

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Why do books need drafts?

2016

Hello!

I follow a couple of writers on YouTube and they quite often acknowledge at what point in writing a book they’re at, but at face value they only ever seem to do one draft of a book. Sure they have editors et cetera but I’m on the third draft of my book and I’m only now starting to think it’s done.

The reason I’m redrafting my book, is that it’s been almost 4 years since I first wrote the book and my writing style has changed a lot because I’ve been writing for about eight years now – there’s been a lot of room to change. It doesn’t help that I was 16 when I first wrote it and at almost-20 I know a lot more about the world and life than I did then.

So the book needs updating a bit!

Having taken a couple of years break from this book, it’s easier to reread it and approach it from an angle where I’m prepared to actually rewrite it (where in the past, the thought of trying to write the book again hurt my heart a lot).

Another difference that having a rather large break from the book means I can spot all the flaws. All of them. So many flaws.

But writing a book takes a lot longer than reading one – sometimes it takes rewriting it or another person reading it to realise a word has been used really repetitively or there are continuity errors riddled throughout it. Writing this post just makes me realise how many flaws and mistakes there are in my book.

But I am really enjoying writing the book again! Since writing the update post on Monday and realising how behind I was I have started to catch up! I’m loving that I’m actually making it better because I feel like this might actually be the last draft of Type 3: Hyper-Intelligent. I’m so excited!

At present, I’m still at NASS but I’ve already planned to keep up with my Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule and I’m writing down ideas all the time!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
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