Mother’s day can be difficult for many of us, especially for those who don’t have mum there anymore. losing a loved one is never gonna be easy but certain times of the year seem much harder than others.
This Mothers day … I have decided to celebrate, even though my mum passed a few years ago now. Its my day to remember her, my day to eat cake, bit of a self care day. Might buy myself a Bounty Bar … she loved them … i think they are gross.
I hope people around get it … understand that it’s a difficult day. Most people I know have never lost anyone that close … so it can be hard for them too.
If you feel a bit overwhelmed that’s normal … i’m sure there will be tears from me at some point. but that’s ok. I guess i’m used to it now.
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Good ideas sometimes take way longer than first thought, this is very true for our latest set of films.
We wanted to create non scary films that support people with energy consumption worries. Something that was good advice … but delivered in a kind fun way.
So that’s what we did. Set in a CGI environment created in Blender. Link to Download We love blender btw … if you want free 3d modeling animation software thats free use blender … I mentioned free twice cos i still cant believe its free.
Anyway … our inspiration was of course Ikea … so we set about creating a furniture shop … well sections of a furniture shop anyway. Something we are all familiar with and something that is relatable.
It turned out to be a huge project … and very time consuming.
Using stop motion animation to create the films as our hardware could’nt cope with ex[orting 30 seconds of full animation, Each frame to export to around 15 minutes … with 24 frames in a second you start to get why it took us so long to make 6 x 30 second films.
Having said all that … delighted with the outcome … and we have plans to make these type of films again … with a twist … watch this space
I know things are a bit shit these days, but this isn’t one of those facts and figures kind of stories. This is about simple things we can all try to feel a bit less worried about what’s going on. Saving energy and helping the planet in a small way.
Most of this sounds obvious … yet some (most) of us don’t do it. Simple things make a difference.
Getting in the habit of turning things off not only saves a bit of money … but makes us feel like we are doing something positive. And let’s face it … none of us want to give energy companies any more cash than we absolutely have too.
Lights … sounds simple enough. It’s a mind set thing … get into the habit of turning them off. LED bulbs are cheap these days too … try Wilko … enough said.
Shower … try a quick shower … something that helps is music on a phone, easy to know how long your shower is. Try turning the temp down … even if it’s a tiny change, like half a turn on the temp gauge, so you hardly notice it .. all helps.
Dry clothes outside … even when its cold. This sounds a bit far-fetched … but it really works. It’s to do with the triple point of water … water at 0 degrees is a solid liquid and gas … I get a bit lost at all this but it does work. If you are lucky enough to have the capacity to dry outside … what’s stopping you? Helps prevent moisture building up, causing damp and other horrid things.
Gordon Ramsay makes out that microwaves suck … but they are great … well they are very energy efficient. If you can cook it in a microwave … (of course check the instructions first) Do it … even if you start it in the microwave and finish in the oven, it’s still better. Can also try cooking for a few days … spag boll is great the following day … tastes better somehow … not the Spaghetti though … cook that when you want it
Coffee … I love coffee … drink far to much of course, so have been boiling the kettle, and filling a thermos … cos apparently you are not suppose to use boiling water in coffee anyway. Every time I need a coffee … I use the hot water in the flask. sounds like a pain … but its weirdly easy to do. Every time you use hot water you will be amazed at how hot it still is.
Buying new stuff … if you are lucky enough to be buying a new tv/washing machine or whatever … make sure its energy efficient. The A to G stickers. You will be amazed how many things even now days are very bad with energy consumption
Block them … with whatever you can find around the place. Old towels are good … if you are like me and rent … stopping drafts permanently can be difficult. Short term fix work well … then if you are feeling brave ask your landlord (odd phrase) to insulate.
But this is important … if you are cold. Put the heating on. If you can turn radiators off in rooms you don’t use then that’s great. But don’t just turn everything off … cos its cold some-days … and there is nothing more miserable than being stuck in a cold flat or house. Worried about what’s happening.
Starting is the one
Once you get into the habit of turning off lights, or washing at 20°C it’s amazing how easy it becomes … getting into saving energy not just to save cash … but it does make a difference for the planet.
No great surprise … but its the small things that really help, especially now. A text goes a long way …
“So proud of you mate … you are gonna smash 2023 … Let’s catch up soon ok”
Ok maybe a bit much but something positive to remind people they are doing amazing things. cos we all forget what we have done … Always focus on the things we haven’t done yet … Like this article i should have written last week,
So check in with a mate … you cant message everyone of course … but is there a mate that has been quiet on socials? not been in the pub lately? ping them a message. Knowing that someone is looking out for you makes all the difference, especially when you’re feeling a bit shit.
ever had this ? … being surrounded by happy successful friends/family … talking about how amazing their lives are? … anyone else get that?
The endless of posts bragging about best Christmas ever, pictures of a food mountain and presents galore … so yeah … its a bit of a shit show sometimes. Help each other out ok … and eat loads of mince pies
Music is a powerful thing especially when you are having those tough days. Sharing your fav tracks that make you feel better and a bit more positive is a great way to support one another.
So thats what this is … only just started this but get the feeling it will be a long process … so many great songs to choose. They are in no order at all. … we ain’t that organised. More to be added soon … ya know … once we have agued whats best.
It can be tough starting something new, something thats been bugging you for ages but you cant seem to muster the energy to change it. Whether it’s tidying up, replying to that email or even getting help when you need it.
I know how easy it is to say … i’ll do that tomorrow. With every intention to do it tomorrow. but then tomorrow comes and there is something else that gets in the way. but trust me … when you say … fxxk it, lets do that today. The sense of anticipation and excitement is amazing.
In my case it was the tiny space outside the flat. Ive been looking at it for weeks on end, thinking too myself i really need to do that. Days turn into weeks and it gets a little more messy and a little more overwhelming each day. I kept making excuses to why i cant do it today. The weather helped loads i must admit … beautiful sunny day … I might even get a bit of a tan while i’m working.
Think i should i point out that i am no handy man/DIY guy … as you can probably tell. Birthday present drill, borrowed sander and 7 quids worth of wood preservative. But My thinking was … well it cant look any worse right? … So anything i do today will be an improvement.
Staring was so rewarding … once i had done a bit of sweeping and filled a bin bag with garden rubbish i felt so proud of myself. It took ages to do but each step looked better and better. I did have a slight “maybe this a bad idea” moment when i saw how red the wood presevative was … but again i thought, well it will look better than it does right now.
I could have stop anytime … still looked better than it had done. But I wanted to carry on and finish what a few days ago seemed a huge task. The more i did the better i felt, proud of myself that id taken the first step.
Of course there is always more i can do, more sweeping more sanding, more pruning … plants with thorns? I mean why do they exist in a garden? lol. The fact i started gives me encouragement to know i can do more.
So my simple advice is to try … try tackling that job thats been on your mind, that thing that you didn’t do yesterday. The first step is the biggest one … they get smaller and easier to climb the more steps you take.
It can be tricky sometime reaching out to a mate. Especially if you haven’t spoken to them in a while … it can get a bit awkward i know. Checking friends and family are ok … and vise versa of course is a big part of sharing how you feel
So … we thought this might help … we had a good look through www.unsplash.com a free online image gallery (they kick ass) and chose a few images that should help start a conversation.
Hence … ‘Saw this and thought of you’ Funny, inspiring, silly and cute images that we hope gives someone a smile … set up as 800×600 so it doesn’t kill your data … or theres come to think of it.
Free to download here … or if you want something different … check out unsplash. Sorry in advance as they have millions of beautiful images so you might be there a while.
We are encouraged to work from home more and more these days … sounds great. But some times it can feel a bit lonely and things can quickly get on top of you.
Take regular breaks
So we have put together some simple suggestions to keep things on track. mentally and physically.
Take a break, Sounds simple, but i am sure its something we all forget to do … “let me just finish this … then i’ll have a break” Sound familiar? Take a walk around the block, put the telly on for 10 minutes, watch a cat being funny on youtube, stretching exercises … whatever it is … as long as it’s not work and away from your desk.
Routine, This one is difficult to stick at i know, but it makes a big difference. Have a start and finish time. Make sure you have a proper lunch break. Do all those things you would normally do, shower, breakfast loose your door keys (joking)
Desk, Have a work space, a place that feels like a proper work space, rather than laptop on lap sat on the sofa. (as nice as that sounds its hard to get things done) Try and find a decent supportive chair to sit on, good lighting and a window if your lucky enough, plants too. Can find some stationery bargains in Wilko and Tiger, to make it feel like a real office.
Beautiful work space
Zoom, We all love zoom. Use it for more than just meetings. try a zoom coffee with a colleague or a mate. Have a natter and a coffee. Maybe facetime is your thing. Whatever you feel comfortable using. Try and keep it a daily thing, so you feel less isolated.
Zoom a friend
Family/Housemates, Try and be flexible and let those who live with you know when you are working. Have a chat and explain your needs and be flexible so it works for everyone. Once you have a few boundaries sorted it should all be a little easier for everyone.
Be kind, … goes without saying but always forgotten. Be kind and patient to yourself. self care is king.
A done list, Something thats good to do … well i find it helpful, is a done list at the end of the day. Often we forget how much we do, and tend to get anxious that we haven’t achieved enough that day. forgetting the 30 emails sent, excel spreadsheet finished and the R&D work done with that new software we got.
Write a done list
Go Home When you should finish work, stop working. shut down and kick back. Easy to say, much harder to do i know.
Create4mentalhealth wasn’t started 5 years ago, But it was 5 years ago this week that i lost my closest friend Keith Clarke. To be fair, he was a bit of an idiot, but he was always funny, daft, charismatic, and kind. He also struggled quite a lot and i guess thats where our story really starts.
Keith Clarke 1979 – 2017
This is Keith …. i think this sums him up rather well. Full of life, fun and a little idiocy. I made this for his funeral … I wanted his family to know he was dearly loved by all his friends. Keith loved movies and always wanted to be help me with filming work. Sadly he never got to see the film he was in, I hope he would have liked it.
Keith was that guy you meet once and thats it … you’re friends. He knew everyone, and everyone knew him. We had our place at the bar, but no one was ever excluded. Its what i liked about him i guess, everyone was welcome. People came and people went, but Keith was a constant in all our lives.
Keith Clarke’s plaque
I always tried to be a good friend to Keith, be there for him, but sometimes i got it wrong, I would get impatient and a little frustrated. Get cross when he didn’t turn up to things he had promised too, be too busy to send him a message or call him up to ask if he fancied a beer.
I just didn’t get that he was struggling, didn’t really know it was a thing. And like most of us, he kept his problems to himself.
He was convinced … (again i know how this feels) that he had no friends, and no one wanted to know him. Nothing could be further from the truth. If only he could have seen the crowds at his funeral … the church was full, every seat taken, and the rest stood in the aisle, and filled the back of the church. I think we all had the same thought, i hope Keith is watching.
We planted a tree next to our local … meet up on his birthday and anniversary to toast him.
Keith Clarke’s tree
But i wanted to do more, I couldn’t shake the thought that there must be thousands of people like me and Keith. Not really understanding what the matter with us with us. Not knowing that it doesn’t have to be like this, there are things we can do to make us feel better as well as loads of support available if we need something more.
So create4mentalhealth was born. we have created something good in the world thanks to our dear and greatly missed friend. This sounds like a cliche … but there is not a day goes by i don’t think of you, and wonder what you and i would be doing if you were still with us.
So if you are feeling a bit rubbish, or you know someone who is finding things tough right now send a message, it all starts with a message. We all need to know that we have friends around us who care, share a little hope today.
Keith, Happy Anniversary mate. Our lives will never be the same without you.