October Sundries

Sundries from the Gentleman's Wardrobe

October flew by quickly, leaving nothing but foggy skies and an extra hour of sleep in its wake. Even so, it's been a month of many lessons - some productive, a few harsh, all hard-earned. It's been a bit of a heavy month, and the sundries are too.

1. As the nights stretch and the daylight sinks into hibernation, my body has once again been feeling the lack of daylight that the season brings. I have successfully used a daylight therapy lamp for 15 years to help regulate my mental health. This year I was able to get the smallest, most powerful light therapy lamp I've ever had, the Beurer TL30. It's actually the size of an iPad mini, prompting me to marvel at how far the technology has progressed from the enormous light boxes available at the beginning of the millennium. It certainly makes this particular part of my self-care routine a little bit easier!

2. I have become obsessed with Midori Traveler's Notebook style planners. I've developed a seemingly elaborate planning system (more about this in a future post) involving multiple notebooks all held together with a beautiful leather cover. I ordered mine from Sara at Yarn Tree Studios and have been so pleased! Every evening I take a few minutes to plan the next day. This action is the most valuable part of my day. My system is flexible enough to allow for revisions, but provides enough direction to give me stability as I work my way through a hectic PhD candidate's schedule.

3. Having not come from an academic background, I have found one of the most challenging parts of PhD life is one of the simplest: finding resources. It has hindered me in the past but I've been too timid to admit it. However I am determined not to let a fear of asking for help stop me from producing the best research I can. So I admitted it to my supervisor and I was given a wealth of sources on how to find, organise and manage research resources. I feel like a whole new world has been opened to me! Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference.

4. I work a lot. I consistently work through the day, usually 6 days a week between school activities and my freelance work, but am not making the progress I feel I should be making… or rather not accomplishing all of the things I feel I should be. I am noting this down here because although it's not a huge issue, if I continue to allow my mind to dwell on it, it could become overwhelming. I know that my choices are: 1. examine whether my expectations are too high (am I planning too much in each day, each week, each month, setting myself up for disappointment?) or 2. look at whether or not I am using my time as wisely as I could be? This is particularly frustrating in terms of blog writing. I have a few ideas of posts that I'd really like to work on - topical issues informally discussing thoughts on heritage and country houses that have come up during my work - but I haven't had time to do anything more than think about them.

5. Ending on a positive: an ode to gratitude - hot chocolate, flying saucer sweets, Halloween face painting with friends, live music, living in the middle of the city, markers and coloured pens and sketchbooks, Harry Potter movie nights with Petal, one-on-one chats with the Welshman (aka super-friend), empathetic friends, the ability to recognise toxic influences in my life, a warm safe home, the technology to message and talk with loved ones across the seas.

What did October bring you? What is weighing on your mind as the air chills and the skies darken?

No comments