I believe that it’s important to keep inspired, whether that is being able to appreciate nature around us, exploring creative hobbies, making good food or reading uplifting words. Here are some thoughts..
From a young age I have always enjoyed being outside. Having been brought up in an active and outdoors orientated family, I have a huge appreciation for the benefits of nature. Research has been carried out which shows that nature can help to boost our mood and distract our mind from negative thinking. Whether that is being able to enjoy a view of wildlife from our window, being able to sit in a green space or explore a national park. Connecting with nature can help to uplift and inspire us.
John Muir is an inspirational figure who was a born in Dunbar, Scotland and emigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 11. He became well respected for writing about the benefits and beauty of the natural world and became a major figure in the creation of the National Parks in America.
The reason for Muir’s dedication to the natural world seems to have been ignited by a period of ill health which gave him the urge to follow his passion and to explore the outdoors upon his recovery. While working in Indianapolis aged 28 at a carriage parts factory he had an accident which resulted in blindness. A specialist doctor advised Muir that if he were to stay in a darkened room his eyesight may partially return to him. Muir decided that if he were to regain his vision he would devote himself to the wonders of nature. Luckily his eyesight returned and so Muir decided to walk south to the Gulf of Mexico. He sailed to Cuba, Panama and finally made his way towards the west coast to San Francisco. It was at that point California became his home and in particular Yosemite (pictured above) and Sierra Nevada.
Muir was a major figure in the creation of the National Parks and founded the Sierra Club which helped to establish Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks among others. He wrote many groundbreaking theories about the geological formation of Yosemite national park. As a direct result of John Muir’s near permanent loss of eyesight, this led him to appreciate the outdoors even more, and spurred on his passion for sharing the benefits of nature with others.
Being able to enjoy a balanced and healthy diet filled with fruit and vegetables can help aid your well-being. I have always enjoyed eating good food and trying out new recipes. Supplements wise I remember taking vitamin B and iron to try and help with the energy. I also took vitamin C and from time to time St John’s Wort. Once I tried manuka honey. Honestly I’m not sure whether I noticed a difference between the usual honey and the manuka honey. You feel like trying everything and anything that might help. Although mostly I think fresh and wholesome ingredients are what is needed. Limiting or avoiding caffeine helped, and eating lots of veggies. Here is a food fact sheet that has been put together by The Association of UK Dietitians
Eating healthy food and gaining inspiration from recipe books and resources such as BBC Good Food, Nigel Slater, River Cottage, Deliciously Ella, Jamie Oliver, Hemsley and Hemsley, Delia Smith, Diana Henry or Anna Jones. There is no shortage of inspiration!
Here are some of the books that made an impact on me when I began to read again. There are many more, but these jumped out as ones that were inspiring in the early stages…
1. The Alchemist and Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho
In the Alchemist we follow the main character Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy in discovering his destiny. There are underlying philosophies about the world that are discussed throughout. In the Manual of the Warrior of Light, Paulo Coelho shares inspirational philosophical thoughts and stories. It is the companion volume to the Alchemist. I found these books uplifting and there were lots of interesting points throughout.
2. The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler
The Art of Happiness is written as a conversation between the psychiatrist Howard Cutler and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It is an exploration of the Dalai Lama’s opinions on various issues and Cutler’s personal and scientific reflections on them. I remember enjoying learning more about the Dalai Lama’s Buddhist philosophies and his accurate perspectives on life, human behaviours and the art of happiness.
3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by John Dominique Bauby
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a memoir written by French journalist, author and editor of French Elle magazine John Dominique Bauby. At the age of 43 he was left paralysed, and suffered “locked in syndrome.” This left him entirely speechless and only able to communicate by blinking his left eyelid. It is a beautifully written reflection on his life that conveys his appreciation for life both before and after his illness.
4. Learn to Knit, Love to Knit by Anna Wilkinson
Learn to Knit, Love to Knit includes lots of stunning patterns in vibrant colours from knitwear designer Anna Wilkinson. There are beginner and advanced patterns and there is a project for every level. Before I could properly knit I really wanted to make one of these hand warmers on the front cover.. which you will be pleased to know that I managed to succeed in making.
5. 10 simple, cosy projects by Sarah Hatton
I loved all of these designs by Sarah Hatton. This book is filled with great projects for a beginner knitter. I think the advanced knitter would enjoy these too. All of these patterns are modern and very wearable!