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I’ve taken to reading a lot of non-fiction lately, particularly titles which focus on mental health coping mechanisms, goal-setting, and getting shit done. Chronicle Books have recently published a couple of belters, leaving me feeling genuinely inspired and empowered.
Find Your F*ckyeah by Alexis Rockley
First of all, I love a sweary title (I’m a big Sarah Knight fan), so Find Your F*ckyeah instantly appealed to me. The subtitle, ‘stop censoring who you are and discover what you really want’, spoke to me. That sounds a bit wanky but it’s true. If you feel like you’re going through the motions, studying something to please your parents, stuck in a job because it’s comfortable, or stifling your creativity because you don’t think it will pay the bills, this book is for you.
Don’t be fooled; this isn’t a book about helping you reach a particular end-goal: “Stop looking for your fuckyeah in a job title, career, or field – it’s waiting in moments, experiences, and activities.” It’s about getting the most out of life, and valuing ourselves and our time.
Throughout this book, Rockley tackles such topics as success porn, defeating your inner cynic, finding your flow, and embracing self-compassion: “Self-compassion… is self-kindness instead of self-judgment, a sense of common humanity instead of isolation, and mindfully questioning, instead of automatically believing, our Inner Cynics.”
And you know how you can beat self-criticism? With Jedi mind tricks (aka affirmations). I have to admit, I’ve found them a bit ‘woo-woo’ in the past but I’m willing to give them a go.
I’m also finally ready to give myself permission to be imperfect. It turns out that your goal should be to learn and grow, and it’s ok to ‘fail’ along the way. You can’t expect to be good at something straight away – something I’m learning with my lettering. It’s about progress, not perfection.
There are so many areas of note, including mindfulness and self-care. Rockley enforces the importance of self-care habits, rather than self-care products, and I’m certainly going to be working on embedding these into my routine. I’ll also be working prompts for positive emotions (joy, gratitude, serenity, curiosity, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, love) into my journaling, to encourage more positive reflection.
“It’s not enough for me to show you where to go looking for your fuckyeah – I have to show you how to find it and how to keep finding it; how to exercise your happiness; how to maintain your joy; how to fan the spark of your fuckyeah into a wildfire of joy.”
I’ve spent the best part of nearly 32 years thinking that my fuckyeah was a constant. Now I’ve learned it’s ok to chop and change, and ebb and flow, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else I uncover over the next 32+ years.
Big Dreams, Daily Joys by Elise Blaha Cripe
So you’ve uncovered your fuckyeah, but how do you make time for it in your current routine? Big Dreams Daily Joys isn’t just about learning to set yourself SMART goals – it’s also about time management and productivity: “This book is a guide to creating room in your days, dreaming bigger, and making progress toward your goals. It’s about recognising that through routine and pockets of time you can make progress and build a life you enjoy.”
I spent so much of the last four years claiming I didn’t have any time for me (#workingmumproblems) but in reality there is more I could have done if I had this book in my life then.
There is room in my day for the things that I need and want to get done; it’s all about prioritisation. I really enjoyed the section on honouring your time zones: “Don’t waste your ‘free time’ on chores while you are in your zone! Spend that time doing the things that require your undivided attention and creative energy.” I often don’t do housework when Jenson is around because I want to value the time that I get to spend with him, but that means the chores get done during my very limited me time – and that is not how I want to be spending my time. Besides, it’s not how Luke spends his time. He’s great at prioritising.
There are simple ways to make the most of your time:
- avoid decision fatigue (meal plan, build a capsule wardrobe): “Stop reinventing the wheel on routine tasks so that you can make way for more creativity in other areas”.
- avoid mobile distractions – turn off notifications so that you stay focused on the task at hand.
- build in time to be creative – book up 80% of your time, then remain free to experiment.
This experimentation is important in so many areas of my life, whether it’s planning my weekends with Jenson, managing my workload in my day job, or scheduling my blog posts. As much as I love planning, I need to allow time for spontaneity.
One of my favourite quotes from this book is: “You have exactly enough time for the things that matter to you”. And it’s true. When my mental health took a bit of a nosedive a couple of months ago, I reassessed my priorities: rest/sleep, catching up on Station 19, and being creative. I hit a bit of an unexpected brick wall when it came to blogging, so I chose to focus on journaling and lettering. Now I’m managing a little bit of everything and I feel so much better for it.
What non-fiction books have helped you recently?