The Magic of Autumn: A Round-Up of Fall Favorites


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Another October, another reminder that I'm forever in love with fall. Even though the season hasn't quite arrived yet (these 90° days are killing me!), I can't help feeling my annual autumn obsession arise once again. To celebrate the season, I thought I'd share some of my favorite posts and inspiration about this time of year...

 

October: A Reminder to Live Slowly

October is, hands down, the best month of the year. Not only does the weather turn cooler (byeeee, humidity!), but the trees are ablaze with color (and, as you probably know, I'm a big fan of color!). It's the best. But it's also a nice pause before the chaotic end-of-the-year months of November and December. Check out this post if you need a reminder to slow down. 

 

14 Reasons to Fall in Love with Fall

This is one of many posts I've written about the joy of autumn, but, being the longest one, it incorporates most of the many reasons I love the season. Check out this post if you need a reason to love fall (I know for a lot of people it's the first sign of the depression-inducing winter months so perhaps this will inspire some positive thoughts about the season), or check it out if you want to reaffirm your belief that autumn is awesome. Related: pop over to the Autumn Obsession Pinterest board for a round-up of my favorite autumnal things. 

 

Let the Dead Leaves Drop: Lessons from Autumn on Letting Go

While this post isn't necessarily about the season itself, it does provide some valuable information on how we can learn from the acceptance and release so prevalent in nature during this time of year. Spring and autumn are the seasons of big change, and we can learn a lot from the way things work in nature, particularly when it comes to letting go. Check this one out if you need to let something go.

 

Embracing Autumn: 6 Ways to Enjoy the Season

Similar to the "14 Reasons to Fall in Love with Fall post," this one highlights some of the best ways to take advantage of fall fun. We're all busy and embracing the seasons isn't always something we make time for, but, when it comes to autumn, it's worth it to enjoy the season (particularly if you're not a fan of winter and will be trapped indoors by the frigid months to come). Check this post out if you need inspiration to get out and enjoy autumn.  

 

Why Halloween Makes Me Happy

Anyone who knows me knows I love Halloween. Always have, for some unknown reason! This post focuses on my beloved holiday and why I love it. If you're a Halloween fan, be sure to check this one out. If you're not, check it out anyway and see if it might spark some Halloween-lovin' feelings in you. Related: check out my Halloween Happiness Pinterest board for all things spooky and cute. 

 

Hygge: What It Is + 11 Ways to Do It

Hygge, a Danish word that doesn't have an exact English equivalent, but means something along the lines of enjoying cozy intimacy, celebrating by candlelit surrounded by friends, feeling content in the moment, isn't specifically relegated to autumn, but autumn sure does bring out the hygge vibes in my home. Check out this post if you love all things cozy and warm and candlelit. Related: check out the Heartwarming Hygge Pinterest board for cozy inspiration.

 

Do you love autumn? Or do you dread its arrival? Let me know in the comments below what you love (or don't) about the season! 


Announcing... Positively Present on Patreon!


Patreon Screen


For years, I've been working solo on Positively Present, and I absolutely love what I do, but I've been looking for ways to expand on my work and on the Positively Present community. Like many who create primarily online, I've struggled a lot with friction between wanting to create and share and not feeling as if my work is valued (and, in some cases, stolen, even by large companies). 

The world of online creating is still a bit like the wild west. We're all trying to learn the rules, to figure out how we can consume and share and create in thoughtful, productive, and rewarding ways. A lot of online creators choose to run advertisements or work with brands. I've done these (and may continue to do so), but, at times, it feels disingenuous. Even if I love a brand or product, it's turning me into a salesperson when I'm a creator. I want to make things you like and I want to be able to afford to do it, and I don't want to have to sell you random stuff you don't need (even if it's my own stuff!) in order to do so. 

I'm not the only creator who feels this way. Luckily, someone came up with the awesome idea for Patreon.

 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

Patreon is a membership platform that allows patrons (people like you) support creators (people like me) while getting access to exclusive benefits. What I love about it is that it's a direct relationship between the creator and the patron. It's a way to show creators that you value their work and to support those who spend their lives trying to make the world a better place online. 

Creators set up a series of tiers and the more a patron contributes each month, the more rewards s/he receives. You can see the various tiers (starting at just $1/month!) on the right hand side of this page. Basically, it's like this: you pay a set amount each month and you get access to cool things you wouldn't otherwise see. 

  Patreon


WHO IS PATREON FOR? 

Every creator's Patreon platform is unique, but, for Positively Present, Patreon is for... 

  • People who love Positively Present and want to support my work
  • People who want to support writing and art in general 
  • People who don't want ads or sponsorships interfering with content
  • People who want behind-the-scenes looks at what I'm working on
  • People who want access to exclusive digital content
  • People who want to contribute ideas and inspiration for Positively Present
  • People who want to download Positively Present artwork
  • People who long to learn more about creativity and digital art
  • People who get something valuable out of daily (free!) posts

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE? 

If you've never heard of Patreon before, you might be like, Wait. What is this? I still don't get it. Don't worry! You can learn more about it by checking out the Patreon page or my FAQ post. And, of course, you can reach out to me via email if there's anything you want to know more about! 

 Patreon

 

I've been hard at work setting this up, but it's still a work-in-progress, so stay tuned for updates (and even more rewards for each tier!) coming soon. I know the idea of directly supporting a creator might sound odd at first, because it's still relatively new, but the digital landscape is changing and more and more of what we use and consume is going to be online. If you are regularly consuming something you enjoy — whether it be a piece of digital art or a piece of delicious cake — you should want to compensate the person who created it. Yes, it feels like you get content for free, but nothing is really free. There's a give-and-take for everything. If you're consuming something that someone else worked hard on without ever giving something back, that leads to an imbalance that puts a lot of pressure on the creator.

The creator either has sell you a product (which can be great, but isn't ideal in a world where we all have so much stuff or where people have come to love the digital work and don't necessarily want things), sell an ad for another product (leading to the same problem of more consumption and/or the often icky feeling that comes with selling things randomly -- take note of all of the creators pushing Audible or Skillshare...), or sell a service (which isn't always doable or reasonable to expect of someone who already has a job creating content on a daily basis).

The more creators have to balance advertising, sponsorships, brand deals, etc., the less time they have creating content that you really love and find valuable. When you join a creator's Patreon, you'll have access to extra cool rewards and a community of people who love the same stuff you do. Plus, you become a real-life patron of the arts, which, let's be honest, just sounds fun and fancy! 

I've been so excited working on this for the past few weeks and I'm so excited that it's now going live! If you have any questions / comments / etc., let me know in the comments below or via email! 

 


5 Tactics for Tackling Pain

 

Positively-Present-Pain
  

For the past few months, I've been struggling with physical pain, something I've never been great at dealing with. (Though, admittedly, I've gotten better at it since 2015, when I had my first surgery!) Waking up day after day with physical pain is a strange experience if you've never been through it before. Obviously the physical part isn't ideal, but the toll it takes on your mental state is even more of a challenge. When pain starts impacting your whole life — where you can go, what you can do, how much work you can accomplish in a day — it goes from unpleasant to frustrating to depressing really quickly, making maintaining a positively present attitude difficult, to say the least! 

Since 2015, I've be dealing with a string of health issues — all of them different but connected to one another — and, needless to say, I'm quite over all of this pain and doctor's appointments and lying around trying all kinds of tips and tricks to see what will alleviate some of the pain. It's both time-consuming and boring, which is a pretty bad combo. Over the weekend I was in a bit of a funk, frustrated and angry and in a bit of a woe-is-me state, when I realized that, once again, I was being handed a perfect opportunity to practice what I preach. 

"What advice would I give someone in pain?" I asked myself, "What tactics could I try to improve my mental state, even if I can't seem to figure out how to get the physical pain to go away?" After hours of avoidance, I finally got myself to sit down and write, and here are some of the things that have worked for me. If you're dealing with pain (physical or emotional!), maybe give some of these a try and see if they work for you.   

 

1. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. 

When you're not used to worrying about your health, it can be difficult to pay attention to your body. Since my first surgery in 2015, I've gotten better at listening to my aches and pains and arranging my schedule in such a way that I can make myself as comfortable as possible, but it's taken a long time for me to get used to paying attention. When I first started feeling pain, I tried to ignore it, and when it came back again, my mind was like, Nope, this is NOT happening again. Just ignore it and it'll go away. Funny how that doesn't work with physical (or emotional) pain. If you don't face it, and do whatever you can to help alleviate it, it'll come back. Paying attention the pain, no matter how badly you'd rather ignore it, is the first step to making any sort of positive progress.

2. DISCOVER A GOOD DISTRACTION. 

Distracting yourself might sound like the opposite of the previous tip, but what I mean by this is: once you've identified the pain and done what you could do help it (gone to the doctor, taken medicine, done your exercises or whatever else the doctor recommended), it's time to stop dwelling on it. Feeling sorry for yourself might feel like a luxury you deserve when you're not feeling well, but it only brings you down further. Instead of wallowing (as I wasted part of my weekend doing, ugh!), find a (positive!) distraction that will keep your mind off the pain. Anything that brings your spirits up — a new book, a favorite funny film, a friend stopping by — is worth trying. And don't be discouraged if your usual go-to mood-lifter doesn't do the trick. Pain, especially if it's new, might require discovering a new distraction! (To find a new one, consider what's worked in the past. If it's funny films, scour Netflix for a comedy special. If it's a good book, treat yourself to one you've been looking forward to or ask a friend to stop by the library and select a bunch from your favorite genre!)

3. STAY AS POSITIVE AS POSSIBLE. 

Thoughts are incredibly powerful, and, while staying positive during times of pain is most certainly a challenge, it's worth every ounce of extra effort. When pain is chronic it can be hard to stay positive because there's no clear end in sight, there's no "take these pills and you'll be better in a week" to hold on to, but there's scientific proof that a negative attitude can make health worse and a positive one can make it better, so, at the very least, you can think of an optimistic outlook as a kind of medicine. If it's really hard to do (and I know how hard it can be when things aren't looking great), think of it a physical (mental) therapy exercise. It's not really fun to do and you don't always see instant improve me, but if you keep at it, it'll most likely help in some way. (The trick to staying positive is to pay attention to your thoughts. If this is hard to do, enlist the help of someone else to tell you to knock if off when you're in a woe-is-me state.)

4. LOOK FOR YOUR LUCK. 

Sure, you might not feel particularly lucky when you're in pain (in fact, it's probably the last thing you feel), but, cliche as this advice sounds, shifting your focus to all the ways you are lucky can make a hugely positive impact on your attitude. Each time you dread visiting the doctor, focus on the care you're fortunate to receive. Each time you feel like you're missing out on fun things, focus on the small joys of getting to rest and recover (and remember that someone else would probably love to be resting right now but for whatever reason, cannot). Each time you compare your current state to someone else's, remind yourself that you're lucky to have that person in your life. Gratitude can be arduous when you feel down on your luck, but when you start practicing it, it really does make you feel better. 

5. FIXATE ON WHAT YOU CAN DO. 

When you've tried all kinds of remedies and doctor recommendations and you're still in pain, your mind might turn to the fruitless task of contemplating all that you're unable to do. In times of pain, it's not surprising to feel frustrated and unproductive and useless, but dwelling on those feelings doesn't do you any good. Instead of focusing on all the things you can't do — work missed, plans cancelled, dreams delayed — direct your attention to what you are capable of doing. Some days I even write a list of all the things I've done (even if it's just showering, walking Barkley, and reading) so I can remind myself that, even on days when I can't do much, I've still done something. And even if you can't physically do a thing, you can still listen to a podcast or watch a film or daydream about all the cool things you'll do when you feel better. This mindset can be tricky to master, particularly if you're in pain for long periods of time and wonder if you'll ever be able to do certain things again, but when you fixate on what you can do instead of what you can't, you'll be surprised at how much better you feel emotionally.

 

Over the past few years, I've really gotten a life lesson on just how important health is, and how quickly pain can take charge and change your life. I've also been reminded that pain isn't always visible. Someone might look fine, might even act fine, while combatting a pain you can't see. If you're pain right now, I hope these tips helped in some small way. If you've been through chronic pain (emotional or physical) and have any additional advice to add, I'd love to hear it. In the comments section below, let me know what you do when you're facing pain 'cause you never know when a tip that worked for you might help someone else too! 

 

 

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