Looking after my mental health

18 October 2016
We've had so many visitors lately my head is spinning. Add to that my adorable grandkids and a new puppy and I'm starting to feel as if I need a few days with nothing to do. Those "nothing" days are valuable to all of us but from my experience, few of us get them. I make sure I have them now and have discovered that all the work I should have done during that time is always waiting for my return when I'm ready to get back into the swing of things. It's much more difficult to do that when you have a young family but even then you can give yourself a mini break, leave the beds unmade for a couple of days, forget about the laundry and serve your family eggs on toast for dinner. The world won't collapse while you take care of your own mental health.

You probably won't be surprised at this but when I have my mini breaks, I still work, but I only do what I love to do. Being creative and working on projects that make our lives better gives me a feeling of self-reliance that builds my confidence and helps me feel in control and on track.

I've had soap making on my to do list for a while now but still haven't made it; I hope today is soap day.  I'm going to make my normal four ingredients soap using calendula-infused olive oil as my main oil. We suffer from eczema in my family. I have it and some of the others do too. I've found this soap to be nourishing on my skin and soothing on my eczema. I hope that if I tackle it with homemade soap before the hot weather starts, I should be able to get through summer with minimal itching and no cortisone cream.

Rosella cordial.
Making a blanket for Grace.

I made yoghurt the other day. I buy culture online now. It makes a great thick yoghurt and it's cheaper than buying a live yoghurt starter from the supermarket. I used to freeze yoghurt to use as a starter but now I always forget to do it. The frozen culture works well for me. Instead of using a warm oven or yoghurt jars wrapped in towels to ferment the yoghurt, which is how I used to make it, I now use an Easijo insulated jar. I bought the insulated container when they were on special at the supermarket a few months ago, and it's working well. I don't use their powdered product. Fresh milk from the local dairy and frozen culture gives us good quality, delicious yoghurt for a really good price.  Yesterday, after the yoghurt was made, I divided the batch in two, flavoured half with honey and the other half with good raspberry and blueberry jam. I'll make another batch in the next day or so and use it to make a savory fresh cheese for bread and crackers. Hanno loves it and I haven't made it for a long time. It's good to get back to these things and to enjoy the time I spend making them.

I discovered many years ago that when I make cakes, soap, gifts or another set of dishcloths, when I repair and recycle, when I budget and organise, along with all that, I make the life I want to live too. Each small creation, all the meals and bread and cordials, all the knitting, sewing, mending and gardening, bit by bit, it all adds to this wonderful life we've built here. I wonder if you feel the same way.