And here we are at the end of March 2016, and a new month looming on tomorrow’s horizon. So, what exactly have I been up to and how are my goals for this year going?
Since the big bold mutual decision that was made in January, I have mainly engrossed myself in my studies. I am pleased to say that my first OU module is near its end, and the last two assignments have come back with impressive results that I wasn’t expecting. There’s an assignment that’s due to be submitted tomorrow, and an assignment due the 29th April, and my final end of module assessment due on the 19th May. It has been a little hard to stay motivated over the last few weeks, and some of the module material has been challenging to say the least. I’ve found myself propping up the Open Uni Student Bar on almost a daily basis – a virtual bar with student banter and virtual drinks and bar snacks. And debates galore. I find being part of this group helps to break up the isolation one can encounter when studying via long distance learning. Anyways, I’ve registered for my second module which is to start this October, and already I have been thinking of changing my study pathway from a DipHe in Humanities to a BA (Hons) in Humanities. Eek! Just think of all the new stationery that I can buy – I shall be in hog’s heaven!
I also completed the 5 week course in Creative Writing, as part of the Learn to Grow project, and delivered by Adult & Community Learning in St Helens. The course was absolutely fantastic, and we were a small group, two other students and our tutor. Close bonds were formed and new friendships born. After that, I went onto a 5 week course in Mindfulness, which was also brilliant. Practicing breathing techniques and being present within class and also for homework. The tracks used were by Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman, from their bestselling book:
Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world – by Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman.
Mindfulness: The Eight-Week Meditation Programme for a Frantic World – the Audio CD/Digital download is published by Hachette Audio (UK) – both which can be purchased online via Amazon. The Audio CD comes free if you purchase the book.
The tracks are also available to view/listen to on YouTube. The book is going to be an investment for me, and will be something for me to read over the summer. So much goes into practicing Mindfulness on a daily basis, and getting to grips with the basics, I can see the appeal and the benefits it offers. It’s more of a lifestyle choice than a fashion fad. After Easter, I will be starting a 5 week course, Positive Thinking, which is centred on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Techniques and hopefully, the final 5 week course, Stress Less.
And now for an update on the calm-assertive pack leader. Oscar and I have been constant companions over the last couple of months. I have had the pleasure of taking him out on walks, and I’ve found it so much easier since releasing myself from the shackles of pent-up stress accumulated from working. There are areas that my partner and I can still improve upon. Although, sometimes, I think my partner has the calm-assertive pack leader down to a fine art. I’ve discovered over the last week on YouTube, and have subscribed to Relax My Dog – hours and hours of dog-friendly classical music, designed to soothe your treasured pet if they are suffering from separation anxiety, stress, anxiety, from crying and whimpering, and also if they are poorly. So, I’ve been playing the tracks in the mornings and afternoons.
We’ve spent a fortune on our furry friend over the last month or so, mainly on toys. We also bought a ThunderShirt, which relieves anxiety during thunderstorms and when fireworks are going off. As we’ve now got an artificial lawn in the garden, we’re looking forward to setting up over the summer an agility circuit. Oh, and Oscar loves chasing bubbles. As well as Mr. Grey Squirrel….usually when I let him out into the garden for his morning widdle. However, the bubbles come in handy to distract him from all manner of things. Just got to unlearn the postman now.