My first jobless summer & how I didn’t go bonkers with boredom

Most people who know me offline know I haven’t been out of employment since I got my first paper round at 13… That is until last August when I left my web design job, a role that I loved for the 4 years I was there, to move to London (well, outskirts of).

When we got here, I was actively looking for work. Mainly mental health related roles, as working experience is a requirement for most (if not all) clinical psychology doctorates, but I have a wealth of experience in catering and waitressing so I was looking for that too. I also looked for design jobs, however I was finding that most need a web/arts related degree which I obviously do not have! There was nothing! Then my mental health started to decline, so it was decided I would remain jobless for a little while and just focus on trying to catch up with my studies. The intention was to look for employment again during the summer break, however summer break came around and there was still nothing! So, I started to think seriously about what I could do with my time. I knew I needed some kind of plan or idea, as being stuck at homme all day with nothing but housework to do I knew would not do my already poor mental state any good at all! I made a list of things I could do, and so as not to overwhelm myself I chose 3 things from that list to focus on – one simple thing I could do on days when I was lacking energy but felt like I needed to ‘accomplish’ something, one slightly more time consuming, and one thing I’d wanted to do for ages but never had the time for. Those things were as follows;

1. Making rat hammocks

Merlin in a hammock

Something simple and quick but rewarding, especially when you see them snuggling up all cute in one you’ve made! My first few hammocks were a little wonky, but I soon improved. Hammocks were made out of an old bedsheet (on one side) and cut-offs of fleece (on the other side), which doesn’t sound very glamorous, but it does the job! I got myself an eyelet punch and eyelets, so I could create sturdy holes to string them up with, which actually proved to be a great outlet for any frustrations I may have been hiding as I could take it out on the eyelets when I hammered them closed!

2. Faluma Design

Faluma Design

A little more time consuming to keep my mind occupied. Luca and I had been toying with the idea of going freelance ever since I left my design job last year. Prior to working professionally, I’d done design and development as a hobby since I was 12 years old, so it’s something I’ve always found some comfort in. I decided, since I had some time on my hands, it was a good idea to launch our own little design business! It was a really good feeling getting it done and open, and because I worry a lot about my BPD interfering with my ‘creative juices’ when we have work in, we’ve not been pushing it quite as hard as we perhaps should just to keep the workload (and thus the pressure) to a minimum.

3. Little Happy Hampers


This one is the most exciting of the three! For years I’ve wanted to make or do something that brought a smile to peoples faces. My original idea a few years back was a ‘happy box’ – a box full of things that just give people a bit of a boost. However, when I was looking this summer, I discovered things like the Buddy Box, which was pretty much the same concept. Not wanting to rip them off, I came up with a few other ideas and eventually settled on what is now called the ‘Little Happy Hamper’. The thought process behind the hampers is simple – I often find myself advising people to take some time out and have a nice, warm bath when they are feeling anxious or particularly low, as the warmth of the water and the process of cleaning oneself can often comfort a person, and also help relax tension in the body. The Little Happy Hamper then, is a kind of ‘pamper’ box – something that encourages self-care, positive thoughts, taking time for yourself and relaxation. Each box contains a number of products, including a lovely body butter, soap, an exfoliating face scrub, a moisturizing lip balm, bath salts, a candle, and a pillow spray for after, all of which are handmade by myself using natural ingredients. It also comes with a large white flannel, 4 way nail file, pillow/drawer bag, and some extra little treats! I did quite a bit of research into aromatherapy when deciding on what to include in the box, and settled on fragrances such as lavender and rosemary in the products which are apparently aromas which induce relaxation and ease anxiety.

I will eventually sell the hampers (along with some of the products, plus additional candles individually) on Etsy, however I’ve got some people testing them out first! Just drop me a message if you are interested and I’ll contact you once I start making to order!

So, that is what I did this summer! For once, I am quite proud at what I have acheived. I could very easily have slipped up and slept most of the summer away, but I didn’t. Of course there were many days where I found myself creeping into bed because tasks as small as brushing my teeth felt incredibly effortful, but overall I feel like I’ve actually taken advantage of the time that I was able to do things for a change and I actually have something to SHOW for it.

Much love, Faye
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September 11, 2016