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We’ve partnered with model, author, and positive mental health advocate, Katie Piper, to encourage the nation to make sure they take some time for themselves and enjoy the benefits of #TOYO (or Time On Your Own).

Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, which starts on Monday, Katie is helping us to spread the message that #TOYO can be hugely beneficial and have a positive impact on our mindset.

Recently we conducted some research that found that one-third of adults preferred lockdown to life before the restrictions and a quarter picked up a new skill or hobby.

We found that on average people were spending 4 hours a week (averaging 34 minutes per day) on their new pastime and so we’re encouraging people to keep that up as the lockdown restrictions ease.

You can read more about the findings of our survey here.

How to enjoy #TOYO

Katie has kindly shared her top tips for taking #TOYO which helps towards looking after your health and wellbeing.

Take time out to journal

I love writing things down! I find putting pen to paper and reflecting on my day can have such a positive impact on my state of mind. If you’ve not journaled before, why not start by finding at least one positive thing that has happened in a day, or if you’ve had a bad day, think about what you can learn from it and turn that into a positive.

Schedule in time on your own (TOYO)

It’s really important to make time for yourself and keep up your hobbies as we begin to come out of lockdown. Personally, I really enjoy carving out some ‘me’ time and practising arts and crafts using my Cricut Joy machine. Doing so has meant that I’ve had to focus my mind solely on what I’m creating, providing a welcome release from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and helping to keep me mindful.

Create structure and organisation

Having and maintaining structure and routine in your life can help you feel more organised and in control. The pandemic has dramatically altered many of our routines, however doing simple tasks such as setting goals can help manage stress levels and encourage you to stay on track. Personally, I’ve loved label making to organise my home!

Keep up your hobbies, or take up a new one!

What’s so nice about the past year is we have all picked up new skills, or rediscovered hobbies we used to love. Baking with my daughters is such a nice activity and I think they’ve really enjoyed spending quality time with mummy too. So, whether you also started baking, or you got into crafting, or even learned a language, make sure you keep at it. It’s what got you through lockdown and will help in the future too.

Talk and listen to friends and family

Friends and family can help keep us grounded and help us put things in perspective. Staying connected is so important and I always come away feeling so much better after speaking with loved ones. Something my daughters and I have loved doing is writing handwritten notes on cards made with our Cricut Joy machine and sending them out in the post. There’s nothing like receiving personalised mail and it gives me such joy to send them too.

Plug into a podcast

Taking time to slow down and plug into a podcast which inspires and educates is really important to me. When I listen to my favourite podcasts I feel incredibly motivated to go out there and do something positive. So find something that works for you! We don’t all have to be inspired by the same thing but a short 20 minute podcast every once in a while can work wonders.

Just keep running, running, running

Running is a great way to make space for yourself and your emotions. I find it really helps free the mind and lets you just notice what’s around you – a great tip for banishing negative thoughts and boosting your mood. If you don’t feel you can run a marathon from a standing start that’s OK, walking, shuffling, jogging, it’s all movement and time to yourself.

Sportflex is perfect for those stretchy fabrics, helping you customise any sportswear!

Settle in with an uplifting book

The past year has been really up and down, but I’ve found that curling up with a good book is a great distraction from the stresses of everyday life. Whether it be outside or in a quiet corner, reading is calming for the mind. Find a window of time when you can focus on your reading, rather than trying to squeeze it into a busy day or get a few pages in before bedtime.

Celebrate nature with your family

Getting out to the countryside is one of life’s simplest pleasures. If you have children, setting little nature tasks such as going on a scavenger hunt is ideal for getting kids out in the fresh air too. And it creates that all-important family time, which if the last year has done anything, is to remind us all just how important it is to spend time together.

Make your social media feeds full of inspiration

So much of what we encounter day to day on social media can be stressful. But you can break that trend and add a dose of positive thinking into the social media mix by following people that inspire you. Whether you find a mummy blogger who reminds you that you are doing a great job, or you’re inspired by a local entrepreneur, make sure your social media feeds are full of positive and encouraging content.

Show us how you’re creating #TOYO by using the hashtag and sharing your pictures with us on social media. Tag @OfficialCricut_UK on Instagram or officialcricuteurope on Facebook.

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