AROUND this time of year, the lengthy quest begins to find the perfect diary with which to face into the busy new year ahead. I trawl through dozens, feeling them and turning them around in my hands, perusing the inside pages.
Everything matters to me. My response is purely emotional and instinctive: to the colour, feel, texture, lay-out. And I go with my gut reaction. The price doesn’t even matter, if I love it. I just want to experience joy every time I pick it up to note important dates.
What the last 21 months have taught us is that, once we still the chaos of life, we realise how much more investment-time we need to devote to ourselves.
Cork-based Psychotherapist Bethan O’Riordan has produced a beautiful diary that melds these priorities together: not only is it a gorgeous place in which to record those important dates, but it is also “a three-step guide to helping you plan and achieve your self-care goals.”
The diary helps people to make a plan for nutrition, exercise, emotions, spiritual and lifestyle choices and fun, covering all the self-care bases for a person to feel well.
“It is primarily aimed at women who want to create a balance within their life,” explains Behan.
According to her, most of the clients she meets hold self-care as “an aspirational concept, with people often setting targets too high or feeling there isn’t enough time and being unrealistic. This can get people down and thinking critically of themselves as they’re not meeting their goals.
“There is so much noise about what wellbeing should be and the wealth of wellbeing activities available,” she explains.
However, Bethan’s advice is to “just sit down, see what you like, and make a plan that works for you”.
Figuring out the plan is the biggest challenge.
“If you have a plan of who you want to be and how to get there, then it is hard to get it wrong,” she insists.
“Though you do need to realise also that you can be flexible with that plan,” she adds with a smile.
“We are often taught that we have to go to someone for help,” continues Bethan.
“But people don’t realise that they are the answer/solution themselves. Slowing down and knowing what we need and when we need it was my motivation for writing this diary.”
It is really pretty with a soft-touch laminate cover, an-easy-to- follow layout that breaks the days down into four blocks (morning, midday, afternoon and evening), with lots of cute and colourful boxes for the user to record Monthly Reflections, and planning for the weeks ahead.
And, refreshingly, it also lies flat on your desk or kitchen worktop to serve as a constant reminder to the user to integrate moments of self-are into their week.
Not only is it the perfect place to record those key dates and plans, 100% produced in Cork, and co-designed by Elke O’Mahony (of Bia Sasta fame), Bethan has also innovatively incorporated QR codes into the diary, which can be scanned, giving the user access to captioned videos from Bethan herself, guiding the reader to plan and achieve those self-care goals.
“Being well should be accessible to everyone, not top secret,” says Bethan.
“I wanted to offer some of my experience to those who can’t afford to work with me privately. I thought, if you had something in front of you like this diary, it would act as a reminder,” she adds.
But self-care isn’t only about doing activities, according to Bethan. It’s also about being able to insulate ourselves from the energy vampires and supporting ourselves in the parts of the day which we find the most draining.
“Every day can be a bit of an emotional and logistical rollercoaster,” she explains.
“We all have parts of our days that we find the hardest and, if we are honest, there are people who we meet that we find a bit exhausting too!”
Bethan calls these our micro moments and the more that we tune into these moments in our lives and work out what to do to help ourselves, the better equipped we are in creating balance so that life gets easier.
“People are always yearning for peace but then the reality of life happens and we need to remind ourselves to stop, light candles, phone a friend, even cancel things, if we need to.
“In the diary, I lead the reader through a process of understanding so that they know how to replenish their energy levels themselves.”
As a very busy mum of three young children, aged 10, eight and six, with a thriving psychotherapy practice, and an online membership group, over time Bethan has learned and finessed the tools of self-care.
“I go away for 2-3 nights a couple of times a year, to recharge my inner reservoir. I need that micro-level attention, to make me stop and slow down,” she adds.
“This diary helps the reader to create the life they want to live – whether that is fast paced or leisurely, it ensures that you reach your balance in your own unique way.”
Bethan’s 2022 Diary costs €27.99 and can be purchased at www.bethanoriordan.com and in select Cork shops. It can also be purchased white and branded with a logo for companies looking to source meaningful and 100% local Christmas gifts for clients and employees alike.
Bethan O’Riordan provides psychotherapeutic support to mums who would like to create emotional and practical balance in their lives, by helping them to break the cycle of their parenting default mode and become the parents they’d like to be.
She has a Parenting Membership of The Calm & Confident Collective and free Facebook Group Calm & Confident Parenting.
Her passion is to support people to create emotional balance across their lives so that life is easier.