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  • Writer's pictureNade Simmons


Recently I shared a video on my Instagram @Whatnademade about a difficult period in my life - fleeing from my home with my son after four years of domestic abuse. The video was quite hard to film, I haven't spoken before about what happened but what it did do was open up a gate for others to send me DM's about similar experiences. Strangely, this has helped me to begin healing a large crack in my heart somehow. I have been thinking a lot since about that period in my life and how I, and others, pulled ourselves up from nothing.

One of the things that helped me in those very early days after, was planning my time - having been controlled for so long it was a shock to me that I now had space for myself. Not only this but as I hadn't been allowed to be in contact with my friends or family I had lost all of those normal connections that people have.

I drew up the simplest, most practical no-frills planner, not dated, just a chart of a month, each with a quote to help me to focus.

Calendar PDF what Nade made
Download PDF • 3.96MB

And I began to fill my days.

At first I wrote in the simplest of things, I didn't have much money but found a handful of things I could do for free to block out the month. It's so, so important to keep moving, keep your mind active and to get outside otherwise you're in danger of slipping downward mentally. I found there was a free outdoor gym in the nearby park so I planned that into my month after work. There was a 'kids club' cinema screening for £1 a ticket at our local cinema on Sundays so I booked my son and I in, snuck in some sausage rolls & stuck it on my planner!

I joined our local art society, I think it was around £28 for a years membership - Tuesday evenings sorted!

It took maybe three short months of planning in this way to really start to build up a life that was making ME happy - I was choosing to use my time productively and how I saw fit, found new places & met new people with similar interests to me. The freedom of choice is something I will never under appreciate and I still plan to this day.

I have attached some of the sheets I used above if you wanted to print, copy or draw them, if you feel it might help - you can start them at any time of year and I used a turquoise font as this is the colour of communication and also my absolute favourite- I don't think I've created a painting without it!

All best and see you soon!

Nade x

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