‘Doodling rainbows reminds me that storms will always end, and the light will return. Flowers and bumblebees remind me of how important each one of us are in this world.’Natalie Dormady
It’s a new year, and for many it’s a time of renewal and working toward a better relationship with themselves. We could all probably do with some self-compassion after the excess and family tensions that often come with the holidays, coupled with the deep darkness we experience in the winter (in our part of the world, at least!).
That’s why we’ve published 365 Gentle Reminders (just £9.99 during January 2020), a page-a-day book of positive, uplifting reminders illustrated by the inspiring Natalie Dormady. After battling with mental illnesses, Natalie found her passion for art while on her recovery journey, and she’s been sharing her Gentle Reminders on Instagram for a few years now. Get to know Natalie through our interview, below…
Hi Natalie! Let’s start off with some background – tell us a bit about your work and what inspires you.
I began drawing and writing gentle reminders probably about two and a half years ago while I was receiving support for my mental health. Art quickly became a very important part throughout my recovery journey, and still very much is so today. By drawing flowers and mountains, clouds with rain and rainbows, there are some gentle reminders in itself. I enjoy using imagery from nature to accompany a gentle reminder. I find that I’m always being reminded when I’m outside, and sometimes it will present itself when you need it the most.
I would have to say that I am most inspired by nature. I feel very safe when I am amongst a forest, and I hope that it can translate onto paper. Doodling clouds with friendly faces, and flowers with bumblebees brings me a lot of joy, and it is my hope that it can also bring others some light and comfort!
In the introduction to your book, 365 Gentle Reminders, you write about using illustration as one method of helping you through your own recovery process. What made you decide to start sharing these artworks publicly?
I decided to start sharing my doodles online because I wanted to have a collection of gentle reminders always available to myself, and to others. Before I began sharing them online I had doodled in journals, and I remember thinking that it would be really helpful to have them all in one place as I don’t always carry my journals with me. So I began to share them on Instagram. I was and am able to connect with many, many wonderful people. It has bloomed into a really lovely little community that I feel extremely grateful to be a part of. I hope that it can feel like a safe space for others as well!
How have positive affirmations made a difference in your life?
Positive affirmations have made a tremendous difference in my life. I have a very strong inner critic, and I used to use a lot of negative self talk, but positive affirmations and gentle reminders have been a way for me to remind myself that I am trying my best, and my best is enough. They are how I begin my day. I wake up and take a moment to say a positive statement and three things that I am grateful for. They are also how I end my day.
Sometimes they’re not always easy to say and even believe, and that is okay! I found that when I ﬁrst started saying them my inner critic became really loud and would challenge what I was saying. With time, patience and repeating those afﬁrmations I’ve learned to meet my inner critic with compassion.
Do you ever struggle to believe your gentle reminders yourself? What do you do on days when you just don’t feel quite like you’re enough?
There are days when I do struggle to believe the gentle reminders that I share sometimes. I often have to remind myself that I’m trying my best, and it’s okay to feel how I’m feeling. This won’t last forever, even in the moment when it feels heavy and weighted, it is only temporary. I ﬁnd that if I’m not quite feeling my best that day, I’ll set the gentle reminder I shared as my home screen on my phone and it just brings me a little bit of extra light!
On days when I don’t feel quite like I’m enough I try my best to slow down and take a moment to do something small that brings my joy. Sometimes it’s talking with a friend about how I’m feeling, doodling, or going for a short walk. Sometimes resting and taking a break is what helps me most. I’ve been practicing becoming more mindful of when I’m starting to feel like I need to step away from what I may be doing or working on, and try to do a little bit of self-care.
Aside from drawing and sharing uplifting gentle reminders, what are some of your favourite ways to take care of yourself when you’re not feeling your best?
Aside from drawing, one of my favourite ways to take care of myself when I’m not feeling my best is to spend time outside and go for a walk. I live near a little forest, so I’ll make myself a cup of tea and take it on the walk with me. I’ll usually listen to the Harry Potter soundtrack from the movies, and it brings me the most amount of joy to walk through a forest listening to it!
Another way I take care of myself is to talk about how I’m feeling with a close friend. I used to keep everything bottled up inside, and it would feel like everything was so weighted, but I’ve been learning that talking my thoughts and feelings through really does help me feel better!
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
I recently just started doing art markets! They’re absolutely wonderful and a ton of fun! It is really lovely to be able to meet people and to talk with them about art, and to see how each doodle and gentle reminder may resonate with them is a really special thing. Sometimes they’ll tell me about a friend, or a family member who may need a reminder, and sometimes they’ll tell me about themselves. It really has brought a different type of connection and I hope to do more markets in the future!
For some new projects, I’ve been feeling really drawn to affirmation oracle cards, or something along those lines. I think those would be really fun to create, and use!
Look after yourself this year!
365 Gentle Reminders is just £9.99 in our webshop for all of January 2020!
You get a free vegan nutrition poster when you order from us (pictured below).