In December 2021, I started a project. In itself, that is not a big surprise. I start new projects all the time. But this was the first time I invited complete strangers to join in my project. For twelve weeks I shared an exercise on Saturday on my Instagram stories. These exercises varied from going outside to growing flowers and creating something around a theme. All these exercises stemmed from something I needed at the time.

The concept of the project was simple: exercises to get out of your head. Although I love warm coats and cosy socks and staying inside my house, I do find winter one of the harder seasons of the year. I wouldn't say I suffer from winter depression, but it is a season when I'm more tired and need more incentive to do things. As a result, I spend a lot of time watching television and scrolling on my phone, not exactly activities that give me more energy. And so the Unstuck Weekend Project was born.

The second installment of Unstuck begins tomorrow, so I thought it would be nice to give this project a place on my website as well. Let's start with the introduction to Unstuck I wrote last year:

"Screens are nice, the internet is nice, watching endless reruns of my favourite series and films is nice. But I dare to say that living in the real world is even better. So in this era of living in the digital world, I invite you to put your phone away for a while and join me in this weekend project."

The way it works is this: every Saturday morning - or afternoon if I forget - I share an exercise on Instagram. It can be anything, as long as it is something that will help you get out of your head and connect with the world. Somewhere during the weekend, you'll make some time to do the exercise. Even if it's just a couple of minutes. The rules? There's only one: you lock your perfectionism and self-doubt in a dark room. Unstuck is not about the results, but about making time, observing your surroundings, and getting out of your head.

For three months I worked on this project. And then I took a break. Early spring is a busy time in the garden, so I no longer needed an extra incentive to go outside or do something with my hands. And that is alright. Not everything needs to continue forever. But now the garden is going to sleep, and I need that little kick in my butt again. Time to bring Unstuck back to life.

But before we kick things off tomorrow, I'd like to share last year's exercises.

the Unstuck project 2021

1. Take five photos of things in and around your house that are always there, but you hardly see anymore.

2. Do something you've been meaning to do for ages: read a book, paint a wall, go to the beach, make a plan for your garden for next year, design a photo album, write a letter.

3. This weekend, when you feel like getting away from all the festivities, instead of endlessly staring at your phone screen, go outside.

4. Think of something you'd like to get better at in 2022.

5. Make some time for that thing your mind landed on last weekend.

6. This weekend, choose a period of time - 6 / 12 / 24 / 36 / 48 hours - where you put your phone down and don't check your social media and e-mail.

7. Make some time to read a book. But make sure it's a book with a story you can lose yourself in. Because there's no need to add another productive thing to your to-do list.

8. Do something that makes you happy. Go outside. Meet a friend, or call them. Take yourself out for a coffee or lunch.

9. Go outside and document the first signs of spring. Make a drawing, take pictures, write a poem.

10. Choose one to three types of flower or vegetable seeds you can grow into plants for your garden or balcony in the next months.

11. Create something around the theme of 'brokenness'. The way you choose to express yourself is up to you: write, paint, draw, make photos, dance, create a flower arrangement. Whatever you choose is ok.

12. Last week we focused on brokenness, so this week we're going to do the opposite: I invite you to create something that gives you hope.

Last year, I shared some of my interpretations of the exercises on Instagram with the hashtag #unstuckbyhester. So far, all posts are mine. But for this year, I hope more of you will share your interpretations of Unstuck using this hashtag. I know I'm not the only one doing this project, and I truly mean it when I write "I'd love to see what you did to get out of your head" at the end of each exercise. And if you don't feel like sharing your experience with the whole world, feel free to DM or e-mail me. I can't wait to see what this season will bring.

While in-between

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I'm Hester

a portrait and wedding photographer

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