How to release stress in a simple way

May 02, 2020

We are living a very strange moment in time and the uncertainty surrounding our lives is source of anxiety for many people right now.

Finding ways to manage our Covid-19 stress is the hottest topic on social media with everyone sharing tips to unwind. From baking banana bread to doing aerobics in your lounge, knitting or painting, there are many ideas to help us soothe overwhelming minds.

I have personally found gardening a very relaxing outlet. Flowers have always made me feel calm and centred and I have found that growing a veggie garden is not only mind-soothing, it has also been really helpful during lockdown.


Another stress buster I have found helpful during the lockdown is to write down ideas.


"Helen Bankers" "Visual Artist" "Photographer" "Journaling" "Notebook" "madeinnz" "button to buy notebook"


While I have always carried a notebook with me to jot down ideas for shoots and creative projects, I have found that writing my thoughts down on paper instead of on social media has helped me stay focused on what’s important but also keep positive.

When I first launched my notebooks, I was aware that writing was a very effective way to release stress. But I didn’t know how powerful writing truly was for some people.

I certainly had no idea that it was used as a medical tool for people suffering from mental health until a friend told me that there was a lot of scientific research done on the positive, therapeutic effects of writing down thoughts.

This is why I decided to make my notebook an ongoing offering in my lifestyle range. I initially thought notebooks would be a one-off collection, but when I found out that someone had bought a second notebook from my site because it helped them to relax and unload some negative thoughts that were trapped in their mind, I made it a permanent addition.


"Helen Bankers" "Visual Artist" "Photographer" "Journaling" "Notebook" "madeinnz"


I am definitely not pretending that my notebooks are a cure for mental health but the thought that my notebooks could help someone feel better and avoid them taking medication to manage depressive bouts down the line fills me with great joy.

And personally, it has helped me find more clarity in my work and life too. I stopped being self-conscious about writing and let the words flow and the result has been productive.


Ideas for projects have formed and I have found clarity in my personal life at times when the pace was getting hectic.


I have worked with local manufacturers to produce my notebooks because I wanted to ensure they were made by people who I trust and who value sustainability as much as I do.

I am glad that I followed my guts and that I never compromised on this decision because right now, I know that a talented and honest manufacturer is getting some work.


As we need to support our local, small businesses more than ever, it makes me very happy to know that my small production line is helping the Kiwi economy to survive the best it can.


With Mother’s Day just around the corner, helping to support small businesses owned or operated by brave, working mothers feels even more crucial this year.

"Helen Bankers" "Visual Artist" "Photographer" "Journaling" "Notebook" "madeinnz" "noted journal"

So while we are still navigating the ups and downs of our restricted lifestyle, I hope that writing on my notebooks can make you feel better.


Whether it is creative writing, goals setting, poetry, recipes or simply doodling, I hope it gives a sense of freedom at a time we are craving it so much.


Create, draw, imagine, annotate, record, think or write ... enjoy and feel the stress melt away.


Helen x


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Auckland-based artist Helen Bankers has always been attracted to the natural world. Her work has taken her around the world for a myriad of publications and brands, but when she’s not on assignment Helen loves exploring the creative side of photography.

“Throughout my career I’ve learnt a lot about the importance of leading a balanced life,” says Helen. “I realised that I have an overwhelming desire to produce a more artistic and illustrative side of work.”

Outside of her magazine and commercial projects, Helen can be found in her home studio creating work that celebrates the natural world. She has a sharp eye for detail and particularly likes working with flora and fauna.

“I’m inspired by the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, and Australian florists such as Saskia Havekes at Grandiflora. I enjoy looking at the fine form and intricacy of flowers and plants,” says Helen, who lives with her engineer husband Dan and daughter Isla, in the eastern suburbs. 

“From that passion grew a series with a focus on botanical studies.”

The abstract images, which often combine close-up detail, colour and texture, form the basis of Helen’s Limited Edition Fine Art Prints collection. 

As well as having a passion for photographing nature, Helen has a talent for interiors and portrait photography. “I have a love for people and interiors,” she says. “I love telling the story of someone’s life journey through their homes and how their homes reflect the lifestyle they lead,” she says.

*From my experience shooting interiors, I’ve been inspired to create a range of botanical images that people can enjoy in and around the home.”

Helen’s Limited Edition Fine Art Prints are available on this site.

For art work leasing, please contact

Available for private commissions – please enquire

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