30 Ways To Self-Care When Life Has Kicked You In The Proverbial Nuts

tumblr_o8t3y4AtSI1srt8eno1_1280.png

Self- care is about self-worth. I want you to remind yourself that you are the one who held yourself through that time your heart was broken into 1000 pieces, and yet you still turned up for work. You were the one who stood up and faced the music when others could not. You are the one who dragged yourself to the shower of the morning of the funeral, the wedding, the day they died and then got other people cups of tea. You, who went to work, who fed others, who got into bed to lie sleepless in the dark. You who fed the cat and wondered if you might kill yourself today or tomorrow. You who turned up for others over and over again. Today is the day you turn up for yourself. If you can do all of that, you can do some of these to recharge your soul.

  1. Ask for help. Mental health, cleaning, shopping, physical health. There is someone to help.

  2. Clean your space. Maybe it is just the coffee table but that is better than nothing. Start there.

  3. Eat for nutrition today. Not calories. Ask your body what it is craving. Whatever it needs is what your body is lacking.

  4. Have a shower or a bath.

  5. Schedule in tasks for the week ahead. Put them on your phone as reminders also.

  6. Play with an animal. If you don’t have one, go to the dog park and one will come up and say Hi to you.

  7. Read a poem. This one works.

  8. Make a playlist of upbeat tunes that make you sing and even better, dance.

  9. Burn a candle. Scented or not. Either way, it’s the lighting of intention of your new self-care.

  10. Get a massage if you can. Even a back and neck from the mall shop helps. Sometimes loneliness gnaws at our soul, and we are skin hungry for touch.

  11. Potter with plants. Potted or in the ground. Either works. Prune, feed, water, tidy.

  12. Go somewhere busy and sit with a coffee and watch life around you. Witness the Sonder. *“Sonder” is the profound, individual realisation that each person you meet is living their own life, that each person has their own world fitted with their own personal worries, pains, pleasures, ambitions, routines. It is not an official word but it is a lovely descriptor and can remind you that everyone is doing going through ‘stuff.’

  13. Drink calming tea. I like black tea but some people recommend chamomile and peppermint tea.

  14. Go to the water. Watch the waves, watch the boats, watch the sun glinting on the water, swim, drift, float. There are two types of mental attention in life. One is “directed", which is when we are focussed on a task such as driving a car, or walking on a busy footpath. They other type is “involuntary” which is when we we are in an environment outside our ordinary habitat, with enough familiarity that it poses no threat but enough interest to keep the brain engaged". It is this state of "drift" that water encourages. We've all felt it. Staring at the sea, like one of Melville's hypnotised "water gazers", everything seems static, yet gently changing. Instead of the stress of addressing electronic data or dealing with the millions of different images we see every day, we're presented with a view where change is subtle and slow – a sailboat, a seagull, the incoming tide. "Drifting takes us into the default-mode network: the network that's active unless we are paying attention to something. In other words, it's basically 'online' until we call on other areas of attention. And the default-mode network devours huge amounts of glucose and a disproportionate amount of oxygen." 

  15. Buy an indoor plant or two. They create wellbeing and they improve air quality.

  16. Reread your favourite childhood book.

  17. Cook something that takes time. Each step is a meditation. Each step is more flavour and wellness.

  18. Make a meal plan for the week so you know you will be nourished.

  19. Clean out your workbag or handbag.

  20. Plan your day for tomorrow.

  21. Tell someone how much you appreciate them and love them.

  22. Write your priorities for the week and schedule them.

  23. Reframe your mistakes and see what you learned from them.

  24. Turn off your phone for the day and unplug from the network for as long as you need.

  25. Put away those things that annoy you every time you walk past them. They are eye irritants.

  26. Make a list of things you would like to do one day - travel to Iceland, learn French, see the Kremlin

  27. Make a list of things to do now - put away washing, sweep the floor, open the mail.

  28. Write a letter to yourself with everything you have learned so far in life, and what you would tell your younger self.

  29. Clean up your inbox and run a computer clean on your machine.

  30. Ask someone who makes you feel energised and inspired to lunch or dinner.

Be kind to yourself, use inner dialogue like you would talk to a cherished friend, and above all, laugh, often and always. Because the one thing I can tell you about life is, it goes on.


How to not be a f*ckwit partner

I have been married a while, which doesn’t mean I have been happy the whole relationship. I know my husband has had times where he’s questioned that whole decision to wear a suit and wait in a musty church for me to turn up in a big white dress and an even bigger picture hat (I was really into Grace Kelly’s whole High Society aesthetic at the time).

Once I annoyed my husband by asking him to move a wardrobe at 1.00 am, because I was nesting with our first child (I gave birth two days later). I refused to let him do it in the morning, it had to be right then! As he moved it, I heard him mutter, “Sometimes you shit me so much, you make me wanna poo my pants.” So funny. Honestly, he was a toddler, while I was about to birth a baby. We still say it to each other when we are annoying.

I don’t really have all the answers or probably any real solutions tell the truth but here are a few things I have seen in others, learned and experienced so far in this close to 30 year relationship.

  1. Make an effort in the relationship. Do kind things for each other. I don’t mean roses and chocolates. I mean, picking up the package from the post office, or getting the script filled from the chemist. Do it and be a good egg about it all. Don’t ask for praise but remember to say thank you when it’s done for you.

  2. Don’t ask them to be a mind reader to meet your needs and expectations. If you want to go away for the weekend, tell them. If you want to do more things together on the weekend, tell them. They don’t have a bloody crystal ball, and it shouldn’t be a test.

  3. Find something to do together. A TV show you both love and can talk about. A hobby. Get fit together (I am still waiting to do this one). Explore new ideas and concepts together. Don’t dismiss it out of hand. Even if you’re not into it, maybe ask them about it so you show you care.

  4. Learn the names of the people they work with. Hearing stories about other people’s work is really boring, but people’s behaviours are not. Find out who the key people in their daily work life and when they tell you how their day was, ask questions that include the others. It makes it more interesting for you and makes them feel they aren’t so boring.

  5. Let them tell you when they’re worried or paranoid or stressed like you would a let a friend confide in you. Sometimes when we the person we rely on is fragile, it can feel destabilising to have them so uncertain about life and your relationship. By allowing them to admit their vulnerabilities, we are helping them process and work through the whole mental mess and take the load for a while.

  6. If an argument comes up and they respond with old issues from their previous relationship or childhood, call it out. I hate my husband drinking because I had an alcoholic parent, so I have to remind myself that just because he’s had a few drinks with his mates once in a blue moon does not mean he is an alcoholic.

  7. Learn how to do things so you don’t rely on your partner all the time. Cooking, cleaning, ironing, sewing on a button. Small things but it’s great when you are both a team and can take care of BAU in the home.

  8. Don’t fight over crap like doing the dishes and whose turn it is. Do it together if you have reached an impasse. It’s you and them against the dishes, not you two against each other.

  9. Don’t disrespect what is important to them. If something really matters to them but not to you, then just go with it. If they are all about Christmas decorations or having a beautiful garden, or a wonderful indoor plant collection, or looking fly, don’t shit on it because you don’t care. They care, so respect it.

  10. Talk about when you got together. It’s a nice reminder that this was what you wanted then and how bloody amazing your love story is.

  11. Don’t expect your partner to be the sole provider of your happiness. They aren’t. You are. Okay? Good.

  12. Make an effort in your shared space. Clean up after yourself. Don’t be a complete piglet. Respect the other person might have issue with it. You are living together. If you want to be a slob, live alone.

  13. It’s okay to forget a wedding anniversary. It’s not okay to forget their birthday. Make an effort. Buy a present. Be present. Celebrate them being in the world.

  14. Don’t hold grudges over petty shit. Let it go, learn to laugh at it and yourself.

  15. Don’t compete with them over bullshit like how much money you earn or looks or vapid crap. Let them have the spotlight when they deserve it and vice versa. Share the moments and don’t always be an attention whore. Take it in turns to the racehorse and the donkey.

  16. Don’t be disloyal. I used to be friends with a group of women who only ever bitched about their partners. I felt bad about for their partners and because I didn’t want to bitch about mine I felt like I didn’t belong. If I had something to say I would talk to him about it, not them. They’re all divorced now, so…yeah, you work it out.

  17. Don’t have a shit-fit when they call you on your bullshit, and you know it’s bullshit. Level up and own that shit and then retire it. You don’t need to threaten to leave because you’re embarrassed. Just own it, move on, and grow-up.

  18. Learn to apologise and work out why you’re apologising, and then tell them why you are wrong. Saying sorry is easy, meaning it is some next level emotional Yoda stuff and makes all the difference in moving forward in your relationship.

  19. Be happy when they have a success even if your plans are going to the dogs. A rising tide lifts all boats. If they win, you win by osmosis. Let them have their moment and don’t drag them down because you’re unhappy with your current situation. It’s very selfish to do that and frankly, a shitty thing to do.

  20. Work out your communication styles. Being all ‘yelly’ might not get the point across to someone who prefers a more quiet approach. Also, being good at arguing doesn’t mean you’re always right. I need to think about things before I discuss big things so I need to formulate the argument and present it, as I’m not good on the spot, as I am too emotional. Be prepared to walk away from the situation to get your head straight and allow the other person to do that.

And that’s all I can think of now. I hope it resonates with you and we can always be better partners. I am going to try to not make my husband want to poo his pants, and that’s a win for everyone!

Asking for help in modern times

I have seen a few people on social media asking for help and it makes me happy to see this.

I’m not happy that they have yucko problems in their life but instead that they are saying, “I can’t get a job, I can’t pay my rent, my kid is talking about hurting himself,” and that people are prepared to go to the wider community and ask for help, advice, ideas and solutions.

Isn’t that a marvellous thing?

Most people like being asked for advice. Lived experience is everything and while it’s not great to be going through shit times, you will find, as I have since becoming a crone, that everyone gets a turn at a shit time and sometimes you can help people with their shit time by talking about what got you through your shit time.

The thing to remember about asking for help is that no one is actually judging you. They don’t want to see you upset or worried or whatever. They want to help you. They really do. I promise.

This week I saw someone on Facebook trying to sell a Persian rug to make her rent. The first part of the sentence is nothing unusual, but the fact she wrote that she needed it so she wouldn’t be evicted was brave. It was powerful. It was real. Of course she sold that rug 100 times, and people refused to take the rug, so she still has the rug and now her rent and she knows she is loved and that people will step up for her.

This is when social networks work well. Reaching out to others and asking for assistance instead of Boasty McBoasterson.

But sometimes shame is so pervasive that people can’t ask for her, but you can. You must. Always.

I have friends and some family members who are wonderful, helpful, generous souls, who have helped me financially and emotionally. They have invested in my life in every way and I have done the same for them and will do again if they need it and vice vera. Quid pro quo and all that.

Some people think asking for help is a sign of weakness, but dammit, it’s not. It is the bravest thing you can do. Evolutionary psychology taught us that by asking for help we were admitting we were weak and this would risk us being demoted in our hierarchy or even kicked out of the tribe.

However, love is more important now. We don’t need to lose our place in the tribe by asking for help in catching something for dinner because we’re sick, or tired or haven’t got cash to get our spear sharpened. There is more than enough to go around and people want to share. If you can’t ask for help, then remind yourself we aren’t in caveman times anymore.

People have resources, and lived experience, and ideas, and a lasagna and some cash and they know someone who might need someone to do some work for them, and they might want to buy the rug you are selling. Just ask. You will be surprised by the help that is there for you.

Have a lovely weekend.

What to do when you're depressed

I was talking to a friend this week about depression and whether they should go on meds or not.

I am a firm believer in medication for diabetes, heart disease and depression. I once went off my meds and tried to use a psychologist for my growing anxiety. Instead of working through it, I got worse and worse, meanwhile, she kept asking me how I felt.

I felt like killing myself, I told her. And why do you think that is? She would ask.

So back on the meds for me and I haven’t looked back.

But when I was depressed, some of the bullshit advice I got was laughable and in hindsight, dangerous.

“Go for a walk,” a family member would tell me. “Thanks but I haven’t been out of bed for three days, and can barely walk to the bathroom, so a walk if probably out of the question unless it’s off a cliff.” I know exercise is good but if you’re knee deep in the depression pit, you can’t do this. It’s exhausting to even think about.

“It could be worse.” Someone said. “Yes it could be but it’s pretty bad for me right now, so why don’t you fuck off?”

“I know a healer…” Do you? I know a man named God also, who lives in a huge cloud and shits rainbows and sings like Randy Newman.

So here is my list for what to do when you’re depressed:

1) Go to a doctor. Don’t wait. A GP. The emergency department. A psychiatrist. Do not be turned away. If you need an advocate, ask the toughest person you know to go with you and tell them what you need and let them fight for you.

2) If you decide to wait for the decision to see a doctor, give yourself a time limit for feeling better. If you still feel crap by then or even worse, go to the doctor.

3) If you do therapy, then tell the truth. This is your space and nothing will be said outside those walls. Tell the truth. Get some self-awareness and ask why the therapist thinks that is happening in your brain.

4) Avoid triggers. Don’t watch Silver Lining Playbook or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest while depressed. I watched the entire series of Gilmore Girls while waiting for my Zoloft to kick in. Lorelei and Rory have a special place in my heart forever more.

5) Try and eat something. Even a little something. Think nutrition, not calories. Your brain needs food. If you don’t eat it will start to eat itself. Not good at all.

6) Do what feels right. If you don’t want to go to something don’t. Don’t want to see a certain person or group, don’t. You do not have any obligation to do things to make others lives happier while you’re in the depths of the depths.

7) Meditation. Meditation has got me through some tough times. I tend to like guided meditations such as Sharon Salzburg. She is so lovely and gentle. Her meditation while drinking a cup of tea is gorgeous and so soothing. It’s emotional self-care at it’s best.

8) Try and work out if it’s situational or clinical depression. If it’s situational, then I would suggest that something in your life needs to change. Is it the job? The relationship? The money issues? Changing your life instead of ending it is the goal here.

9) If it’s clinical, then see a doctor. Don’t fuck around with it. Doctor. Stat. Now.

10) Write it down. All of it. You can delete it or burn it afterwards if you’re afraid but the mere act of writing it out means it’s out of you for that moment. Cut it out with your pen or keyboard.

11) Join an online group for support if you can’t leave the house yet. Reading can be helpful but ensure you’re not overthinking it too much. Discuss with your doctor if you’re unsure this is a good idea yet.

12) Tell someone you trust about how you are feeling, and if you don’t have someone, ask your doctor for support and who you can speak to. There are lots of people who can help you through this, services and carers.

13) Don’t trust your dark thoughts when you’re in the bad place. They aren’t helpful or kind and are full of shit.

14) Don’t spend too much time alone with your thoughts if you can help it. Watching mindless TV is good. Listening to nice music helps, as long as the lyrics aren’t too emotional.

And finally, trust that this is just a feeling that will pass. You will be happy again. You will be content again. You will care again. The apathy will pass and you will be part of life again. But changed and for the better. If you can come out of depression with real skills for helping others and sharing your journey back to wellness, then that’s amazing. But sometimes just knowing yourself that bit better, your triggers and what has bought you to your knees is enough to get you on your feet again.

You have my support always and I promise, you will get through this, just get help and don’t try and do it alone if you don’t have to.

Peace.

Kate

x

How to get a smaller, bigger life

The writer Elizabeth Gilbert said something about wanting to live a bigger smaller life, when downsizing her world.

I get that. It’s what I aspire to in my own day:

  • I work to live, but I don’t live to work. I like my work, and the people I work with but I can leave it behind mentally when I go home.

  • I only buy what I need, or what makes me happy. A new Delfonics pen makes me happier than anything else.

  • I say no to things more than I say yes. I say yes if I am required to for family or loved ones, but mostly I don’t go because…people. Mostly I am not good company. I don’t do small talk. I go straight to the wounds of the world and discuss them. I’m weird like that.

  • I know what my well needs to recharge me. Beauty, creativity, gardens, sunshine, music, dogs and the sea.

  • I write for pleasure when I write this blog. I write for pleasure when I write a book.

  • I read poetry. I share poems with people who I think might like them or that might resonate with them.

  • Wandering through shops with no intention to buy anything, just look and be okay with that.

  • No striving for more ‘things’, just more inspiration. More of what thrills me. more books, art, poems, gardens, love.

  • A smaller house. I don’t need the space. I don’t need the stress. I don’t need the cleaning!

  • Creating boundaries about what and who I engage with. I try to stay away from crazy. I used to love to solve people’s problems, because then I wouldn’t have to look at my own. Now I am happy to recommend them to a therapist. I love you but I can’t fix this, find someone who can help. I have tried to help alcoholics, drug addicts, abusers and more. I am not qualified and I ended up being hurt. DON’T DO IT.

  • Spend less. Barefoot Investor, My money, BudgetWise. Do something. Change it. It’s not too late.

  • Clean out the crap in your life. Less stuff, more self-awareness, means more time to be inspired and be free. I sold so much stuff when I moved house. Thousands of dollars of stuff. It was good. I recommend it.

  • Know when to walk away from the relationships. If he/she are narcissistic pricks, nothing will change. Nothing. Go now and enjoy what is left of your precious life.

  • Go where you’re wanted, and don’t stay if your not. Your presence is important. Don’t waste it on dickheads. leave the job. Tell your boss he’s a sleazy bully. Tell the client they’re irrational and fuckwits. Go. Life is short. There are other clients, and other jobs.

  • Cut off ties with dickheads. Just because they’re family or your “oldest friend” doesn’t mean you have to have a relationship with them if you aren’t happy. Naturally try and talk about it first and see if you can sort it out but if you can’t get out!

  • Stop being so self-obsessed on happiness. It’s actually impossible to be happy ALL the time. Contentment is the key. That moment when you’re having a cup of tea, and you take a moment to think, this is good. That’s the goal. I stopped trying to be happy ages ago. Now I’m happy more than I’m not.

  • Say no to buying things for the wrong reason. Nothing is worth financial peace of mind. You don’t need the boat, the car, the shoes etc, if it means another part of your life has to go without. I once sold a Cartier watch so my kid could go to a school term in the country in Year Nine. I didn’t need that watch. She needed to go to that school term. Choose wisely. I never think about that watch. I think about how much she gained from a term in the country often.

And that’s it. How to live a bigger, smaller life. Making room for the passion and the joy. Making room to be free and be smart. Making room to be inspired and inspiring.

Kate

xx