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

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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.


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.

Good friends aren't hard to find

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  On Sunday night I saw old friends, whom I love so much but don't get to see enough as they live in Sydney.

After lots of wine and laughter, the conversation turned serious, and I, of course, cried at their love and understanding and how good some people are. What I love about old friends is that you can be honest with them and them with you.

I am big on crying. I cry when people win things on the radio. I cry when I see tenderness to children and animals, I cry when I see everyday heroism.

I started to tell a story about how generous two friends were when I was caring for my brother, and how one day they just put money in our bank account because they knew we had none, as I was at the hospital everyday and Dave hadn't worked because of his own illness.

As I started to tell the story, I started to sob at how fucking kind they are, and how they helped us eat and pay the rent that month.

And then I told them of how another friend turned up with a box of fruit and vegetables and $200 and a hug.

Or the note my dear friend left for my husband in the letterbox, telling him how ace he is when he wasn't so sure.

And then I sobbed my way through a bottle of wine while recalling the last two years while my dearest friend held my hand and my other friend topped up my glass.  We then shared war stories and disappointments and joy in others and celebrated that people we love are still with us.

What I love about these particular friends is that they are actually the best cheerleaders to have in your life. If I was cleaning houses for a living, they would be telling everyone how good my cleaning is, and how I'm taking over the world one house at a time, and they would mean it. It's not false praise. Their belief in their loved ones is why they are so successful in life.

At one point they said they didn't think they did enough to help us. But my husband said, "Just you both calling to check in, was enough of a reason to think it's going to be okay."

So call your friends. Old friends, new ones, ones who are having a tough time, ones who are taking over the world, tell them you think they're going to okay, they're amazing, and they're doing just fine.

Seriously!

Sending love to you.

x

Social Media Suicide

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  In 2015, Mental Health Week runs from Sunday 4th to Saturday 10th October.

We are nearly at the end of this week and as your personal astrologer, I would say this is a shite time to have a week of Mental Health awareness, since Mercury is still Retrograde, but then who listens to me?

I have blogged since 2006. Nearly ten years of musings and in that time, I have never really been seen as a blogger. My posts are sporadic and I don't make money from my blog. Perhaps this allows me freedom from not having to keep opening the kimono* for a glimpse at my ugly bits.

I am a writer who posts opinions and thoughts online. But I don't live my life publicly enough, or refuse to expose my existence in all its complicated glory, so I can get my gold card for 'worst life ever' status.

This is my practise space for writing. My morning pages, and my attempt at pushing myself further in every way. If you read it then thank you but I do it for me.

Social and mainstream media is becoming more and more extreme in what it will show. Drowned children on beaches. Live streaming the funeral of a 13-year-old Youtube star.  Reality star parents making Twitter announcements about their daughter's suicide. A wellness expert claiming to have a new type of cancer to garner more Instagram followers. A mother charged with poisoning her child, after creating a reputation online as a blogger who writes compassionately about her child's illness.

This week I learned of the deaths of two social media stars who took their own lives, and the media responds with the clickbait cries  of 'They had it all. What went wrong?'

Clearly they didn't have it all. Who the hell does? Even, in all his handsomeness,  George Clooney wears terrible jeans with runners, forever known as 'Junners').  But the enormous pressure to show that you are living the best life ever, with accompanying curated Instagrams and super fun Snapchats, doesn't allow for much mental wiggle room.

On the other hand, there are those who are forever crowing about their mental illness and troubles. 'I'm sadder than you, and you and you and I want to die, but first, let me take a selfie of my sadness.' They're not the ones I worry about.

The selfies with the endless smiles are the ones to watch.

I stopped writing about my depression because;

1) I'm not depressed anymore

2) I didn't want it to be my only story.

I was asked to speak and write about my illness for a number of years and I did it for a while, but it became exhausting. Every time I wrote something about my crazy years, or met someone at an event, I had to go back into that world and find that Kate that I had worked so hard to let go of.

'But I'm happy now,' I'd say, and it's true. But people don't want happy. They wanted to know about the ugly, dark night of the soul stuff.

And I wonder if the Internet confession box, that is now filled to bursting, will soon explode. So many are crying out for help, but we can't hear the ones who need real help, because of the noisy ones who are yelling about their next big announcement and personal exposé.

Many people say blogging is dead and in some ways, I agree. I read very few blogs now. I read blogs that make me calm. Show me how to make something. Show me your vegie garden. Show me your dog or your baby. Show me balance.

A friend moved house recently, and I swear to Xenu, the joyous updates of her house adventures made my day! Seriously. I took so much pleasure in her house joy. She had gone from a difficult living situation, to a tree filled, comfy palace. I love hearing about it. It's real happiness. and it's becoming apparent that admitting real happiness is rare on the internet.

Life is about balance. We live in a dualistic universe. We should not always be up, and nor should we be always down. Being brave enough to embrace both sides of your existence is where your sweet spot lies.

So don't be afraid to show us your smile, but don't think it always has to be there. It's okay to not feel like smiling. And your tears? If you're always sad, always planning your emotional and physical demise, then get some help. It is possible to smile again. I promise.

Being yourself shouldn't be seen as brave. It should be encouraged at all times.  I just hope I pray, that it will come back into vogue again soon.

My depression was the best thing that ever happened to me. I found my treasure when I was at the bottom of the well of despair. I found my writing skills, I had time to write books. I began to truly know myself for the first time.

I opened my own kimono and took a long hard look at myself. I just don't need to keep opening it over and over again because having one foot in the 'crying room' was stopping me from a full recovery.

Your story is not the thing that happens to you. That's just a chapter that shapes the next one. Your story is about how you respond and shift as a result of that landslide or love affair.

Be brave. Ask for help. Tell me about your happiness. Smile when you feel like it. Call me when you're not feeling life is a good time.

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. E. E Cummings

 

 

 

*Opening the kimono is the worst term ever invented in business language but it's so perfectly voyeuristic and impersonal for the internet confession phase we're in right now. Apologies if I caused bile to surface into your mouth.  ☮

 

Having a cold saved my life

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  Do you like my click bait title for this post? I loathe shit headlines like this. I also loathe inane questions at the end of posts.  I will think of the most inane question to place at the end of this post.

I have also included the worst image I could find on Stockshots. How bad is this? I know my husband is gagging at the sight of this right now. Snot and dog drool upset him. Both are the stuff of his nightmares.

I am sick with a cold, which is so boring,  but I remember a friend telling me that when her mother was sick with cancer, she had mentioned that her mother was never sick. The doctor said that we need to get sick, as it reboots the immune system and cleanses the crap from our body.

Interestingly, my cold started after I had been eating super healthy for a week. Fucking quinoa.

I read this from the book, Your Health, Your Choice by Dr. M. Ted Morter.

"Germs are not the cause of disease. Germs only set up residence and become a problem when your body's defenses are down. Lowered resistance is a large "welcome" sign for germs. Bacteria, viruses, and micro-organisms are in and around us all the time, they don't show up just on rainy days or during the winter season "(Morter, p. 11).

A runny nose, watery-eyes, fever, and a miserable cold represents an internal cleansing process. You should be very happy that your body is strong enough to do house cleaning because this helps bring your body back a state of homeostasis (balance). The body's first line of defense against unwanted or unnecessary visitors is dilution. Diluting substances the body doesn't need or want renders them less harmful. One method of removing unwanted or toxic materials from the body is the common cold. A cold may make you feel rotten, but the cold itself serves a purpose. Your body is getting rid of waste matter that if left in your body may lead to health problems in the future (p. 15).

Cold symptoms can be brought about by improving your diet too quickly and giving your body more natural and beneficial foods than it is accustomed to having.

Quinoa, I tell you, is the devil's work. The eldest kid had cooked up a batch and left it in the fridge, so I used it in lots of things, including general controlled eating, which my body isn't used to. So now I'm on speed Sudafed and Strepsils, trying to get my book finished.

In other news, my dear friend is heading into surgery tomorrow to rid her gut of the canker. She's on my mind but I feel good about it all. This is her Act Two and when the time is right, I will bring her some quinoa to reboot her innards.

Here is a little chart I made on Act Two in writing, and how it applies to life.  You have to work through to the third act, otherwise it doesn't make sense. Push through. Push onto the next act.ACT two (1)

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Inane question - Have you ever had a cold?