Self-Care Experiments: Do What You Can Today Plus A Bit

Today’s self-care thought is for anyone out there who is struggling with a degree of anxiety or the kind of inertia that comes with depression or grief.

First thing to say is that some of us get it. We know what it feels like to walk in those shoes. Or more accurately perhaps to stand frozen in them.

There is a Shakespearian quote, I think from King Lear, that “Nothing will come of nothing”. So, today, I want to invite you to do Something. But not to do so by unleashing that long list of ‘I should’ or ‘why can’t I…’ that tends to awaken the Dragons!

No. I’m suggesting you ask yourself “What CAN I do today?” And then do that. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is. Some of us know what it feels like when taking a shower feels like climbing Everest. Actually, it doesn’t even matter what it is in the greater scheme of things.

You are trying to create a small swing in the first silver ball in the picture. That’s all. The point is movement not content.

So, do what you can today. And then, do another thing you can, if you can. And when you have done what you can, when you have set a silver ball or two swinging, remember to say thank you and well done to yourself.

And if you want to, feel free to share your first silver ball examples with the rest of us….

Self-Care Experiments: Get Outside?

Some of us live somewhere like this. Others live in cities or small towns.

In lockdown, many of us found that simply getting outside for a walk made a huge difference to how we felt. Some did industrious things like digging out new vegetable beds or taking up sea swimming no matter how chilly the water.

Some just walked and found themselves looking and seeing and experiencing their bit of outside where they lived. Many people I knew talked with almost a sense of surprise about how good their Outside had made them feel.

And then people went back to work. And kids went back to school. And shops and restaurants opened…..

Are you still getting Outside? Is it a different kind of experience now?

Self-Care Experiments: Today is ‘Best’?

What do you ‘save for best’? Or postpone ‘until I’ve…’? Not that I’m suggesting you have a tiara tucked in a drawer. Although you might….

But I bet you have a Something.

A bright-coloured dress in the wardrobe when you usually wear black or navy. A big thick book or a spa voucher you will use when you have time. A snazzy hat. A place you want to visit. Playing the drums. Learning to draw. Or sail. Or swim. Or dance. An expensive gift. A cheap catch up with an old friend. When you’re……When you have time….When you’re not…. When it’s the perfect time…When you deserve it….

When I cleared my parents house, I found that my mother had a drawer full of Somethings. Mostly gifts that she was ‘saving for best’ but that day that never came. And that seemed so sad that it made me think about when I do something similar. The life equivalent of eating your greens before the tasty chicken or roast potatoes! But we are grown-up women now and we can change some of those rules….we can wear a purple hat or garden in a tiara or put something we want to do ahead of all the things we think we have to do on our mental list? Just today. Just for an hour. Just to see how it feels.

What Something ‘Saved For Best’ – real or planned – will you pull out of the drawer and use today? I’m going to brunch in red shoes!

International Menopause Day

I am usually a little reluctant to bang on about topics that are outwith my expertise or to label issues in a simple one size fits all. However, catching up on various posts like this ( today left me musing on two things; the importance of feeling heard and addressing the basics when you feel a bit adrift.

It isn’t universal, of course, but many of the women I coach and know over 40 talk about struggling with anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and a kind of brain fog that leaves them feeling overwhelmed. Many turn quickly to the conclusion that they are failing in some way and just need to do more or better. Some reach a point of feeling so overwhelmed that they go to see their GP – assuming they can get an appointment – but end up feeling unheard or labelled as needing anti-depressants or to up their daily steps or take a holiday. None of these are terrible in themselves….but what if the underlying cause was actually a simple issue of hormones? How would you know? And what difference might it make to how you felt about yourself or solutions to improve your wellbeing if you did know?

As a person who has experienced PTSD, I learned to have a lot more respect for the role that hormones and biochemistry play in our lives. How easy it can be to see it as a failing of character as opposed to a function of biology and neurochemistry. How unhelpful it can be if others – or even you – gaslight yourself by denying the signals of your own experience. Perhaps we all need a reminder to start with the basics first………what if it isn’t about Perfection but Progesterone?