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?

Being Kind to Your Dragons

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the benefits of naming your Dragons. Last week, we talked about how you can invite them for tea and how this can help you in the coaching process. This week, I want to invite you to use a kind eye on your Dragons.

A couple of years ago, I read a great book about rebuilding after bereavement called Second Firsts by Christina Rasmussen. Amongst the other useful ideas in the book, she talks about the idea of a Waiting Room. Like an old-fashioned train station. And the Waiting Room has a Guardian. The Guardian’s job – although they sometimes do it by saying unpleasant or scary things – is to keep you safe in what has become a familiar space between your old life and your new one. A Safe Room.

In my personal and professional experience of Dragons, although they can look pretty daunting and say some horrible things, it is not uncommon that they also work like the Guardian trying to keep you Safe. Don’t try….so you can’t fail. Don’t challenge….so you won’t be rejected. Don’t want….so you won’t lose.

This may be the very reason why it can feels like the Dragons move in and camp on our couch when we are trying to renovate or build something important to us. And why perhaps inviting them in for tea and treating them with a little respect and kindness can be useful.

What do you think your Dragons are trying to safeguard you from? And how much does that matter compared to what you are trying to build?

What Does ‘Self-Care’ Actually Mean To You?

My take on self-care has changed rather a lot over the last few years. I used to associate it with things like spa breaks or getting my hair done. Now I see it as being more diverse and more like a kind of personal scaffolding. That what I need changes at different times and what works for me is a process of trial and error.

And, above all, that working out what it actually means to me is part of giving myself permission to ask for – or create – what I need. Which is sometimes surprisingly difficult! And even when I know what I need, for some strange reasons, I don’t always act on it. So I will be posting some weekly regular snippets called ‘The Self-Care Experiments’ hoping that this will encourage people to share their ideas and experiences.

What does ‘self-care’ mean to you? How have you gone about finding what works for you and what does not?

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?