Back to Basics
Last week I felt lost. I had some big decisions to make. These were both in my personal life and business. Same-same for me. One always impacts the other and I have long not drawn these as separate areas of my life. I also had a check up with my surgeon which, without fail, triggers a trauma response for me. Sometimes more than others. This was definitely in the more camp.
In order to ‘cope’ with the combination of these I found myself going into some self-destructive techniques. Not super destructive by today’s standards but still avoidance behaviour and the start what could have been a downward spiral in terms of wellbeing, especially my mental health.
I tried using work. Highly convenient, as yes, I work a lot. However, I know when I am actively using it to avoid other areas of my life and when it is simply an extra busy period. I used exercise. Again, it is a strategy that can tip into avoidance very easily. I stayed up late. I scrolled on my phone a lot (the classic one more minute). I even shared this on social media too. I did not eat as well as I know to. For me this is often in the day where I can skip meals or not eat sufficiently. All so neatly wrapped up into ‘I am too busy’.
Vicious cycles that we can find ourselves in right?!
Trying to heal ourselves, let alone figure ourselves out when we are a mother, a business owner, a friend…..fill in the million roles we have……can feel impossibly hard.
Honestly, sometimes I am like “I have done enough bloody self-healing ok” and “should I not have this thing called life all worked out by now?!”
Something tells me, that if I am lucky enough to still be walking around this earth in 20 years time I will probably be asking the same thing.
So I went back to basics.
Pulled on my mental health toolkit.
My puppies are often my first step. I washed and groomed both of them just sinking into a physical task that gave me joy without conditions. They are my therapy dogs after all.
I stepped back from socials. This was not intentional to begin with. I just did not have it in me to be online. So I just gave into that and allowed myself to step back from the noise. This also helped to stop the mindless scrolling.
I spent time with people who are in my corner. People who encourage me and know that when they make a suggestion or give me something to think about I will percolate, process and come back to them (generally with a “you were right”). I opened up to them that ultimately I was feeling scared. That the weight of the responsibility of my choices were making me go back to my number one default of doing it alone and all myself. Voicing this out loud gave some release.
Sitting in that space I did a values exercise. This is where I grab a big piece of craft paper, write down my values (again personal and business often the same) and what are my important needs right now. My core personal values I have inked into my spine (did this about 15 years ago) and I let these guide my decisions: leadership, possibility, courage and integrity.
On the weekend I spent time with my boys doing things we just love – pancake Sunday, puppies (always puppies), and went to the beach to enjoy the sun and the playground. As we pushed Ray on the swing I remembered it was not that long ago we could not even experience this simple joy. That we could not even leave our homes let alone climb on a playground.
I got through that. I will get through what is around the corner too.
Self care is not always bubble baths and massages. It is also doing the actions we know in our wellbeing that will help our future selves. Along with some housework like changing sheets, organsing clothes for next week I also planned out the weeks food. I did this with Ray, and my newly updated weekly planner which seriously I LOVE and basically made for me….thinking a few others would like it too…. along with some food preparation as well. I felt a million time better and a step ahead of the week. It really is amazing how much of a difference even having a week of dinners planned out makes. We know it does too but sometimes we need to be reminded right.
Health and wellbeing, both physical and mental, is never a perfect trajectory. There are ups and downs. It can be really easy to look at someone online and think they are just perfect all the time. That their habits are just set and established. Adjusting and catching the downs is truly all part of consistent healthy practices. As someone who keeps tabs on my anxiety and depression daily I understand full well that sometimes you need help beyond this and that is also ok. Knowing some early warning signs and making some tweaks however can also really help.
As we head into Easter some of these tips and tools that I often go back to might help you as well. For those that are reading this and struggling with self-healing and struggling to figure yourself out…I for one am right there with you. I do not have all the answers but I hope this also helps you feel a little less alone.
X Dr Julie