You know how you do something a bit mad, you know how exciting it all is, how grateful you are, and you’re even looking forward to how much hard work, how many compromises, how unsteady its going to be and yet when it happens and you’re actually in it, doing it, it knocks you completely? Knocks you off your personal equilibrium? With your whole world different, its harder to use your usual soothing tricks to recalibrate. I’ve had it up to ‘here’ (you know the bit of my head I’m gesturing to) with how volatile my emotions are; I have been getting angry, crying, set off by the tiniest things. The sort of PMS we get the week before Aunt Flow arrives except its been ALL THE BLOODY TIME (pun totally intended.) I actually got to the point of a minor panic attic after weeks of everything feeling so heavy (physically) on my chest and let out the emotion but without actually being able to explain it. My more conservative side would say not to even share, my chest is genuinely tight even typing it out but I can’t just share how I’ve helped myself without explaining how far down the privileged (and a bit bratty) path I went. What I’m trying to get to is it all came to a snotty, puffy eyed head when I tried to explain why I wanted to go upstairs to bed at 7.
I didn’t want to go to bed really, I wanted to take myself on a night away, be around absolutely no human or dog, order room service (to be left at the door) and swim in a natural and deserted hot spring pool. Buuuuut I have no income and that felt entirely selfish to say to the partner working so hard to fund my no income life while I ‘find my purpose.’
So. The first thing I did, was recognise that I wasn’t feeling right. Not the sort of not feeling right that is as serious as even bringing it up to a friend, just the sort that I knew I felt knocked off. I was struggling to feel calm, or particularly happy and could feel my bitterness towards things creeping up from a box I sorted out quite a while ago. I don’t know if you have favourite feelings but mine are the feelings of calm, joy, positivity, productivity and vibrance. They were all under this heavy blanket I couldn’t quite kick off.
So I thought back to what I did if I ever had a hint of this before, or what I did unconsciously daily to avoid feeling like this. And…
- Take time to go and sit alone and work out what the goodness I was feeling and what it was even about
- Think about what I used to do
- Make a plan of how I was going to feel better going forward, anything I could change, any habits I could incorporate
For me its all about a plan, the feeling of calm I get from knowing I have this in hand, there’s actions I can take to fix it, I can get out from underneath the weight. Although I fancy myself a whimsical bohemian fairy, in real life I like order, organisation and making plans but maybe just whilst styling floaty, wavy hair and a fringed kimono.
First off I had a long, hot shower using all my exfoliants, fancy soap, conditioner, came out to full evening skincare and overnight masks and got in to clean jammies and bed sheets. I sat with my book that I suppose is a journal of sorts and my favourite blue biro with the bed side lamp on and a candle burning. All 100% cliche ‘how to make a girl happy’ but honestly, feeling clean, being in a clean place and smelling all lovely things really does make me happy! And that’s something right there – feeling clean and my environment make a really big difference.
So I started writing down the feelings I was having, being pretty matter of fact about it, I didn’t want a pity party, this was about what I was going to do to fix it. Then I went on to what I would usually do to make me feel calm. Those were:
- Going a walk along the beach. So that means a walk (fine, can do that) but what is it about the beach that makes it better? Its the openness, its free, you don’t need shoes, there’s waves and always a breeze (or gale) and space to breath openly and deeply. I could drive to a beach from here but I can find somewhere closer I can go to more regularly with open views and bodies of water. These type of places usually come with a breeze and I can even get my feet out if I need. So river walks would be just fine. Or a loch!
- Tidying up and cleaning. Now I’m no Mrs Hinch, tidying does not make me happy, nor does cleaning but living in a tidy, organised, bright and light space absolutely does. When I’m my most emotional, I’ve been arguing, something big and horrible has just happened, I stress clean. Its always a surprise to me and yes it might be just to keep busy but I think subconsciously its back to needing the clean and calm environment. I absolutely am one of those people who need a tidy house for a tidy mind. So I cleared out the kitchen. The kitchen is going to be ripped out very soon but I just knew I had to have some sense of order, with part of the kitchen already ripped out and the new kitchen piled on one side waiting to be fitted, it really was a riot. But organising the dinner wear on the kitchen table so I could at reach it all and not have to spend 10 minutes raking and lifting and tipping and going in a huff for a spatula is of course going to yield a happier day. Organising each cupboard and having clean worktops so at least my eye has something tidy to fall on just gives me something! Some feeling of order and calm.
- Alone time. I am one of those people who desperately needs alone time in my day. Yes, every day I need it. People slag off ‘me time’ with big eye rolls and a misunderstanding that its a bit lazy and something only for busy Mums even nowadays! Most men wouldn’t call it ‘me time’ when they’re faffing about in their garage but that’s 100% what it is. And everyone needs it, even people without full time jobs, even people without children, even people who only have dogs but said dogs are a pain in the backside and set you on edge from the constant barking at any tiny noise. I have to justify it to myself because I understand the thinking that my whole non traditional working day is ‘me time’ but I genuinely need to spend a while somewhere silent, with calm surroundings (preferably with a scent of sea breeze and fresh washing), and no one else even breathing close to me for me to have that calm. Even a ticking clock ruins it. So my plan is that I go up to the bedroom at 9pm, shower and do my skincare, sit with my sort of journal (why am I even embarrassed to say its a journal, its totally a journal) for 5-10 minutes and writing down what I’m grateful for, on top of any thought in my mind that’s milling about up there.
- The gratitude part is important. I’m 100% aware of the unique and free position I am in, the many people helping me and its hard not to feel selfish and guilty if I’m not happy and excited the whole time. I feel as though I should be. Making time for the gratitude which actually I’ve done every night since I was really young (except very recently) really helps me. I feel like for obvious reasons. There’s been a lot recently on gratitude, particularly in relation to manifestation so if I’m going to manifest that manor house, I better be thankful for the cheap rent on a warm room at my sister’s.
- Read, for education and for escapism – I like to have 2 books on the go at the same time, one fiction so I can get really involved in another’s story and one educational/self helpy to have CPD – except the ‘p’ is personal rather than professional development. Although sometimes both! In my journal musings I’ve realised I’m really lacking in self confidence and so my current book is called ‘How to Do You’ by Jacqueline Hurst.
- I’ve also managed to bag myself a solo office! An office that comes in a cosy house with a view of the park, a built in tea and cake provider and plenty conversation when I feel like it in my Granny’s spare room. Its lovely and light, clean and now full of my organised work things and desk, ready for me to create and work out anything I like. This is my first day actually using it and I absolutely love it. Its like alone time combined with organisation/environment and the ability to be as productive as ever. Not to mention some more time with my Granny.
- Create! When I’m feeling like this, the last thing I want to do is dig out all my art stuff but even if I just get out a little sketch book and doodle with some watercolours. (The patterns on this post are exactly that.) Its calming, you could say its productive, and the downtime inspires ideas. And anything inspiring is joyful and didn’t I want to be full of joy?
So if you ever feel like its all getting on top of you and you can’t shift the weighted blanket, I hope my plan helps inspire yours.
To summarise –
- Take some time away to work out what your actual feelings are, and are about
- Remember what makes you feel good and happy and calm
- Work out a way to change what you can in line with number 2 and MAKE A PLAN of how you can incorporate those things in to your daily life
Lots of love xx
PS Please know that I am not suggesting these plans for anyone suffering serious mental health problems. I know a tidy house, a shower and some colouring in is not about to solve everything. I’m referring to the sort of uneasy, all over the place feelings of being knocked off balance that everyone gets from time to time.