Another mixed bag day, its not all that surprising really, life is like that. No day is perfect and no road to recovery is a straight line. When the changes are small and subtle they take awhile to build up and we can get frustrated with it. With any luck it will be two steps forward, one step back not the other way around. And some periods in our lives are just easier than others, for example I know that once this big project at work gets past development things will settle down a bit.
Random Acts of Kindness
You should see something in the featured image that really gave me a reason to smile today. A present was left on my desk by a work friend and now gets to sit smiling at me while I am at my desk. I was goofy happy and ended up hugging my colleague in the middle of the office :P.
For those that don’t know, this is Totoro from the Studio Ghibli film ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ and it is one of the things we most share in common, along with a love of cats. My all time favourite is ‘Laputa: Castle in the Sky’ and this was my gateway into Japanese anime as a child. I picked up the hobby of watching anime in a move that I suppose could be called self care, nurturing a hobby that makes me feel good and bringing friends together. I have a group of a dozen or so other anime fans and we meet up once a month or so and share a couple of episodes of different series.
I’ll call it half on half off topic, but either way it is a fun thing to think about and lightens my mind when I think about it, and now I have a poster at work to remind me when I need moment to look away. Never underestimate the value or effect of a random act of kindness, support from colleagues or friends can go a long way and be such a life saver. If you don’t have that at the moment maybe you can find a random act of kindness of your own to guide the way.
Things to look forward to
So since September I have been taking a part time Japanese course, we are planning on our second trip out there next year. Having something like that holiday to look forward to can really help give me a light even if its far away I can see it there in the distance. I know Japan isn’t something everyone can afford, for me it’s my reward for the high pressure, high stress job that I do. But there must be little victories that you can look forward to, even if its just a long weekend in the lakes for some fresh air and walking or just a calm weekend of doing nothing at all.
It has however added a lot of stress keeping up to it with everything else going on in life so sadly we are not taking the next class until the next academic year in 2019 to get other things done in the meantime. My partner wants to do online courses to switch from control systems to software and I want time to write my novel and make a real consistent go of it. I have a lifelong dream to accomplish, I made the first going to Japan and being dressed as a Geisha (who is an artist NOT a prostitute). We can’t do everything and rather than try we are being smart and prioritising. We don’t have to do everything at once, in fact its probably better that way.
Things to look back on
It occurs to me at this point in my post that while it is important to have things to look forward to it can also be important to look back on certain events. They don’t all have to be positive, just moments in life were you learned a valuable lesson you need to keep with you as you go forward in life, that will help you achieve your goals.
Living in the now
At the same time, we don’t want to keep living in the past or always looking to the future, this is where a practice called Mindfullness can come in handy. It is all about living in the moment, accepting who you are, where you are and how you feel, what you think. Accepting it and moving with it without judgement, guilt or ridicule. I’ve chucked in some links below to give you an idea. There is also a great app called Headspace that can help with this.
If you just aren’t the meditation type the very simplest way to bring yourself into the moment is so focus exclusively on your breathing. I have used this many times to ward of an anxiety attack or come back from hyperventilating. You find a quiet spot and you count your breaths, focus on the length of your breath, slow it down, extend it. Set a pace and make sure you spend more time breathing out than in. I can’t give you a guarantee but it works for me.
Should, Need, Want
So I’m drifting a bit on the food portion of self care and I know I am not really bulking up the sleep side as well as I should. There is that word… should… it can be an evil burrowing little word that whittles away at our sense of self worth. I should be pretty, I should be intelligent, I should be skinny, I should be feminine, I should be better than this… it puts pressure and stress on your every thought and action.
Other words that can have a large impact are need and want, they also often get mis-used. We need to eat, to sleep, to have time to relax… we want to have a career, to make that film at the cinema. Just basic examples but it can be very important, it puts focus and importance on something. Sure for good self care we should do things we want as well but we need to do the basic items of making our bodies run.
On that note… I get up for work at 6am and want to try and get 8 hours of potential sleep time which means being in bed and winding down to sleep by 10pm… It’s quarter past now so goodnight 🙂