Sometimes, if I think too hard, I wonder how I keep everything going. A lot of the time it’s a mystery even to me. There are other times I come nowhere close to balancing everything and plates get dropped. Smashed even. Which is when things start to unravel for me.
So how do you take care of yourself while spinning all the plates that life throws at you? Last week I had the pleasure of listening to some awesome women talk about just that at Frame. The panel was made up of Joan Murphy (co-founder of Frame), Jasmine Hemsley (of Hemsley & Hemsley), Rosemary Ferguson (nutritionist), Daisy Buchanan (writer, who I wish was my friend, I think we’d get on), Julia Hardy (Radio One gaming presenter) and Naomi Shimada (model and activist). Nothing they said was revolutionary, but everything was a reminder of the things we sometimes forget to do. Here’s some of the nuggets shared…I’ve taken inspiration from Mother of All Lists with this one…
the more positive you are, the more positive decisions you make (Joan) - reflecting on my own choices this one is definitely true for me! I tend to be much more open minded when I am positive, which leads to better (or maybe more interesting) choices.
according to Rosemary 98% of seratonine is made in the gut. This was a new one to me, but it might go some way towards explaining why I feel a lot better when my diet is focused around whole, nutritionally dense foods!
Daisy talked about anxiety and stress in a way I could really identify with. She described the sense of stress that anxiety induces when you are battling with (perceived or otherwise) social expectation and how while it takes awhile to learn to say no once you do it can be a powerful act of self compassion and self love.
So much of life feels out of our control, Jasmine spoke about how we need to tune into the subtleties of our environment and tweak what we can control (however small) to help us get by - I thought this was a great point, for me even making sure my room is tidy and I’ve lit a candle makes a huge difference to my mood in stressful situations.
Julia was very open about her own challenges with depression and talked about how she tries to be flexible and realign her priorities depending on how she feels on a given day. This is something I’ve started to do myself and it makes a massive difference. I feel a lot let pressure and it is a far kinder way to live your life rather than piling guilt and shame on yourself for not achieving an arbitrary target. In Julia’s words, ‘shame’ is a toxic word. Why should anyone dictate your life? Switch to ‘could’, it’s a far kinder way to speak to yourself.
Sleep with your phone on airplane mode and don’t reach for social media as soon as you wake up!! I must improve on this one and heed the advice that it’s important to take time for myself in the morning. However I do really like Instagram…work in progress.
Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it - when Im at the hight of anxiety this one is really hard for me, I absolutely know it is true, but my mind has become so out of control I can’t apply the theory. However, I do believe it is true. You can be a person who is done to, or a person who does. Being a person who does leads to a much happier life.
Mike and I throw around the phrase ‘don’t be a dick’ on a near daily basis. It’s the basis of our relationship I think, and I really likes Jasmine’s extension on the theme that if one person is being a dick you walk away, it’s not your problem, but if lots of people are being dicks then it is probably you. Dick is a mantra to get you through life.
Talk, talk, talk!! It actually helps!
When anxiety does strike Daisy suggests comfort in the familiar. A book you’ve read before, or something friendly on TV you can submerge yourself in.
Carry snacks - you are a machine and you require regular feeding!
Discuss your triggers with those who care about you, they might see things you can’t and be able to help you resolve issues.
Be playful, children judge success by the number of goes they get at a game, not by the quality of the outcome (unless it’s dominos and you’re my brother aged 8-10, but that’s another story).
Tomorrow is another day, this moment is this moment.
The first time is the scary time. Take a step back, look at the big picture, you’ve got this.
Learn to accept feelings are just want you feel now
Of all the take aways from the evening, the most important one for me was the reminder that we all have mental health, it’s just like physical health. As soon as wider society gets on board with this idea the sooner we’ll have a world where it’s easier to deal with mental health problems because there just wont be the same shame.
What nugget do you have for looking after yourself while you’re trying to keep all of life’s plates spinning?