The Things I Would Tell You

If you asked I would tell you 1 in 3 of us have been subjected to sexual violence.

I would tell you it doesn’t have to define you.
I would tell you, it wasn’t your fault.
Don’t protest, it was definitely not your fault.

I’d tell you that blaming yourself absolves the perpetrator of responsibility,
I’d tell you it was their decision not yours.

I’d tell you that things can and often do get better.

I’d tell you 40 is better than 20.
Although you bones hurt more.

I’d tell you holding onto shame will eat you alive.
I’d tell you that anger can be positive.
I’d tell you, you don’t have to be nice to people who abuse you.

I’d tell you, you have way more power than think you do.

I’d tell you to stop concentrating on your flaws and see your beauty.

I’d tell you comparison is the thief of joy,
I’d tell you instagram quotes make me roll my eyes

I’d tell you that sometimes I struggle to get out of bed,
I’d tell you this is normal.
I’d tell you no-one can be happy, or motivated or “on it” 100% of the time.

I’d tell you that everyone, ever-y one,¬†thinks it’s only them who struggles.

I’d tell you that work is not everything although you need to pay the bills.

I’d tell you that your teenage children, despite moaning and grumbling, wish you’d talk to them more but your phone gets in the way.

I’d tell you to warn them that jealousy is not romantic,
I’d tell you to warn them the way someone feels does not justify their behaviour,
I’d tell you to warn them that “trust issues” is code for domestic abuse.

I’d tell you that abuse thrives in secrecy.

I’d tell you we shouldn’t carry the shame for the actions of others.

I would tell you am the 1 in 3.

But you didn’t ask.

How much is too much stress?

While a little bit of stress may be good for us to get working well, too much and we’re tipping into anxiety, panic then burnout. Too much stress and we lose motivation, it’s more difficult to concentrate and to remember things.
Sometimes when we’re stressedout we keep jabbing at the thing we’re trying to do. We get frustrated and angry, and we can’t get anything done properly.

At this point you need to

STOP.

Breathe.

Go do something else for a time. Then come back to it. If it’s your life overall that is stressful, try to find some time in your day where you can do something mindful or fun. This helps reduce your stress levels, and allow your brain to start processing properly. When I tell students this they sometimes say

“I don’t have time!!!”

But you do. Because by taking time out here and there and giving your brain some recovery time. You’ll actually be able to think more clearly, work will become easier and you’ll increase your memory and concentration.

For example, did you know that just 1 hour of gardening each week has been shown to reduce anxiety? Just this small amount of time each week can have amazing benefits.

What mindful activities do you do to relieve stress?

Please stop telling me to “Stay Safe”

2 months into Covid19 and I’m finally hitting a wall. A wall that most people I think have already ran into by now. I am so over every conversation, every news piece, every way this has seeped into our psyches. My brain is finally fuzzy with an overload of cortisol and I feel like I’m wading through toffee to do the simplest of tasks. This is a normal physiological reaction to an overload of stress. I am grumpy and I am stressed. It’ll pass and I’ll pop out the other side, I’m sure, but in the meantime here’s some things that would really help me:

1. STOP telling me to “stay safe”

Safety is the bottom rung of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It is fundamental to our wellbeing. On a logical level I don’t feel unsafe right now. I’m doing the things that are asked of me and I’m generally healthy. But everytime someone tells me to “Stay safe” they are reminding me that I am unsafe – that I should be on the lookout for danger and that spikes my anxiety levels. And an overload of anxiety = not being able to think properly.

2. Please STOP telling me to [insert unsolicited safety advice in here]...

I’m not meaning Ministry of Health or WHO here. I’m talking about that bloke you know who is always reminding you to bleach your doorstep, that it’s all a global conspiracy or don’t buy stuff from China (which makes no sense and is tinged with more than a splattering of racism). Again I am doing all the stuff the MoH is asking of me. I am not putting myself in harms way as much as humanly possible given the threat is INVISIBLE! I don’t need reminding every five minutes that I should be feeling unsafe right now.

3. Please STOP adding my work email to your companies mass mailouts.

If I didn’t have contact with you before all this started what makes you think I care about how your company is dealing with Covid19? I don’t. And I don’t need you spamming me about a pandemic every couple of days.

I recognise the irony of writing a post asking people to stop talking to me about Covid19 and safety. And I also recognise that people need to talk about it to process what is happening. So take care of yourselves out there. Remember feeling like you’re wading through toffee is the new normal so take steps yourself to reduce those stress chemicals. This is what I need – what do you?

 

Self Care Planning

20200215_101258_0000

The idea that we need to care for ourselves is not new but many of us still neglect it. Why? I think it’s because when times are good, like our physical health, we don’t take much notice of our mental and emotional health. We just potter on.

On the flipside some of us roll our eyes at the idea of self care while actually practising it. Self Care doesn’t have to mean sitting meditating every day, for example it doesn’t do it for me, but exercise where I can immersed in the moment does. For some spiritual self care will be about prayer, for others walking in the woods with their dogs will rejuvenate their spirit.

It also depends on how you are doing overall. If your emotional weather is generally sunny at the moment, self care is putting routines in place that can help you when your storms come. If you’re in the midst of a mental health crisis your self care routine may be as simple as focusing on ensuring you have eaten & had a shower. Something which isn’t as simple as it sounds when you are not doing okay.

Your support system is also really important to acknowledge – who can you turn to if the going gets tough, or to have fun with this week? Your support system doesn’t have to be IRL it could be friends online, helpline numbers or support services. There is always support out there, no matter how alone you feel.

So choose to take some small steps today to invest in your emotional wellbeing – it would be great to hear how you look after yourself in the comments!

When someone has crossed a line

If you feel uncomfortable, upset or angry when someone does something, chances are your boundaries – the actions you will tolerate towards yourself – have been violated. Some of us don’t want to challenge that person because we hate conflict. Some of us think that if we show them we are unhappy they will understand and not do it again. It doesn’t work. You need to be explicit and here is how:

For example:

I felt uncomfortable when you criticised me in front of my friends.

I would like you to talk to me in private if you need to tell me something.

If you continue to criticise me in public I will no longer be friends with you.

OR if you no longer want to be friends: to protect myself I will no longer ask you to come out with me.

How does your behaviour affect your relationships?

One of the main issues I work with as a counsellor is relationships and how people can become closer to the ones they love. Often they have gotten into patterns of controlling behaviour and seem to think if only the other person could change their behaviour then they would be happy. But relationships are not one sided and no-one has a magic control wand that makes other people do what they want them to do. So just as no-one can control you, you can’t control anyone else. The only persons behaviour you can control is your own. That is not to say people don’t try to – they will bribe, threaten, nag, criticise and punish to attempt to get people to do what they want. This doesn’t bring people together though, it tends to pull them apart. I may be going out on a limb here but I’m pretty certain you don’t like anyone trying to control you.

William Glasser in Choice Theory talks about 7 Deadly Habits: deadly because they are likely to kill any relationship, whether that be romantic or friendship. He also talks about 7 Caring or Connecting Habits which will bring people closer together. Both are below:

Controlling Habits.png

People are often quick to tell you what the other person has done, or not done. They get frustrated and possibly angered at the other person. Reminding them that the only behaviour they can control is their own, I always ask:

  • What do you want from your relationship? Do you want to stay together?
  • What are the main problems in your relationship?
  • What are you doing that are sustaining these problems?
  • What is going well in your relationship?
  • What is one thing this week you could do in terms of your behaviour that will bring you closer to the relationship you want?

Most people can think of at least one thing they can do. It could be as simple as eating together without playing on their phone, or asking how their day was. If you are in a rut with your relationship, give these a go. Reflect and make a small change today.