Category Archives: sometimes wellbeing

You Were Never In Control Anyway

If I say this, do this, wear this and then consequently talk through the outcomes as if they’ve already happened then I’ll feel totally in control. Plans will go as I wish and those around me will comply with what I expect and it will be just dandy. Meanwhile, the projections of others and what they should do will continue to be picked up by yours truly and allow me to have the perfect flow and ending to what I want.

Sound familiar? This is how narratives have gone in my mind (and possibly for you too) in the past.

Our brains are wired for threat with a bias of 5:1. That means that naturally, our brains scan environments and situations for threat in order to feel safe and yes, in control. We want so much to predict possible pitfalls, outcomes and what this looks like is set to come up in the process of understanding the future. Surely, the fact that we’re still sitting in the eye of a Pandemic is a reminder that we don’t have a clue what’s around the corner? We just don’t know and to be honest, that’s not the easiest as we make big or even smaller life decisions. Our identification of this is clearly recognised in some forms of anxiety or venting to those around us so we feel like we have some sense of control over it.

As we endeavour to feel in control, this can be a slippery slope of healthy or unhealthy methods of taking actions to get this sensation. As per a recent chat with a family member, taking actions to feel in control can be counter-productive. This is because we’re taking the action to feel in control rather than actually wanting to take the action itself. What happens when the energy calms down and you’ve taken action to feel better in the moment?

Ways I’ve aimed to feel in control over the past year include managing diet to dangerous detail, not spending a cent but rather living on a very low uncomfortable budget, being super restrictive with fun I allow into my life and working crazy hours to get stuff done. Control can quite often equal to unhealthiness which is why it’s important to understand this and to identify when it might be a challenge for you or your mental health.

Some ways I’ve found that can allow the sense of control while staying within healthy boundaries are outlined below 🙂

  • Having a healthy routine. Being clear on when you get up and go to bed and an outline of the time in between. This means there’s a sense of what they day looks like (minus being an army sergeant with the approach please).
  • Journalling. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned it once or twice before. Writing in a journal and getting words on paper in a given situation can be super healthy and allow for a sense of reflection as well as possible outcomes. It is after all, your thoughts that guide you to your next step so why not be super fluid with your words to yourself in order to get this sense and understanding.
  • Recognising intentions and goals. Chatting through with a coach earlier this year, I had been working towards 4 different goals at the time. Two of them were related to exercise, one was study and one was financials. This was a time when I was all guns blazing but absolutely worn down. The question arose of ‘what are you doing for fun?’ Sometimes having goals can feel like a lot. Being clear on this and identifying that too much pressure is a bit much is key to feeling our best selves at this time.
  • Building self-awareness. Knowing when and how you are at your best is imperative for goal setting and understanding ourselves. Often, controlling behaviours are there to tell us we need to slow down and take stock of where we’re at with this. Over-exertion and control of outcomes reveals internal conflict.

Remember this, we can set intentions, do our best and guide ourselves to the next best path. In any event, minding our minds and being aware with self-care is what will lead us to the best outcomes.

Happy Sunday x

Dear My 2019 Self : Here’s How You Move Out Of A Pandemic

As we navigate through a Summer of change, it’s clear that we are on the up and things are feeling more bright. Naturally, many of us are experiencing a plethora of emotions and even more naturally, we understand that well, things won’t be the same as before – and to be honest, that’s a pretty healthy thing.

Scrolling through social media posts, I can’t help but identify the fact that number one, many others have experienced similar emotions to me. And number two, the majority of us don’t have it figured out yet.

Thank heavens that I’ve had a pretty positive quarantine life. I’ve either had a friend, yoga mat or pile of books nearby. Meanwhile, my job kept me busy for, at times over 60 hours per week. I’ve had the most wonderful team who have been there to be super helpful, kind and uplifting. At the same time, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind and there are days I can’t believe I need to make plans at the weekend to go for drinks or a date or just not lie on my bed reading another book. Where did the time go?

Moving out of the Pandemic, there are emotions that naturally arise and as always, being aware of them is key at every juncture. Breaking them down has certainly been helpful for me, hopefully it’s the same for you.

Social Anxiety – Ehhmmmmm how do I talk to people? Should I be wearing a mask? Are others feeling the same? How about smiling…? I feel a bit mad smiling at random strangers but well, it lifts my own mood exponentially. The list goes on and will likely continue to. It’s totally normal to feel social anxiety as we start going on nights out, dates and in random interactions with other people. Our social circles didn’t go beyond 5-6 people for long periods of time so how about we ease ourselves in gently and understand that this is totally normal.

Grief – I don’t know about you guys but as I get back to ‘normal’, my life is totally different to what it was before the Pandemic. Beforehand, I had some different people in my life work-wise, romantically and in my living quarters. Some friendships changed immensely during the pandemic and some disappeared totally. I’ve reconnected with childhood friends because I had the time to do so and thankfully, I’ve been able to work on myself so much that there are days I’m super tired of self-development. With all the goodness that’s in place, there is some parts of the older pre-pandemic life that it’s okay to miss. Accept that and be okay with it before moving through these new chapters.

Mid-Life Crisis – I know this isn’t an emotion but well, it seems pretty relevant right now. Noticing this being quite common around me over the last couple of months, I reached out to a friend to understand a bit better what was going on. People seemed to be reflecting on and making massive life-changing decisions as they manoeuvred through these times. I spoke to a psychiatrist friend who reminded me that ‘June, people aren’t used to containment and being with their thoughts so much. It’s sparked a lot of new thinking and it’s like a bunch of people are going through a mid-life crisis together.’ SO, if this is the case for you, don’t feel bad. There’s a lot happening together when it comes to this juncture of over-thinking.

It’s okay to not have it figured out – Just because we’re experiencing going back to this new normal, doesn’t mean all the answers need to be ready and waiting for you. Indeed, it’s great to take actions and move towards your next moves, that doesn’t mean you have to be okay with all of it or to find it super easy.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments in the fields below 🙂

Fizz and Buzz: That Natural Energy Drop

Shit just got real. We talk about it as the honeymoon stage, on the up, highs of life and indeed, those moments where we are excited about something new and shiny. Whether this is a job, a relationship or our new freedom after being locked up during a Pandemic, it’s clear there are so many things to be excited about and positive is always better. What do we do though when things get real, the energy drops and we move into new territory without the same excitement as before?

What goes up must come down. There’s a natural law of gravity that applies to everything including our energy. Why then do some of us panic when that natural energy drop happens and we’re faced with reality? Easy, we’re out of our comfort zones.

I can hear one of my directors in my ear whenever I reach a stage we call ‘dissatisfaction’ saying ‘there’s no growth in comfort and no comfort in the growth zone’. As I’ve navigated through various scenarios in my life, there have been the inevitable moments of anxiety when I’ve realised I don’t have a clue what the hell I’m doing and need to flex some new muscle of competency and confidence. It’s a bit overwhelming and indeed, can create the feeling of throwing in the towel. Don’t though. I promise it can get better.

As I’ve navigated through my 35 years, there are quite a few learnings that have helped to move through times of doubt and anxiety during change. This includes the focus of what this is when it comes to moving out of a high. Questions I like to ask myself are 1) what is this time trying to tell me? 2) how do I tune into my emotions here and what are they saying? 3) is this real?

There’s a human element of looking for threat in our environments. Our brains are wired for threat and this is shown in terms of our critical brains. Thousands of years ago, we’d need to be on alert in order to protect ourselves from predators and other threats in our environment. In 2021, this is still how our brains operate except instead of predators and lions, we’re finding other threats. This protects to a point however has the ability to impede our growth without us being aware of how it affects us. What could go wrong here? How do I get out of it? We can click into survival mode and want to run from our emotions without stopping to understand what they could mean.

Some mechanisms are below that I’ve found helpful as the drop happens and I want to run away, throw in the towel and find a resolution as quickly as possible.

  1. Check in with yourself. What is ACTUALLY happening? At any given stage, our emotions can tell us where we’re at. Listening to the body, sitting with any feelings and understanding what they mean is key to being self-aware and understanding when to take action or when to wait it out. This has been my experience as a once super reactive person, I know accept that I can wait out the storm, allow emotions to settle and self-assess before making a decision or taking action. This can be counter-productive and be confused with procrastination at times so be careful. Every emotion has a meaning and knowing when and how to identify will make a massive difference to your day to day.
  2. Advice is subjective. I do this myself. When life hits a hurdle or area of change, I reach out to those closest to me to get advice. This is helpful and certainly talking it out is important, be aware though that different perspectives may come from those around you and so, be mindful of who you go to and what this looks like for you. You are your biggest advocate and the expert on your life! Act accordingly. Don’t keep it all in but do take each opinion with the lense of ‘that’s based on their own experience’ and so, may not always be the right choice for you.
  3. Be kind to yourself. When lower on sleep, higher in stress hormones and things feel a bit heavy, turning on ourselves can be tempting. Be yourself, take gentle care and know that you can be your best in that moment. Some days, that might mean taking a duvet day, others it might mean to go for a run or get some cardio in general.
  4. Sit in the discomfort. I’ve always remembered this quote when it was said to me in my early twenties. ‘If you don’t heal what hurt you, you’ll bleed on those who didn’t cut you’. You are your own advocate and in moments of struggle or pain, even more so. This is your opportunity to understand the pain and work through it. Allow it to pass rather than distracting yourself or reacting to those around you.

The best advice on this lovely Saturday is to know yourself, know your habits and how to be your number one fan. It won’t always be smooth sailing but I promise it will guide you to where you’re meant to end up.

Enjoy your day, you can’t take it with you x