Gosh, after a year or more of feeling pretty miserable, lonely and down, and in mourning, not to mention anxious nearly daily, I seem to be coming out of it. I feel encouraged and even optimistic about the future. It has been a 6-8 week process, quite quick I suppose but I have employed intensive help over this time. Every day isn’t exactly filed with thrilling joyful exuberance exactly, but there’s a stability.
This has been a multi pronged approach.
- Asking for help. Reaching out to a therapist and a coach, both of whom have been a tremendous support. I enjoy my rapport with them and I feel a lot less lonely. There is something really special about having the undivided attention of a trusted qualified professional an hour a week to make one felt heard, to express it all uncensored, all the messy feelings of hurt, and anxiety, depression, confusion. And to be listened too.
- Finding groups of like minded people through Meet Up groups. Im out 4 nights a week making new friends and contacts with some lovely people who are unafraid to be vulnerable open and authentic. What a gift that has been.
- I joined the 8 week Action for Happiness course which runs worldwide in most cities, again its centred on real issues of being alive and how to maximise our care for ourselves and others.
- I am not over eating as a result of boredom and stress now, which resulted in outing on 10 extra pounds of weight which I have now lost, by just listening to my body’s needs closely and with care about what I put into my body. The body seemed less attracted to meat and more towards vegetarian diet with some chicken still, but little red meat.
- Also listening to my body, alcohol is now a very occasional treat and only socially, no more drinking on my own in the evenings and feeling muggy in the mornings. Three nights of social drinking in 7 weeks now. And I have saved a lot of money and vastly reduced the amount of empty calories going in.
- Again listening to my body over these last 2 winter months, I have spent time on the sofa deeply relaxing, reading watching films after work. And not feeling guilty about it. Hibernation. Stopped swimming every day due to the tennis elbow and dirty gym, which began to feel I was belittling myself putting up with that. I was even leaning the showers and changing room myself often, which isn’t on for a 5 star hotel. I did not feel cared for, it felt like ild self abuse in the end. I plan to join a different gym shortly.
- I have stopped my daily walks which would seem like a contradiction as exercise is so good for us. I just haven’t felt like it except occasionally during this very cold winter, and that is okay. Giving myself permission to do whatever my body feels like, I trust it if it wants to rest. Its been traumatic this year and I have needed to rest not push myself at this point. But I went to the woods yesterday when we had a rare glimpse of sunshine and that was great.
- I spend a lot of time reading educational material, keeping my brain alive and thinking and active.
- I am making more effort to help others, I visit my paralysed friend regularly and while it is an act of compassion I also really enjoy his company and feel good about myself making the effort to make that long drive. I made the homeless boxes full of items homeless people might benefit from. I get to help others and feel good to be part of the efforts to alleviate the suffering of others. We are all in this together.
- I have been dating a little recently snd enjoying meeting new men. I have a new guy to meet soon who sounds interesting, a detective of all things!
- I have been reading and focusing material which is positive on the internet, the media bombards us with so many negative views of the world and how badly we are all doing. This engenders guilt. It is necessary and not true either. Read this from Steven Pinker for an alternative more balanced view of how humanity is doing.
- I listen to Tara Brach every night before I go to sleep. This is a link to her latest talk, and she adds a new one each week. This helps to reorientate me, and encourages me to practise mindfulness throughout the day.
- I am making more effort to tell people how much I appreciate them, neighbours family, friends and those I am meeting in the groups. I feel good, they feel good, win win.
- I am working more on my garden designs and enjoying being accepted in the restive process.
What I still need to work on right now.
- My stress level dealing with difficult demanding and quite often unpleasant clients, it goes from a 2 to about a 9. Im working on this with my coach and therapist.
- Moments when my thoughts tell me ‘life is shit’, I have to notice these more often rather than believing them and sooth myself with self compassion when these thoughts occur. And even contradict them by remembering all that is going well and that I am grateful for.
- Gratitude, remembering what I have and watching out for those complaint thoughts
- Establishing a less friendly and more business like relationships with clients and implementing the terms and conditions which will protect me more
- Charging more for our work
- Forgiving myself more quickly for mistakes
So all in all Im happy with the general direction I am moving in, the process. Many blips occur daily but these can be embraced and let go of with compassion for myself. And for us all, its not easy or at least its pretty damn strange to find ourselves in bodies walking about the surface of a planet and keeping ourselves alive and healthy with so many temptations to do otherwise around us.