I have many small practices that together contribute to my resilience against succumbing to an overwhelm of stress and even worse a descent into depression.
These little daily actions aren’t a quick fix when I do become overwhelmed with anxiety or the blues however they help me keep an equilibrium that makes negative emotions less likely to find a long term home in me.
They involve doing small actions each day that make me feel happy. I have on my mirror a little sign that says “what can I do that can make you happy today” to remind myself that it is okay for me to prioritise my wellbeing each day.
Here is a little list of some of these activities as well as some behaviour and actions I choose not to take part in
- I have the radio on softly in the background for company, usually a talking station like bbc world service
- I enjoy my morning personal grooming session, doing my hair and a little lipstick and mascara. It feels good to look my best. I compliment and have positive thoughts about my appearance when I look in the mirror. I say things like, ‘I like my hair, or my eyes, or say that wow, you are aging beautifully’.
- I wear only comfy clothes, ones that keep me warm but are flexible and hardly feel like they are there
- I go to bed early, usually around 10 or 10.30 and sleep for at least 7 hours a night. I also sleep naked under a brushed cotton sheet and duvet cover for extra coziness. On the mattress is a 4 inch feather cover, that is so so comfy. And the duvet is feather and down (ethically sourced). I listen too talk by Tara Brach nearly every night, and absorb her powerfully benign prescience and message.
- I go for usually at leat 2 walks in nature, and I empty my mind and surrender to the changing beauty of nature, the trees, the birds, the river. I explore a little off the path into the woods too and enjoy discovering plants, animal burrows and fungi and other things of interest.
- I enjoy the mutual love and affection of having my dog. We sometimes have a good play too which lightens our spirits. I enjoy giving her joy and caring for her, it makes me feel useful and important to someone lol.
- I listen to audiobooks in the car, usually on the subject of self care, self acceptance compassion, psychology. I feel my time is spent usefully doing this and positive messages are sent to my scared anxious part of myself.
- I have a life coach who I check in with every few weeks, and it’s hugely nurturing to have a person who ‘gets’ me and with whom I can be really open and vulnerable with. As it’s coaching not therapy, we make plans for action and I get homework, which I decide. At the moment it is making pace each morning to meditation for at least 10 minutes, and writing a gratitude list. By doing this in the morning it sends a strong message to myself that my wellbeing is the first priority of the day and all day.
- I have little by little become more brave about stating what I want, and not just giving up my own needs for others. I may one day be that selfless Jesus like person I’d like to see myself as, but for now, it is more healthy for me to learn to assert myself. Even if it pisses people off.
- There are things I don’t do that conventionally the norm is to do. Like shaving my legs. I just don’t want to and I’m fine with that. I say no often to family dinners, it’s not always the healthiest environment for me to be in. And as you know I have let go of many old friendships that don’t work for me any more.
- I am tougher with clients. I say ‘no’ more often and don’t back down on price as much as I used to do. As my confidence grows I am less driven by wanting to be liked or to please others to be liked. As I learn to like myself more that people pleasing side has subsided.
- I listen to what my body would like food wise. I eat whatever I want actually, but that guides me and 90% of the time it’s not junk food it wants.
- I have been enjoying making a cosy nest for myself in my new flat. I see that making this house beautiful is a very powerful act of self care and self nurturing. I spend time thinking about the aesthetics of the environment here and the comfort of it.
- Writing regular gratitude lists, which keep my inner complainer from running roughshod. It’s always looking for what’s wrong, when the reality always is, that there is a lot right just now.
All this is part of my journey towards feeling more safe in the world, or another way of saying that, accepting feeling unsafe. Of calming down my trigger happy amygdala. Connecting with a bigger space inside that is always there, that can allow it all to arise and subside, come and go.