Lessons in rest

I just tried to stop Maggie from painting the hummus I gave her for lunch all over her cherry tomatoes, hands, arms. When I explained to her about the mess she was making her reply was simple, “but it feels good”. And I bet it did.

That’s been my lesson in the past week that the universe has reminded me again of just now, do the things that feel good when everything seems so off.

Firstly, thank you all SO much for all your lovely messages, emails, comments and kindness that was outpoured from my post last week. In my being open and honest and vulnerable, sharing my feelings and my funk, well it gave others a platform to do the same and share and support each other. There’s no better feeling (I think at least) when you are feeling a little low, or off kilter than knowing you are not alone. It’s important to open up and share the good with the bad, ask for help and lift each other up with our own experiences and help each other. Last week’s post was testament to just that. So thank you and I am so glad that it helped so many of you too.

Since then I have treated myself much like I would a dear friend who I had in my care. Which is very unlike me when I spend so much of my life looking after people I love.

I decided that the only way to make myself feel better, was to remember, as Maggie says, to do things that feel good. I have been in a holding pattern of actually feeling shit and disillusioned about this or that (and legitimately so) but then repeating the pattern by hiding away and pushing down the reasons why and then rinsing and repeating. So far that hasn’t been working out too well for me so I decided a new approach was needed.

So I took myself in, as if I were my best friend who was struggling and who decided to come and stay with me. I thought about all the things that I would do to make that friend feel better, knowing how serious I would take that job on. I know I would make their bed especially nicely with clean sheets. I would make them get up and exercise, I would encourage them to walk and get outside into nature. I would feed them home made food and tell them to put their phones away. I would get them to read, or write, or draw, I would tell them to not drink, got to bed early, do everything differently to what they had been doing.

And so that’s pretty much been my week. Me looking after me. Or trying to at least, it’s all bit weird.

I’ve been walking.

I’ve been off my phone as much as I can be, and outside in the world, looking up, breathing in, doing all the things that I love to do and try and do when I am on holidays, things that make me happy, on a Thursday or a Tuesday because I can, and it feels good.

I’ve been eating good homemade, simple food.

I’ve been reading books, making myself drink lots of water, thinking (so much thinking), I’ve been offline, I’ve been soul searching. I’ve been crying. I’ve been laughing. I’ve been going to bed early. And it all feels good. I’m not saying I have it figured out by any means, but it’s a start. And the person a week ago seems a little more nourished in my care.

So that’s something.

The main lesson I have from this week of rest has been how uncomfortable I am feeling being here and trying (badly at times) at being OK with it. Being the eternal optimist I never like to wallow for long, but I am trying to sit with it for a little while, no matter how unlike me it feels, how uncomfortable it makes me feel because I need to be here before I can move on with it.

Sitting with the uncomfortable will only help me move on from it I reckon. The pushing it away and ignoring it hasn’t been working out, so this is worth a shot. Maybe?

So for now I’ll keep resting with my uncomfortableness, both things that I don’t love to do, and yet it feels like its exactly where I need to be. I also saw a quote today that reminded me of the importance of rest for us all, especially Mums who do so much, all the time, for so many people.

“There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long. Don’t expect yourself to either.”

So my friends, go for a walk, get some sunshine, read a book, stop scrolling, have a look at what’s making us feel in our funks and sit with it for a little while. I’ll be doing the same, my and my uncomfortable friend x

How are you doing?
Got any book recommendations for me as I try to get my mojo back?

Comments

  1. Beth what a wonderful approach you have taken. I am currently dealing with a pretty bad bout of anxiety and everything you have described is exactly what my wonderful psychologist advised. Self care and self compassion are apparently proven to have a positive impact on anxiety and something I’m trying to work on. Walks, mindfulness, quiet time are all wonderful. I love your description of caring for yourself like a good friend. I’ll remember this. And letting go of the struggle of how you feel and just sitting with it is so u comfortable but SO beneficial. Another technique that has been recommended to me is to repeat this mantra each day. You may like to add it to your bag of tricks. Thanks for your honesty and relatability xx

    MAY I BE SAFE AND PROTECTED FROM INNER AND OUTER HARM,
    MAY I BE HAPPY AND CONTENTED,
    MAY I BE HEALTHY AND WHOLE TO WHATEVER DEGREE POSSIBLE,
    MAY I EXPERIENCE EASE OF WELL-BEING.

  2. Hiya Beth – I totally get where you’re at. The constant push pull being a Mum makes you doubt everything or you feel lost like you have no idea who you are anymore. Being a Stay at home Mum is HARD!!! Hardest thing I know I’ve ever done. We are all with you and know how your feeling.

    I am currently reading when I get some time alone is Robin Williams Bio – it’s a detailed read but amazing if your into that sort of thing.

    Thank you for your candour xx

  3. Carolyn says:

    Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. You won’t regret it, a bit of English frivolity guaranteed to make you grin.

  4. no book suggestions I’m sorry, but just wanted to thank you for sharing this part too.
    I’ve been feeling sad and alone for too long now, I think just allowing it and treating myself kindly would be a big help, as would putting the phone down more often.
    I’m curious as to how your family has responded to the different you? Do you feel supported by them, I guess really I mean Rob? Or have you just tried to fit the kindness to yourself in around the family?rob’s needs and wants?
    sorry for being so nosey, but it’s a problem that I’m struggling with right now
    cheers Kate

    • Everyone is wary of me a little at the moment…they are worried so are giving me plenty of space. Rob has been great – loving and kind and giving me lots of space. It’s an adjustment for us all…me included!

  5. Oh god what clean sheets do for me! Clean sheets and a walk. V medicinal. Go gently Beth. Feel better x

  6. Lisa Aherne says:

    I just finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain. I laughed, I cried, I loved all of it. Author is Garth Stein.

  7. Hi Beth
    “Eleanor Orliphant is Completely Fine” is a great read, you’ll laugh and cry and realise no one is really fine. 😊

  8. Katie Clews says:

    What a great post Beth.. take the time to heal… The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a fabulous read.. think you’d enjoy it xxx

  9. Seoul Sista says:

    I think you would enjoy ‘the country life’ by Rachel Cusk. It’s clever and funny. Actually, anything by her is amazing. 📚

  10. So timely for me. Tomorrow will mark 5 years since my best friend died unexpectedly. I miss her. I miss her so much. There’s so much she’s missed. Like meeting my first and only child. I feel your funk. And I thank you tonight for reminding me that it’s ok to feel the funk. I hope you realise your words have made a difference to me today. Thank you for giving so much of yourself day in, day out. And take care of yourself x

    • Sorry to hear about your friend Brooke…so many people and friends taken before their time – it’s too sad. A timely reminder for us all x

  11. I soooo needed to read this. Thankyou for the push along! I will aim to take care of me for a bit from here on! I have a tip….I’ve done a bit of a cull on insta and am only looking at things I enjoy, not things that make me envious or feel bad about the beautiful life I have! Keep on taking care of yourself first! X

  12. Rebecca says:

    Dear Beth,
    Your honest blog post touched a nerve with me – and clearly so many of your readers. It’s strange that we are often so good at giving advice to others, looking after others, helping others, raising others – and yet we are really shit at taking our own advice, looking after ourselves and taking the time to raise and help ourselves. I’m glad you’re taking some time out.

    I have a list of recent book reads and recommendations. Quite an eclectic mix, but that’s how my tastes operate!

    Something in the Water – Catherine Steadman
    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
    Little Fires Everywhere- Celeste Ng
    The Choke – Sophie Laguna
    Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
    Everything I know about Love – Dolly Alderton

    Happy reading and happy days. xx

  13. Just read The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. SUCH a good read if you love thrillers!

  14. I know it doesn’t help pay the bills but I do want to tell you the joy that your blog and post bring really provide me an online kindred spirit and some daily joy . Beautiful pics, funny stories, delish recipes that have woven their way into our own family traditions and stories.

    In terms of taking care of you, read Katrina’s advice in this article. It resonated with me and if it can help you I’d be so glad to know that maybe, in some way, I’ve given back to you for what you have given me through your blogging.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-06-30/katrina-myers-fighting-rural-suicide/9920054?pfmredir=ms

  15. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. It is the EXACT book you need right now I think. Please, if you haven’t read it, do!

  16. Elise Schaefer says:

    I occasionally have a mental health afternoon, day or even a week of doing the basics. Then spending time doing what I like reading, watching tv and movies(😊) and eating yummy things. It gets me back on track!!

  17. Kristie says:

    Thanks Beth. Such warmth and wisdom in your words. Doc diagnosed me with the shingles yesterday so I have had to stop. I’ve been crocheting in bed and feel really funny at having to be taken care of rather than taking care of others. As the hot shower soothes my gross rash I actually said a little prayer thanking God for the shingles as it’s the only thing that has slowed me for a long while ✨🙏🏻✨

  18. This post had stopped me in my steps.. IMAGINE treating yourself as you would a good friend who needs a break…?? Imagine taking your own advice and just stopping for a period of time.. Even for one day. IMAGINE? I’m exhausted and have so many balls in the air and the thought of dropping even one makes me anxious BUT keeping them all up there makes me anxious and cranky) too!!! Everything is on a schedule and dare I veer off that schedule!! My husband encourages me to stop and breath and “do nothing” but the spiral of life and the expectations I set myself don’t allow for “stopping”.. After reading this though, I’m going to. I’m going to stop for just one day… It already makes me feel uncomfortable (and I’ve not yet “scheduled” “do nothing” in!!!). If I feel too weird I’m going to smother myself in hummus like Maggie did.. Eeeek!

  19. That is great that you recognise your feelings and take action to make yourself feel better. I need to get off my phone too, I spend way too much time on there when I could be outside!

  20. I find Gretchen Rubin’s podcast calming and hopeful. It leaves me encouraged and with positive actions I can try if I want to. I tried Straight and Curly and although I admire those women & love that they are Australian they were much more disciplined and focused than me. Half an hour of encouraging podcast and I’m a calmer, happier & kinder person to others and myself.

  21. Danielle says:

    Hi Beth, excellent writing as always. I have been thinking about you since I read your *feeling fucked* post and may I say, you are a powerhouse, you are one just was beaver and good on you for saying, despite the cool shit you get to do, you are still in the trenches of this parenting/working life and it’s crushing sometimes. Your writing about making a living via blogging got me thinking about platforms such as Patreon (I have not used it but if you have not read about it it’s a paid platform for creatives) I don’t know if it would suit you but it might be worth a sticky beak. Your content has come to mean a lot to me, I started reading you when I was considering having a baby, fast forward a couple of years and I’m now looking at my son out of the corner if my eye as I type this to you ( if I make eye contact it’s all over I can’t believe I have typed this much without him shutting it down!). A great book if you have not already read it- Yes, Please by Amy Pohler. I’m glad to hear you looking after yourself. Take care x

  22. What a cracker of a quote! So pleased you’re taking care of yourself. Get yourself a copy of ‘A Man Called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman and then treat yourself to watching the movie on Netflix. It’s a bit of a tear jerker but a real heartwarmer. I know it’s only July but I’m calling it as my book of the year!

  23. Teneale says:

    Thank you Beth! That is exactly the advice I needed to be smacked over the head with. Last night I asked the universe for guidance and this morning – up popped your post in my insta feed. This is EXCITING! (yes caps and exclamation mark) Good job mumma bear and thank you.

  24. merilyn says:

    take Maggie’s advice hun! they actually know something!
    you might need to have/read “a year in provence.” peter mayle … oldie but goodie!
    I found a beautiful hard cover with lovely water coloured illustrations by paul Hogarth too so
    very immersed atm. … need to be there too! just say’n!
    much love mx

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