[unpaid/sample/affiliate/ad] Everything is too hard at the moment, right? I’ve seen plenty of sensible people saying that no matter how well we are ‘coping’ we are living on a mix of cortisol and adrenaline because things are worrying and we truly are dealing with a lot right now. I can feel those adrenaline surges just simmering below the surface and anyone who has had anxiety will know the prickles that can just start out of nowhere but are an early warning signal to slow down and look after yourself with great care. Uncertainty is one of the hardest things to live with if we’re used to being organised and in control and there’s not really a right or wrong way to try and ease the feelings. It’s just what works well for you. But, I can suggest some things that work well for me.
- Get Outside. Bundle up and get yourself out for a walk, even if its very brief, and take note of everything you are seeing almost as though compiling a list in your head. It refocuses your mind from whirring about to being stiller for a while. I try and do a robin spot – actively look while I’m walking because it gives the walk more purpose.
- If you’re sitting at your desk, take breaks and move – make a hot drink, look out of the window, put the washing away. Whatever you do, it will shift the mood slightly so you break the negative thoughts.
- Try some yoga – I use Yoga With Adriene on Netflix as a gentle way to get some movement into my day and just focusing on the moves gives your brain a rest from worrying. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do a downward dog – having a go and adapting it to what you can do is absolutely fine.
- Find some ‘custard’ TV. By that, I mean something that you find entertaining but not taxing in any way – things that I have found as soothing as a bowl of warm custard are Death In Paradise, Impossible (quiz show) and most recently School of Chocolate on Netflix. They’re not necessarily things I’d usually watch but as they wash over me, they distract me from overthinking.
- Wash your hair. Everything feels better with clean hair – it’s a distraction and requires you to move rooms so therefore a mood shift and involves sensations and textures that you can focus on. The scent of the shampoo, the heat of the water, the feel of the towel, the scalp tingle as you brush and the warm air of the dryer – you are putting a lot of new information over the top of the intrusive worries.
Take a bath (or shower). I didn’t mean for the Dr Teal’s post to turn out like this but it’s a relevant illustration of self care and the embracing nature of hot water. Cocooning is good – we should all do it more but I like it best after walking or exercising. I’m currently wrestling with an infection and antibiotics (and painkillers) that don’t want to stay down so I’m having to focus really hard on just keeping them long enough that they can work. Coupled with a horrible night’s sleep (I accidentally took a pain killer with added caffeine! urgh!), I feel more tired than ill, but a bath somehow rights things in a way that nothing else does. Warm a towel on the radiator before you get out to take the temperature change sting right out.
There are a couple of new scents for Dr Teal’s – I’m not sure they’ve launched on line yet but you might spot them in Boots – Glow & Radiance which is delightfully juicy and citrussy, and Calm Your Mind with Ashwagandha which smells to me like a sweet aloe vera with a dash of orange. Jo Malone they are not, but I’d welcome them into my bath any day of the week. I think we all know that Vitamin C isn’t going to penetrate the skin to any health benefit way via a bath (ages ago I asked a formulator why we couldn’t have vitamin pills for the bath as a way of taking in the benefits and he said the amount needed to be absorbed through the skin is so big that it would be impractical to even physically get it into the bath!) but the point is more a beautiful, scented, bubbly bath. I don’t think I truly know whether the addition of Epsom Salts has any more benefit than the hot water experience – I don’t think anyone actually knows! But, I like that it’s there and I love an Epsom Salt bath after exercise so I’ll keep the faith on that one.
I guess it’s all down to the mood of the moment but you can think of this as an affordable cocoon tool – Mr BBB has just ordered Badedas because it hits the right note for him and his (epically long) soaks. I opt for aromatherapy oils very often, more recently my Chanel No.5 that I’d been ‘saving’ but have now finished (some of it, anyway), and thereafter something with Epsom salts such as Dr Teal’s. Currently, easy to find Dr Teal’s scents are Lavender (on offer at Boots for £7.60) and Coconut Oil, £8.99. The bath salts and these Foaming baths are definitely something to order on line rather than carry home – they’re mighty weighty! Boots is HERE. So, here we are – it’s all a bit tricky one way and another but what we have, as women, is resilience, sometimes without even knowing how deep the reservoir is. Last Christmas was the year I had to dig deep to find mine (and my sister had to remind me to do it) and this year it is being tested again although not quite so hard. Resilience is the thing that helps you carry on when you don’t want to, it can get you past disappointment, it can help you soothe others around you and it can allow you to move across feelings that are difficult. All the little dots of self care you take – the walk, the bath, the warm towel, the custard TV, the cheesy book – are resilience builders so I urge you to see them as the essentials they are. And, while I realise that I’ve written an absolute tome built around bath foam, it’s helped me to articulate the things I’m feeling so I’m popping it in the resilience bank, saying thank you very much for reading it and I’m heading out to spot a robin.
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That’s a really thoughtful post Jane 🙂
Thank you Caroline x
Thank you Jane for this blog. It really hit the spot for me and I shall be saving this one.
Wishing you a very happy Christmas and a much better new teatime. Xx
Thank you Sue – happy wishes to you too x
I don’t often comment but thank you for this post and for everything you do on the blog. I really trust your views and after reading for all this time you are part of my resilience network.
Have a lovely Christmas
Ah, that’s really such a lovely thing to hear Amanda.. Thank you so much xx
Such a good post. I’m also coping by planning my garden and getting set for winter seed sowing soon (outdoor and indoor), but a nice hot bath sounds superb.
And I hear you on the antibiotics. I just finished a course of wicked antibiotics and I’m pushing probiotics like crazy to try and get that back on track. I hope you feel better soon. Nausea is so all-encompassing.
Thank you for reminding me to get probiotics! Yes, it’s horrible but it’s getting better and is intermitent so I have that to be thankful for. Garden planning sounds wonderful 🙂
A terrific self care list. We are all so exhausted and the end is not yet in sight. I’d add reaching out to talk to people even if you are unable to meet them in person.
Thanks for that addition – great advice x
Lovely post, Jane. I hope you feel better soon.
thank you so much Lizzie x
Weirdly I have also had a craving for Badedas, and Fenjal as well. I love Dr Teal’s lavender, although I find the salts stronger in fragrance. We do comfort tv and books in our house too – my go to calming book is Larkrise to Candleford.
That’s a lovely book!
Thank you for the reminder I didn’t know I needed this morning. Reading it points out to me that my resilience IS low (I notice this when even fun things seem too much hassle) so I’m going to look for a Robin today. Wishing an easeful Christmas.
And to you 🙂
What a constructive, helpful post Jane, thank you. Yes to the walking and moving about more when working from home for sure. I sometimes pop some fave dance / disco / hi nrg tracks on for a quick dance round the home office when between meetings etc.
Can I also mention the Kneipp range which has some lovely bath and shower products, especially the eucalyptus scented ones which are great for clearing the pipes.
Wishing you, everyone at BBB and your readers a restful, happy and healthy Christmas xxxx
Thank you ever so much Chrissie – love the idea of bopping between meetings!
Having been dealing with ME and fibromyalgia for almost 17 years now, I have lots of tv I record for when I can’t concentrate and am up all night. School of Chocolate was brilliant for that, as well as Blown Away and Tattoo Fixers on Netflix, Poirot and Miss Marple, Dinnerladies, Doctor Pimple Popper, Sister Wives, Hudson & Rex – all things you can concentrate on if you want, or let them wash over you with a bit of entertainment. I also find using any skincare or body products with a scent I love keeps me feeling a bit more on top of things with a zingy citrus to try to give me a bit more energy and focus, rose or something snuggly and warming like gingerbread, spiced apple etc for relaxation, sleep and feeling calm.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year with thanks for a great blog that is one of my go-to me-time activities.
Thanks so much Honey – I loved Blown Away and am desperate for School of Chocolate Season 2. Great tips and thank you so much for your kind words. x