Went down to a 4.5 tog summer duvet this week and the insomnia has eased. There you go, exciting bedroom news report done.
Now for the real post…
On a less light note, I've talked to at least three people in the past few days who are not ok for whatever reason. Perhaps the Covid situation is the reason or, if not, it is adding an extra burden or a brain sludge or perhaps bringing things to a head. And I've realised that, despite my various stresses, I probably wouldn't be able to write this little diary every day if I weren't basically coping.
I worry that I'm only an empathic person when I'm experiencing similar issues to others. I can remember what it was like to go through tough times, for example, but now that sufficient time has passed, there is no actual emotion attached to those sad experiences. Maybe that's what time heals – the pain of the thing.
I do believe that when you yourself are ok, it's a duty to help others if you can.
I'm not sure what help I can offer to people, apart from to say you're not alone and to please reach out for help rather than suffer in silence. The ability to do even that can be compromised, of course.
From a purely personal perspective, some of the things I rely on at the moment to help keep sane are…
- Looking at nature – when you're down seeing nature in action may seem more poignant, when you're up it may seem amazing; either way it's an external focus thing.
- Music – I don't know of anything that will change or reflect a mood faster than putting on music you love.
- Walking or other activity – moving literally causes your body chemistry to change. I might not want to do it but I never regret having done it. Often combined with #1 and #2.
- Goals 'n' gratitude weekly diary – I picked this up from dementia group therapy as a way to keep focused on more positive emotions. Pick one goal per week (specific, measurable, doable, eg, tidy up bedroom or contact a friend or go for a walk) and set a reward for it (chocolate, coffee, wine!), plus write down something nice that happened or that you are grateful for. It's surprisingly effective at maintaining positive focus but also getting things done.
- Writing (or other creative outlet) – I have this diary but also several others that are private. When things get really bad, I set aside a whole book and spill into it – you can always burn it after.
- Time out / unstructured thinking time – at the moment that means having 20 minutes or so sitting in the garden with a coffee and three ginger biscuits and either garden sounds or a bit of music in the headphones. Other people do meditation but I find that hard.
- Social connection – that can be a phone call, a face-to-face conversation, banter on the internet or whatever. I always think I don't really need this being a fairly solo operator but when it's not there, I really do miss it and start to go a bit off the rails. It's important, it's human.
- Eating and sleeping – the best two things in life. Good food and good sleep can fix a lot of brain sludge.
If all this is too much then there is always the approach I picked up from the country singer Kenny Rogers on Oprah Winfrey donkey's years ago, where he said something like 'all you need in life is someone/something to love, something to do and something to look forward to'.
Even one or two of those things at a time is fine. All three is winning at life.
Today I am thankful for my god-daughter taking stuff from our office room for her new flat. I feel decluttered and spacious in my home and in my head. As Japanese organisational neat freak Marie Kondo said, tidying up is not about having a tidy room, it is about transforming your life.
I'm also thankful that my god-D is moving into her own place. What an exciting time and thing to do in your life. All part of the joys of growing up.
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