Spinning plates…

So not long ago I had a mini wobble which I wasn’t expecting. I’d been plodding along feeling stronger than ever and enjoying all my new ventures. Then out of the blue (or so it felt) I started not sleeping well and feeling frustrated that I didn’t know what was causing me to be such a toss pot!

Nothing bad had happened and nothing had really changed, yet my body was trying to tell me something wasn’t quite right. Then a little bit of anxiety started to creep back which is certainly NOT what I wanted so I knew something had to be done.

It’s funny isn’t it how it is all too easy to not practice self-care as much when we are feeling fine even though we know full well that it is something that we should keep up all the time. Self-care is something I have struggled with for years, but I felt that I had got better at this, yet I hadn’t been practising breathing techniques, mindfulness, or relaxation techniques for quite some time. Right down to making the time to have a bath or not be constantly working my way through the never ending ‘To do’ list is a rarity.

When these feelings came over me, I was determined not to let the anxiety take over again, so I decided to do a ‘brain dump’ and write down everything that was on my mind and highlight things that I could control and those that I could not. I managed this and even wrote down how to deal with all of these things.

I think I have a habit of building things up in my head and still being afraid to speak up or deal with what’s on my mind which is something that I am working on. Then I fall out with myself for getting myself in a pickle when 9 times out of 10 there’s no need! I think a lot of it still comes from fear…fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown.

Writing everything down (even though most of it was positive) made me aware of how much I actually had on my mind which made me realise and appreciate the reason I wasn’t feeling as sparkly as usual. I had had a lot of changes in the past few weeks, a big one being my eldest daughter starting school and getting used to the school runs as well as starting my counselling placement where I already see the maximum number of clients allowed whilst training.

When I told my Mum how I was feeling, I remember saying to her, ‘Don’t say anything!’, I knew that she would comment on how many plates I am spinning at the minute. And yes, she is right. I am spinning quite a few plates at the moment, however, it’s not necessarily the number of plates that is the problem. I feel that I need to be able to get rid of the less pleasant plates to be able to handle the rest of the plates without collapsing in a heap!!

I think what tipped me over the edge to feel this way was when I was informed that my energy provider had gone bust and everything, I read seemed to suggest that my bills would suddenly go through the roof and that there’s nothing I can do about it. With money already being tight and Universal Credit being reduced from this month this is the last thing I needed. What threw me more was not having any control over who my new provider would be or how much I would be told my new bills would be. I hardly use the heating as it is but now, I feel as though I can’t turn it on at all!

On top of that, I felt frustrated that the financial pressure is increasing when I still have another 10 months of my counselling course to go. I had a fleeting moment of wondering if I was being selfish by finishing my course when I could stop and try and get a full-time job, yet I know I am doing the course not only for myself but also to have a career that will fit around my girls and will hopefully allow me to earn a good living.

On top of that, I also have another plate spinning that has been in the back of my mind for the past couple of months, which will be very good when the time comes but right now is adding to the stress.

Of course, I am aware that being stressed is not conducive to getting pregnant which adds to the pressure! I’m not sure what plates if any I can stop spinning right now so I suppose all I can do is try and make time for more self-care and take the time to allow myself to let my hair down and enjoy myself.

I’m hoping to have go and stay with a friend for a few days soon which I am really looking forward to and feel it will do me the world of good! Hopefully this will recharge my batteries which will help me deal with all the plate spinning!

Lockdown part 3….Week 11

This week has whizzed by and has felt a bit strange. I get the impression that people some people are feeling in limbo due to lockdown. Some people have expressed how liberated they feel now they are back at work and the commute which they used to begrudge they now love because they have a valid reason to be driving somewhere! Others have commented on how nice it is to see people for real rather than virtually.

However, we are still very limited with what we can and cannot do…in 8 days’ time on 29th March we will see easing on social contact restrictions, so in time for most schools breaking up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings, including those in private gardens, can go ahead of either six people or two households. Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts and open-air swimming pools can also reopen.

This date also makes the end of the ‘stay at home’ order, though many restrictions will remain in place.

I know that the past few months have been hard on people who aren’t able to see any friends or family and have only been able to meet up with one other person outside for a walk or more recently to sit on a bench with a drink however that’s not as pleasant when its cold and rainy which has predominantly been the case recently. So, to be able to know that in just over a weeks’ time we can sit in someone’s garden will make a pleasant change and with the weather starting to improve this will no doubt be something many of us will look forward to.

This Tuesday (23rd) is National Day of Reflection…looking back over the past year it has certainly been a year nobody will forget, and one people will talk about for generations to come. I remember thinking when I first read about Covid in China thinking that it would never come to the UK, then when it did, and we went into our first national lockdown I thought that it would have all disappeared by the end of that lockdown. Never in a million years did imagine that I would have to wear a face mask to go out and about doing everyday things or that hand gel would be come part of our everyday lives.

For someone who suffers with health anxiety I am impressed that I have coped so well and that I don’t feel panicky leaving the house. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel particularly comfortable going to supermarkets or being in crowded places at the moment and therefore I do avoid them, however, this is more to do with the fact that I want to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Hopefully in time things will improve but for now Covid has taken the edge off perusing around a shop and instead I go round quickly and move on if there are people hovering around. I certainly won’t be queuing up to go into the shops when they hopefully open in April.

I hope that people can reflect on this past year and realise how well they have coped and adapted to a situation we have never experienced before and that we have got through this. This is a massive achievement. The past year has proved challenging for most people in one way or another and will no doubt have caused added stress, anxiety, or depression. I hope that you can find ways to be kind to yourself, no matter how that may be.

I also want to remind people to check in on friends, family and loved ones as you never know how they are coping or feeling. I have found in my experience that people tend to assume people are busy and therefore don’t want to disturb them but it’s always worth dropping someone a message just to say hi or that you are thinking of them.

When people ask me how I am, I have a tendency to always say that I am fine – I rarely answer differently unless I say I am ok…regardless of how I am feeling. I think this is because I have the impression that there isn’t necessarily meaning in the question and that it is just something that is said in passing…’hi, how are you?’ and most people respond with a short answer such as, ‘I’m good thanks’ and then that ends the conversation. I am also quite a private person and don’t like to burden people so I wouldn’t want to say if I wasn’t ok.

Someone shared with me an acronym for ‘fine’ which I found hilarious but true…I have added a picture of the acronym at the end of the blog!

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I was given a gift of a beautiful, framed poem this week called ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou. I had never heard that poem or of Maya Angelou before, but the poem is beautiful and empowering. I was told that the poem made them think of everything that I have been through and how strong I am. I watched a clip of Maya reciting the poem and it made me smile with her use of facial expressions and actions. What a powerful, wise, and incredibly inspiring woman she was! I feel inspired by her and wonder if there is a small part of me that feels I could be a little bit like her.