Resilience and holding my bucket of fucks tight to my chest is something I have always been good at. I am not one to walk around giving a fuck out to just anybody…in short, I need to really give a fuck to give a fuck.
Profanities aside, I have always been relatively good at putting things aside if they’re dysfunctional, wasting my time or no longer serving me.
But over the last year I have noticed a change. Things and people that are entirely a waste of my time giving a fuck about are suddenly all up under my skin and keeping me awake at night. I have had two big cries at work about things that would definitely have frustrated me in the past, but never bought me to tears. I have let people who don’t deserve my tears make me cry and found comfort in people and things (a nightly wine, to clarify!) that are definitely not good for me…
Now I must preface, I am not depressed. I have studied psychology and can identify depressive disorders readily. This is not one of them. It’s not that extreme. It is what I like to refer to as being stuck in an emotional shitstorm with a sprinkle of my-hormones-have-been-a-bit-off-since-childbirth.
So, I’ve put together a few of my fav little things I think help me weather the storm…and maybe, might just help another mum one day weather her own.
1- It’s cliche, but get some air
Step outside, take a wee walk, close the door behind you for a second and take ten big, fat breaths. Whatever it takes, give yourself just a moment to shut off and focus on the very vitals of existence.
For me, this is usually the difference between me being hasty and over-zealous in my reactions and not. Cliches tend to be so for a reason, so if you can, start here.
2- Have your tears
Lock yourself away somewhere and cry your little face off. But make sure you put a time limit on it. Give yourself a time to cry and a time to wipe your tears and get on with it. It is cathartic in many ways to cry and scream and say what is on your heart, even if only you are there to hear it.
Personally, I find this helps me get me thoughts in order about a situation. Especially if I am to be confronted by a person involved in the near future. It helps me to speak clearly and concisely about the problem without it becoming too emotion-laden.
3- Get Out & Amongst It
To some, this may seem distracting…and in a way, it definitely is. But I find that getting out, not for me, but for Maya is the best thing for both of us. When I’m feeling shitty, I remember that that should not impact Maya one bit. So I dress us both, grab my camera and get out and about exactly the way we always do.
I put some music on in the car and we both have a sing.
Some days, this is exhausting and nauseatingly hard. I feel as though I am dragging my body around…but most of the time, I swiftly forget my problems because the world is such a big place and in the grand scheme, my problems are so small. I also have a fantastic reason to be happy and that is Maya. She knows not the heartaches life can bring yet…and I’d like it to stay that way as long as possible.
4- Try and have a laugh about it
For me, 99% of my problems lately have been entirely predictable and although the outcomes have been sad, disappointing and a far cry less than ideal, I can’t say they have been unpredictable. I am perpetually over-trusting and at this point, all I can really do is laugh when it bites me on the ass again. Although I must say, this is usually achieved in the latter stages of feeling shit about something.
5- Know your bod
So I for one can attest to the impact of the old hormones on the old temperament. Since giving birth, I knew something was not right and once my cycle returned and it was time to start a contraception again, my beloved pill was no longer a winner and shit hit the fan. I was so anxious, awake at all hours and sweating like crazy. So I am off that and hoping they will settle, if not I will be booking myself in to a hormone specialist to get everything sorted and back to a level ground.
But my advice here is really to ask yourself are these negative behavioural choices and overreactions that I am in control of? Or is something else amiss that is lending me toward a really emotional reaction. This could be your hormones, changes in your neuorochemical balances (the kind that lead to clinical depression, anxiety and a host of other clinical issues) and even things as seemingly trivial like a poor diet or lack of sleep.
Chickedy-check yourself and for the love of god, go to the doctor if something is really not right. Quite often, you will find there is a fix to get you back to a level playing field where you can control the controllable again.
6- Look After Yourself
I find for me, that if I am too busy giving fucks away to people and situations that don’t deserve them, I am left with 0 time to give a fuck about myself (not that I have all that much of it these days). Insofar as not doing my hair or makeup, some days not getting dressed. The best thing I can do for my own self esteem is to write myself a big fat list of little things I can do through the day to ‘treat myself’. Paint my nails, put on a fake tan, curl my hair or try a new make-up pallet. This, for me, means that I feel good and confident in my appearance. Even if my insides are screaming, at least the way I look is not compiling on them. It gives me something I feel good about, even if it’s only a surface thing.
7- Talk to Your Loved Ones
Just do it. They are your loved ones for a reason and at the very least, they will let you know you will eventually be ok.
8- Acknowledge Your Feels
Accept that some days, it is 100% ok to not be ok. Have a mental health day from work and do some life admin. Ask someone to watch the kids for a while so you can just sit in peace for a few minutes and gather your thoughts. I really like to try and reflect on where my feelings come from. Is it because I am hurt? Angry? Jealous? Acknowledge that these feelings are all human…just like you.
But then, have a little perspective. In my case, I have Maya to love and care for…and therefore I have a purpose. I have a job I love, a beautiful & safe home. I have running water and clothes to wear. I have money in the bank. I have a loving & supportive network of family and friends. I have much to look forward to in the future and most importantly, I have my health. These are luxuries not afforded to many.