The Things that have worked
I am feeling incredibly reflective as I sit to write this. It is December, and so my mind is overwhelmingly preoccupied with the ending of 2022. It's been a bumpy old year, and I think many of us feel very similar in the ways that our mental health has been compounded by the turbulent times we are being forced to exist in.
Amongst the clusterfuck that has been the political landscape this year, the ever-looming rise of the Terfs, and the rampant cost of living crisis, there have been some things that have worked for me, getting me through this year, and so I thought I would share them with you in the spirit of helping.
I flirt with sharing my whole life with you, but in reality, I only share the bits I want you to see. Behind the scenes, my mental and physical health has taken a huge hit this year. One good thing that I did for myself was seeing a doctor (a miracle in itself) to ask for help.
Controlling my chronic migraines, and treating my anxiety&depression haven’t fixed them - but it has given me some respite, and some space to catch my breath.
Boundaries have long been part of my life, but this year I feel I have really leant into them. Saying no has become a big tool for me, and it is a tonic. No to work, I don’t want to do. No to people, I don’t want in my life. No to situations that make me feel shit.
I hate those listicles that promise to fix your life, and you read it, and it ends up being exercise, meditation and sleep. However, I have really become fixated on my sleep, ensuring I pretty much always get eight to nine hours a night. It isn’t a miracle cure, and it's a tricky path for many, trying to actually sleep can be impossible - but there is a lot of information out there to help you on the road to a good night's sleep.
It will come as no big surprise to you, as I never shut up about it, but I have been going to therapy for the last 16 months. It took me time to settle into it, to stop expecting instant (easy) answers to fix my life. I have grown comfortable with my own feelings, and I am more aware of how I experience life and its impact.
If I had limitless funds, I would pay for us all to have therapy, because it will change your life. If you have been thinking about it, whether through the NHS or privately - I say go for it.
Okay this next one comes with the caveat that I am aware being self-employed gives me the privilege to call the shots in my schedule - but I lack financial security when it comes to regular income - so pick your battles baby!
I have worked differently this year, mainly only when I want to. I can only do my best when I have the energy to do so, and that requires rest, real rest. So when I feel like sitting at my desk and working on XYZ, I do. For example, I am writing this at 10 am on a Saturday because I feel like it after having a Friday off - calling the shots on my work-life balance has really helped.
Getting rid of Things
I am a thing person, not an experience person. So I have a lot of stuff - imagine a lot, then double it - and you will be about halfway there!! I have never really let go of things, but I have started to gently let go of things I don’t need or want. Maybe Marie Kondo was on to something?
It might be abundantly clear, but at the core of all these things, is pleasure. I have focused on pleasure. In the latter half of 2022, I have pushed pleasure into the fore of my life. It isn’t always easy, but it involves spending time with the right people, taking risks, and naming anxiety before it ruins everything. It's not an exact science, but for now, it is working, and I will be taking all of this into 2023, to keep going, and most of all, to enjoy the life I have.
I hope some things you’ve read here today and all year have helped you in a similar way
Shot by Ruth Pechey