- Claire Sheehan
Tough times - when we really need to invite self care in
It's been a while since I have posted / written a newsletter and that's mainly been due to lots of poorliness in our home! Nothing major, just lots of things which have taken energy - both a bad cough for me which has lasted right through from Christmas, and then one of my twins got both chicken pox and a nasty bout of croup and was off for nearly two weeks, and now my other twin has chicken pox! So it's been a bit of a funny time and I've been having to take a step back and look at what I could realistically do. It has been a good reminder that when we are feeling it is super hard work, is actually the time we MOST need to step up our own selfcare. Not only that, we need to step outside our comfort zones and ask ourselves if we need help to get things done.
Asking for help is not something that comes easily to me. I like to do things my own way and like to know I've got everything under control. But that's not always possible - and indeed actually can close you off from developing truer relationships with others. So these last few weeks I had a few things I'd love to share in case they resonate with you.
Be open to others offering help
They can see you need help or support - are you open to receiving it? I find it a little easier to accept help once offered, than to just outright ask for some help. But being open to having help, I have found these last few weeks, has also made it a bit easier to then ask proactively for help to get things done.
Be consciously kind to yourself
I'd said to myself at the start of the year that a big priority was to develop my own meditation practice and I have been enjoying doing meditations from Kristin Neff all about mindful self compassion. Focusing on self compassion, the ability to see that it is not just me that is suffering, or finding things hard, has allowed me to move faster past the "poor me" stage I kept falling into. It's OK to find things hard. But it's easier to know that you are not alone. That you have help. That others are just like you. Being kinder to myself has allowed me to find the space and energy to keep present for the boys as they feel poorly and as they recover. It has allowed me to whisper meditations and affirmations to myself to move past the fear when we were having some checks done in hospital (all ok fortunately!) that all would be well. I used the words of loving kindness to focus on phrases like "may I be calm, may I be peaceful". And I sat with my hand over my heart giving myself love as we just sat in the moment with where we were.
Childhood illnesses like this pop up and run their course, and it's in the running through that we notice (or we can notice if we make room for it) that it has that inevitability and that there is little we can do other than notice and take care and focus on how we can best soothe and comfort in this moment.
Focusing the mind
Having a child off has focused me on what I needed to get done this month and what needed to change or support I needed to make that happen. I did not do this in my usual push on through style but in a kinder way to focus around my word of JOY. What even in this unusual time, would bring me most joy? What was the most joyful choice I could make for me, for the children, for all? Choosing to remember my word of the year, JOY when I was feeling less joyful than I hoped, enabled me to remember that this was just a phase. It enabled me to change my focus for the month, and stay feeling grateful that I have the capacity to do so, It allowed me to make choices about what needed to stay in, and what I needed to let go of.
Sometimes when you have an unusual time like this, you may need to let go of something that you hoped to do. I had been looking at an 8 week mindfulness course in London but it would mean some flex around with the school run - with having extra time off we found we just couldn't really work it in, and rather than pushing it I have been more easily able to let go of it for right now. When it is right, when it will bring me joy, when there is capacity for it, it will happen.
As you practice your own self care this week, think about how you can be more open to being compassionate with yourself.
Until next time.