By festival favourite Josephine Mcgrail
Resilience And Mental Health For Real People Like You And Me
But exactly how do we do that in 2020?! How do we ‘allow’ ourselves to carve time out for the inner you and me that exists when our eyes are closed?
In my own life as a modern day women who effortlessly (at least in my own mind) dances with life’s ever changing experiences finding TIME to (re)connect to myself is vital for my health on all levels. But it wasn’t always like that… and still to this day it is one of my own greatest challenges and therefore my deepest lessons and teachings.
Since my early teens I was easily juggling up to 5 jobs a day running from North to South even travelling across the globe several times a month. 100% identifying myself with what I DID and achieved- not paying ANY value at all to WHO I was. Without my work I literally felt completely empty and worthless. I would wake up at 5am and go to bed at 1am… always planning and pushing for the next GOAL that would hopefully bring me HOME. As you can imagine my mental health started to really suffer which at the time I identified as EXCITEMENT and PASSION(all though my periods stopped for about 5 years all together and the knot/butterflies in my stomach and my poor exhausted nervous system became more and more severe).
What I could/would not see then I so clearly see now: that I was indeed suffering greatly from anxiety. This old ‘friend’ was energy from my past; suppressed feelings and traumas were literally filling my adrenals and entire system mind body and spirit with an urgency to RUN FOR MY LIFE for only in the running was I ‘safe’.
Fast forwarding some good 14 years on and here is what I decided to do. I created my OWN MASTER PLAN to help ME get back to ME! I decided I was finally done running…
One of the biggest life changers is the realisation that everything we do is based on ROUTINES! So starting to really pay attention to what you do and how you do it in every day life is worth gold!
Remember that what feels ‘natural’ only does so because YOU have been ‘practicing’ it for your entire lifetime;). This being said once you know where in your life you want to improve you need to implement some HEALTHY daily rituals (mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually). And stick to them like glue! Because yes there will be sooo many times where your mind will tell you otherwise- ie that you dont need to meditate/call your mum/go to the gym/eat veggies etc etc.
However from my own personal experience what really keeps us bouncing back every single time life throws us a curve ball is having a SUPER powerful uplifting daily routine that is filled with loving experiences and people!! Imagine you were building a new gorgeous house and you had invested ALL of your savings in this fantastic project!- Wouldn’t you want to make sure that the foundation was perfectly laid out so the home of your dreams would stand tall and magnificent for eons to come? Just like the body of someone who excercises regularly will heal quicker from an injury than that of someone who never walks/moves/ goes outdoors etc etc so does our mental and emotional resilience to life.The point is we need a daily structure that everyday stretches us that little further and encourages us to go beyond our often very limited self beliefs at the same time as encourages and cheer us on when we wobble!!
The following routines are some of my personal favourites and can (but does not have to) involve the following. Really feel into your BODY and HEART as you read these lines and see how you respond. Keeping in mind that only YOU know and have the power to know what is RIGHT for YOU!!! That being said lets get started:
1- Work on your mind set- start each day with a little YOU TIME: find a space where you feel safe to relax i.e. a favourite cushion/chair to sit on, or your garden whatever be creative here! Then marked that as YOUR MORNING SPACE. Go there every day and use the following guidelines:-
Once your comfortable, gentle close your eyes or at least rest your gaze at a point that isn’t moving. Take some nice deep breathes and allow your body to relax and soften. Notice how you are really feeling and just allow everything to surface- no need to push away certain feelings or trying to ‘classify’ them as good or bad. Just feel it all. Be like water. Then take some time to recall your blessings ie what you are grateful for, try and get really specific here so that everything you are counting has deep emotional impact and meaning to you. Once you feel full of gratitude take a couple of nice energising breathes, blink your eyes open and get ready to share your light with everyone during the NEW day ahead:)
2 Get moving and get OUTDOORS. Whether your a marathon runner or a leisure walker get moving! Try and experiment with new ways of exercising try a dance class, join a rowing team get creative here and remember that everything adds up! Also make sure you spend time every day outdoors and if possible in a nature too. Stand with your bare feet on the earth OFTEN- even if it’s just in the local community park!
3 Support Network- Speak Up! Remember to pay attention to who you are spending your precious company with. And if some people are no longer right for you don’t be afraid to spend less time with them all together. YOU deserve being around uplifting people to cheer you on as much as you cheer them on! And become a champion at asking for help too remembering that when we open our self up we are actually showing our ‘human’ side making it so much easier for everyone else to relate and relax around us. It also allows your friends to feel like they really add value to your life: That they are important for you as you are for them. If this is completely new to you start by only reaching out to people you feel 100% safe with at first. And give it time to grow- if you have always been in a friendship dynamic where YOU were always the one looking after everyone else then it will naturally take time for all involved to adjust to this NEW empowered YOU that knows what her/his needs and is not afraid to ask for it;) Be Kind To You. 4 Outsource your worries and concerns to a professional! Now that can mean anything! For some people that is the Universe/God/Angels etc for others it’s a doctor/specialist/leader etc and for others (me included!) it’s a mix of both. Bare in mind that what YOUare trying to conquer (google?!) by yourself someone else out there has studied and worked with in-depth for decades!! YOU are not meant to know it all! You are not here to do it all by yourself. Ask for help and notice how much more energy and time you will get in return. This one is truly magic if you like me have always thought you somehow was just meant to know and do it all- ALONE.
5 Affirmations. Change your mind change your life.
You have been (sub)consciously telling yourself the same old story your entire life i.e. what you can and can not do/be/say etc etc. So you are already VERY familiar with affirmations, only this time, as you start to cultivate a new story where YOU are the hero, those echoing thoughts will start to really uplift and inspire YOU to be even more the YOU that you came here to be. Start by noticing the old story- what thoughts do you repeatedly tell yourself about YOU? Then simply flip them on their head and make them into POSITIVE LOVINGSTATEMENTS in the PRESENT TENSE i.e.
Old story: I am never good enough- amazing things never happens to me.
New story: I am ALREADY worthy of ALL of the amazing things that the universe has to offer.
You see? It’s actually quite fun once you get going. KEEP practising, I promise this only ever gets easier and easier with time. EVERYTHING starts in the mind so by reprogramming yourself in this way you are literally building brand new neurological pathways!!! Sounds crazy? Crazy GOOD I say;)
Ps in the beginning this may well feel like your brainwashing yourself. And indeed you are- only this time the results will be magnificent as they will enable and empower YOU to be more RESILIENT, CONFIDENT, LOVING, COMPASSIONATE and FORGIVING than ever before. And that is most definitely worth it.
6 Joy. Write a list of what brings YOU joy and make sure to do at least one of these. Every. Single. Day. Can be anything from having your favourite tea/meeting a specific friend/reading/being in nature/driving your car/family/a hot bath/cooking etc etc
It is scientifically proven that it just isn’t possible to be super JOYFUL at the same time as being super stressed!! But most of the time we forget to incorporate JOY into our lives on an every day basics leaving it only for special occasions as if we need to have done something “good” in order to receive something. Like a reward system. As if simply existing as a human being isn’t enough?! Unfortunately that means most of us end of feeling like we have never done an achieved enough to deserve that day off / holiday/ to wear your favourite outfit/ prioritising your hobbies/perfume etc etc
Decide to let go of that old mind set that keeps you locked into a prison of living your life “small” as a caged animal that only comes out for fresh air and wild walks in the forrest when you have been “good”…. Schedule and write into your calendar every day at least one thing that brings you joy and then make it your goal to do it!
7 : Get the basics right: Nourishment for mind body and spirit.
It’s really true: we are so like nature. If a plant doesn’t get the right amount of sunshine/shade/water/soil etc it just won’t thrive. And each and every plant species differs to one another. Just like you and me. So getting the basics right are so so vital to how your mental, physical, emotional and even spiritual health thrives. Keep a journal for a week noting when you sleep, the amount and the quality, when and what you eat and drink and what, with whom and where you spend your time and how you feel doing it. Every evening before bed get your journal out and make a few simple notes about how your day went. How you felt throughout. After a week check back in and see if you can identify a pattern that works for you - making you feel uplifted and inspired. But also do the same for any patterns that leaved you drained and negative.
From there you are able to start identifying what works and doesn’t for YOU personally; and with this information you can go on to creating your unique OPTIMAL daily routines. If ever you get stuck ask yourself: ‘What nourishes me?’
versus ‘what depletes me’.
Try and get super specific here with who and what YOU spent your time with. Including food beverages, get your 8hrs of quality sleep, people, spaces and activities such as work and hobbies. Remember what you do creatively? What lights YOU up?What makes you feel at peace? Whether thats a massage, a walk in the park or a facial it ALL counts! Nothing is too little too vain too selfish its ALL about what matters to you!
8 : Prioritise YOU- Say GOODBYE to guilt. Yeahhh! Without YOU feeling good NOONE else around you will benefit. You really cant benefit others until your own cup of life energy is full. It’s a hard one for most of us however, remember that old saying on the airplanes about placing your own air mask first? Well.. enough said! Keep practising this I promise you it will only get easier with time. This is ALL about your sense of self worth and self esteem. All powerful concepts and themes we need to work with when we are wanting to build a strong mental health. Knowing and honouring our BOUNDARIES is vital to gaining the sense of self trust and sense love that we all need in order to rock at living our dreams. Whenever you wobble out of balance trying to please everyone else instead of your own desires and dreams see yourself at 91 years old. What would this wise, 91year old YOU say to you RIGHT NOW? Would she/he encourage you to go live your dreams or stay late at the office (AGAIN?).
Remember the ONLY one that will EVER look back on your life is YOU. How do YOU want to feel at 91? sad and frustrated you never made time for YOU? Or inspired by all the riches and fullness of the beautiful, adventurous life you lived….? The choice is yours and YOURSonly. Remember this always. 9 : Listen to your heart And WHATEVER is in it bring it out.Let it breathe! Share it with a friend or share it with the world BUT SHARE IT ALL. The good, the sad the shameful the delightful etc.
The more you share of YOU wholeheartedly the easier you will attract that perfect partner, friends, job etc. The perfect fit will arrive when YOU are ready to show the world your true colours!!! The law of attraction works like this: that which is likened upon itself is drawn. Ie if you are showing others that you are super self efficient but actually deeply long for supportive loving friends what do YOU think is gonna happen??? You are going to keep bumping into new people that only ever takes but never gives, never checks in with you, never asks how you are and if you need anything. Why? Because that was the message you sent out. And as you know what you send out you receive. So if you want authentic connections and relations and work that is truly aligned with your deepest desires and hopes then be COURAGES my loves and start showing all those sides of you. Ask for help, talk about what’s really going on in your heart and mind- especially at the times she you feel your most vulnerable. OPEN YOUR SELF UP so that you can RECIEVE. If the doors to your heart are shut and bolted tightly with a sign saying DANGER KEEP OUT- how can you expect to experience anything different?;)
10 : Spend time alone. And come to LOVE it. I am 100% an extrovert and thrives on human connection and being around people.
However so I used to think…
Until one day, after hitting “burn out” (which would happened several times a year) I realised that Im also 100% hyper sensitive and have an ability to sense and pick up on the energy of people, spaces and places. Damn!
So I had to completely change my routine around making sure I now only share myself within a capacity that feels right for me. Some days thats 90% out there. Some days thats 90% being with me myself and I “in here”. Even if you have a full time work and kids etc there are still options to be with YOU: get up 15 mins earlier, don’t take that phone call from your friend or get back to that late night work email, swap netflix with your partner for a little you time in the garden…
Making time to be entirely alone is essential to my own personal wellbeing and through my work as an energy healer I have come to meet so so many that share that same make up: they need to be around people to thrive whilst almost simultaneously also have a deep (often unknown) URGE to be alone.
Start small and keep adding… one day even take yourself on a mini weekend break away perhaps… Or just go to the cinema or to your favourite restaurant by yourself. CELEBRATEYOU.
Finally remember that a diamond ONLY gets stronger and even more powerful every time it takes a hit. That doesnt mean we should be wishing for more challenges to arrive (obviously!) however what it does is it gives us some perspective on what we are experiencing; it allows us to find purpose and meaning in what could otherwise easily feel totally overwhelming. Get comfortable with at times being uncomfortable- and get so crazy good at it you decide to share ALL your tools with everyone else around!
ALWAYS look for the silver lining; the blessings in the every lesson. Lets make a promise RIGHT HERE as your reading these lines to look after our self and one another.
Together. We. Rise.
All my love to you, xx Josephine