Signs you need some ‘me time’

We all experience the ups and downs of daily life, and some days will naturally be tougher than others… but how do you know you’ve really had enough, and it’s time to step back and take some time out for yourself? If you are experiencing two or more of the below, then it might be time to book in some annual leave ASAP and get the hell outta dodge:

 

1. You have no patience
We often feel like we’re rushing around in our busy modern lives, but when you find yourself steaming mad, smoke coming out of your ears because of some niggly little everyday thing that’s taking TOO BLOODY LONG it might be time to step back for a little perspective…

 

2. Everything seems niggly & annoying
Speaking of things that make us mad… actually if most of the things you do and experience during your day wind you up/ really grind your gears… the reality is it’s probably got more to do with you than with the rest of the world..

 

3 You’re tired but you can’t sleep
You find yourself lying awake again, counting the minutes and hours on an imaginary clock, or worse yet picking up your mobile phone to check how long it’s been since you last checked how long you’ve been lying there… and it’s not any one thing that you’re musing over because, well, it’s everything….

 

4. Your body is aching
Phantom aches and pains, sore shoulders, clicking backs…. stomach aches, eye aches, everything aches! It might be a sign of your age but more likely it’s a product of your environment and the pressures you are carrying with you, emotional baggage and little angers are heavy, man.

 

5. Your head is aching
You can’t think straight because you’ve been carrying around a headache that’s barely kept at bay by the magical elixir of Nurofen… but that’s the point, the headache isn’t going away no matter how many pills you pop and it’s not normal to wake up feeling like warmed up dog poo. Just because you’ve gotten used to feeling like crap, doesn’t mean it’s normal or right.

 

6. You can’t muster enthusiasm for catching up with friends or family
Infact, if anyone invites you to another ‘thing’ or talks about how they never see you anymore, you’re going to flush your mobile phone down the loo. Never mind the guilt you’ve created all by yourself for not spending time with your loved ones… you can’t take it if they bring it up too. You don’t know whether you’re mad or teary about this. So many feels.

 

7. Getting out of bed is tough
Leaving the wonder and majesty of a warm and comfy bed is difficult at the best if times, but if you find yourself snoozing till you have no time to bathe and/or brush your teeth before taking off like a bat out of hell for the morning commute… It might be a sign you either A) hate your job, or B) need a break, or C) a little of both.

There are a million reasons you can create to tell yourself you can’t take some time off/time out, but there are equally as many reasons (if not more) to make this happen. Even a short break can reset your batteries, though the longer the better.

(The irony is, about 3/4 of the way through this break you couldn’t take, you’ll lament not arranging just a couple of days more…. )

 

Sometimes we just need a reminder that life is actually pretty bloody fantastic, and if we aren’t getting joy from how we’re living our lives, perhaps it’s time we changed that.

Insomnia…

For the past week or so I have been having a “sleep tight” tisane from T2 when I head to bed and read my book. And for the first time in living memory, I have been sleeping through the night. Some insomnia sufferers have trouble getting to sleep, some have trouble staying asleep – for me it’s always been both.

I can’t even capture in words what it means to have an un-broken sleep.. when you’ve had insomnia for as long as you can remember, you just get to a point where you never feel like you’ll be truly rested again.. you learn to get by.

You become somewhat of an expert at coping, by employing methods like meditation, no caffeine after 10am, cutting down alcohol, sympathetic yoga poses and the like… the elusive restful nights sleep requires a different concoction for every person – just as no two finger prints are the same, the path to restful sleep is unique.

After around 10 days of unbroken sleep, I think my recipe goes a little something like this:

 

Routine:
Go to bed at the same time every night, your body responds to routine and ‘winding down’ for sleep will become something your body automatically does, if you train it to do so.

 

Caffeine & alcohol:
Just don’t. As tempting as it is to pop 5mg of melatonin and knock it back with a glass of red wine to get to sleep – that blissful-ness of dropping off quickly isn’t worth the broken sleep to follow. You’re better to glide into sleep naturally, following your body’s rhythm, then to force the ‘drop’..
Likewise caffeine – do not be tempted to duck out for a triple shot flat white at 3pm to get you through an insanely busy time at work – you’re tired because you have too much work on, and your body is speaking to you. The tiredness is natural, propping yourself up with caffeine to get through is just punishing yourself in the long term.

 

Meditation:
If you can’t sleep – at least rest your mind. If you can’t rest it alone – find a guided meditation app: iTunes even has free ones…. it takes you away because you shift your intense focus to what they are saying, and you naturally, slowly, easily start to relax… white noise is also particularly good, I often fall asleep to a recording of rain..

 

Daydreaming:
If you’re relaxed but not quite ready to drop off… slip into a daydream… I often imagine I’m a character in one of my novels… or imagine that I’m in a beautiful place of solitude, a little haven of my own where I rest, relax, meditate, do yoga etc… I’ve imagined this place so intently I can now slip into it whenever I like… I play the rain track, imagine I’m there listening to the rain… And I slowly, naturally, drift to sleep..

 

Yoga:
A friend recently sent me a link to a supported yoga pose that really helps with insomnia, yoga in general is just the best friend of sleep and mindfulness. Get it in ya life.

 

Stress:
Some stresses you can cut out (like toxic people and environments that are negative for you) and some stresses you can ease but have to work through… wherever you can, try to cut stress out of your life, but also remember you are the master of your life and only YOU can control how you react to life’s trying times. Deep breaths, physically changing your state (ie actually getting up and walking away) and talking about your emotions can go a long way to keeping things in perspective. THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

 

Good food:
Your body responds to what you put it in and around…. so when it comes to food, be mindful of what you put in and around your mouth! Choose your nutrition with intent, make your food with love, and most of all, enjoy the pleasure of creating and experiencing good food. Juices, fresh vegetables, free-farmed meats, organic wherever possible, taste, flavour. Love your body and it will love you in return.

 

The biggest thing I’ve had to learn on the journey to restful sleep is to listen to my body… we’re not some machine that experiences the same inputs day in day out… our lives are in a constant state of flux, and the inputs and experiences we have change constantly… but sleep is like oxygen… we need it to live.. and the quality of our sleep effects our quality of life…

Listen to your body, be gentle with yourself. Stretch. Smile. Laugh. Sing. Lift your face to the sun. Dance in the rain. Be present. Dream beautiful dreams.

Reflection.. feminine mid-life crises?

Ok serious question: why does it take until we are sick, and HAVE to stop, to allow us time to make us put on the brakes and reflect on our lives?

I’ve recently been diagnosed with menorrhagia and fibroids and quite literally been forced to stop over the past 6 weeks. For someone who is constantly on the move thats tricky to say the least… It’s been a harrowing and stressful time (mainly because of how long it’s taken to get a diagnosis and treatment plan) and for what is actually quite a common problem for women.

It’s not until I had to explain why I’ve been off work and barely left the house that I’ve realised how many of us really suffer to some degree with this stuff. Up to 25% of women at some stage in their lives will have these symptoms and issues.

I didn’t know any of this until it started happening to me…. (and it’s quite simply one of the scariest experiences I’ve had..) so why don’t we know about this? Why do so many so many women suffer from varying degrees of this but no one talks about it?

….and why on earth does it take a catalyst of this degree before we stop and really assess our general health and well being?

So I’ve been reflecting on my habits, my lifestyle and just generally taking a good long hard look at myself. I think in our 20’s there’s a general feeling of invincibility… the ageing process hasn’t really even begun and we can take our bodies for granted, knowing full well that they will bounce back with the vigour and vitality of youth…

Not so in your thirties! With all of the wisdom, financial stability and vague smugness of our personal sexual revolution… brings the inevitable process of coming to grips with our own mortality. (be that a rogue wrinkle that appears overnight and forces us to accept the aging process, or a medical issue typically associated with those childbearing years…)

And so we reflect….. and OH BOY once you start down that road it feels like you are getting to know yourself all over again… “but I survived my twenties and I’m really together now – why am I here again? Haven’t I figured this all out already?”

Do we call it a mid-life crises? If so why do we go all introverted and reflecting instead of buying a big red penis extension sports car? As women are we destined to forever question ourselves until the day we shake off this mortal coil?

I hope so.

It’s far too easy to take things like your health (mental, physical and spiritual) for granted, and get so caught up running around trying to do all the things, and be all the things that we tend to lose ourselves in this noise and activity.

  • When was the last time you did something purely for YOU, for your own pleasure – for the simple enjoyment of it?
  • When was the last time you spent time relaxing, meditating and just generally stopping to enjoy being alone with yourself?
  • When was the last time you thought gentle, loving thoughts about yourself, or reminded yourself just how awesome you are?

The irony is these things are free.. And take less time and effort than your morning bathroom routine. And if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will?

So as I move towards my milestone birthday, followed closely by surgery that will hopefully get me on my feet and kicking butt again…. I’m using this time where I am literally stuck in bed to reflect… to spend time focussing on the things that make me happy, to visualise myself enjoying things to come, and to put in place the things I need to continue looking after my mental, physical and spiritual health well into the future.

Hey, it’s not a bright shiney red sports car, but something tells me I’ll get more mileage from it.

Hungry for change

Not long ago I watched a fabulous little doco called “hungry for change” – which happened to come into my life as I’d already been making some different lifestyle choices around diet, and trying to reduce the amount of chemicals I expose myself to through processed food, body products and cleaning products..

What this awesome little doco does is paint a very real picture of how little we do in modern day society to support ourselves feeling healthy & vital.. and how our current lifestyle goes against our very nature. Really interesting stuff.

It’s amazing what happens when you cut down on things like sugar and refined carbs in your diet, and start eating natural.. you have more energy, a strengthened immune system, you sleep better, concentrate longer.. it’s just magic!

It’s not really realistic to cut ALL of this from your everyday life… but it’s truly remarkable what even small changes can do for you… and how those small changes lead to other small changes..

Would totally recommend this doco, link to the trailer is here

Meditation

One the most effective and tangible ways to combat stress & fatigue is the use of meditation in your day to day life…

It’s a way to calm and focus the mind, reconnect with the body and remind ourselves to be PRESENT in our lives.

And it’s easier than you’d think to get started.. I used to meditate a lot when I was younger, and really enjoyed meditation as part of yoga practice.. I wanted to bring this back to my life again, but really struggled initially…

Isn’t it always the way..? When you most need to calm yourself/ slow your mind you end up winding yourself up more with thoughts of: “am I doing this right? how come I can’t still my thoughts? did I get any meat out for dinner? crap! I forgot to call that client!”

So, ever the organiser and seeker of more efficient and effective approaches to everything, I stumbled upon an easy way to get back into, or start bringing meditation into your life: download a guided meditation audio, or a meditation app from iTunes.

Seriously – they work. I use the apps and they are great.

I have one that I can set for anywhere from 7-15 minutes that’s designed for a work break, a sleep app that has specific guided meditations for insomniacs like myself, and a specific app for ‘simply being’.. it’s wonderful actually.

One of the biggest barriers people put up about meditation is not having the time or space to do it.. the guided mediation creates a space through sound and music – and honestly if you don’t have 7 minutes to spend on yourself there is a serious issue.

Meditation has been proven to help concentration and even boost creativity – but the biggest benefit I get from this personally is the ability to be present – and not caught up in the noise and irrelevant stresses and dramas of day to day life. I feel like I am calmer, and I have better energy to put out into my world – which means I’m getting awesome stuff back.

Even if you do this 5 minutes a day, for 10 days… you will notice the change. Such a small investment for such tangible returns..

 

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