Tag Archives: self care

Out of my head

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This has been a long, long week of lectures and driving. We are packing all the academic stuff in before placement starts, theatres, followed by an elective surgery ward…

In this long week I have struggled to sleep and have been in a state of high anxiety for most of the time.

My artist sister and my lovely hairdresser/friend both extolled the words of Eckhart Tolle, especially his book, The Power of Now….I had a wee look and listen to him on a YouTube clip and did not warm to his slightly wombat like countenance. (Not that I don’t like wombats, I think they are gorgeous, and think me cruel, judgemental, whatever, but if I want to open my mind, I need to feel it is in the right place and time and with the right person)…BUT, after picking up a Deepak Chopra book for 57p, which was simple and similar to a lot of such writing, I put it aside and gave old Eckhart another listen while knitting my socks. (Yes, thank you, they are coming on nicely, progress picture soon..).

Some of it struck a nerve and reminded me of sessions with the counsellor about not living in my head, which is full of what ifs, fear, anxiety and other unhealthy emotions. The trick is to ‘step out of it’, out of the thoughts and leave them behind. I did some stepping out and in some ways it is no different to the old school ‘pull yourself together’ process, only the imagery is nicer and it feels like a CHOICE.

So I am working hard on choosing to be less worried and fretful and to work down my lists, to be gentle and kinder to myself and allow the blips.

 

 

 

 

Sock it to me

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For so long I have supressed my love of making things so that I can focus on nursing.Youngest daughter still has an unfinished crochet blanket (that she was meant to take to uni with her…) and this week I sewed in all the ends and started the border. I hope she can take it back after Easter.

I also fell in love with this  blog  and have stared on my first pair. I could not, could not, could not match the yarn. The kitchen was literally festooned with sock yarn last night while trying to find two bits that match….I know my socks will be wonky, but this is the first attempt and they will be hidden in shoes much of the time.

Making things is therapeutic, rhythmic, soothing and crochet, especially for me ,is zen like. I just do it and don’t worry about anything while going through the motions.

Socks require deep thought, but that is healthy too, it challenges the brain.

So, with a little outlet for my creative side and a very long walk under our belts this morning, the day is feeling good.

The dam bursts

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An email was waiting when I got home from my lovely hairdresser’s with a smart new – no longer silver at the roots – cut.

Nasty and mean about me and the girls. It was like a slap. Out of the blue. I cried after reading it. Then, wrote back. The long and the short of it was a furious exchange in which he demanded clarification, explanations and justifications. I laid it all out and gave him the option to take it or leave it.

Then the dam burst I think, on his side. He has been really suffering, tormenting himself with questions and what ifs. The last few emails were gentler, kinder, more introspective and accepting. I hope he now realises that anger and resentment do not allow us time to grieve and that by actually admitting how he feels to himself, it will help him.

He says he is looking forward to moving on and having a better relationship with me now. I am hoping too that this will be possible.

We all come to terms with things at different rates and in different ways. It is easy (as any reader of this will know) to be one sided and forget about how others may feel.

Although I write about my side all the time, I do know there is his side. I have always hoped that at some point some acceptance of his role in the end of our marriage would be forthcoming. There is no great sense of glory, now that it has. It has just lifted a great cloud and cleared the way for both of us to get on with our own lives and, that part of our lives that still overlap.

 

 

 

 

 

Learning from life

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A young Nepalese classmate came up to me after the last lecture yesterday and whispered in my ear that she wanted me to know that I am her inspiration. She is beautiful, intelligent and has an elegant sense of peace. It was moving and flattering.

Then I came home, drank too many glasses of wine, watched too much rubbish on the iPlayer and looked at pictures of the ex on the ‘net…..sad indeed. Bet my little Nepalese friend would not be so impressed with that version of me! I am certainly not.

As a result, I have spent a large part of today thinking hard about who and what sort of person I am at this stage in life. I am not happy with myself, although not unhappy with life per se. The future is exciting, I am fortunate with all I have both material and opportunity wise. Thanks to bloggers all over, I am learning how to live a more streamlined, frugal life, BUT, I could still be more caring, thoughtful, reflective and respectful.

It is important to learn from life’s slip ups. That young woman sees a version of me that I would like to be more often. Without being false.  She has helped me reflect and face a few rude truths and I am grateful.

 

 

 

A sense of order

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With all that is going on and the way my mind works (a bit like a spinning top) it is very easy to get sucked into a state where it all just seems TOO MUCH.

Living alone, I recognise that it is always going to be up to me to get on with things, no-one to nag or remind me and no one to help or to share the load. It isn’t bad though. I get to do things how and when I like…but I am very, very easily distracted.

I also recognise that by focusing on things, one at a time, there is a higher chance that tasks will be completed, done well and in time (if there are deadlines).

My lovely friend LE gave me a ‘Things to do Today’ pad and it is so cool it took over a week for me to write in it!!! Grand were my plans for it…..

It has its first list in it now. Stuff on paper that no longer has to jostle for space in my head. A MANAGEABLE list.

The relentless 9-6 (or 7) days are coming to an end soon and there will be time to do the things that I worry about. It is liberating to see them written down and I feel a bit more relaxed.

The charity shop has a new driver too and they will be coming to get the furniture in a day or two….woohoo.

 

 

 

History repeats…..embarrassingly

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While trawling the ‘net for bits that I have written over the years, to stick in a portfolio of sorts, this article appeared. Awkward!! . That was 10 years ago….The photo is really dodgy, that bouffant hair was the creation of a ‘stylist’ that the magazine sent me to. It bobbed up and down when I walked!

Interesting that in those days it was all about getting back out there and if I were to write the story now? Completely different, I can tell you.

 

 

 

What it’s worth

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The Grim Challenge was a big success for the four young things who ran today. Bitter cold winds but gorgeous sunshine made it ok for the few spectators as well. They were soaking and shivering and covered in mud when they got back to the car. The turnout was great and loads of charities were represented.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Grim Challenge, Aldershot, 7/2/2016

There was talk on the way home of getting the mothers to run as well next year….

While waiting for the runners to finish, the smell of coffee and hotdogs was tempting, but at £4.00 for a sausage in a bun and £3.00 for a coffee, there was no way I could afford to or would want to pay that amount….

Of late, my long term financial situation has been playing on my mind. At 55 with only about 7 years of work under my belt in the UK, my State pension pot is paltry. It will be about 18 months before I can hope to work full time again and despite efforts to find a Saturday job, it has not happened (yet).

I am a good saver and big believer in putting pennies away. The problem is that it is hard to save when there is no income! Yes, I do live off the joint account at present, but as He in Paradise is always checking the ins and outs of it, I am careful about purchases.

I mentioned my student loan recently. I invested part of that in a crowd-funding property deal, buying a small share in a rental property in Manchester. The returns (not guaranteed of course) look good. I also have been a long term investor in a peer to peer lending scheme. It returns an average of 4% per annum, which in this market is great.  This type of passive income is good but in order for it to have any significant financial reward, one needs a lot of money invested. At present only the odd tenner can be popped in, now and then.

Without a load of money one needs to be frugal, and I notice that of late, more thought goes into purchases. Where cash back or discounts (or both) can be used they are. £2 coins go in a tin that cannot be opened (need a can opener) and £5 notes are saved. A friend taught me this one. Any £5 s that end up in my wallet at the end of the day are removed and banked at the end of the week.

I have been experimenting with a capsule wardrobe too and after a week of wearing the same ‘uniform’ (washed in between), not a person has commented, which goes to show how much anyone notices, and that we all worry too much about what we wear!

So, all this has inspired me, for what it’s worth, to persist with the collection of pennies, the making of packed lunches and wearing a capsule wardrobe….it all adds up to savings for my dotage.

 

 

 

 

 

Writing from a warm bed – and an update later in the day

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Wind is tossing the birds about and rain is lashing against the window. Eldest Daughter and I were up till about 2:30 this morning. It was a celebration of sorts. The end of the semester (the essay was submitted 5 hours before the deadline) for me and acceptance for her about her recent breakup. We watched The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp. It was a hoot and just right for a bit of silliness after all the recent angst.

Just before submission and reading through the thing, again, I began to worry that the question had not been answered properly. It’s bit of a problem when one doesn’t even know if it HAS been answered or not too…….In fact that wee worm of worry lingers still. Time will tell. Academic writing is hard work, non of this blog-like rambling allowed!

There are now four days of no academic commitment. Four whole days for US, for getting stuck into the house, cleaning it (nasty!), ridding it of more THINGS and getting ready for the day I move.

It also means Eldest Daughter can have more of my attention, she has been very patient with me locked away day and night, writing. And she is brilliant at editing and referencing, really helpful….She needs loads of TLC right now and I am happy that we are going to get a bit of time for that.

We might not get the best weather over the next few days, so long seaside walks may be off the cards, but we can still hang out and have fun be good to ourselves and each other.

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After a slow morning reading blogs, loving Zero Waste Home especially, Daughter and I headed to town, she had things to see to. We ate lunch out, something healthy for me and comforting for her. (I know I said I was going to be frugal, but we were both tired and somewhat delicate after last night….).

We had a poke around the charity shops, but spent nothing there. The weather continued to be horrible and town was very quiet.

Once home I tackled part of the garage. A sideboard and sofa are to go, as well as the dining table and chairs from inside the house, but the sideboard had to be emptied.

For shame! Boxes of new, unopened wine glasses in the original carrier bag….they never even made it into the house. They have probably been there 6 years, or more? Dozens more cut glass and crystal glasses that he has had for more than twenty five years, plates, a whopping big cafetiere, faded old placemats and a broken Tiffany lamp (not allowed to chuck it because he might fix it one day….). Decisions were made. Some items went into his keep pile – i.e. I cannot decide for him so they will go to him and he can take over. The new glasses will come with me to replace the odd collection I have. A big box of stuff went to the charity shop and the rest went to the tip.

I even got to empty motor oil into the giant ‘can’ for that purpose at the tip and was really chuffed.

When I dropped off the bits to the Red Cross, the lady told me the van has broken down and they won’t be collecting this week after all. Pity really as I was looking forward to seeing the space in the garage. Another time….

Finally, another one of the drawers in the kitchen has been streamlined down to ONE of everything THAT I ACTUALLY USE (except chopsticks, we have a few pairs of those). Things not used are all on the way out.

Yes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All at sea

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It has been a bit of a bumpy ride since the exam. Nothing dreadful, just out of sorts and not myself. Lost focus and lots of niggles.

It feels like pieces of a jigsaw are missing. I can’t move till I find a house and I can’t look for one until the flat sells, and He who lives in paradise is concerned that plummeting stock markets have made it difficult for him to produce the dosh etc, and it is all a mishmash of things not happening.

A 3000 word essay is due Tuesday night and I am about half way through. I have lost my drive. It was the one thing that kept me going, the degree, nursing and the future, but right now, even that has gone. (It will return, but it is not a good feeling when my true passion has faded).

It is a matter of (again) re-evaluating, making priorities, and taking manageable steps to get things done.

It does not help that apart from dog walks there has been no serious exercise. Endorphins really do work!

Oldest daughter had a blip at uni this week, boyfriend and other things and has been packed off home for a few days by her tutor for some TLC. It is hard when you are young and have to learn about the painful side of love. She arrives tomorrow. Having her here will be nice, although she warns me that she plans to sleep a lot!

I have vowed to do SOMETHING on the essay tonight , just to feel as though progress is being made. I have also downloaded ENDOMONDO on my phone – an app I used to have and used all the time.

I do this, flounder and then attempt to rally and boost myself up again,  we all do no doubt. But it is a bit like being all at sea, bobbing around, waiting for other things to fall into place so that I can get on.

But one thing happened today that was very unusual and very welcome. A large sum of money hit my account from Student Finance. I immediately allocated it to various places that will cover upcoming expenses, to my cash ISA and have some left which I plan to invest! (Part of my plan to put something towards my dotage as I do not have a pension here….). There are some who might think that student finance is for living on, it is, but I am so frugal at the moment that I do not for now, have to touch it. That may change when I come to buy my new home, so it may as well work for me while it can!

Wall Street – watch out!!!

why do we feel bad about getting help?

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I was at the uni today, the plan was to gym then study, before seeing the Head of the programme, but ‘the best laid schemes of mice and men…’ etc etc….

My nose has been streaming and it is bitterly cold so it was warm woollies and tissues for me all day, no sitting in a draughty library and no lycra!

When with the Head, she suggested given my current situation that I should apply for extenuating circumstances….this reeks of failure and weakness and all sorts of negative stuff. She patiently explained that if I were NOT going through this whole divorce, moving out, adjusting etc thing, then they would expect that the only thing that would impede my work would be me. However, with all this going on it is not likely that I am performing at my best. (True).  I talked it over with LE and tonight have submitted a request. It means that I can do the work but if I do not do well I can have another go without punishment. Not sure how fair it sounds, but I do know that I have been diligent and have only missed two days. I have worked long and hard at all aspects of the course and on placement, but really felt as if I was floundering before the exam.

Makes me wonder why it is sometimes so hard to accept the help offered.