The perfect self-care for a stormy Saturday afternoon - taking a break from writing to meet friends for cocktails.
Just as I suspected. The post about having a crappy week was spot on, as many of you Modern Women have informed me.
I must admit, I had a bit of apprehension about sharing too much about myself with you all. Writing about my thoughts are very therapeutic to me, so sometimes it feels like this is as much for me as it is for you. I guess that’s not a bad thing. I didn’t doubt myself too long, because right away, I started getting emails, messages, and phone calls from people telling me how much what I wrote resonated with them and helped give clarity. A lot of people were in the same place as me.
Sometimes people get put into boxes. The people around think they only act one specific way, like being happy all the time. So, when the person has a bad day or doesn’t have a 100% positive attitude, it disrupts the worldview of the people who boxed them in. Recently I told a woman about “being in a dark place.” She told me she couldn’t imagine me ever shedding a tear. I assured her that although I can’t ugly cry for some reason, I certainly shed tears. Everyone does.
There’s a lot of suffering in the world. In a conversation recently, my mom said that she can’t imagine that anyone can make it well into adulthood without experiencing some kind of trauma. Yet, although we all have varying degrees of it in our lives, it’s one of those things we don’t talk about. And in talking about it, I don’t mean rehashing the past. I mean having conversations about how we can transcend it and keep moving forward. Our trauma doesn’t define us. It gives us new strengths and makes us who we are. We need to talk about this because no one can work through this on their own.
I met Janet Federico last year when she volunteered, out of the blue, to work the Finishing School booth with me at the Women’s Fair. Hanging out with her for a few hours, and getting to know her better, was one of the highlights of the fair for me. She’d just started up Thrive ICT and learning more about her mission to help survivors of trauma inspired me. That afternoon we started working on a class for the Finishing School but struggled a bit over what the class would be.
Attending and speaking at the 9 to Thrive conference earlier this year, set a fire under me. You may remember me writing about it. Janet and I met last week to flush out our new class – Picking up the Pieces: Transcending Trauma, scheduled for the first time on Tuesday, July 9. Although this is a bit of a tough topic, I couldn’t be more excited about this class. What I’ve learned from Janet on this topic is life changing in how to transcend, not live with it. The class is chock full of coping techniques to give the skills and awareness it takes to say “goodbye” to distress in a secure way. I hope you’ll join us. I promise it will be uplifting.
Thanks to our readers, I have more coping techniques for your toolbox. There were so many useful tips, and many people sent in big, juicy lists of ideas. I’m sharing a sample of them here. One of my favorite things about the Finishing School is the exchange of knowledge and ideas in our safe space, and how no one is as smart as everyone together. Wouldn’t be nice to have access to all the brilliance of our tribe beyond the classroom? (Could that be a hint of things to come?)
From Haley: During especially hard weeks, I ensure I carve out time to go visit our rescue donkey & horse. Hanging out with my equine pals have always been good for my anxiety, and even more so into adulthood.
From Heather: I like to go camping...or even a day at the lake with limited phone time. We use them for cameras but try to keep other apps to a minimum. Ride my bike, this one probably needs to go to the top of the list. It is easy, and I can do it with minimal fuss. Run errands by myself.
From Lezlee: I tend to nap a great deal when I’m sluggish and sitting on the swing outside watching the dogs run so carefree brings me back to me.
From Nancy: Never underestimate the power of Let It Whip by The Daz Band. My go-to for unfunking my mood with funk. Also, I cannot ever NOT smile while jumping on the mini trampoline I got for free from my neighbor’s trash. AND apparently, it works miracles on your lymphatic system. Jumping WHILE LISTENING TO LET IT WHIP? Off the charts happiness.
From Amy: What keeps me going is the relationship I have with myself, my integrity, my ongoing development as a human, doing what’s right even when others are not, taking a stand for myself and others in the face of adversarial life situations. It’s the web of connection we all have with one another, making eye contact and communicating (without words) I am here, and I am with you.
From Amanda: Change my hair. You know that $**t has hit the fan if I have a crazy new ‘do. Not sure why but I take out major loss of control on my hair...I think it is because it is something I CAN CONTROL at that point in time, and anything radical can be fixed going forward as hair continues to grow. And hats are cute... It may also be my way of having an outward sign that elicits comments or conversations from others when I need community the most.
1) Do what you can and let God do the rest
2) Take care of your body and your health
3) Spend quality time with the people you love
From Lisa: The way I care for myself in times of stress is by taking my camera and going out to search for beauty. When I’m out in nature, I stop focusing on the daily struggles and instead use the camera as my eyes. Through the camera lens, I notice tiny, beautiful things that I otherwise would miss. It’s a reminder that I’m one small part of a much bigger and miraculous world. Perspective is everything.
From Jeanne: I try to allow myself to enjoy something without judging myself about it being too shallow, trivial, or a waste of time. I create something like cookies, a garment, or a pretty view. I try to balance accomplishing needed tasks with wanted ones and make a physical note of it so I can see it adding up and ‘counting.’ I remind myself that what I am able to do around here is valued and appreciated, even if not perfectly done. I repeat to myself that I am loved and valued for who I am, not just for what I can do and I keep saying it even if I can’t quite believe it myself in that moment.
From Christina: Get moving: No, not everyone can lace up a pair of tennis shoes and go running, but coupled with your “get outside” strategy, just taking a short walk clears my head and helps me sort the unimportant from the important. I do my best planning when I’m out on a run! Pay attention to the surrounding nature, too. Let the wind & sun hit you in the face. Stop & smell the roses. Or put on some good lively music & dance like no one’s watching.
From Jessie: And my final coping mechanism was bitching. I let all my friends in on the saga of a project and how difficult a task was or how difficult the people were or how difficult my life was and how I couldn't sleep at night. Yadda yadda. I say this one in the past tense, because I got so fed up with it I finally changed it out for silence. But boy, I was good at it for a while. SUCH a martyr. And every once in a while, it'll try to creep back in and that's when I stop talking. People think I'm a good listener but sometimes I'm just trying not to bitch about something.
My big take away is that we’re all struggling to do the best we can, despite what horribleness and tragedy life throws at us. Why not be as kind as possible to everyone around us? Remember – when in doubt, act with love. It will make you feel better too.
Modern Women are so smart!