Goodbye week. A week full of stress. I’m glad to see the back of you.
This week has been pretty dreadful. A series of snow days, whilst full of wonder and joy for the children, meant another week where work was done in the wee small hours, bringing with it an almost inevitable sluggish tiredness, grey bags under my eyes that just about meet my knees and causing me to take my eye of the ball once again. I had to cancel a long overdue hair appointment, missed a similarly long overdue catch up with an old friend and ate far to much chocolate when that was the last thing standing as my cupboards began to resemble those of Old Mother Hubbard during #snowmaggedon (OK 4.5 inches – we Brits do love to exaggerate).
Add to that the fact that my husband forgot to tell me that my much lusted after pair of leopard skin print shoes (that had finally come down to an acceptable price in the post Christmas sales) had been sitting in store for so long that they returned them to their depot…yeah thanks for that.
So when I headed out to town on Saturday, to be forcefully cheered up with a shocking cup of coffee in Costa, a chance encounter with an old acquaintance nearly tipped me over the edge. I felt miserable and frumpy, sorry for myself and seriously lacking in the L’Oreal factor and stressed. Panicked and stressed.
If you have never had a panic attack I hope you never do. They are pretty awful, leaving you short of breath, dizzy, over emotional and feeling sick. I wedged myself firmly between my three children, necked a scalding cappuccino and left the building.
This hasn’t happened to me in months, it’s not something I like to talk about. I’m one of those people who looks like she always has her shit together. However, through some fairly intense life coaching, years of experience and some very good friends, I have a number of tried and tested coping mechanisms.
When my coach suggested keeping a journal to document my thoughts and feelings, my achievements and low points, I groaned inwardly. Another thing to do, another portion of time I needed to find. What good would it do? Well the answer is it does me the power of good. I used to keep a diary religiously as a teen, looking back on them now, those insurmountable teenage emotional mountains look so simple as I navigate the minefield of adult drama whilst trying to be a kick-ass business mum. I used to draw all my diaries, I found one of them the other day and will share it on instagram (try not to cringe if you find you feature in it!). Somehow writing it all down, or drawing how you feel, puts life in perspective, it can smooth out the bumps and flatten down the sharp edges. Today I bought myself a new bullet journal (any excuse for new stationery!) – I’ll let you know how I get on!
Keep a ‘gratitude jar’
I have a pretty little vintage tin, that unbeknown to the rest of my family, is crammed full of little notes to self, notes reminding myself of all the wonderful things I have to be thankful for. My delicious children, my happy home, my love of books, the kind chap in Tesco who nudged me in the supermarket queue and told me to keep my chin up, the handsome young man who helped me haul heavy bags into the boot as my little girl fell over and split her knees open and cried snotty tears into her sleeve, the heat of the woodburner on chilly nights with the wind roaring, a third (yes third!) showing of the Greatest Showman with my girls.
Find a quiet spot where you feel peaceful
When the proverbial hits the fan I escape. I tend to drive to a quiet country spot and just sit. Sit and let it all wash over me for a while. If I lived closer to the sea I would head there with a flask of hot coffee and a packet of Werthers (don’t ask, I couldn’t explain it!).
Go for a drink or seven with someone who makes you laugh
After the Costa debacle on Saturday, the very last thing I wanted to do was go to a friends for drinks. I wanted to hole up in my PJs and watch crap telly. But out I went and laughed til I cried. Life looked better.
Listen to your favourite music – LOUD
Think of a time in your life when you felt amazing, seriously shit-hot fabulous and take yourself back in time with some crazy tunes. For me it takes me back to the early 90’s with loud Indie music and memories of the Leadmill in Sheffield. With only a little imagination and mentally taking 2o-0dd years off, I can transport myself back in time to a very different version of me!
Cook Soul Food
Feed yourself better. Seriously. Drink lots of water, eat lots of delicious food and share it with people you love. In our house a serious roast dinner cures all a manner of ills from a bad day to a broken heart – to serious rage over the lost leopard skin shoes!
In our house this doesn’t come easy. A six year old prone to night terrors, a puppy prone to causing menace and destruction and a husband who my daughter says sounds like a sleeping gruffalo, doesn’t make for a peaceful night. Grab the chance when you can though. You can’t drive on an empty tank.
Wear something that makes you feel amazing
It could be a fabulous pair of shoes (leopard skin print ones would do the trick!), amazing underwear or a favourite pair of earrings. Find something that makes you feel fabulous, even if everyone at the school gates will pitch a fit. When I told my youngest that I wanted to wear something special to make me feel nice she brought me a penne pasta necklace she made when she was four. Not quite the look I had in mind but do you know, it did the trick.
Do you know that a child laughs on average 300 times a day whereas an adult laughs less than 20 times. Laugh with your children, laugh at the telly, find a meme that makes you howl, go out with someone who makes you chuckle, listen to a hilarious podcast. There has to be something…