Scaling the six month wall

How are you?

 

And how are you looking after yourself right now?

 

Because looking after yourself is more important than ever.

 

With the kids back at school (for some of us) and new routines starting to feel familiar, perhaps there's finally a little bit of time to notice how you’re actually feeling.

 

And when we do, we don’t always find the joy and positivity we hope for.

 

Instead, we might notice how hard it has been to be stretched in so many directions for so long, without enough encouragement and support. We might have to acknowledge the difficult feelings that have been niggling away deep down -  the stuff that we squashed in order to cope with all that life was throwing at us - as we can’t keep that stuff suppressed for ever.

 

If you’re finding it hard right now, you are most certainly not alone. This is a really challenging time to be a parent - to be a human - to be a sensitive caring human parent, especially.

 

You’ve already been through so much. You’re still going through it. You’re worried about what’s to come. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of problems to face in the world, let alone the daily battles within you. Sometimes it’s a struggle to find a hopeful way forward.

 

Can you allow yourself to feel all that, without judgement or criticism - simply because that’s what’s going on for you right now?

 

And can you remember that those feelings of overwhelm are a call to rest? A call to do less. A call to listen to your body and ask it what it really needs (it’s probably sleep, it’s usually sleep… along with better hydration, more movement, and some tender nurturing… but ask, and listen).

A child sleeps on her mother's chest: rest for both. Finding rest when you feel overwhelmed as a mother.

It’s a call to make time for yourself.

 

A call to find an easier option for just now, in fact, lots of easier options, as many as you need.

 

Even if they don’t tick all your ‘perfect’ boxes. Even if they don’t live up to your expectations of yourself.

 

This is a call to give yourself some compassion, so you can offer that to others.

 

I read a really helpful tweet thread from Dr Aisha Ahmad (you can read the full thread here) last week in which she shared her experience of working in disaster zones to help us all understand more about the ‘six month wall’ many of us seem to be facing around now.

 

It’s no surprise. We’ve been in crisis mode - a global pandemic - for six months or so, and that’s a point at which people commonly hit a wall. At this point, we slump, struggle, fear the future, dread the winter, and wonder how we will ever keep going. We just want to get away and leave it all behind.

 

Dr Ahmad’s experience of working in crisis zones has taught her that this feeling is real - and common. It lasts for a few weeks, and then we start to get our resources back again.

 

In between, we find a way to be gentle with ourselves, and to manage. Dr Ahmad suggests that we notice all the changes to which we’ve already successfully (or relatively successfully!) managed to adapt; reduce our expectations of ourselves; and find ways to metaphorically ‘escape’, even when we’re stuck at home.

 

(Speaking of a desire to escape, last week I shared my Parenting Lesson 37 - all about the challenge of Covid testing the kids. Fortunately they’re fine, but if you’re wondering what that’s like, or you can sympathise with that particular struggle, you can read all about it here.)

 

A heart shaped cloud in the sky - finding ways to escape when life feels overwhelming

So how might you escape when you need to?

 

For me right now, it’s reading novels, flicking through a magazine with beautiful photos, getting into the bath and practising calming my breathing, swimming in the sea, walking amongst trees, watching a cheesy movie with the kids, or grabbing some time to watch a TV series with my husband once they’ve gone to bed. It’s listening to music, dancing, creating, and laughing.

 

What’s on your list?

 

Make an 'escape' plan and look after yourself. Give yourself time to escape - and know that you will come back stronger.  Keep reaching out for support. We can get through this together.

 

With all that’s been going on, I haven’t hosted a Mamas’ Retreat Party in ages, so I’d love to see you all. Come and share how you’re doing, and we can support each other on Weds 21 October from 8.30 to 9.30 in Mamas’ Everyday Retreat.

 

As always, if you’d like some extra support, I’m available for one to one coaching sessions -  I’ll share a bit more about that below.

 

Sending you love, as always. This too will pass. There will be more challenges, and probably some more six month walls to pause at - but the better we look after ourselves now, the better we’ll be able to help others, and ourselves, to scale them.

 

 

A bit about coaching

 

Right now - as well as looking after myself as well as I can, tending to my family, script editing and sharing Sea Soul Blessings - I'm coaching.

 

If you're curious to know a little more about what it is we actually do in a coaching session, here are just a few of the things I've been working on with amazing women recently:

 

- Getting clear about what you really want - and why

- Changing limiting beliefs about yourself that stop you moving forward

- Visualising career transitions - and then planning a way to get there, step by step

- Seeking new strategies to meet your own needs, especially when you have very limited time, (and lots of guilt about it...)

- Learning how to break away from unhelpful and self-fulfilling negative thought patterns

- Using journaling and free writing as tools to increase self awareness and self knowledge

- Overcoming self criticism and learning to speak to yourself with more kindness

- Identifying how you most want to feel, using anchoring techniques to help you connect to that more easily, and exploring how to bring more of that feeling into the rest of your life

- Setting clear boundaries - and maintaining them...

 

There's always much more of course - but often, one of the most powerful aspects of a coaching session is simply having that safe space to be heard, and to have your experiences witnessed and understood without judgement. Knowing that you will always be encouraged and appreciated, as your strengths and insights are reflected back to you, your challenges learnt from, and your successes celebrated.

 

It's really a wonderful thing I get to do on a regular basis - watching women come back to themselves, and then... soar onwards towards a life that brings them more joy and opportunity. Lucky me!

 

If you'd like to know any more about it, I'm always up for a chat about what sort of support you need, and whether I'm the right person to help you right now - if I'm not, I'll do my best to signpost you to other resources. You can message me on facebook or contact me via storyofmum.com/change.

 

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