Why You Should Always Carry Stamps

This post is part of my
‘This is my real life’ week.  

To read how that began, you can click here for the opening post.

To read the first post in the series, you can click
here
.

Today I will be taking a walk up to the Post Office to
purchase postage for a large letter.  I
don’t quite know what size qualifies as ‘large’ for Royal Mail in the UK as
this is a fairly new category, but I think it’s some combination of size and
weight.  Anyhow, I know that my A4
envelope requires a different kind of stamp than is usual.  I don’t really mind making a special trip but
it is a bit irksome when I have four perfectly good regular stamps in my wallet
already.

I always carry stamps.
As with yesterday’s favourite
mug habit
, I’m not exactly sure when this began.  It goes back at least to 2008.  It was around that time a friend lent me a
book (I think it was Sam Gosling’s Snoop: What Your Stuff Says about You)
where the author asserts that the world is divided into two kinds of people:
those who always carry stamps and those who don’t understand why anyone
would.  I definitely identified with the
former.  

My teeny tiny A Life
Of One’s Own
tip for today is therefore the suggestion that you get
yourself a book of stamps and carry them in your wallet.  As there’s no expiry date with postage, it
doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to use them, but when you’re
eventually down to one, buy another book before you run out.  Then repeat.

Why?  

Firstly to help yourself.
Now that electronic communication has reduced levels of mail, we may not
use stamps as much as we used to, but often when we do need them it is for
something urgent or important: the birthday card that needs to be in today’s
collection, the bank form that has to be with them by tomorrow.  Now think about the nearest pillar box in
relation to your home or workplace.
Wouldn’t it be easier if, rather than having to go to a shop that sells stamps
first, you could lay your hands easily on what you need and pop the item
straight into the post?

If that alone doesn’t convince you (and why wouldn’t it?!),
a second reason to always carry stamps is in order to connect with others.  There are two aspects to this.  It is in part about communication via
mail.  Maybe you’re out somewhere and see
a funny postcard that instantly makes you think of a particular friend or
family member; if you have a stamp on you then sending it to them seems much more
straightforward than if you have to factor in getting postage too.  Likewise when you hear some big news or an
announcement.  Whether it’s passing an
important exam, an engagement, a birth or a death (or remembering a birthday at
the last minute!), having one less step in the process makes buying/sending less
hassle.  Carrying stamps opens up more
opportunities for you to connect with those you care about, recognising and
celebrating the important moments in their life.

The other aspect of connecting with others is the giving of
stamps.  We’ve all said to people around
us ‘I need to get a stamp’, and we’ve probably all asked or been asked if we
have a stamp.  It’s up there with the ‘Do
you have a light?’ appeal between smokers.
In a way, the two function similarly, albeit stamps posing less risk to
your health.  If the request can be
fulfilled, a moment of connection is forged.  The person receiving is grateful because
without that, their object (the cigarette or the piece of mail) is
useless.  It cannot function without the
other element, be it the light or the stamp.
In the case of the latter, you’ve also saved them time and possibly hassle.  

As the giver of the stamp, you’ve just helped someone out
for very little cost (in fact no direct outlay, as you’d bought them anyway)
and no inconvenience at all – they were already in your wallet.  You’ve done them a favour, made their day a
little easier.  That’s a good
feeling.  It may only be fleeting but
aren’t most experiences in this life?  

Grab opportunities to connect as much as you can.  Buy stamps.

What about you?  Do
you carry stamps?  If you don’t then has
this post encouraged you to buy some?
Who knows what opportunities it will facilitate!  If you’d like to share with me then there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or
the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page – or you can email (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).

This post is part of my
‘This is my real life’ week.  

To read how that began, you can click here for the opening post.

To read the first post in the series, you can click
here
.

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The announcement: not the one I was expecting.

I’d excitedly posted on social media the other day about a new group programme announcement coming at the end of the week.  Here it is.  It isn’t the announcement – or the programme – that I was expecting to make…

I had
developed a group programme under the title The
Fourth Quarter: use the time that remains
.
I was excited about, thinking about the different ways it might help
participants.  I put out a few announcements.  I even put all the bits of paper in their own plastic folder, a definite sign that
this was real and happening.

It would
have been a good programme, I’m sure.
But…you knew there was a ‘but’ coming, didn’t you?  But it felt out of sync.  The material was strong but ran contrary to
where I am in my own life.  Right now I’m
all about nestling down, whereas the programme was about gearing up.  After an intense few months of work and
travel, I’m craving quiet nights under a blanket with a good book – a retreat,
not an expedition.  Whilst I knew I could
do a good job, I began to wonder if I’d be at my best if the programme’s
purpose was out-of-step with the ethos I’m channelling at the moment.

The
original plan also felt a little out of sync with what A Life Of One’s Own is all about.
Not contradictory or in opposition, just at a different angle by a few
degrees.  Lots of coaches could deliver
similar material.  Cerebrally I liked it
a lot, but it didn’t resonate deep down in the way 24 Days Before:
an advent journey
(my previous group programme) had.

Seeing
deeply authentic material by some of my favourite fellow-travellers on this
exploring/writing/coaching journey made me pause the preparation process.  A beautiful offering from Sas
Petherick
, a heart-warmingly honest missive from Susannah Conway, a thought-provoking blog post from Courtney Carver,
a blossoming community with Tori’s Tales
#talesofseptember Instagram challenge: these made me stop and think this this is what I want to do, want to offer, want to create – things
that touch people on a deeper level.
This is what A Life Of One’s Own is
about, this is where I want to get back to.

In the
spirit of my latest read, Brené Brown’s new book Rising Strong, I wanted to be open
and honest about this change of heart.
It makes me feel very vulnerable saying ‘I wanted to do this but now I’ve
changed my mind.’  The story I’m telling
myself (to use Brown’s phrase) is that you’ll think I’m at best a dilettante,
playing at self-help and navel-gazing, and at worst incompetent, not having a
clue what I’m doing.

I hope not,
dear readers.  I hope that you recognise
that this kind of work is always in progress, never complete, never
perfect.  I am working to create a product
– and more broadly a practice – that gives voice the deepest parts of my inner
life and in doing so speaks to yours.  My
original design and concept for the group programme was a good idea, but it did not do that.

And now the
instead…Instead I’m putting out there a much softer programme.  The Fourth Quarter
remains as a title, but this comes from a different place.  The Fourth Quarter now
is about scaling back, toning down, sinking deep.  It’s about growing in one another’s company,
hence the new subtitle: let’s
spend it together
.

With three
quarters of the calendar year now almost past, The Fourth
Quarter
is about using the time that remains in 2015 to embrace the
seasons around us.  Let’s show up for
autumn, and then for winter too.  Rather
than simply trudging through the darker nights and trying to ignore the cold, let’s
work with this time of year to make it our own – a period with meaning.  

I was out
of sync and now am getting in line simply with where I am and where the world
around is.  I invite you to join me in
doing the same.

More
information about The Fourth Quarter: let’s
spend it together
is available here.

For some the night is always darker…Soothing words from fiction

‘For some the night is always darker –
for them the skies of dawn are bluer too.’

I came across this quotation, scribbled
on the back of a business card, when sorting through some paperwork at the
weekend.  I first read it many moons ago
whilst researching for my PhD.  It is
from a short story called ‘Whistle in the Dark’ by Gabriel Dundas, which appeared
in Woman magazine on 26th
January 1963.  I have only a vague
recollection of the plot.  According to
my notes, it is set on a farm.  Kay is
the younger sister and is back from college for the summer.  All her friends are doing a drama course, live
in a warehouse and talk about the fringe festival at Edinburgh.  Kay wears make-up and high heels when
visiting the farm assistant, a young man who has been to college and is looking
for his own farm.  She realizes that she
loves him.

Pretty standard women’s magazine
fiction.  I didn’t end up writing about
this story in particular, but could have done a nice little summary of what its
themes and motifs meant in the context of the time.  However historical analysis wouldn’t have
communicated what struck me about this story when I stumbled upon it in the archive.
What made the story stand out – what made
me write the opening line on a business card and tuck it away in my personal
possessions – is what Kay’s father tells her later on in proceedings.  He says, ‘The sky is bluer for you, and the
dark blacker. You live harder and you love harder…. But you’ve got to learn,
Kay, to whistle in the dark.’

‘The sky is bluer for you, and the dark
blacker. You live harder and you love harder…. But you’ve got to learn, Kay, to
whistle in the dark.’

At the time of the story’s publication,
Woman was the best-selling magazine
in the UK, with a circulation of over three million copies per week (that doesn’t
begin to cover the secondary audience – all the daughters, sisters, husbands,
friends etc. that would look at a single copy).
How many of those millions of readers also read those words from Kay’s
father?  Did they touch any of them in
the way that they did me?  Do they speak
to you at all?

The words may be as clichéd and
formulaic as the rest of the story, but something about them resonated deeply with
me during what was a difficult time in my life.
I’d long felt that there was something fundamentally wrong with me: that
I felt things (good and bad) more strongly than other people; I struggled to
live with highs and lows; everything was too much – I was too much.  To suddenly find acknowledgement that other
people (even if fictional) were like that was a balm to my soul.  I was not alone!  Others too felt the extra intensity, the
bluer and the blacker.  What relief!  

Years later, I still use Kay’s father’s
words as a framework for understanding how I perceive the world.  I’ve learnt to accept that for me (but not
necessarily others in my life) the sky is bluer and the dark blacker.  I live harder and love harder, with both the
joys and pains that this brings.  And I’m
slowly learning to whistle in the dark.

Tell me, what lines from fiction have
guided you?  What’s spoken to your
soul?  Have any quotations become
mantra-like in your mind?  Alas the comment
function here still isn’t working but posted below are ways to join the
conversation on social media.

I hope the sky is bluer for you today.

Get in touch by commenting below or via
social media: there’s Instagram,
Twitter,
Pinterest
or the A Life Of One’s
Own Facebook page
.
And of course you can also email me (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).  

The more I treat myself like a child, the more adult my behaviour becomes.

‘I eat my
lunch early, around noon’, a colleague wrote in an email earlier this week,
before half-apologetically adding ‘like a child’. Her admission made me smile
because over the course of this year, I’ve been learning a lot about self-care (as
I’ve written about previously)
and much of that comes down to thinking about myself as if I were a young
child. Whenever I can feel my mood start to shift downwards or I find myself
losing concentration, I ask the same questions posed by parents the world over:
hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Too hot? Too cold? Need the toilet? Uncomfortable?
Needs playtime? Needs downtime?

It’s
amazing how addressing one of those issues restores equilibrium and allows me to
continue going about my day. Very occasionally it might be something else,
something more cerebral or adult-like, such as needing to send a difficult
email that’s been playing on my mind. More often than not, though, it’s a basic
physical or mental need that is most pressing. As I’ve also previously
observed
, basic doesn’t always mean easy. Knowing that we need to eat
regularly doesn’t guarantee that we act upon our awareness. At the weekend I
found myself on the verge of a full on tantrum in the Marks and Spencer food
hall because my partner was lingering longer than I thought necessary in the
meat aisle and the effects of not eating lunch were taking their toll on my
sense of balance and perspective.  

Oftentimes
we slip into the trap of thinking that we are too busy and important to look
after these kinds of essentials. We kid ourselves (fitting double-meaning!)
that we are too sophisticated to eat dinner early even if we’re getting hungry
when we finish work. We somehow imagine that we can simply override the need to
get a decent amount of sleep because it is not convenient; it would interfere
with our social life or desire to watch box-sets late into the night. Setting a
bedtime for ourselves seems so, well, childish.

Yet there’s
a paradox at the heart of all this. All the best insights seem to involve some
kind of oxymoron or apparent contradiction, and when this one came to me it
didn’t disappoint. The paradox of self-care is that the more I treat myself as a child, the more adult my behaviour becomes.  

The more I
treat myself as a child, the more adult my behaviour becomes.

I’m sure
this doesn’t just apply to me.  Repeat it
to yourself and see if it resonates with your experience as well.

What this
means is that the more I not only accept but also consistently implement the
self-care basics as I would if I were caring for a toddler, the better able I
am to act in a mature way.

If I’d had
lunch, or even a decent snack like a banana, I wouldn’t have begun to meltdown
in the food hall. Maybe after a decent night’s sleep the critical feedback from
your boss doesn’t sting as much. Perhaps getting lost driving to a friend’s new
house doesn’t feel so stressful if you stopped for a loo break when you first needed
to rather than convincing yourself to ‘hang on’.  

When the
basic needs are met, we are freed up to be who we want to be in the world. We
have a solid base to build upon, our foundations are strong. It’s easier to
stay composed. Our moods don’t crash. Problems that arise don’t feel quite so
much like a crisis.

Our lives become
diffused with equanimity in a way that seems out of reach when we’re careening
round with too few hours of sleep, too little food and not even allowing ourselves
to sit on the toilet for long enough.

The more I
treat myself as a child, the more adult my behaviour becomes.

Think about
parenting yourself as you would if you were two years old. What is it that you
most need? Is it time to say ‘I think someone needs an early night!’ as your
mum may have done? Or make a rule that there’s no screen time between getting
in home and dinner? Need some shoes that fit properly?

Think
particularly about your pinch points and what self-parental provisions you need
to make for in or around those situations: good music for a long journey, play
dates with friends, some kind of metaphorical equivalent of baby wipes in your
handbag (or perhaps actual baby wipes would help)?

Try
something and notice the effects. Does accepting that we function in the same
way as small children allow you to maintain a more adult like demeanour?

Let me and
other readers know how you get on! Get in touch by commenting below or via
social media: there’s Instagram,
Twitter, Pinterest or the A Life Of One’s Own
Facebook page
.  And of course you can
also email me (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).  

“The present moment is filled with joy & happiness”: Lessons from tidying the cutlery drawer

Five months
today, I’ll be holidaying in a seaside cottage with my partner and his
family.  I keep picturing the scene, envisioning
myself taking a bracing walk along the beach before curling up with a hot mug
of tea, a good book and some tartan trousers (fantasies about my future
*always* include details about what I’m wearing).  I’ve also been checking out my availability
in February 2016 as a friend is organising a girls’ weekend away.  Most dates are fine but I want to avoid
clashing with a few work commitments already pencilled in.

I’m very
excited about these future plans but have to keep reminding myself that they
are some distance away.  Imagining good times
ahead is healthy and normal, but what if they distract us from the here and
now?  I don’t want to be so caught up in
daydreaming about winter escapades (and planning my capsule wardrobe to take
with me) that I overlook the treasures that summer still has to offer.  

The future
can pull so strongly on our minds and our hearts.  Throughout childhood we dream and scheme
about ‘when we grow up’ and somehow that hankering for all our tomorrows never
really leaves us as adults.  We picture some
time ahead of now and yearn for what it promises: holiday, new job, Christmas,
baby gets older, kids grow up, teenagers leave home, retirement…then I’ll be
happy / get more sleep / go travelling / relax (delete as appropriate).  Or worse we postpone living our lives to the
full whilst we await some event that we hope will happen but have no guarantees
about: when I lose two stone / get married / make enough money / am less busy.

The future
tugs and pulls and distracts us with all its tantalizing allure.  How much easier it is to look ahead to an
imaginary time that we can mould to our exact desires rather than embrace where
we actually are in our lives right now.
My mythical future home looks exactly like the place I’m living in now
only the boxes in the hallway have been replaced with beautiful bookshelves,
the worktop doesn’t need linseed oiling and the unknown source of all the dust
in the bathroom has mysteriously vanished.
Oh, and I never, ever, ever have to sit at my desk completing a tax
return.  

As this
example illustrates, our future-focus is not always a useful psychological tool
for getting through tough times and traumas.
Sometimes we use it to avoid the kinds of problems that come with
frankly pretty privileged existence.  It
simply gives us some time-out from being responsible for our lives.  In our dream worlds, we don’t have to
organise solutions, actually do any work or other unappealing things like save
money or start pensions; in fantasy future land, everything we want just
magically happens.  Small wonder it’s an
attractive place to mentally decamp to whenever we want to be absolved of
adulthood.

Yet one of
the many dangers of spending too much time in this comfortable place in our
heads is that it can overshadow the here and now, which is a great place to dwell
if we really look at it.  We lose sight
of all the goodness around us.
Feverishly craving the next stage in your child’s development can
obscure the joys of whatever it is they are doing today.  Fixating on a particular decorating project
can blind us to all the stuff we love about the home we live in.  Too much daydreaming about future adventures
almost stopped me appreciating the treasure to be found in a quiet Saturday
afternoon at home, tidying out the cutlery drawer.

Living
for the weekend makes us overlook everything we have to be grateful for from
Monday to Friday.

Living
for the holidays makes us wish away months and years of our lives.

Let’s not
forget everything we have to be grateful for in the here and now.  Whenever it is that you’re reading this, stop
for a few minutes and think about three good things in your life right
now.  And I mean right now, in this
moment.  Perhaps it’s sunny.  Perhaps it’s raining – but you’re inside in
the dry.  Perhaps you’re on holiday.  Perhaps you’re at work – but you’ve got a
brew and a few minutes to read this blog post.
Perhaps you like your nail varnish.
Perhaps your kids are playing in the garden.   Perhaps you’re eating a good lunch.  

If you can’t
think of anything, go to the nearest tap and turn it on.  You have access to running water!  That is something to be very glad about.

Think of
three things that you are grateful for right now.  Then next time you are drifting off into
fantasy future land, come back to the present and do it again.  

And again.

And again.

Rather than
living for the future, let’s live for our lives today.  I’ve heard that Thursday 30th July
is really rather a great day to be alive J

Three
things that I’m grateful for right now:
The
sun has just come out again!
The
peace and quiet of where I live
The
Orla Kiely notebook on the desk beside my laptop – a beautiful present from a
friend.

Share what
you’re grateful for right now!  You can
comment below or on social media: there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or the A Life Of One’s Own
Facebook page
.  And of course you can
also email me (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).  

If there’s
a topic that you’d like to see me write about in future posts, send me an
email.  I’d love to know what you’re
interested in and to explore ways that I can help.

You don’t have to be superstitious to believe in the power of a charm

See that gold zip in the
picture above?  That’s fastens up my
wallet.  I love my wallet.  It’s navy leather and the inside has a purple
silk lining.  Using it makes me
happy.  Sometimes, on bad days when I
feel like I’m barely holding it together, getting out the wallet to make a
payment acts as a pick-me up.  How can
life be that bad, I think, when I possess such a beautiful object?    

Even more than that, the
wallet acts as a useful prompt – a visual reminder of how good, how confident,
how self-assured, I can feel.  Sometimes
that prompt alone is enough to help shift my mood in a better direction.  Looking at its beautiful lines, I tell myself
that the woman who owns such an item cannot possibly be a slatternly, uncouth,
slobbish, incompetent fool (a selection of the words that most regularly
feature in my negative self-talk hotlist).
The woman who went into a shop and selected that purse was calm,
content, knows her own mind (or at least her own taste) and able to make good
choices.  

And if I could be that way on
the day I bought the wallet, I can be like that on other days too.  

The wallet isn’t magical, but
it does feel like a talisman for me.  It
has the power to change how I feel – or, perhaps more accurately, I have assigned
it with a level of meaning that can affect my mood.  More important than what it says to the world
is what the wallet tells me about my identity, my desires, my aspirations – who
I am and how I want to be in the world.  

Perhaps you are reading this
thinking I am potty, viewing an essentially practical item as some kind of
charm.  Maybe you think that declaring
such strong attachment to any object as a sign of materialism, with all the
negative connotations that carries.  

Or do you recognise what I’m
saying as being true for your relationship with a particular possession
too?  Think about your most treasured
belongings.  Are some of them important
to you because of the feelings they evoke about yourself?  

The shoes you wore to an
interview that you absolutely nailed?
The dress that you had on when you finally told your ex-partner that you
would not tolerate their behaviour any longer?
The necklace you bought when you earned your first pay packet?  The ‘proper’ cookware purchased to mark
setting up a home of your own?    

This is not simply about
particular memories but visceral feelings.
I believe that we all own objects which have the ability to evoke strong
positive reactions, objects that can remind and reassure us of our own
strength, power and agency.

Let’s make greater use of
this!  It’s not uncommon for people to
wear jewellery that they regard as talismanic but what about other items?  Which of your personal possessions take you
to your best self, your wisest self, your most awesome self?  And are you channelling that enough?  Can you use them more often, wear them more
regularly, display them more prominently?

If you’re struggling with
this, think about anything you own that makes you smile whenever you see it or
use it – that could provide some clues as to your own amulet.

And if you know what yours
is, please share a picture.  Get in touch
by commenting below or via social media: there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page.  And of course you can also
email me (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).  

Do you need the toilet? Part II – more lessons in self-care

When I
wrote last week’s blog post on self-care, I hadn’t planned for it to be a two
part piece.

Inevitably,
however, pride comes before a fall and in the days since I learnt another
important lesson about looking after oneself.
I want to share that with you too.

Let’s go
back to last Friday.  I got up and drove
for two hours to teach some visiting undergraduates that I’m working with this
summer.  On route I was feeling pretty
pleased about the blog post I’d written on self-care the day before and my new
insights on the topic.  I lectured the
students then inexplicably decided that I could run straight into their
individual tutorials without even taking a comfort break, let alone anything
more substantial.  Self-Care Mistake #1.

The
tutorials proceeded well enough.  We looked
over their assignments and I gave feedback and suggestions.  I had a very interesting discussion with one
of them about the differing healthcare systems here in Britain compared to the
U.S., with us both coming away more informed.
Yet rather than feeling invigorated by the interactions, I felt
completely drained.  Despite eulogising
about self-care only the previous day, I ignored what I knew.  I’d pushed on, giving and giving without
taking time to nourish myself even in the most basic ways (Do you need the
toilet?  Yes I do, but I’m going to wait over
an hour before going for no reason whatsoever).

It’s
perhaps unsurprising that Self-Care Mistake #2 followed quickly after.  By the time the session was finished, I was
past the point of being able to make the kinds of healthy decisions that follow
much more easily when you’re in a good place already.  Even though I could hear the internal voices
screaming ‘No! Don’t do it!  Get your
lunch first!’, I chose to drive straight home rather than getting something to
eat, thereby compounding Mistake #1.

It was
downward spiral for the rest of the afternoon.
I picked up a second Diet Coke even though I knew I’d feel better if I
drank water instead (Mistake #3).  I
convinced myself that I could survive on half a tub of Rocky Road in lieu of
actual proper food for lunch (Mistake #4).
In short, I did exactly the opposite of everything I’d talked about in
Thursday’s blog.  I even thought that
somehow I could offset this damage by having a bath when the working day was
done rather than making a decent meal (Mistake #5).  

None of
this would have been an issue had it not affected my state of mind and my body,
but these poor choices quickly took their toll.
By mid-afternoon I was physically sluggish, growing ever more mentally
befuddled and increasingly forlorn too (no doubt berating myself for failing to
act upon advice that I’d publicly shared didn’t help on that front).

Then, just
as easily as I slipped into the first mistake, I made a simple choice that
changed my direction.  Rather than
finishing the tub of Rocky Road as a substitute for dinner, I cooked a stir
fry.  As I sat at the table after eating
it, I could feel the internal shift.  My
body felt energised.  My mind
cleared.  My mood picked up.  Overall I felt cared for.

When faced
with cake or cooking, I knew that one decision would make a big
difference.  Stirring the food in the
pan, I realised that it’s the same with all our self-care choices.  Every single one, however small and seemingly
insignificant, has a big impact.  Every
single one has the potential to send us into a downward spiral – or can help to
keep us moving in the right direction.

At the same
time, we have to keep on making those self-care choices.  These are not a one-time only decisions.  We may take water with us on the school run
today but what about tomorrow?  We have
to do it again.  We may adjust our desk chair
so it’s the right height but give it a month or two and it’ll sink.  We have to do it again.  We may go to bed earlier tonight but what
about tomorrow night?

Recognising
that I can’t just do self-care choices once but have to repeatedly make those
decisions feels like a useful insight (albeit probably a self-evidently obvious
one for some people).  It’s added a further
level of awareness and given those small everyday moments a wider context.  Picking up a bar of chocolate rather than a
banana doesn’t seem to necessarily make a difference in itself, but what about
the bigger picture?  

What about
your bigger picture?  Are you aware of
particular choices that are consistently detrimental to your self-care (the
extra glass of wine, anyone?!)?  Do you
have a specific pinch point where you can feel things begin to unravel?  For example, do you end up getting fast food
with a colleague because you want to spend lunch with them – even though you’ve
already bought in something to eat from home?
Does your partner suggest a film at night and your desire to spend time
with them overrides your commitment to getting to bed earlier?  Does reacting to the needs of small children
prevent you from sitting down to eat a decent meal in the middle of the day?

These
questions echo those from last week but I’d encourage you to think broadly
about them rather than just focusing on what is happening right now today.  How can you help yourself to make a good
self-care choice time and time again?

You may
come up with a novel idea or a new system to help (for the stay-at-home mum
with small children, perhaps you could make a lunch the night before to stick
in the fridge?).  Or it may just be that
awareness of needing to make a decision again, then again, then again, is enough.  You see it in your day today, then laugh when
you’re confronted with it at the same time tomorrow.  Maybe we can even learn to greet these
choices as old friends rather than enemies.

Let me know
how you get on.  What choice do you
consistently struggle with?  What
solutions can you come up with?  Get in
touch by commenting below or via social media: there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page.
And of course you can also email me (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).
If you feel stumped and frustrated with a particular aspect of
self-care, it may be that coaching could help you; again get in touch to find
out more.