I don’t have time!

How many times have I said that to myself or had other busy mum’s say it to me? Too many times to count. This year I decided that I needed to stop saying that to myself about ME. If I’m not going to make time for ME, who am I going to make time for?

The logistics:

What is making time? We all go along to courses, events and you hear, Self-care, make time to self-care but what is that really? Firstly it more than taking whole blocks of time and going on retreat or coffee with friends, though those things are wonderful and we do need them.

Its more than that. It is finding moments in a day to breath, stop, daydream, feel, see and be heard. Its saying No or please wait. Saying halt to being interrupted by someone looking for you to do something for them, while sitting down for 5 minutes to drink a cup of tea. It’s taking 5 minutes to stand outside in the sun just to feel its rays and feel alive. Its being heard when you have something to say. It’s been seen when you are at a low point or when you have done well. It’s acknowledgement that you work hard, that life is hard some days. Its acknowledgement that your human and make mistakes and it’s okay.

Kate Seselja from the Hope Project once told me, for her it was getting up an hour earlier each day to have her time. Time to Be.

For me, it has been about deepening my faith journey and challenging myself to step into new things. It has also been about making sure I connect well, each day with my partner. Some days that’s not hard but others, well life gets in the way and the only conversation had that day is about a grumpy child and their quest to torture us as parents. Lol. I keep reminding myself that I am a woman with needs and connect with my beautiful man and hearing his tender words to me, is important.

Its examining my relationships and how I conduct each one. Some are old connections comfy and true. Some are new and emerging.  My business partner often asks, “Are you looking after you?” and I often go, “Yes I am” but actually sometimes I’m not. She also said not to put more into more work into a client than they were prepared to put into themselves. Urggg that’s a hard one for me.

Recently while talking to a group of mum’s, I noticed that even though they are taking time to connect with others the share task of co-ordinating getting out the door with kids in toe and then wrangling them while in a busy coffee shop left them exhausted and finding reasons to not go again. It’s just to hard. So I suggested, self-care sharing.

Each mum has each others kids so that the childless mum can go and connect with a friend or family member and have a meaningful conversation 1 to 1 distraction free or a coffee date with themselves and enjoy the experience. It doesn’t need to be hard work or often just once in a while. We ask for help if its for IMPORTANT things like appointments etc but self-care is the most important thing. Without it, you can not give back. You run on empty. If we are to teach our children self-care, we must first model it well.

And to show I’m human too – I have two weekends child free and with glee thought of all the things I could do that would make me feel caught up on me. Instead, I have moved furniture (1 day gone) for one child, did an in-house training day with a colleague (2 days gone), Held a Tupperware party and painted a back drop for church ( 3 days gone but this one was sort of for me) and have one day left to hopefully re-organise my sewing/ craft room so I can do things I love and relax me. AND today while taking a sick day, I’m writing this blog and updating company HR paperwork. I’M HUMAN TOO and life is a challenge but I love my life and Yes I do know when to say No or enough. I just have to do it more often.

Our precious Men

This week starts the beginning of Men’s Health Week. What does that mean for you?

In my life I have amazing men, husband, sons and grandsons. Each has their challenges and triumphs but mental health plays a part in their daily life as it does for a lot of us. Men are unique in their outlook, emotions and in what we as partners, parents and society place on them. As a wife, mother and grandmother, I consciously try to pause and remind myself that they are not me and nor do that respond like me. That’s a good thing, yes it is. The world would be a boring place if we were all the same. We each have our own unique story. The past 2 years for me have been in equal parts, hell, joyful, filled with love, frustrating, confusing and overwhelming. I’ve learnt a lot about myself but more importantly a lot about them. Age really does give prospective. It not my job to fix everything or shield them from the world, rather love and support them to be in the world their way.

So, what do I try to do for my men? I practice patience and kindness. I breath in and pause, so I am responding and not reacting. That is not to say I always get it right. I, like them are human. Yesterday I had a human moment and throw a wobbly but it was short lived and my gracious hubby held space for me to step in and say, I’m feeling overwhelmed and acted badly. His silent hug and I love you, were magic.

What can we do to support the men in our lives?

Let them solve their own problems their way, without running interference for them. Unless its asked for, its not helpful.

Consider them in decision making. Does this decision support their way of being? Is it respectful of them, is it kind?

Hold space for them when they go silent. Its not, I don’t want to talk. It’s I need to think and work through it in my head and heart before I talk. (I know, I hear you. It can be hard to manage silence and it can feel like rejection, but often, its not).

See our men. Really see, who they are and what they love. Notice what upsets/ troubles them and make it known, “I am here for you if and when you need”.

Surround them with great role models of all ages so they have men to go too for support and encouragement. Men need other men, the same as we need our women friends.

Give them opportunities to lead and to support you. (Okay it may not be helpful or necessary for us, but its so needed by them).

Notice when they use their manners and are respectful to others. Encourage  and model this behaviour to them.

Give them SPACE to cry and ARMS to fall into, that offer unconditional love, silently.

Most of all, celebrate that they are in your life, for without them life would be a lot less exciting.

For all the J’s and the A that are in my life. You are seen and loved.

Beginning with me

In 2016 I was badly burnt out and struggling to figure out what I was going to do moving forward. I knew it was a complete change from what I had been doing for the last few years. Much as I love the people and the purpose that comes from working in the Community Sector, it was no longer a space where I felt I could even breathe anymore. That is what burn out is, and if you don’t attend to it things only get worse.

I took a short-term contract in the training sector, because I do have skills and qualifications that are suitable for this. However, it was too soon and my batteries were still very flat. I could not work at the level required at that time.  A kick start got me going for the day, but it didn’t keep me going.

From these experiences it was evident that I needed to take a much longer break, and really rebuild myself. My heart was missing my children and my mother who were all living in another State nearly 4,000 kilometres away. It was time to move “home”. However, there was no ‘home’ as such to go to. I had been away nearly a decade.

My very dear friend Christyne was also listening with her heart. Even though we had not had a lot of contact due to busy lives, we had a friendship that stayed true through all the changes and years between. The fact that I had remained deeply loved and valued as a friend became very evident when -out of the blue – Christyne offered me a place to stay with her and her hubby. It was very matter of fact: ‘we think you need to come home’. So the plans were made and home I came.

For the first four months I was good for nothing. Chronic asthma, fatigue and a fuzzy brain overwhelmed me. I was given space to heal and come to my own strength. I was reminded of the good things we had done together, and of the positive connections we had made with our respective family members. I was allowed to be my own person, my boundaries were respected, and my presence was welcomed. Honest and authentic conversations were ordinary daily events and these were as healing as any medicinal care that I had to take.

My recovery focused on simple strategies for living, eating healthy meals, walking regularly, being mindful and meditating, allowing myself creative space, engaging with others in healthy ways, and of course, looking after my family relationships.

From this experience, shared with Christyne and Tony, a new direction evolved. We decided to embark on a new direction together, and we have called it KiS4 Life: Keeping it Simple 4 Life. Bringing together our combined learning around mindfulness and wellbeing, we have created a platform for exploring ways of living better through different modalities. There is something for everyone here.

As each program is developed and rolled out we hope that you will find the experiences as rewarding as we have.

Peace, Light and Love

Elizabeth

AWAKE in Perth

We worked with Kate and The Hope Project Now to bring Kate Seselja to Perth in 2017.  Kate has authored a book “AWAKE” which is endorsed by the United Nations Association Australia as meeting the Sustainable Development Goal No 3, for sustainable mental health.  The AWAKE program has been recognised as a key development tool for all of the SDG Global goals.

Kate spoke about her experiences and recovery from a significant gambling addiction, her appearance on “You Can’t Ask That” on National Television, and her travels to the USA where her work was recognised at the UN.