It’s easy to get swept up in the big stuff…
One minute you are enjoying a perfectly pleasant day, to then be greeted with a video of an 8 year old child who has just discovered another planet.
Today, my main accomplishment, was allowing Kyle to take the blame for the missing pineapple cake, as I secretly polished it off in the back cupboard – (without a crumb of evidence).
But, as I was sitting there – in the dark, on a dusty shelf, picking the last bit of coconut icing out of my hair – I found myself greeted by an unfriendly voice, questioning…
‘What do you bring to the world?’
I mean, I’m certainly no doctor – no matter how professional my hello kitty plasters look. I wouldn’t trust my own advice even if the problem was a paper cut. I’m no lifesaver, or firefighter. I’m not big on numbers. And if someone gave me a Rubix Cube, I would probably use it as a snazzy coaster for a mojito.
I do have great friends, a loving family, a place to sleep, a job…
It’s not that anything in my day is particularly ‘wrong’.
But, it can just take just one unsettling thought to creep its way in…
And all of a sudden – my body has adrenalin pumping through it, as if there was a bear standing in front of me – ready to attack.
Flight mode kicks in, but sadly – I can’t zig zag run away from my thoughts or any theoretical anxiety bear.
Heart pumping so hard you can barely breathe, night time sleep turns into – lets stay up until 3am. Eyes flared up with a rash, constant pain dancing around my chest, throat tightening, hands shaking. It can all stem simply from one thought that has suddenly became too over baring, one comment, one uncomfortable look…
Just as with someone who has the flu cannot click their fingers and not be sick. When dealing with anxiety, it isn’t something you can simply switch off (as much as I’m sure many people wish they could).
The train of thoughts often tend to spiral. And not the good kind of smoothie vortex spiral – I’m talking, spaghetti tangle / tomato sauce drowning – kinda spiral…
From this height, it certainly doesn’t take much to feel small. But some days often feel like the Fred incident of 2014 on repeat…
But instead of being blown away with the wind and found 5 minutes later, I instead find myself very much lost in the grass – with no idea how to get out.
How anxiety and depression has affected me personally? I have had panic attacks, not been able to go to work, lost good relationships, cancelled plans, dropped out of career opportunities, not been able to leave the house, became ill, suicidal thoughts and so on and so forth. Physically, my skin also tends to break out, I get eye infections and rashes around my eyes, lose hair…
People often say that – you should just not take life so seriously, chill out, certain things don’t matter, you’re overthinking, and so on… I hear it, I know it, I believe it. But those words don’t simply put a pause on the adrenalin pumping through my body at the time.
Sometimes it does just take patience and time to understand why I have started to feel ‘out of control’ or ‘numb’. Everyone is very different – but here are a few things that have helped me personally to calm my body and mind, that I now have incorporated into my day in some way – to try and clear up some of those grey clouds (and may hopefully clear a few for you too).
‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love.’
– Mother Teresa
Right now. Walk around the block, run in the rain, talk to the stars, jump in a puddle, dance in the sea, watch the sunrise, have a picnic in a forrest, anything… Get out in nature.
“Spend time strolling by the sea, swimming in lakes, sitting under trees, walking through forests, climbing up mountains and feeling warm sunshine and cold rain on your face. May being in nature always gift you with a sense of belonging and inspire you to be your beautiful, free and authentic self”
– Claire Thompson
I dare you to play Daryl Hall and John Oates – ‘You make my dreams come true’ on loud and try not to smile. It is literally impossible. Blast some happy dancing music (anything from the 80’s is highly recommended). Bake some cookies, have a dance, heck – even buy an instrument. You are never too old to start learning any instrument. A Ukulele is a always a good option – any song can instantly transport you to a beach in Hawaii.
Move + Stretch:
Whether you’re a hoola-hooper or a hiker, move your booty. Go trampolining, go on a nice walk, skip, jump, let the ego go, be childish, jump into the sea, cartwheel, make up a dance routine… Stretch into the hard places, breathe in to the resistance. Youtube is full of videos on stretching, yoga, workouts (everythang) – we are loving – ‘Banana Blondie 108’ yoga flows.
You don’t have to be flexible to stretch, but you do have to stretch to become flexible
Practice being present:
Close your eyes. Keep your eyes closed for 5 deep breaths and then slowly begin to squint your eyes open. Look around and try to take in everything around you. All the colours, the sounds, the way the light hits your skin, etc… and try to become completely present and aware in that moment. There is sure to be some beauty somewhere around you.
Presence: “Our worst misfortunes never happen, and most miseries lie in anticipation”
– Honore De Balzac (French Novelist and Playwright 1779-1850)
I know what you’re thinking, first veganism now this? As hippy dippy ridiculous as you may think it is to meditate – give it an ommmmm or two before dismissing it completely. You can do it anywhere, anytime and it is free. A bit of silence is kind for the mind. If you’re thinking, I have no idea how to even mediate – start with some simple guides.
* The app – Headspace
* YouTube – guided meditation
*Google local mediation classes that may be in the area (lots of them are free and can be found on the ‘meet up’ app)
*A good way to start to clear your mind: Get comfortable (sitting up or lying down). As you breathe in say to yourself ‘breathing in’ and as you release say ‘breathing out’ – set a timer on your phone so you get a nice 5 minutes in to ease yourself in.
Writing is wonderful to do after meditating – when your mind is clear the things that have been aggravating/worrying you will become more clear. Write them all down, get deep. No one will read it – no judgement – just write. Even if you start by just jotting down 5 things you’re grateful for when you wake up in the morning.
Feel it, accept it, forgive it:
All of your thoughts, your words, the things that pop in your life that are annoying you, let those feeling in. Accept that your feeling low, accept it in all its uncomfortable glory and forgive it. Understand that it’s 100% ok to feel – no matter what emotion – dance with it, see where its coming from and let it pass on by…
“Trying to change your mind wilfully is like trying to change the weather – impossible”
The Happy Buddha
One of the greatest things I own (alongside my inflatable cup holder) is my sketch pad. Nothing but blank pages ready for me to write and draw to my hearts content. This isn’t school, so don’t hold back on the doodles, doodle all day long. Draw all the things that make you happy, draw your life exactly as you wish it to be, draw it / paint / sketch / colour / whatever you wish.
Talk about it, scream about it, shout about it – get it all on out. If you don’t have someone in your life you feel comfortable talking to – try googling helplines or speak to your doctor to see if they can recommend anyone to talk to. Never feel like there is a problem to small. If it is affecting you – it is better to say it out loud. If you feel you want to let it all out anonymously, please feel free to email us. We may be small but we are here to hear. Here to help. – firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.’
It’s hard to not feel happy whilst swimming in a bowl of banana nice-cream. I always feel my best when eating vegan goods – somewhere pretty. Bright foods, that love and nourish your booty. It can also be worth speaking to a naturopath if your energy is low to see if they can recommend any natural tonics that may also make you feel brighter.
Everyday is a book day. Find a book that you love and keep it with you in your bag. Adventure, romance, magic. A book can transport you anywhere (like your own little time machine).
Pick me up books:
– ‘The Universe has your back’ – Gabrielle Bernstein (love love love)
– ‘Happy – Finding joy in everyday and letting go of perfect’ – Fearne Cotton
– ‘Naturally Mindful’ – Leaping Hare Press : A book full of texts from over 100 different authors. I like to think of a number and pick a page to read a line or two…
– ‘The Secret’ – Rhonda Byrne
– Quote Cards: I have a pack of inspirational bunny cards with bunny quotes on them that I keep by my bed. They make my day awesome just for the fact they’re bunny’s being inspirational. They are strangely very inspirational animals.
A funny tip for someone who may be dealing with anxiety – as most of the time – you can’t flipping sleep. Try for a week, getting up early for sunrise and watch the day come in. Then try reading with some lavender oil in your room before heading to sleep early. Other things that may help you sleep/unwind – Eating early, meditating before bed, switch the phone for a book, slow chilled out music, stretching…
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
John Lubbock : ‘The Use of Life’
‘Little love’ – list:
Most of the people I know are having children, buying houses, getting married… Whilst it still takes me a good 15 minutes to even choose what colour nail varnish to use to hide my worn down cuticles. Reflecting on my own day/month/year/existence… I often find myself thinking about – everyone else. Comparing my achievements to every Bob, Tim and Sally out there.
So I decided to write a list.
A list of the small stuff:
1) Little things that make me happy:
‘Reading a new recipe book, drinking tea inside on a rainy day, drinking tea outside on a sunny day, book stores, venturing to new places, my mums hugs’
2) 3 positive qualities about myself:
‘Creative, adventurous, passionate…’
3) Achievements that I am proud of:
‘I successfully made it through the supermarket with Fergie playing, and I didn’t publicly break out in dance.’ (I mean with this one I don’t if I should be proud or ashamed)
It’s not about being egotistical – it’s about honouring and enjoying all the good within you.
Even if you start to add one of the things from above to your day – it can soon become an effortless part of your wonderful life.
I know at times it may be easier said then done, but even the grey days can transform into the great ones. The main thing remember is to take it easy. You are only human.
So, keep doing your thing.
Remember – you are here with a whole different set of talents and skills. That have been designated just for you, to share in your own unique way.
Write your own ‘Little Love’ list
(it will take less than 5 minutes)
Read it back to yourself
And take it with you throughout your day
Never forget – You are wonderful just as you are.
Small Acts of kindness:
– Share what you have
– Write a kind message to someone you love
– Send a smile in every direction
– Don’t forget to be kind to yourself: take time out for yourself everyday.
“Ride with the dark days as you ride with the waves. Know that they will pass, you are not alone in them and to feel is beautiful. Try not to fear if they will come again, simply remember that you can swim, you will be alright, you are full of love and light.”
– Mantra for today –
I am present
I am here, just as I am meant to be
I let go
I am love
So, today I will think about my own little list – with a mojito in one hand – and a recipe book perched in the other, as my chipped nail tips gleam back at me.
No planets were discovered by me today – but that’s not why I am here.
Believe in your own magic
Lola’s ‘I’m too broke to get drunk’ cocktail
– To wash down the cheese from today’s post –
3 cups of fresh organic strawberries
1 cup of fresh orange juice
1 cup of coconut water
2 tbsp of fresh lime juice
1tsp of maple syrup
1 1/2 cups of crushed ice
(Strawberries + lime wedge to garnish)
blitz, crush, shake, serve.
For an alcoholic version – add a splash of tequila and triple sec.
(‘Barnivore’ is a website and an app that shows all the different types of vegan friendly alcohol)