Sarah is another one of the amazing people I was lucky enough to meet through a self-care course I have run in the past! She is an awesome person and I was fortunate to be able to interview her to reflect on her self care journey and her experience in the mindful collective self-care course! She has some great methods to incorporate mindfulness and self-care into her life!
We would love to hear about your mindfulness/self-care journey! What helpful changes have you noticed along the way?
My mindfulness/self-care journey seems long but I also still feel like I’m at the very beginning sometimes. A really pivotal moment for me came after reading “First, we make the beast beautiful” by Sarah Wilson. The book made me realise, & helped me to accept, that my anxiety was not necessarily something I could “cure” but that with the consistency of self-care practice & kindness to myself, I could learn to live & even thrive with it.
Do you meditate? If so, what anchor do you prefer and why?
I do meditate but from a traditional standpoint, I’m not very good at it! I have always struggled to quieten my mind to have found more success in meditation techniques that don’t try to block out or shut down thoughts. Exercise-based clarity of the mind is something I am much better at e.g. during RPM when you can barely breathe let alone think or during an uphill hike when your legs are burning. Guided meditations are also a favourite but I have to be careful when & where I do them as otherwise I’m very likely to get pulled off to sleep. One of my favourite self-guided techniques is one that I learnt during a meditation course at my local yoga studio. You think about your favourite place or memory & try to recall every detail that you can. So you aren’t trying to shut out thoughts, but you redirect & focus your thinking on something positive (I think about an amazing day out on a catamaran in Santorini!!! #extra)
Which stress-busting tools have you noticed work well for you?
MASSAGE! Not like one of those relaxing ones but the occasionally painful remedial ones! I hold so much of my stress & tension in my body that I can literally feel it melting away when I get a massage. Exercise & fresh air (normally with my pup in tow) are also great for me! Talking out my problems has also always been something that helps when I’m feeling stressed. I have my little black book of people who I will go to with different problems to get their advice & support.
Who inspires your self-care, and why?
I think I try to inspire myself with my self-care! I feel like there can be such a fine line between inspiration & comparison that maybe I try to avoid the slippery slope. I do however have a number of cheerleaders who help to motivate my self-care & celebrate my wins. If I do look for inspiration I tend to go for books, magazines, courses or podcasts over social media which can bring on that comparison more so easily.
How do you stay motivated to care for yourself?
As I suffer from depression & anxiety it can be really hard to stay motivated. Quite often the things you need most (e.g. exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep) are the hardest to do when you are in a slump. This is where I use my support networks to help. I organise exercise outside with friends (like a hike) so that it feels less uuugh. Or if it’s all too much, I’ll try something lower impact like a bath, watching a favourite movie or just ticking one thing off my list around the house for a feeling of accomplishment. I often find it’s easier to stay in good habits rather than creating new ones so I try to stay consistent, at the very least by keeping my self-care as a priority in some form or another. Something new I’m trying too is saying “not today satan” to feelings of guilt if I don’t or can’t engage in my planned self-care. It’s all about balance.
Have you seen a therapist? If so, what did you learn about your self-care?
Yes! Seeing a therapist has been a big PART of my self-care for some time. Just like exercise, I find looking after my mental health easier when I’m accountable to myself & someone else. Having an appointment locked in each month (& quite often, homework to complete too,) keeps my mental health top of mind & a priority even if the rest of my life gets out-of-control busy! The most important thing that I have learnt, courtesy of the Mindful Collective Self-care Course, is just how broad & varied self-care can be. The course also helped me to try new things and build a list of tried & tested techniques that work for me. This makes things easier when I’m feeling flat as I don’t have to think as hard about what I can do for myself at that moment. Participating in the course also reinforced for me that Amy Kate was the psychologist that I wanted to continue my self-care & mental health journey with so I switched and never looked back!
Share your thoughts on values-centred living.
Values was actually a really interesting part of the Mindful Collective Self-care Course. To start with I think I chose things that I WANTED to value the highest in my life as opposed to the things that I intrinsically valued as part of my ingrained personality. Working through a number of activities in the course with Amy Kate helped me to discover these intrinsic values. What was really interesting to learn through the course though is how I could use value-centred living to achieve the things I wanted. So I originally said that I valued “Health” because this is something that is important to me. But “Health” is not one of my intrinsic values so I’m unlikely to naturally prioritise it no matter how important I tell myself it is. And here comes the twist! I can use my actual values (organised & dependable) to help achieve my health & fitness goals. I can ORGANISE a physical activity with a friend & then because I’m DEPENDABLE I will show up & achieve my goal. Ta-da….#winning!
We’d love to hear about your experiences with women coming together for a cause, as a collective!
I was recently taken away for a weekend by my sister & a number of girlfriends for my 30th birthday. What was so lovely about this trip was that I knew the three gf’s from different school’s/workplaces & they had all only met each other once or twice but we had a great time. Over half the group were going through difficulties in their relationships but we all came together to have a very supportive (& fun) weekend. I ended up calling it my “relationship bootcamp/30th birthday weekend”! We have since had dinner together & have brunch in the works scheduled in too. I’m just loving that all of my closest friends are now becoming a tight-knit little group who support each other & who can have a lot of fun.
I’d love to thank Sarah for that awesome interview! I would also like to take a moment to talk about the book Sarah mentioned, “First, we make the best beautiful”, written by Sarah Wilson. It is an absolutely stunning book focusing on anxiety and the hold it takes on a persons life, but the author also unpacks it, analysing the triggers and treatments, talking to sufferers, philosophers and experts to breakdown what anxiety ultimately is and how we can live a happy and joyful life with it. If you would like to find out more, check out a description of the book on the good reads website and maybe give it a read!
If you would like to learn some mindful and self-care skills to help overcome some of the daily struggles, my next personal self-care course is starting in a little under two weeks. There are only a few spaces left! Book via the link: https://themindfulcollective.co/online-courses/