Self-care and the mindfulness of our moments

(Written by Danielle Roberts @ The Bohemian Collective Perth)

I have booked to attend the upcoming ‘The Art of Letting Go’ workshop in Perth in July.  I remember seeing the event pop up on my social media, and feeling this was a workshop that would be safe and relevant.

Letting go and healing is a part of life and one which we all experience and react to in different ways.

Do we hold on to something or someone until it burns us out because we are afraid that if it doesn’t ‘work’ in a way we envisioned it means we’ve failed? Or is it society expectations, and our own perception of what we ‘should’ be doing? In turn meaning that moments in our lives that should be that, just moments, turns into our everyday reality, spanned into something where we feel trapped.

This has been my reality on a number of occasions.

Last year, in particular, was tough. I’ve been a Social Worker for nine years. Working in Broome and surrounding communities and Papua New Guinea on Manus Island has been the most memorable. Being exposed to this kind of work though can lead to vicarious trauma and I learned the importance of self-care. I thought I was on track. Massages, healings, counselling, being open to friends and family. I thought I was on top of it and for the most part, I was.

Then last year hit me.

A string of invalidating dates, a job where I ran myself to the ground, was unsupported, fixated on my age and the milestones I ‘should’ be reaching. I wasn’t looking after myself, I wasn’t listening to myself, I felt myself spiralling, I was vulnerable and I allowed society and other people’s expectations take hold. I couldn’t work.

My identity was shattered and I had to rebuild.

I did all of the ‘self care’ activities that I knew worked. Like I said before, exercise, healing, counselling, incense, meditation, candle making – the lot! I remember going to a healer and being confused as to why I wasn’t feeling better. I told her what I was doing and said “but I’m doing all the right things?” Her response was “yes, but are you doing them mindfully”.

Mindfulness wasn’t a foreign concept to me. My internal chaos had taken over.

So I began practicing again with my mantra being ‘now is enough’. I realised that thinking about the past or too far in the future was the catalyst of my anxiety, and that what I was doing in that moment was enough and that allowed me to feel calm.  Being non-judgmental of my thoughts, being open to experiences and living in the present. As time went on, I was lighter. I matured. I realised what I needed and I realised how important a work/life balance was. I have been lucky to have a supportive network so I embraced this more and I also connected with myself, became more authentic and accepting of myself.

After an intense struggle, the universe heard me.

I began working part-time as part of a therapy team in a leading disability organisation. I realised that for me, the stress of working full-time and being on the ‘go’ all the time wore me down, and as a result, I couldn’t take the time to connect with myself, and connect with friends and family. And it was this that nourished me, not just working in a job where it was about giving. I needed something too. And that was ok.

So now, I work part-time and have a small business making and selling my own candles. I understand that practicing self-care every day means that when some days are a bit shit and the unexpected happens, my spirit’s got the goods to handle it. And that’s pretty powerful.

Bring on the workshop – being surrounded by like-minded beauties, learning new skills and my favourite…. CONNECTION.

Happy day to you all. Love always,

Dan xxx