Running update

I have not been running for just about over one month now. Since I contracted the flu in June I have been struggling with recovery and constant recurrence of the flu virus. Needless to say, I tried to run through all of it but much to my dismay by August I had officially had enough of antibiotics and over the counter meds… So I figured I would give my body a well deserved rest/break… And yes, it broke my sanity just a little bit!

Today however, is a new day and I have had enough of the ever evading endorphins that I just don’t get from any other workout… So I braved the cold and hit the road. I ran on empty (maybe not such a great idea) considering my last meal was yesterday at 6pm. I kept reassuring myself that its only going to be a 5km run and that I would be fine… But only… its not… and I wasn’t!

First km I was perfectly blissfully happy – almost as if my ponytail was whipping through the air.. Second km I started to wonder about my burning legs and lungs… By the third km I needed to slow down… And only then did I turn back home… By the fourth km I needed to run/walk because my legs turned to a ton of bricks! But No! I kept going… By km five a kindly gentleman decided to do sprints with me to get me past a dodgy area and to safety. By km six I was wondering why I even run… because I needed to eat… and I needed a shower…

Day 1 of new training regime – DONE!

Advertisements

CANSA Support Group

I was priviledged enough to be contacted by the CANSA Association earlier this year, to join the organisation in starting a Support Group in the area. We had our very first meeting in July and I was quite overwhelmed when a few ladies arrived. Being a support group newbie… I pictured it to be a counselling session lol! It isn’t and wasn’t… rather the focus of our support group is wellness and thriving.

Thus far we have learnt some EFT tapping techniques to alleviate stress and breath work to keep us grounded and were inspired by a very talented life coach to stay positive and grounded. In August we were presented with an occupational therapist focussing on lymph drainage which was very very interesting. And yes we speak about cancer as well… but only if you want to.

It is my intention to grow this very needed service in the community. So if you feel that you would like to join us, please pop in, everyone is welcome. We meet at the Boorhaanol Centre in Pentz street in Bo-kaap every first Thursday of the month.

On Thursday we will be meeting for a third time and will be looking at alternative healing. YESSS!!!

Maybe I will even write about it!

And so it is x

Self-Care of the Hidden

Uhm… Not so sure of the title… but thought it makes sense since this is the final part of my self-care series.

So last week I chatted a little bit about what physical self-care entails. And of course, I follow that Law which states ‘as without so within’ so whatever happens on the outside also needs to happen on the inside!

Self-care of the inner realm is where this party starts – in the mind and soul. Simplified – it means taking care of your Inner Being – your mental state, your mind, your intellect and your soul. All those wonderful things that no one can see. The hidden and private recesses of your heart and soul.

It’s the part of ourselves we least want to deal with because it requires a lot of nurturing and hard work. It also requires action in order for positive outcomes to manifest. This is the opposite of physical self-care where you can see the difference, this, inner self-care, can only be felt and experienced. Your Life will thank you!

Your mind is a private realm of thoughts that shape your reality. Take a moment and let that sink in. Wow! It is the landscape of your thoughts and dreams. Even more mind blowing! It is Your World, Your Reality, Your Consciousness… Yours Yours Yours!!!

Now stop and ask yourself: What do you feed it? How do your grow it?
Nurture it? How do you make it flourish?

Just think… Really… Think about it?

As a collective we (as a society) have enslaved our minds to Media (Social Media, Internet, TV, Series, Movies etc…) We have morphed into Digital Slaves and that’s a scary thought because that’s what fills Our Reality and/or Your Mind! I don’t know about you, but for me, that is super scary.

For me, Mental Self-Care translates to activities or things that puts me in a positive and healthy mental state. More often than not, it requires me to feel stimulated, inspired and challenged. YES! You guessed it – Exercise for Your Mind!

I recently re-started a practice of doing/listening to Positive Affirmations. I discovered this tool many many years ago in my wild twenties when I was exploring the minds ability to heal the body. I read all of the books and experienced all of the therapies etc… and was really surprised at how simple yet powerful these affirmations are. I repeat affirmations throughout the day now to avoid losing my temper and/or to prevent me from murdering anyone! (Lol!) The benefits of positive affirmations are endless (please Google it) but what it does for me is really helpful – it keeps me positive, focused and balanced! It sets the tone for my day and clears away negative thoughts and energy.

Another practice I do daily is Read. I read everything. I love acquiring knowledge and learning new things. I love diving into mysteries, submersing myself in the supernatural and often get lost in the unexplained. I read poetry, contemporary fiction, YA, sci-fi, graphic novels, self-help, psychology, alternative healing and books on running, weight training, yoga and pilates and lately a whole lot of books on personal transformation. A book for me is a chance to escape and live beyond the boundaries of my imagination.

My emotional self-care is a top priority for me. I am a highly sensitive person and need to express how I feel a lot. I need to feel connected and present to stay in a happy place. If I don’t I get really difficult to be around and become miserable and depressed. I have the tendency to get very dark… I own the fact that I am high maintenance… but hey, really, look after your emotions.  Emo self-care 101: Be in touch with how you feel. Don’t bury it or try to make ‘it’ go away – because ‘it’ really won’t! Rather express your emotions through creativity – paint, draw, fold paper, garden, cut, paste, bake, cook, etc… no excuses because every single one of us has the ability to create there is no such thing as ‘I am not creative’… that’s just making excuses – get over it! (On a more serious note – emotional self-care is of utmost importance so please make it a priority especially when you are ill. Seek help from professionals if you are struggling with your emotions.)

Practicing mindfulness is another popular form of emotional self-care. In simple terms it really means stop taking things for granted and be present in everything you do.  In other words, be conscious and aware of what you do. Be grateful for everything. Appreciate everything you have and don’t have. But most of all – Say Thank You!

Something I really treasure and find absolutely essential is spending time alone with myself. Just me. No Facebook or Whatsapp. Alone. Daily. So that my mind is not used as a dumping ground (I have kids that share a lot of useless information) and my emotions stay in synch with my intentions. I have instilled a practice of quiet time by 8pm to aid me in reacquainting myself with my sanity before bed time.  Don’t laugh – I am very serious – no talking to me, calling me, asking me anything – not the kids or husband or anybody. The rule is I will seek your company if I need or want it because after 8pm is my head time.

All the practices I have mentioned above helps me to nurture my intellect as well by acquiring vast knowledge of many different subjects. I especially enjoy the challenge of learning something new whenever possible. I am currently an online learning freak and in the last year have done at least 3 online courses in English, Filmmaking, Photography and Web Development!

My many experiences and journeys have been ones of learning, witnessing and overcoming which culminated in the growth and expansion of my Soul. I don’t think it is possible to live on this earth and not grow your Soul as all our experiences of the outside world impacts our inner worlds and Souls – both positively and negatively. When last have you had a conversation with your Soul? Have you even met your Soul? I could really go down the deep end here… but I hope I am making you understand that there is more to you than just a shell – you are also a Soul.

I have made it an absolute necessity that I insist and strive to find magic in everything I do. Living a life filled with Purpose is my mission statement – and it is not negotiable. As a photographer I look and see things a tad bit differently… acutely and purposefully (I usually fall down the rabbit hole with this one largely due to Instagram). I find the most amazing soul stirring images to look at frequently that either inspires me or encourages me to try too. The pinnacle of my Inner Self-Care is to deliberately develop a sense of awe and wonder toward the Universe which makes my Soul sing and believe me, yours will too!

And so it is!

 

Self-Care Of the Outside

I was really stressing about how to approach this topic, even though I had quite a mouthful to say in the last post. But it was because I did not want to simply rewrite the myriad of posts already out there. And no matter where I researched and looked, I kept revisiting the Mind, Body, Soul interpretations because essentially that is our true nature. And on top of that, there are many dimensions of self-care that are all interrelated and therefore I have decided to over simplify a very complex subject in my own unique way.

So what is Self-Care of the Outside?
It relates to what’s on the outside of us… Your Body! Physical self-care is all about our bodies and what we do with our bodies. How we interact with our bodies and how we treat our bodies.

I like to think that my Self Care started with the Physicality of Self Care. I looked at the state of my health and what I needed to do to get healthy. My body was exceptionally unwealthy (breast cancer, thyroid disease, etc…) and I needed to acknowledge that. The next step was to address the issues and then change my habits to healthier choices. This included a mindful nutritious diet, exercise (a whole lot), a regular sleeping routine and listening to my body’s needs.

I still struggle with a healthy diet – I don’t eat enough fruit and veg, but I make a conscious effort daily to include more green choices. I have managed to up my exercise game a whole lot and I am really grateful that I have. I have a rigid sleeping routine as my body needs at least 6 hours of sleep to function normally but 8 hours of sleep to function optimally. This revelation came to me after I had chemo and was sleep deprived for months… I am hyper aware of everything my body requires.

Listening to my body has come as a hard lesson for me. In June I got the flu whilst travelling. I was mostly bedridden with severe body aches and high fevers. Recovery was slow and the symptoms seem to return every time I exercise. I then needed to sit back and realise that I was not going to run my first marathon in September… I have still not returned to running yet!

Physical Self Care came easily, however in my opinion Practical Self Care is where the fun ends.

It relates to the interaction with your environment. We need to understand that our personal space is a reflection of our inner state. I know… no fun… Therefore a clean house and tidy drawers and cupboards reflect a level of self-control and order that is quite empowering… apparently!
I don’t know…
Not convincing Blah blah blahhh!!!

I keep telling myself ‘Remember this is Your space’. Clean it! Make it pretty! Make it serene and fill it with love. Add some green and maybe even add other living organisms – like a child, dog or a cat! Never live in an unclean environment because (that is yuck and gross) it will impede your health!

So let’s make this simple… Clean your body daily! Change your underwear daily. Change your bed linen regularly. Clean your floors and toilet regularly. Declutter everything everywhere! Donate what you don’t need – except the children and/or husband!

Now we get to the nitty-gritty… Ta da…
Social Self Care!
I am not very good at socialising. I am a highly sensitive person and an INFJ. Even though my few friends will argue that I am NOT INTROVERTED… I AM! I am terrified of people! My worst nightmare is going to social events where there are large masses of people I don’t know – like races or concerts! (And my thoughts race and I want to throw up and run away… but I am paralysed with fear! Shoooooooo…)

Therefore I keep my circle small and my time limited. I do however realise that I need other people (although in small doses) in order to function in this world and maintain a certain level of normality.

I joined a social running group and a CANSA wellness program to help me with my social anxiety. At least once a year I attend a conference or concert by myself to challenge my fear of crowds, and every now and then when I am feeling really brave, I will run a race by myself!

I do however love deep meaningful conversations and my ability to connect with people honestly – therefore I write! Writing this blog is such a huge part of my social well-being as it allows me to express my emotions with other’s in a safe friendly environment. I am able to interact in a way that does not stress me or make me feel unpleasant!

I am grateful, Thank You!

Until next time x

What Self-care isn’t

I thought I would begin by telling you about what self-care is NOT! That should clear out a lot of perceived misconceptions you might have acquired. And most people think that self-care is related to personal hygiene… LOL! That’s not exactly right… Personal hygiene is your responsibility as a human being to honour your body (and those around you too) by living in a state of cleanliness, health and wellness.

To be really honest…Self-care is not a nice thing… or an ‘easy’ thing…

As one blogger vehemently states “Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing”.

Self-care is embarking on an intense investigation and interrogation of the state of your life. It usually meanders into your reality once you have literally hit rock bottom (well for some of us at least) or if you have come to the realisation that your life is not what you would like it to be… You are reminded of your failures and disappointments, you take a long, hard, honest look at them, and then you think of new solutions, instead of repeating your past mistakes. It is about choosing new and choosing different – its about a new vision, a new strategy, culminating in a new way of life.

Yes, it’s facing the ugly truth. The thing that will make you cringe and cry ugly tears. But it is also the thing that will make you realise your truth and your reality – which is why most people completely avoid it. True self-care is not a long warm fragranced bath accompanied by a beautifully scented softly lit candle… Rather – it is about making a choice to build a better life, a life that you value and love and don’t need to regularly escape from.

Yes, it’s hard work and it requires you to do all the things you least want to do, unfortunately.

According to the New York Times, “If you find yourself having to regularly indulge in consumer self-care, it’s because you are disconnected from actual self-care, which has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot to do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long-term wellness.”

So, No! Retail Therapy is not self-care either!

For some, it will mean a complete rehaul of their lifestyle. And for others, it could just mean nothing. One more thing to hide from in this very scary world we live in. I would prefer to think that people like to be challenged by constantly trying to improve themselves.

Self-care teaches you to rescue yourself, to be your own Hero and to let go of victim mentality. It means revamping what you have until your everyday life isn’t something you need therapy to recover from.

It is about feeling good about your life choices.
It is about giving up and letting go of things that don’t make you feel good.

There you go!

A month of Self-Care

It’s August – where has the year gone???

It’s also Women’s Month which is a well celebrated month to honour the Women of South Africa. I thought of various ways to contribute to this merriments and wondered what I could do to make a difference. Personally, I have always been firmly invested in caring for myself and thought I would write a bit about self-care. A very relevant topic (and also very woo-haa) and out there, but yet so many women fail to implement and include self-care into their daily routines.

What is self-care? Why is it a buzz word? Why is every self-help guru talking about it?

As women, we naturally see to everyone else’s needs before our own. We neglect to listen to our bodies, and end up feeling drained, unhappy and depressed. We give others needs more importance than our own needs. ‘What?’ you say with wide eyes? ‘How’ you say accusingly?

By ignoring your needs and putting them aside to see to the needs of others. By seeing to your husband and children’s needs before your own. For the first 10 years of marriage, I was enslaved by my family. I am serious. It stopped when I got diagnosed with breast cancer.

Seriously – Sister, you don’t want a disease to get you to this point of self-awareness …

And I really only became aware of neglecting myself and honouring myself once I got ill. I needed to realise that self-care was not selfish. I needed to realise that I had been neglecting myself and my needs over the needs of others. And I needed to understand that when I take care of myself, I am better at taking care of others!

I now self-care like there’s no tomorrow – left, right and centre. ‘My needs before yours’ is my mantra! You think I am lying? Laugh out very very LOUD! I AM NOT! I DON’T DO THINGS I DON’T WANT TO!

I let go of things that don’t make me happy. I don’t engage in things I have no energy for. I don’t hang onto people or things that don’t serve me… I could give examples but eish… you know what I mean! And… NO! I don’t feel guilty about it!

Seriously, I have consciously made the choice and decision to only engage in experiences that warm my heart, stimulate my mind and heal my body!

And I will definitely be telling Y’all about it!

Watch this space x

The Drought – whats this Madness?

I have been vigilantly implementing the recycling of grey water in our household. Self appointed because nobody else is willing to do it! I am the person who catches shower water for flushing, dish water for the few surviving plants we own, and laundry water for everything else.

I did not however realise how much work this entails or that policing this process is going to require ‘hare op jou tande’ and a sense that I should be remunerated for my efforts… Because I mean really – seeing that everyone’s business gets down the toilet pipes is a terribly shitty job! On a side note – Pay Me dammit!

And it doesn’t get anymore labour intensive than when you have grown adult ‘children’ who are in denial of said water restrictions because the ‘Government is plotting another deceptive conspiracy’… Refuses to catch laundry or washing waters because ‘Sies!’ and screams right back at me when I ask ‘Why?’ or launch a protest.

I get completely undone aka – lose my shit – and it all goes downhill from there…

And the worst part is my emotions goes and grows emotions! My feelings gets feelings in other words. So I get mad and then I get angry because I got mad…

And for the rest of the day I feel like the biggest Loser for being disrespectful and rude. I feel like I have been over thrown and I am terrible at defeat… I mean am I the only one who encounters this resistance to change or anything new and slightly challenging?

It’s like when I say ‘I have to have another mastectomy’…

Shit gets real and a screaming match ensues that ends with ‘Hou jou bek die cancer sal nie terug kom nie…’ and I mumble under my breath ‘If I had listened to you I would have been dead already! This illness comes back… that’s how it works! There’s no guarantees!’
I get stared at murderously! She explodes!
And I get thoroughly ‘uitgevloek’ and ‘uitgeskel’ from here till next year! There’s nothing like a good proper scolding from your Cape Malay Mother ooohhhh eh eh!
(She is probably gonna kill me or evict me when one of my aunties read this and phone her to tell her I posted this on Social Media!)

This is an Asylum… or like my Mother would say ‘Die’s ‘n Mul-Huis vol Mul Mense!