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Women What Whistle

This podcast is about not falling in line or fading away. Stories of bravery, accounts of resilience and even tales of sheer bloody-mindedness. It’s about finding our voice, and sometimes our brave, through the stories of other women who’ve had to find theirs.

Nov 19, 2020

This has been an immensely difficult year for everyone – in different ways we have made sacrifices, managed stress, illness, loss …the list for everyone is different. Whether its been isolation and loneliness, or fear for loved ones who you can’t see, or managing children whilst working, or desperately trying to find creative ways around running a business so that you can keep your head above water – we’ve all gone through it and everywhere I turn right now, people are tired, fed up, hanging on by a thread.

In the news this morning there was a piece on how anti social behaviour and abuse is escalating in supermarkets ….. but it really highlights the mental state that some are in, there are many fragile people walking around on the brink

So for my wrapping up of the people pleasing series, I want to finish with the importance of understanding how we are effected by life and what goes on around us and giving ourselves the freedom to roll with some punches – I don’t mean being tossed by the waves, we have a responsibility to manage how we respond to negative feelings but at the same time, it’s important that we acknowledge and understand what we are feeling – for ourselves.

We’ve been a generation of goal setting reach for the stars and that’s great, the world has offered so many opportunities to us however right now, it’s so much more important that we take the gas off, that we allow ourselves to feel our way through the rest of this pandemic, to be connected to our feelings so that we don’t come out the other side disorientated or burned out but instead, we come out grounded, knowing what really matters

One of the things this second lockdown highlighted for me was realising how quickly we had reverted back to life as we knew it pre Covid just in the last couple of months… shopping, seeing friends, people were having parties, meeting in restaurants, sitting close together …as if it had all gone away and we had forgotten. If anything, we can use this as a reminder that despite all the horrific things going on during lockdown, all the stresses and strains, we also all began to pair down and connect with the things that matter most.

A friend of mine tweeted this morning about how low she’s been feeling of late …. Brian and I were talking over coffee this morning about the exhaustion we are all feeling right now – he was saying it’s a bit like when you learn something new, your brain gets tired – and we’ve all had to learn so much “new” this year – in the past we could go to work, go to the shops, go on holiday, all on auto pilot without having to think, everything was so familiar to us and suddenly this year that has all changed, very little is familiar, we are always having to think, be aware, do things a different way – of course we are exhausted!

One of the things we have talked about over the last few weeks has been menopause as last month was menopause awareness month so add to that the influence on hormones in our lives, whether it’s your monthly cycle or hormone change in perimenopause or post menopause, add to that all the different stresses and strains being carried by those around us, add to that the not knowing of what’s ahead – yes the vaccines look really promising but we aren’t there yet – it’s difficult – let’s acknowledge that. .

The reason I’ve included this as the final part of the people pleasing series is because it is vital that as part of learning about who we are, about getting to know ourselves and be ourselves, that we also learn to be comfortable in ourselves during the difficult times and give ourselves what we need – rest, support, a good book, a podcast, a walk in the woods …whatever it might be. That we learn to lean on each other, feel our feelings, not sweep them under the carpet but allow ourselves to mirror the seasons, right now to prepare for hibernation – we’ve earned it this year!!!! We NEED to rest and reset.

Usually this time of year I start to plan ahead for the following year but as that process has begun, I’ve started to think about how I’m going to nurture myself and my family first, as Gayle Johnson talked about back in episode 75, use journaling and creative ways to process through emotions and really get in touch with ourselves, last week we talked about cold water swimming and how shocking our body into fight or flight, learning how to breathe through that panic response enables our neural pathways and physical responses to become stronger and more resilient to stress – in fact next week we have an incredible guest on who is the most inspirational example of living through trauma and coming out the other side – and that’s really what this year has been for us,

By definition, a A traumatic event is an incident that causes physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological harm in which we might feel threatened, anxious, or frightened as a result. The reactions to trauma can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, confusion ….all sorts.

So in becoming more of ourselves, in grounding ourselves stronger in who we are and what we want from life, we also need to know and understand the other side of that coin, be able to recognise our negative feelings, where they have come from and sometimes allow ourselves to go through that muddy puddle, even sit in it for a while. We can’t rush these things – that’s something I learned through my divorce, I was devastated when I heard it would take a good couple of years to grieve and feel like myself again but that person was so right - and we can’t rush Covid either, we are here, we are moving forwards and we have all been marked in one way or another by 2020 – remember its generally the bad stuff in life that we learn from so let’s not race back to life as we knew it, let’s take the time to reflect deeper into ourselves, to get to know who we are and how we are feeling, allow ourselves to feel the Autumn and Winter of this year because Spring comes next and then summer. So however life is looking for you right now, keep going but be kind to yourself, be aware of what you need so that you can be even more of yourself both through the good times and the more difficult ones. I think you’ll love next week’s episode, it’s an incredible story of resilience

In the meantime, take care, keep washing your hands and wearing your masks and if you’re feeling frayed around the edges, that’s ok, spring isn’t too far away – in fact it’s about the same distance as we are now from when we came out of the first lockdown – and that doesn’t seem to far now does it?

Other episodes in this series:

#73 Part 1: get to know yourself – how can you be yourself unless you know who you are, start to notice and be curious

#74 Part 2: continuing with getting to know yourself, take it further and start to ask yourself about your opinions – read, think, question – be curious! Often people become people pleasers not because they are wanting to be liked, but because they just don’t know their own answers. How can you find your tribe, your people, if you don’t know what defines you? Why join a netball team when you prefer to be on water?

#77 Part 3: boundaries – learning to say no and that realising that when you give your power away, when you’re always saying yes and standing aside, it opens you UP TO FEELING VIOLATED and ABUSED

 #83 Part 4: today – putting all those things together in many ways is really simple but then the final point is this – life happens – and it’s all very well knowing the colourful side, but we are whole people and we also need to know our darkness. Brene Brown says “You can’t selectively numb your emotions” and in the same way, we can’t only know what we want, we also need to know what we feel ….

#75 – writing for healing – Gayle Johnson

#76 – How To Eat and Be Happy - eating disorders with Michelle Scott

#72 #78 #79 Menopause and how hormones dramatically effect the way we do live

#81 Ellen Carr – knowing your dosha and going with the seasons

#82 – Chilly Dippers with Olivia Sharron