photoI know it’s happened to you. You’re having a rough patch in life, like grieving for the baby you can’t conceive / the end of a relationship / miscarriage / death of a loved one / life just isn’t measuring up to your high expectations.

You see a friend, share a bit, and they say, “you’ve got plenty of time to have kids / it wasn’t meant to be / at least you know you can get pregnant / it’s going to be okay.”

And right about then is when you want to punch them. Grief sucks and we are taught in this society not to do it. Lost relationship? Chin up, pull through it….

But how do you get to self-care when you are smack in the middle of grief? When your heart is hurting it can be really fucking hard to take care of yourself, in fact you’re probably not even thinking about it. You’re consumed by what’s going on in your heart, and you’re falling to pieces.

When my world changed.

Several years ago, I realised that I could no longer be with the man I was with. No matter how much love I felt for him, my love wasn’t enough to fix him … and yeah, I know, how arrogant to think that my love could do that. He had issues (hey, I did do too), and when I found out the extent of them, the behaviours associated with them, I had to put my big girl pants on and get the hell out of there. So after five years of living together and a couple of years of fighting hard to make it work, I left. And it fucking sucked.

Then came the rapid weight loss.

When I’m stressed my stomach goes into lockdown; it feels like there’s a vice in my solar plexus. You know what I mean, when it feels like there’s a hand twisting your insides so you can’t breathe properly let alone eat. Unless of course you’re someone who binges to push through the tension, bugger all wrong with that, I just tend towards the no eating side of things.

How did I handle it?

I discovered Japanese rice crackers; delicious air, perfect for someone with a non-existent appetite. I coaxed my way back into eating by letting them dissolve in my mouth, a packet at a time. I also started training for the Caledonian Challenge. Twice a month I would do a 16-24 mile walk, and when it comes to stimulating the appetite, I’m not sure there’s anything better than exercise (other than smoking weed). In pretty much every picture of me walking, you’ll see a peanut butter sandwich in my hand (crunchy, never smooth), and bit by bit I regained the weight I’d lost.

A couple of years later, I realised that there were a few places deep inside where I was still holding onto this hurt, and it was seeing an Arvigo therapist which helped me to unlock and begin the process of letting go. Now I massage my belly every day as part of my daily self-care routine, it’s how I stop my stomach going into lockdown mode.

When you’re hurting, practice self-love above all else.

Give yourself some space to not be ok.

  1. Phone a friend. Let someone else in, tell one person what’s going on, let them hold your space. Text five friends and say, “hey, I’m having a shit time at the moment, I’d love it if you could check in with me once in a while or if we could hang out soon”. Be proactive in asking for help; I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve kept quiet till everything has been resolved, only to be reprimanded by friends months down the line for not allowing them to help.
  2. Get raw. Stick on the music which makes you feel all the hurt and loss. Don’t block it, feel it. Get lost in the emotion. I know it feels like it’s never going to end, but it will change, at least.
  3. Get your arse outside. Trees, rocks, soil; they’ve all been around a hell of a lot longer than we have, they can hold the energy we can’t (yes, I’m a hippy at heart). Let it go. Let your face be battered by wind and drizzle. Sob till your nose runs and then sob some more.
  4. Express yourself. Grab a notepad and write, if that feels uncomfortable, just write over your own words again and again so that nothing is readable, that way you get it out of you but there’s no way to revisit what’s come out, unless you want to of course. Buy some crayons and draw. Why crayons? We associate them with childhood, not grown up “proper” art, which helps to keep things playful and about expression, as oppose to producing something.
  5. Move. I have this theory that moving forwards physically moves you forwards mentally. So get walking, running or cycling. It needn’t be as extreme as a 54 mile hike, but if you get stuck on the sofa (been there), you’ll stay stuck in your head. Dance; surrender to the music, free that shit up and get it out of your system.

Need a kickstart?

Then come and get some love in the form of a treatment. It’s the first thing I do when shit hits the fan. Letting friends in etc is all well and good, but going for a treatment works on a different level. For a start, I don’t think any of my friends would be up for massaging me for longer than two minutes, if that. Mainly though, there’s something incredibly nurturing about doing something which is all about you.

Right now I have an offer on which will run till the end of January, and there are 20 13 8 spots left. It’s for a 90 minute Arvigo session, during which you’ll receive a nurturing belly and back massage, then I’ll teach you how to perform it on yourself, so that you can treat yourself every day. You can read about it in full over here, but here are the basics:

One treatment: £90 (£35 off)

Three treatment bonus offer: £250 (£125 off)

This offer is short-term, the price will increase to £125 per session as of Feb 1st 2014, and I’m only offering twenty spots at this amount. You must book and receive your first treatment by the end of January.

Next step?

If you’re ready to jump in, holla at me and let me know a few options with regards to times you can do in the coming weeks. Once we figure out a time, I’ll email you a pre-treatment form for you to fill in and return to me by email.

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