RUTH RICHARDS
New habits for a better life

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Overwhelmed and out of control

I started the working week with a scroll through twitter.   I love twitter and have a mix of people I follow but for some reason on Monday morning the feed seemed to be negative, shouty and lots of p***d off people.

And it got me down.  The planet is dying and a climate emergency has been declared.  We’re going to have a new prime minster that the majority of us have no influence over and cannot vote for.  There is no leadership in the opposition. Terrible stories are emerging of cruelty to animals and women are still not paid equal to men (yes, I mean the women’s football team).  And men in the US are making decisions about women’s bodies without consulting women. And fake news.  It’s hard to know what news or information has integrity anymore.

I had a real sense of feeling everything was out of control and I didn’t know what I could to change it. 

To stop myself falling anything further down this hole and feeling more miserable, I decided not to look at twitter for the rest of the day.  I failed. Because as much as there’s stuff that makes me mad, there’s also stuff that makes me feel warm and aah (I love @thoughtsofdog, makes me smile every time).

When I start to get these feelings, I have a few things I do to turn the tide:

  • I do something that I’m in control of, no matter how small it is.  On Monday morning I put the rubbish out.  Like I said, small job but I’m in control of it.

  •  I pick one small thing off my work to-do list and get that done. Getting small things done always gives me momentum to keep going.

  •   I do a short meditation, just 10 minutes of sitting still and breathing helps me feel more balanced.  Check out headspace for guided meditations.

  • Put my head out of the door for fresh air.  If it’s raining, I lean out of the patio doors. If there’s time go for a short walk and if there’s more time go for a run both clear my head.  (Of course, by run I mean mostly walking or running, really, really slowly.  Don’t want to give you the idea I run well, but it does help clear my head).

  • Watch and listen to the birds in the garden.  My small garden is wild and I get lots of birds, they always cheer me up. (Check out Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness)

  • Get in touch with a friend or colleague who will make me laugh.

 After doing a few of these I feel better and can get on with my life.  I can’t change the whole world, but I can change my response to it.  I would love to come up with a new model for democracy that was more inclusive and truly more democratic but I haven’t and I know I’m unlikely to.  But I would love it if someone did.

I’d love to hear what you do to get yourself back on track when those overwhelming feelings hit you.  Let me know at ruth@ruthrichards.org or @shineruth3.

In the meantime, I’ll concentrate on what I can change. 

  • Right now I’m working hard to reduce my food waste.  I recently bought Jack Monroe’s Tin Can Cook as I thought it would help retrain me from buy too much fresh food and wasting it.

  •   I’m keeping the garden wild to encourage the birds and the bees.  Not sure my neighbours are happy about this as things are starting to hang over the fence.

  • I’m improving tremendously at recycling and want to be a recycling ninja.

  • On a personal level I should watch less TV and spend less time on twitter.  Well, no-one’s perfect.

  • And read more.  I always have a stack of books waiting to be read.  The latest is Gina Martin’s ‘Be The Change’, a toolkit for the activist in you.

 I was fortunate to see Gina at Watersone’s in Leeds recently to hear her story.  Gina is the woman who campaigned to make upskirting law.  It took 18 months for this to happen.  Her book is billed as ‘a toolkit for the activist in you’.  She has created a practical guide for how we can all embrace our inner activist.

So instead of feeling overwhelmed, maybe we should be getting angry and activist-ish.  Whatever your cause, the planet, the environment, animals, politics, equality – maybe we should all be getting passionately angry. I say passionately angry to mean anger with a cause – a desire and passion to change something for the better.  As opposed to bitter anger which just causes more destruction.

So pick your cause and support it.  And if you can’t do a big thing.  Do a small thing.  There’s always the rubbish to put out.

Ruth x           

 

Books:

Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness

Tin Can Cook by Jack Monroe

Be The Change by Gina Martin

E: ruth@ruthrichards.org M: 07803 741396 Twitter: @shineruth3

Ruth Richards