My Little Ball of Unease


Photo by Mikhail Elfimov on Unsplash

My little ball of unease has come and found me this morning.

He crept in. Past the thin material of my dress, through my skin and past my ribs. He’s found his old familiar home, nestled himself there and put the kettle on, right at the bottom of my ribcage.

He’s in for the duration.

Today he will stay, perhaps tomorrow too.

He makes my voice not sound like my own and my body unattractive from every angle. He makes me conscious of every noise, every movement, every overheard laugh and every tone of voice.

He ramps up my thoughts, gives them a nitrous boost. They’ll be overworked today, over analysing, over complicating, over thinking. They’ll be exhausted once my little ball of unease has packed his bags and wandered off again. He paves the way of his other friends to gain access…

My little ball of anxiety.

My little ball of depression.

Unease weakens the defences, so that they don’t have to fight too hard to get in.

They aren’t far away, over the peak of that hill, or hiding around the corner down that lane. Sharpening their finest tools, polishing their boots in order to stamp all over my heart.

All the work I have done in order to keep them at bay, unease has seen to that for them.

Every time I hope it won’t be as bad as before.

And sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes Unease decides he isn’t too comfy nestled down there and takes himself off somewhere else.

Perhaps he’ll do that today.

I pray that he will.

The Nature of Us

Image credit: Pixabay @ Pexels

We feel…

Every. Little. Thing

Emotions swim through us
Like time-lapse boats on a lake

Swift, fast and unforgiving

Hardly pausing to catch breath
No time to collect thoughts

There are new ones to have
New ideas
New words
New boats to add to the current

We laugh too much
Tell too much
Think… too much

Of you, of words that lingered on lips too long
Things that weren’t said
Comfort that should have been given
That was just

Out. Of. Reach

So we beat on
Our boats against the current

And we’ll care. Too much
And we’ll love. Too much

Because
There is
No other way.

Words


Photo by Catalina Morales on Unsplash

Be careful with your words, even in anger, think about what you say.

Tell them they are irrational, and they will hear you.

Expect them to open up their heart to you again, to tell you their innermost fears and they will close up – and wouldn’t you? After being told that…

Dismiss without listening and they will remember.

They will find someone else who will listen next time. Each time you don’t hear, you are pushing them away further, teaching them to live without you. Listening is the greatest gift we can give one another…

Call them names and they will stick.

Depending on their self-worth, they may even start to believe you…

So be careful with your words, because you cannot take them back.

Grounding Techniques


Photo by Amy Treasure on Unsplash

…I was having a wonderful chat with a close friend this morning about therapy and mental health issues. She has recently qualified as a mental health nurse and whilst training and now in doing her job day-to-day she has gotten to meet all of these amazing people who are specialists in their chosen field. It’s great for me; as someone who has had serious mental health issues of my own and also – out of necessity – has a fascination with psychology and mental health.

She was telling me about some really positive feedback she had received regarding some grounding techniques that she had helped a patient learn whilst on placement and, I was a little skeptical about how it would work, but then she got all technical and medical-speak on me and realised how much I love her ❤

So, anyway, this is what she taught me – I think it will not only be useful for myself, but it’s good knowledge to pass on to those that may need it. It’s called ‘TIP’

Temperature – change your bodies temperature drastically. You can do this by holding an ice cube to your temples, against pulse points or just by holding ice in your hands, sticking your head in the freezer or plunging your head into a bowl of iced water. You will need to practice this as you do not want to be attempting it for the first time when you are at the point you need grounding. Scientifically this action works on your ‘fight and flight’ response – your body goes into survival mode and it brings you out of that extreme high or extreme low because your body is just focusing on keeping you safe. It works on the sympathetic response and the para-sympathetic response – snapping you out of the former and plunging you into the latter. This is the technique that my friend had received positive feedback upon and she is a great advocate of it, having seen it work countless times.

Intense exercise – Get your heart rate up. Run, punch, dance, do star jumps – it will be the last thing you feel like doing, but not only will it start to get aggression/anxiety/adrenaline out of your system, it will also put you into a different mindset. If you have a build of adrenaline it’s really good to try and get it out, if you can. Adrenaline helps us when we need it – but if our body is producing too much of it and too often, it can have a negative impact on our immune system and can even cause stress induced DNA disorders – which, rather ironically, anxiety is one of!

Paired muscle relaxation – Like body scans in meditation, lie flat and tense your muscles up in pairs until you begin to feel relaxed. This is tricky and the one that both of us were doubtful of – I am a big advocate of meditation for helping with wellness, anxiety and depression, however I don’t know if you have ever tried meditation when you are at the point you need grounding… yeah, it’s not easy. I have no doubt that this helps at certain points, but I can’t help but feel that it would be at an earlier point when mindfulness and breathing techniques are probably as useful.

She also reminded me of the 5 senses, which is a wonderful exercise that can be done when you first realise that this are starting to take a downwards direction…

Find 5 things you can see…
4 things you can touch…
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell…
And 1 thing you can taste.

Again – like paired muscle relaxation, this isn’t good when you are at the point of needing grounding – I know that from experience – but it may be able to calm your thoughts enough to stop you from reaching that point.

There are other ways of grounding that I have found useful over the years too:

  • Get outside, if you can. Go for a walk, even if it is just around the block and try and notice something you haven’t before. I used to take the same route on the bus to and from work every day, 5 days a week for over a year – and there were days when I did this and still managed to notice new things! Breathe in the air, feel the wind in your hair and the ground beneath your feet. Look up and watch the clouds (or the stars) – take a moment to stand in awe and wonder at the magnitude of it all.

…what is left behind can no longer hurt you like it did before.

  • Ask yourself questions that bring you back to the present moment. This is especially good if you are ruminating over distressing memories or suffering with the after effects of trauma. These could be questions such as
  1. What is my name?
  2. What is the date?
  3. How old am I?
  4. Where do I live?

This may sound very simplistic – but it reminds you of your current place in time. The past is gone – what is left behind there can no longer hurt you like it did before. Repeating words to yourself, or mantras can also be very soothing and calming – aim to do it on the breath and this will also help to calm your nervous system down. It doesn’t have to be a long phrase or collection of words – even just repeating I am safe could be enough to help bring you back to the present moment.

  • Create a self-care box – and you can put a n y t h i n g you like in there, anything that brings you comfort. Some examples could be –

A fidget spinner or block – something with different textures that you can touch and feel the sensations of on your skin.

Something from nature – a rock, or a shell. Objects like this tend to keep their coolness which can be a nice contrast when we feel full of panic.

Something that smells nice. This could be a tissue of some fabric with the perfume or scent of someone that you feel safe around, it could be a scented candle or essential oil.

Something that tastes good – perhaps some really strong mint gum, or some chocolate.

A favourite and well-loved book or DVD – something that can help to switch your attention. Or even a list of funny shows on Netflix.

  • Talk or write – this can be to a person who you feel safe with, it could be to your dog or even your goldfish. You can write letters to people to get these feelings out and then destroy the letter and there is catharsis in watching those words go up in smoke or be ripped into tiny shreds – but get what you are feeling out of you.

These are all only tips and things that I recognise from my own experiences and extracts of my conversation with my friend. I am not qualified in psychology so please take these only as ‘tips’ that may help, but we are all individuals and what may work wonders for some of us may not for others.

What tips do you have?  Have you found something that works for you that hasn’t been covered here? Please let me know in the comments 😊

World Sleep Day

Image credit: Pixabay @ Pexels

I didn’t know it was a thing either, until I got a works newsletter email this morning informing me of the fact – and that there are samples of relaxing and alternative teas at my disposal if I so wish to sample them…

*Glances at strong, freshly brewed black coffee…. yawning as I do so*

It has got me thinking about sleep though; sleep hygiene to be more specific. I am no expert in this, I love sleep – I love my bed, I love napping and I love wearing ‘pjs’, which usually consist of a pair comfortable trousers and a big jumper to burrow in. I have tried to get better with my sleep hygiene over the years – depression; I think in anyone, can knock it out of whack a little and once we get ourselves into certain habits and routines, they can be very hard to break. Especially if it’s just as ‘harmless’ as having a nap for a couple of hours…

I think before we really begin though, we should look at this word: hygiene (I’m having real trouble spelling it this morning, autocorrect is my friend!)

Sleep hygiene doesn’t mean changing your sheets constantly (every 2 weeks is kind of fine, right?) It’s not about clean pyjamas or having a shower before bed every night. It’s not even about cleaning your teeth or washing your face before you get in to bed. All of these things are of course important, but sleep hygiene (seriously, why do I keep wanting to put a C in it?!) is more about our attitudes, habits and ultimately the quality of our sleep.

Let’s get into the reason why we sleep first. It’s kind of weird to think about your body silently performing lots of intricate functions whilst you are cosied up in bed dreaming (or not, as the case may be…) but it really is! Whilst we are sleeping, our minds and bodies are taking stock, repairing and consolidating everything that has happened during the day and effectively gearing us for the next day and the adventures we are going to have. Whilst we sleep, our mind takes our short-term memories, sorts through them and creates long term memories – I always tend to think of it like the admin staff sorting out all of my notes into filing cabinets (but that may just be me!). Our bodies are busy too – cells are repairing, muscles are growing, wounds are healing and tissue is reforming. Sleep is, without a doubt, very important for our mental and physical wellbeing…

Great! Lets get under that blanket and have a nap 😀

Well… hold your horses a moment. Napping is great, I don’t like to boast, but I have somewhat of a reputation for being somewhat if a napping ‘pro’ – but it’s not always healthy.

I have had times in my life where I have felt utterly exhausted, where I haven’t known where to put myself because I’m so tired, we all have. I have had frustrating conversations with my (very patient) doctor that go like this:

Me: ‘I just feel so tired… all. the. time.’

Him: ‘Are you managing to get to sleep ok?’

Me: ‘Yes’

Him: ‘Do you wake up during the night?’

Me: ‘No’

Him: ‘Do you nap during the day?’

Me: ‘I need to, I am so tired

Him: ‘Sleep less, you’ll be less tired’

Me: Are you fucking joking?

Ok, so I didn’t say that last bit, but I thought it – many a time. I had/have an illness, my mind was working overtime, I was exhausted – and all of that is true, but sleep can be a bit of a catch 22, the more you do it the more you seem to need to do it. I wasn’t physically tired, I was mentally drained and it may not sound like much of a difference, but it’s huge. If I was physically tired, I would be able to get into bed and sleep and my mind and body would do that magical repair thingy and all would be fine and dandy. But I was lacking the physical tiredness because I was sleeping all the time – my body wasn’t really doing, well, anything. So, at night all the repair functions of my body did their bit (which was less than usual) and then sat around kicking their heels whilst my mind – already exhausted from the daytime – did all the rest.

I’m not a doctor – as you can probably and plainly tell – but I have had years of falling into this trap and having to claw my way out of it.

Because the tiredness is very, very real. Depression and anxiety do make you very tired, medication makes you tired, pain makes you tired, dealing with people makes you tired, answering the phone, seeing friends, concentrating, walking the dog, going to appointments, talking, eating, breathing… everything takes so much more effort, so of course you are bound to be more tired than usual and it is important to acknowledge that and not ignore it because, yep, tiredness makes depression worse!

But habits are important, routine is important.

They are important even if you don’t suffer from a mental illness, but they are vital if you do. I am very lucky with my job – I work two and a half days a week, which gives me 2 weekday mornings at home after my husband has whirlwinded his way around the house and got out of the door for work – and on those two mornings I have to make a choice. Do I:

A)     Roll over and go back to sleep?

B)      Get up, exercise, take the dog out, have a healthy breakfast, do housework, see a friend, get dinner ready etc etc…?

C)      Read, meditate, write, get up and watch a bit of tv?

I’d love to say I always opt for B – but I don’t. Depression is worse in the mornings, if I lie there thinking about getting up and exercising then I inevitably end up doing A.

I usually end up doing C, knowing that it will inevitably lead into doing parts of B but with the proviso of ‘if I feel tired later, I will have a nap’ – and sometimes, I take that nap, because I need to. Depression may be kicking my ass that day, my fibro pain might be worse than normal, depression may have been shrouding me at work the day before and left me feeling depleted, I may know that I do have a couple of busy days coming up and I need to ‘store up’ a little bit of quiet time or sleep. But I have at least given myself a head start. If I had just gone for option A then my day has kind of half gone before I have even got out of bed, which makes me feel guilty – and guilt oils the hinges on the door that depression snakes its way in through.

Whilst adopting this attitude over sleep though, I have learnt that I need to make sure that the sleep I do get, at night, is good sleep. If I spent all night tossing and turning, being too hot, too cold, unsettled, needing to get up a few times for a wee etc then every morning would inevitably end up with me doing option A or, trying to do option C and making myself exhausted in the process.

We all know the basics – warm bath, cool room, no excessive alcohol consumption, no caffeine, no blue light from your phone or laptop screen before sleep. But I have found meditation helps tremendously – even just meditative music as I’m drifting off can remind me to slow my breathing and, in turn, my thoughts down. I personally find I sleep better with a heavy duvet or blanket (in a cool room), I try and read for a little while until my eyes become heavy and also – I kick my husband out! We sleep better apart (and get on better for it during the day) so, for us, it makes sense most nights.

Good sleep is vital, for our physical and emotional well-being – but too much of sleep, like any good thing, can have the opposite effect. Its not that napping is bad, but before you go for that nap – ask yourself is it tiredness, or it is something else? Are you napping because you are avoiding something? (It could be as small as doing the dishwasher, it could be as big as, y’know, life itself) and even then, if it’s the latter, then it may be safer to nap than to stay awake. However, the key to recovery is recognising and changing behaviours – and as we spend over 30% of our lives sleeping, recognising the healthy and unhealthy aspects of it can be pretty life changing.

Enough

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How many times do you excuse a behaviour before saying… enough?

How many nights of worrying do you endure before you realise that you are not responsible for the actions of of someone else?

How many times do you allow yourself to be hurt or confused by someone before you realise that you are not the one at fault?

How many times can someone accuse you of being too sensitive before you realise that sensitivity isn’t a negative character trait?

How many reasons can you find to justify someone else’s faults?

How many snippets of advice do you give before you realise that they are falling on deaf ears?

How many circles do you want to travel around?

I have found my number.

Curator Required: Apply Within

Ok, so it’s not a job ad.

I tried doing that thing where the entire article was written like one – but I was a bit stumped when it came to ‘Location’, because this way of thinking is big and therefore hard to pin down. The ‘Salary’ I had sussed, and I even whacked the word ‘exponential’ in there, which for 08.25 on a Tuesday morning with only one coffee in my system, I figured was pretty impressive!

But yes, this is about a way of thinking and a way of living. It’s about curating your own life so that the best, possible, you can grow, think, dance, explore, laugh, sleep and eat better. Pretty big claims, huh? Well… yes, but all entirely possible.

How many times have you heard the phrase ‘You are what you eat’? And how many times have you felt that to be true? It’s no surprise that if we eat junk for a few days, we begin to feel like junk, all sluggish and tired. Change the word ‘eat’ to ‘consume’ and you can start to see how the consumption of junk anything can begin to have an impact.

And I mean literally… anything.

Social Media

In our current climate, this is perhaps the most obvious one. In 2018 adults in the UK spent the equivalent of over one whole day a week online, and I think anyone that has a Facebook account has found themselves mindlessly scrolling. It’s the same with Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIN etc etc, but because it’s perhaps the most common, I’m going to stick with Facebook.

Everyone seems to have a Facebook account, from your youngest relation to your oldest, from that person you met on holiday when you were six to your best friend – and for a long while it was the way we all connected with each other. I think my attitudes to it have changed a lot over the last eighteen months or so, and I feel that the tide is turning globally somewhat – partly because it’s kind of a vicious circle; everyone is on there so it’s great to be connected, but everyone is on there, so it’s feels like you are always connected.

However, we all still use it. I’m as guilty as the next person for scrolling down my feed whilst not really absorbing what I’m reading (not consciously anyway), and recent scientific research has shown that it is a little more complex than simply being bored or looking for a distraction. Dopamine and Opioid – two different compounds that are found in our brains neurotransmitters, have us hooked. This is an article on the subject which is quite an interesting read, but put simply – social media can give us the same hit as sex, or chocolate, or a hug. Even the ‘drive’ or the need to get those likes, messages and friend requests is driven by our innate need for dopamine.

Is it any wonder then that we spend so much time scrolling, and that we are also so undisciplined when it comes to taking time away from the site?

Recently though, I have made a little deal with myself. I am not ready (yet) to deactivate Facebook – however, what I can do is make it a nice place to be. When the option to ‘follow’ people came out, I must admit I was a little sceptical and wary – I didn’t want to be followed, I tend to keep my personal Facebook account pretty tight with security settings, so I quickly found a way to switch that option off! But, a good thing that has come out of having that option is that you can also unfollow people, people who are already on your friends list.

Now, I know that sounds terrible. Why have them on your friends list if you don’t want to see what they post? Weeeeeeeeellllll yes, I get that, but some people would be difficult to remove, for various reasons and it’s not that I dislike that person, or I’m not interested in them – it’s just that perhaps we hold wildly different views on something (that isn’t going to change), or perhaps they remind me of a part of my past that is difficult and I need to be in the right frame of mind to have those memories come up. Perhaps they are at a different place in their journey and some of their posts can be triggering to my particular sensitivities at a particular time or maybe it’s just as simple as they are obsessed with a TV series and I haven’t caught up yet and don’t want the spoilers. Maybe they constantly post memes, or cat videos, or links to sites that I don’t find interesting (these are all just examples, I have nothing against cat videos) but you get the idea. You can follow and unfollow at will and I’m not ashamed to admit that sometimes I do just that. I also only follow pages that I am interested in – the 2007 me that ‘liked’ every page going on this wonderful new site is, after all, somewhat different to 2019 me.

I see it as an act of self-care. We are each responsible for our own well-being and if I felt despair every time I scroll through Facebook because I have read 6 posts in a row about Brexit or Donald Trump, seen a few pictures of the Yulin dog festival or a fox hunt, watched an advert for new diet pills, read about a horrific murder from a news site and been reminded that I still have 3 episodes of that hour long drama that I now know the end of to catch up on then… I’m going to be feeling pretty crappy. I’m not saying we should turn a blind eye to things; the news is important, awareness is important, activism and politics – they are all important and we should all be very aware of what is going on in the world we live in. But – and this is the crux of it – if they are not on our Facebook feeds, then we can choose when we read about them. By choice, I read a newspaper and I keep up with current affairs, but at times when I choose to, when I feel like I can deal with what I am reading, and this is rarely just before I am about to go to sleep or within the first 10 minutes of waking up – I’m an awful procrastinator when my alarm goes off, let’s just check Facebook quickly, eh?.

So, learn to curate your feed, and don’t be ashamed of it or think too deeply about it. I have zero judgement for what other people post – for some, it could be informative and I am well aware that some people are sensitive to things that others are simply not. Like how some people can watch gruesome horror movies and some of us hide behind a cushion and still have nightmares! But, I am able to control what I consume from Facebook, and the rest – and so can you.

Music

Playlists… I love them, I am slightly addicted to them – and no, I’m not going to tell you to only listen to positive songs and to not listen to songs about heartbreak or loss or infidelity or confusion, because some of the best songs written are about other people’s heartbreak. But, be mindful about when you do listen to what you listen to.

Sadness, anger, fear and despair are very real emotions and we do need to feel those things, blocking them out and pretending that they don’t exist isn’t going to help us in the long term. Music can be very cathartic; it can be very cleansing and can evoke wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) memories. Music can make you feel less alone, it can bring comfort and joy and motivation when its needed most – many a time I have given my dog an entire rendition of Beauty and The Beast or Evita whilst cooking a Sunday roast, because it’s so much more fun to prance around the kitchen pretending to be Lumiere and offering him imaginary cheese soufflé, than it is to just hum along to the radio whilst peeling the eleventy billionth Brussell sprout.

I currently have a Power UP playlist – which is made up of songs that make me feel good and motivated; some are embarrassing, some are pretty powerful, some hold some wonderful memories – and there are a couple of power ballads and musical numbers to screech at the top of my voice in the shower. If I need to get shit done, I put this on. If all I want to do is curl up and nap but I know I need to do something, I put it on. If I’m cold, I put it on and prance about.  

I also have a Slow and Calm playlist. This has the sadder songs; the heartbroken indie boys, the music from sad movies, the instrumentals that pull at the heartstrings and songs that get you right in the feels, it also has perfectly happy songs, but ones that are a little gentler. Sometimes, I listen to this on the bus either to or from therapy; sometimes in the bath if I have had a rough day and sometimes just if I want a good cry!

I have also started to create a playlist that has more meditative music on – chants, nature sounds and gentle instrumentals. This I listen to when it’s still dark outside and I’m getting ready for work. It helps to wake me up and sets my frame of mind for the day. Power UP is too much, Slow and Calm might not put me in a great mood – but something neutral, something gentle and that I relate to relaxation and calm and setting good intentions, is a good way to wake up to the world.

You will know what works for you and when it works for you – but again, like with Facebook and social media – it comes down to options and giving ourselves the choice and knowing when we can handle certain things and when we just can’t. For me, if Mary Lamberts Sum of Our Parts’ and Phoebe Bridgers You Missed My Heart played one after each other – I’d be an emotional whirlwind!

Company

‘You are the company you keep’…. Well, yes and no. Kind of? I’m very on the fence with this saying. We are all our own people – for example, just because someone I spend time with is of one political persuasion, doesn’t mean that I am. Perhaps it is not meant quite so literally, but I like to believe that most of us have courage in our convictions and that sometimes it is our differences that bind us. However, I do know and appreciate that different people can have very positive or very negative influences on us.

This can be dependent on many factors and it can vary from situation to situation. It also won’t always be glaringly apparent, someone doesn’t have to make you feel angry, or upset for them to have had a negative impact on you. They could perhaps leave you feeling just a little unsettled, or under-confident. Perhaps you are more tired after spending time with some people than with others? Certain people may trigger uncomfortable memories or emotions – either because they are part of our past, or they exhibit behaviours and tendencies similar to those that we have experienced before. Maybe certain people encourage you to behave in ways that afterwards leave you feeling embarrassed or like you haven’t been in control…

It isn’t always possible to curate the company we keep. Workplaces, extended friendship groups, families – they all contain people who could potentially be difficult for us to spend time around. But, we can observe our own behaviour and our own reactions to uncomfortable situations with other people, also, in observing our behaviour it is also important to check in with ourselves and ensure that we are not the negative influence. It can be an easy trap to fall into, especially if we have been spending time with people of that ilk. Perhaps it’s easier to recount the six things that went wrong at work, rather than that one thing that went right (we all do it!), maybe our minds have been elsewhere and we haven’t picked up on certain cues that have told us that someone is feeling uncomfortable, or we have inadvertently spent the last 45 minutes talking about ourselves and not let anyone else get a word in edgeways.

We are all made of energy – and physics 101 tells us that we have positive and negative energy at play in the world around us, constantly. As humans, this energy is no different and it can have a big impact on us as individuals. Recently, someone who I feel has quite a negative energy about them spent some time in my home and afterwards I physically cleansed the space; I opened windows, I cleaned, I washed the clothes I had been wearing and the sheets I slept in afterwards. I used sage to clear the air and I meditated to a very calming, positive guided meditation to ground myself and take back some control over the energy in my home. It helped me feel like that encounter was fully over, it had finished and I could move on from it.

It would be wonderful if we could all float around burning sage and meditating at the drop of a hat – but, sadly, we are not there yet. However, there are small things that we can all do every day to keep our own frequencies on track and to minimise the impact of these negative emotions.

Grounding is very important – I will write more fully about this over the next couple of days, but this can be done quietly and calmly if needed. Meditation is also a very handy tool, as is just repeating certain mantras to yourself, even if it is silently. When I was  growing up, my mum had a close friend and if something was beginning to upset her, she would quietly say to herself ‘I will not receive this’ and envisage herself holding up her hand as if to halt whatever was coming her way.

But, if you can, it is perfectly ok to quietly and calmly move away from these people. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, who want the best for you and who you can learn from – I promise you, they are out there.

What else?

Well… everything else! Once you start making positive choices and decisions about how you spend your time and who you spend it with, you will open up a whole new world of possibilities. Healthy choices are like throwing a stone into a lake – the ripples spread outwards. Just as it would be nonsensical to do an hour’s worth of cardio and then eat a burger, it would also make little sense to create positive energy around you and then go and participate in an activity that you know will drain you and leave you feeling depleted. What we read, eat, watch and say becomes us over time – and it doesn’t even have to be the things we say out loud, it can be that little internal dialogue, the curious and constant thoughts that fill our quieter moments. Curating what we consume allows the positivity to flow freely, it brightens our minds, expands our thoughts and builds our connections with others, it also helps to keep us as the wonderful individuals that we are and were always meant to be.

So do it with passion and without shame, look at it as a radical form of self-care and of protecting that little ember inside of all of us that keeps the fire going – and one day you may just find yourself ablaze with light.