This month, on The Conscious Adventurer, we look at Perinatal Mental Health & Complications in Pregnancy. My aim is bring awareness, words, and compassion to this under recognized area, and to acknowledge that pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond, do not always go according to plan, nor according to how things might be depicted in the messages around us.
Ever had to deal with an emotionally draining person? Someone who seems like an emotional vulture, feeding off discomfort, angst, and negativity?
A few months ago, when dealing with an extremely challenging situation, I learnt about the “Grey Rock” technique. It’s based on the idea that emotional vampires feed off emotional reactions. Thus, when you don’t react, you are no longer attractive and the vampire moves on.
To do this technique, you imagine and channel a Grey Rock: uninteresting, uninspiring, and bland. You recognise the emotional hooks that are being thrown out but do not respond to them. You respond in a very neutral, disinterested tone.
For example. let’s say someone says, in a very agitated tone of voice: “You should have checked with me!! This has really messed things up for me!!!”. You might respond with “Oh? That’s no good” [in a very neutral and calm tone of voice].
“I’m very disappointed in you!! You never listen to what I’m saying!” You might try “That’s very disappointing” (in a bland tone of voice).
“You should know better! Why do you keep doing…!!” You might say “Thanks for that. I could do that differently I guess” (in a light tone of voice).
Perhaps it’s not an emotional vulture you’re dealing with. Perhaps it’s someone who is highly critical. Perhaps it’s someone who pushes your buttons and makes it hard to focus.
Can you see the Grey Rock Technique being of use to you?
August is Conscious Business on the Conscious Adventurer. We’ll be talking about relationships in business and work, what keeps businesses stuck (and the importance of measuring outcomes), flexibility in work, and the triple bottom line.
On Tuesday, 2nd of August, I interview Lynnaire Johnstone of WordWizard fame – copy writing and “helping businesses get noticed”. Lynnaire is also a gardener extraordinaire!
You know the saying “It’s when times are tough that you truly know who your real friends are?”. It seems to me that it’s when times are full on that you see what systems need tweaking or changed.
I was thinking this as I surveyed the bathroom/kitchen/lounge/study during the week. It’s been an intense week – in addition to the usual things, I ran a seminar on Wednesday night with absolutely amazing people (it was so fabulous) and then had a talk with a very special group of nurses on the inpatient ward I used to work on. So much fun! Such a joy to be part of. However, the state of the house did not spark joy in me…
Sure, there were things related to the seminar and the goody bags we’d made up; there were the usual debris of the day (bits of stickers, toy cars, etc)…but there seemed to be extra mess. As I had sprinted to get out of the house to the seminar venue with both the children, I became aware of things that were not set up for an effortless leaving. For example, there isn’t a laundry hamper in the bathroom (where I got changed), there wasn’t somewhere near the change table to put dirty nappies (the nappy pail and the hamper were by the washing machine); I didn’t have rubbish bins nearby to collect all the inevitable mess…some things didn’t have homes and that some (e.g., my keys) had homes was absolutely useful.As I raced around, I took mental notes of what was falling down and vowed to make some small changes. Even one new system will make life easier (as I know from the habit of training myself to leave my keys in the same spot).
When under pressure, have you uncovered a system that isn’t working for you?
Last week, I interviewed Tracey Loughran (a naturopath) of Flourish. Tracey has developed the Taste Success weight loss programme and was clear that self-compassion was fundamental for bringing about workable changes in dietary habits. Tracey also advocated for having curiousity – imagining a question mark about our head. I talked about self-compassion and the visualisation I did was a new one I designed specially: inviting self love in using colour.
This week (Tuesday and Friday at 12), we’re talking about compassion turned outwards. I interview Pip Wood, the manager of Food Share – a Dunedin initiative that is about collecting the good food that would go to waste (e.g., from supermarkets and cafes) and distributing it to agencies who can provide it to those in need. 1.2 million meals have been provided thus far.
“We give people a nutritional hug” – Pip Wood, FoodShare
I’ll be taking about compassion turned outward and guiding you through a variation of the loving kindness meditation.
Listen here at 12 Tuesday and Friday (podcast to follow).
This week, I interviewed Nicola Brown, who is no stranger to juggling, as you can see.
Nicola Brown is a clinical psychologist, the healthy foodie behind NIBL (Nature’s Ingredients Brought to Life) and an efficiency coach. You can hear some fabulous tips from Nicola on this week’s radio show and download the podcast for later listening, if you’d like. I talk about developing a coach, rather than a critic on the show and do a guided visualisation to strengthen that inner coach, rather than critic.
I met with Nicola late last year and she gave me a piece of advice she gave me in relation to the posts I put on my professional Facebook page. which has made a phenomenal difference to me. Nicola suggested that each day have a theme so that I would save time trying to generate ideas. Thus, for example, every Monday, I try to post something about mindfulness, Tuesdays about thinking more productively, Wednesdays about pregnancy, etc. Nicola also had other tips, including measuring and saving results to look at trends. I’ve really found this advice about categorising useful. One of my strongest desires more recently has been to make the week predictable for myself and my sons. I really wanted each day and each week to have a rhythm. Of course, there are always things that come up and curve balls. However, having a structure means that things seem more predictable than not. When I worked in inpatient units, I used to have a saying – the more we are stressed or distressed the more we need structure.
“The more we are stressed or distressed, the more we need structure”
One of the foundational cognitive behavioural exercises in depression, for example, is to start looking at what someone does during a week (an activity schedule) and schedule in events that bring even the tiniest bit of pleasure, and then, mastery.
So…would categorising your week improve your focus? Here are some ideas for freeing up brain space:
- Have the same dinner on that day of the week – e.g., soup on Tuesdays. Alternatively, know that whatever you have for lunch will be what you have for dinner (or similar).
- Have a schedule for checking your emails (not first thing – hear Nicola about this :))
- Have a sense of what you will wear on certain days
- Put similar things together – e.g., Thursdays are your days for meetings
- Do your shopping on the same day of the week – if you run out of something before then, see if you can make do
Would any of these ideas make you more focussed? Can you apply categorising and compartmentalising to other areas of your life?