This week’s #SelfCareDiaries installment comes from the amazing Gabrielle Treanor, a writer and course teacher for the worriers and overthinkers out there. I’m super passionate about bringing more ease and simplicity into my life and Gabrielle speaks about this wonderfully with lots of knowledgeable tips and anecdotes to help make daily living a whole lot calmer.
Through her blog, courses, resources, and podcast she gives realistic advice that is both actionable and achievable for women in the real world. What I also love is that her work is inspired by scientific research in positive psychology and drawn from her own experiences to help us lead a less complicated life. Dumping that thing that is dragging us down and becoming a mental burden can feel like a challenge, but it’s a massive dose of self care if it makes us feel lighter and more aligned, which is why I’m excited to have Gabrielle taking over the blog today.
What does self care mean to you?
At the most basic level self care means treating myself as I would anyone else I care about. Self care can mean a variety of things from regular check-ups at the dentist and optician to saying no when I feel something isn’t right for me to talking to myself kindly rather than with harsh criticism to getting fresh air and eating nourishing food.
Do you have any self care rituals/practices that really anchor your day?
I have two key practices at either end of my day. I walk my dog with my husband every morning, usually in the local woods and that really sets me up for the day. The fresh air, the movement, being in nature, noticing what’s changing – it all makes me feel good in my mind and body. I write three things I’m thankful for or were good about my day in my gratitude journal every night before I go to sleep. I’ve done this for years and I completely agree with the research that shows how beneficial it is for your resilience and optimism.
What does your morning routine look like?
It’s very different to when I was working in an office for someone else! My husband and I are both self-employed working at home and it took us a long time to feel ‘allowed’ to start our day exactly as we wanted, we thought we ‘should’ get up at a certain time and be at our desks before 9am or else we weren’t as serious or as hard-working as other people. But we realised that there is no right or wrong way to go about your day, it’s whatever works for you and your work. So, we wake up with the radio, I make us both a cup of tea which we drink in bed with the dog and have a scroll through social media. I know that goes against a lot of advice but I enjoy starting my day seeing what my friends are up to and their photos on Instagram! I’m mindful of how I’m feeling so I can spot if comparisonitis is setting in. Then it’s a dog walk, breakfast, meditation and settle down to work. I’m experimenting with adding in a five minute morning yoga sequence when I get out of bed and writing morning pages before I start work.
How do you make time for self care?
I try to see self care as something that filters through my entire day rather than something separate. So I pay attention to how I’m feeling and think about what would be good for me in that moment. It could be to take a break or to keep going until I get a piece of work finished. Or take a nap or go for a walk. If life is particularly busy I’ll schedule time to do something I know nourishes me, just as I would schedule a meeting or an appointment. I know that if I don’t take care of myself I can’t be there for my family and friends and I won’t create good work.
During a challenging point in your life what key things got you through?
Taking time to be alone is key to me. I’m an introvert so being around people zaps my energy. If I’m with people a lot I need to take breaks to go for a walk, to read, to meditate or to just be on my own to recharge my batteries. It can feel really difficult to take that time out but I know that if I don’t I’m not going to cope as well with the challenge or be able to support other people dealing with it too. And on the flipside, talking to understanding friends helps me when I’m struggling. Someone who listens and empathises, who doesn’t try to brush things off or find a solution but who lets me voice my fears and pain and who I know is standing right there with me.
What’s in your self care toolkit? Which items bring you most comfort?
I do have an actual self care toolkit! I call it my mental health first aid kit. The key element to it is my soul-soothers list which is a piece of paper on which I’ve written a list of things to do when I feel low, overwhelmed, sad or fearful. Having it means I don’t have to think what to do, I just go to the list and pick something. It has all kinds of ideas including talking to a friend, taking a walk or a nap, singing along to a favourite tune, cuddling my dog or focusing on my breath for a few minutes. My phone is also part of my kit as I have a playlist of songs that make me feel uplifted and a ‘heart swell’ photo album with photos of people (and my dog of course) that I love. There’s also a lavender essential oil to soothe me and a hand cream, I use massaging it in as a mindfulness exercise.
What quote really resonates with you and why?
Oh gosh there are so many! Something that has stuck with me for years is ‘dwell in possibility’ by Emily Dickinson because I feel there’s so much hope, optimism, and potential in those three words.
What are you currently working on? Anything that you would like to share?
I have two online courses currently available: Exhale is a beginners’ guide to meditation for overthinkers and it’s the course I wish had been available when I was trying to start meditating. With A Thankful Heart I guide you through creating a gratitude habit that builds your resilience and increases the joy you experience each day. I also have a weekly podcast called Pressing Pause, the podcast for overthinkers, where I share ideas, actions and inspiration to help you worry less and enjoy life more in ten-minute episodes. You can find everything at gabrielletreanor.com and I’m most often hanging out on Instagram and Facebook.
Thanks so much, Gabrielle! I hope you loved this weeks #SelfCareDiaries installment, you can check out the last edition with Lauren Barber here.