Retreat is an active word. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a sign that you are in-charge of your reactions. It shows you know when to do something differently. To me, the word RETREAT breaks down into the following powerful actions and helps me to move forward in the direction I need to go even if it’s not the direction I originally wanted to.
Return to a safe space
Experience feelings associated with current stress
Take time out
Recover your strength
Experiment with new ideas
Activate a new plan
Test it out
Have you ever found retreating to be a successful strategy to move forward?
Treasure is something of value. It can come in all shapes and sizes, be shiny and sparkle or be ugly and covered in dirt. Everyone’s treasure and things they value are different. For me, my most valued treasure is my personal values.
S elf Respect
They are how I live my life, raise my family and connect with people. Without any of them my life would be unbalanced. Individually, my values are only part of the picture, but together they form a very strong bond that can get me through any obstacle life throws my way.
Do you have a wish list of dreams you want to achieve? Most of us do and the good news is that with focus we have the power to make them happen.
Like water through peculation turns into amazing coffee, we can focus our energy into achieving our dreams and watch them develop before our eyes. Yes, it takes time. So does anything worth having. Because quality is never thrown together.
Give this, let’s think about how much of our spare time can redirect into focusing on our goals. Most of us could spare half an hour a day with a little tweaking. Do you realise that even as little as half an hour a day, every day for a year turns into 182 hours.
How are you spending yours?
When I think about a sandwich I don’t think about food but a way to deliver difficult feedback. I start by telling the person something they do well. Where possible I try to make it as close to the topic we are discussing. After we have discussed this for a minute or two I then introduce my difficult feedback. Where possible I look at the big picture of the issue discussing how the problem impacts the person and others. If appropriate, I will also give some ideas to help the person to move forward and make the changes required. To complete my feedback I would ask the person if they needed anything from me and remind them of the positives of what they are doing.
Often feedback is very difficult to hear but I find the more open the discussion, the better the outcome. By using the feedback sandwich, the person becomes less defensive because the news has been softened by positive feedback. It is a system that works well and has an overflowing impact of developing respect between the people involved.
A win/win for everyone, the feedback sandwich is:
This week, I have read David Gillespie’s The Sweet Poison Quit Plan and discovering the impact of sugar on the body. Research has shown that sugar, or more importantly the fructose in sugar effects us because it’s:
- Converted to fat by our liver
- Interferes with our appetite control hormones
I like everyone else thought my diet was reasonably balanced however what I didn’t realise is how much hidden sugar is in the healthy everyday foods we eat. So as a challenge, between now and the end of the year I plan to watch my daily intake of sugar attempting to keep it down to the recommended 6 teaspoons a day for women. This is actually 24 grams of sugar as 1 teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams of sugar. It won’t be easy but I think the improved health of my body will make it worth it. Let me know what you think and if you are up for the challenge too.
How is your most important relationship? No, I don’t mean the one with you partner or kids, I mean your relationship with yourself. I like Shirley Maclaine believe that this is your most profound relationship and its depth mirrors the depth of your relationship with others. It’s easy to please others or blame ourselves but neither of these behaviours allow us to get close to others. To let people into your life, you need to be friends with yourself first. To know what you like, your passions, your strengths and weaknesses and be ready to stand up for them if necessary.
When life doesn’t go according to plan, can you set aside the emotion for a minute and look at your role in the situation before making a plan to move on? There are always two sides to every story. And although being open and honest with ourselves can be very difficult to do, it is important for our mental health. The more we understand ourselves and take responsibility for our actions, the more we grow as a person. From this growth we learn any lessons necessary to make sure our future relationships are profound and we enjoy a better quality of life.
Working in mental health, for me crisis management, big and small, can be a daily occurrence. And while helping someone or even myself through a crisis is a good feeling, I don’t believe it is the best part of the experience. Like Marilyn Monroe in the above quote, “Within crisis, are the seeds of opportunity,” I agree that the opportunities that arise after the event are. They create personal growth within us that transforms our lives. We are a changed person, older and wiser. due to the lessons we have learnt or have been forced to deal with due to the crisis.
For more information on my inspiration to get through a crisis stop by my earlier post below.
Getting Through Tough Times
Life is unpredictable and that is what makes it great. If everything we did was the same everyday, yes it would be safe but also boring. One of the things I love about mental health nursing is that no day is ever the same. It’s the interactions with people that make the difference and change the course of the day. I see being unpredictable as adding the following to my life:
Unpredictability makes life more exciting, like the difference between riding the rapids or a calm stream. A mixture of both allows us to use all of our skills.
Lower Tonangiro River
My husband and I love to mindfully look at clouds. We study them regularly and usually can agree on a title for the cloud formation. This photo taken outside Taupo, New Zealand was one we found very interesting however, we weren’t able to agree on a title. Personally, to me it was a Bunny Cloud and to my husband an Evil Cloud.
What do you see? Let me know in the comments as I am sure there are many other ideas hiding in this special group of clouds.
The meaning behind the above quote is that in general perfection cannot be reached. When you aim for perfectionism in all areas of your life you stop setting realistic achievable goals. This is because you believe you can’t achieve them so you don’t bother attempting to, which affects your contentment.
However, perfectionism can be healthy if it is isolated to only one achievable area. The difference is how you feel about yourself and why you are attempting perfection. In some sports, Olympians can achieve a perfect score. However, remember that to get one perfect score—on one skill or routine—they also have practised the skill thousands of times imperfectly. They may have also injured themselves attempting to complete the skill. Athletes accept this as part of the journey and get back on track to do their best. They know and accept that while they may achieve one perfect score—they won’t always be able to keep this up and on a different occasion, they may achieve a low score for the same skill or routine. It is what it is.
The following table considers some of the differences between healthy and unhealthy perfectionism.
|Achieve your personal best
||Increasing anxiety due to fear of not achieving goals and self-worth is only achieved through completing unachievable goals
|Do a good job at your workplace
||Setting yourself up to fail then being afraid to try
|Do the best you can in specific areas of your life e.g. Olympians with perfect scores or students who score high scores in some exams
||Fearing failure to such an extent that you avoid the task at hand
|Setting high but realistic and achievable goals
||Setting unachievable goals
If you want to aim for perfectionism, make sure it is healthy and achievable for you. Aiming for perfectionism in all areas of your life creates so much anxiety that you never get started and as a result your self-worth and content of life plummets.