Over these last 7 days, I feel like a dark cloud has been lingering above my head, anchoring me down. The culmination of work deadlines, IVF medication, study commitments, losing a friend to cancer and Sofia being hospitalised for serious illness have really taken its toll. But I also know that it is natural and normal to feel this way, especially with all these events colliding into one snowball.
Sometimes when confronted with sadness, anger, loss, even despair, we try to cushion these struggles through excessive spending, whether it be retail therapy, excessive food and alcohol consumption or even gambling. As I gently work through my cloud, shifting it from grey to white, I wanted to share with you some simple things, that cost next to nothing, which have helped lighten my headspace and infuse more brightness into my life.
1) Organising & decluttering – my energy levels aren’t great, but I managed to reorganise and declutter a makeup drawer, a cupboard and one shelf. The changes were small, but the process was therapeutic. I felt a sense of self love as I watched the space in front of me free up and appear more structured. When our spaces are more organised, it will help our days run more smoothly (particularly those mad mornings with kids).
2) Cooked a light, healthy meal – I made a warm roasted salad with quinoa, goats cheese, walnuts, beetroot and avocado, with home-made honey dressing. Instead of purchasing new produce, I used up leftovers; creating more space and saving money. The warm salad felt like a big hug, as I felt good about nourishing my body with valuable vitamins and minerals.
3) Cuddles with Giuseppe – Sofia has been staying in the animal hospital since Sunday and we don’t know when she will be discharged. She is only just starting to look like she is getting better, but they don’t have a concrete diagnosis and have been running countless expensive tests (so grateful we have pet insurance). Poor Giuseppe is extra clingy of me and probably feeling a similar cloud to mine. So, dedicating extra one on one time for special scratches, cuddles and walks with him has really helped both of us.
4) Helping a friend – Sometimes lifting people up gives us energy during dark times and helps put things into perspective. When my friends are going through a tough time, I like to be there for them, whether it be emotional support, or practical help. One of my favourite things to do is put together self care packages. Simple little things, like some calming herbal teas, my favourite skincare products, quality chocolate and flowers go a long way to brightening people’s day.
5) Bed – I am sure part of my cloud is due to exhaustion. I am eager for the end of the year to come, when I can take a break from work, not have to go anywhere and spend a week or two in a bikini, make up free and down by the beach. However, with my work and study commitments, this is unrealistic at the moment. So, prioritising an early bed time has been important to re-energise my soul. Sometimes I wake at that dreaded 1 am and stare at the ceiling with a dozen worries about unrealistic, hypothetical situations and things I have no control over. But if I had an early bed time, at least I know I got a solid 4 hours of sleep in before waking and I can get through my day a little smoother.
If you are feeling something similar right now, please know you are not alone. Sometimes it is the small self-care rituals, actions of kindness and simple pleasures that are powerful ingredients in shifting the cloud, making way for sunshine to return to our hearts again.
Canna Campbell is the founder and director of SASS Financial Services, a boutique financial planning firm. She is Channel 9’s exclusive ‘money expert’, founder of financial media platform SugarMamma.TV and best selling author of The $1000 Project and Mindful Money.