How To…

…Sleep in This Heat.

The hashtag #toohottosleep has been trending for a good couple of days now and I am not immune to this. A solid night of sleep has evaded me for almost a week now. So, I’ve come up with a couple of tips on how to try and sleep during this pesky heatwave.

Of course, the first one is quite obviously BUY AN ELECTRIC FAN! However, on Sunday I had the opportunity to buy a fan and turned it down, thinking I’d be fine – I’M NOT FINE! I feel like I’m slowly cooking. I’m a cold-blooded person. I am British, and indeed Welsh, to my core; I love rain; I love snuggling up under the covers because it’s cold in your drafty bedroom; I love wellies and brollies and cagoules – I’m writing this on my lap with my feet immersed in a cold bath!

So the things I have tried include:

  1. The Starfish. I remember when I was little and my swimming instructor told me that if I ever found myself accidentally in a body of cold water (not partially immersed in a tepid bath) to try and curl up in a ball, to keep my main temperature points covered so as not to freeze to death – not sure how this would work in a buoyancy capacity but there we go. So I have adopted the opposite approach to sleeping and, whilst I’m normally a lie-on-my-side-in-snuggly-ball kind of sleeper, these days I am what I would describe as a ‘Starfisher’. I am currently starfishing it to sleep. (I did not mean that to sound like some kind of sexual fetish euphemism.)
  2. The Manual Fan. I’m old fashioned and also in the absence of an electric fan I have turned to the old techniques (clearly “old fashioned” doesn’t quite cover it – Regency might be more accurate). I have been fanning myself to sleep (again with the sexual fetish euphemism thing). Of course this does mean that as some point I have to choose between fanning and sleep but eventually the two seem to mingle together which is great until I wake up 15 minutes later, boiling hot!
  3. Wine. In an act of selfless investigation I’ve tried this out and can attest to the fact that it works really, really well.
  4. Don’t Bother. No one is sleeping! Everyone at work is tired and sweaty as well. We’re all in the same boat. Stop getting angry about it (which just makes you hotter) and just give up. If there was ever a time for Netflix and Chill, tis now, more specifically between the hours of 11pm-7am. Or re-watch a much-loved series, that way you’ll know whats coming next and be more likely to fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion, despite the heat.

So there we have it! I normally do five points but I’ve completely run out of anything useful to say. If this blog has been weird, I apologise, I have clearly become delirious in this heat. I’m off to lie, very still, upon the oh-so comfortable gravel in my garden…

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Baby Steps…

…Back into the World!

The timeline for recovering from a breakdown is not a finite thing. It’s different for everyone. For me it’s taken a good two years (and by a good two years I mean nearly three) to get fully back in touch with the real world.

There is a buddhist saying that new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings. In my last blog I mentioned that I had lost a contract. Whilst this was very upsetting at the time it prompted me to go out into the big wide world in search for new employment. For the first time in two (nearly three) years I found myself employed in a place that was not my house. I now have to leave my safe home office and venture into the real world at least two days a week and surprisingly enough, I’m loving it!

-New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.-- Lao Tzu (1)

I’m actually almost enjoying the days I spend not in my sheltered little office more than the ones I do. Well not all of them…

Last Monday I arrived at my place of work and had to open up for the first time. To make a short story relatively shorter security alarms AND panic alarms were set off, a fundamental piece of security equipped became irrevocably lost, causing two call-outs from two separate security companies, a whole recalibration of systems and the arrival of some mildly annoyed/amused policemen. All this happened on the same day that a kind passer-by informed me that my arse had been generously displayed to the park during my walk to work. My large M&S skin-tone knicker-ed bottom. Knickers that would put Bridget Jones to shame. Needless to say that when I got back home I had a very large sherry, a big cry and was in bed and fast asleep by 8pm. But the next day I was fine again.

So that was not a great day and one that wouldn’t have happened had I been in my home office. However, I’d take one terrible day like that if it means I get all the other perfectly lovely days I’ve had working in a place where other people are. I actually like being round people now. Even the ones that I don’t know! I really never thought this would happen. I thought that I’d be cooped up in my home office for the rest of my working life. That this would be the only way I’d be able to earn a living.

Despite all this I am glad that I’m not working away from home full-time, the days that I am working from home are really good recalibration days. The down days are as important as the up days. My advice to anyone else recovering from any kind of mental health breakdown would be to take baby steps. Sometimes it takes people two months to feel ready for the world again and sometimes it takes people five years. The important thing is to take your time and do it bit by bit. I’ve taken a couple of big steps forwards only to have to take several back again. This time I took some tentative steps and now I’m pretty excited about all my work! It’s a lovely, scary, odd, fun, tiring, but most of all hopeful feeling.

It all begins with one step