Tuesday 26th October 2021

Mindfulness, Mandalas & Self-Care!* 2018.97.

Mindfulness,Mandalas & Self-Care!* 2018.97.

This post will eventually make sense…please read on. If you too value self-care.

Things have been pretty serious around this blog lately so with yesterday’s light-hearted post about my last purchase. See what I did and why here, if you want a bit of a laugh at me and my laminator woes.

And as if to give me a reason to relax more was necessary I had a somewhat disconcerting couple of days where my gut rumbled and I refused to listen (as I can do) until, some IBS** (also written about a lot here and here) decided to remind me about:


From way back I have been an achiever.

I like to do and see the reward in the finished product or event or whatever it is.

I like to plan and see things through to their end.

In other words, I DO (not the marriage one) almost all of the time and until something stops me** I keep on keeping on.

Self-care of and for me is MY responsibility and coming out of a major life event as having cancer you’d think I would have it sorted. Things like this would be taken into consideration:

  • physical ability to carry out what I am choosing to do
  • physical ability and stamina to keep going with such activities
  • knowing when to take a rest and stop for a while
  • understanding that my ageing body is not quite at all like it used to be as it has also fought cancer
  • remembering that I “am retired” and much of my day is for me to choose how to spend it

And generally I do, until I don’t and that is what happened last week**…

Yes, I am getting to the mandalas & mindfulness soon!

It was not much at first, but for a day or two, I could feel my breathing being more about “sighing” as in things were an effort. I also found myself jumping from one self-determined task to another with a view to getting them done.

 No-one else had set me any tasks but me. At times, I am loving the busy-ness and the physicality of getting out and about, making the bookmarks for The Big Hug Box, getting the shopping done, making some meals for us both and blogging responsibilities along with deciding to learn how to do hand-lettering via a couple of on-line courses.

I loved driving an hour to catch up with a friend for morning tea on Tuesday and driving to the beach on Monday to walk down many steps to the rock platform. I was BUSY. I genuinely loved doing it too.

And by Friday my gut grumbled and sent me to the loo more and more until Saturday morning when it said “ENOUGH” and let me know it with some IBS.

OH. I know why, I silently said and did not get angry but instead I got grateful. For my body’s reminder when my mind would not listen.

I stopped. I calmed me with better breathing techniques. I sat with NO iphone near me and read two papers. I rested. I coloured a magical and big mandala and then I knew what to do …MUCH more mindfully engage with what I love.

One of these is making mandalas and the other is remembering to be mindful more.

I was brought into the present moment (the only one we experience!) and sat and contemplated this design started a week or so ago and how I would colour it. I spent some magical moments here doing so and then selecting the colours to do so.

My breathing returned to normal pace, my gut is quiet, my husband is pleased I have done this of my own volition, and I am chastened by it and know that yes, I can be the saboteur of my own self-care. I sat outside admiring the pansies and was uplifted by their beauty in my mindful state.

What about you?

What do you get as a sign you need to stop and do/be differently?

Since Saturday I have a social media & iphone free hour from 12.30 to 1.30. It’s going well.

Tell me more in the comments.


Joining with Kylie here for I Blog On Tuesdays and with Sue and Leanne for Midlife Share The Love Link here on Wednesdays.









  1. Oh Denyse, your post really resonates with me. I’ve been struggling with an issue and some conflict in a community group over the past 4 weeks. My reminder for self-care comes through my depression. I’ve battled this for 37 years, and mostly it’s under control with minimal medication. However, from time to time, usually coinciding with a change in season, I will experience a slump. It really hit me last week, lethargy, not wanting to exercise and comfort eating. Fortunately, I am rising through it with a slight increase in medication and can now see the sun shining through the clouds. Since Jarrod died, emotional distress arises more readily than previously so when there is tension, I need to do more of my own self-care, and go gently. Love Dorothy ❤️

    • I am so sorry this happens to you and that it is yet another reminder in a very specific way of what life has been for you.

      I understand too, that “we” are OK but “we” can go down if we have issues that trigger us or if as you say, the seasons change. I like the fact that you can notice what is happening. I guess that, for me, is something I am now acknowledging here as IBS is a barometer for me.

      A while ago, when I was “stuck in sadness” it was not depression as such but grief and sad feelings and my wise psychologist told me this: “feelings take longer to catch up to us after we have moved through major life events”.

      This is something that I remind myself about, or if my husband tells me because I have not yet noted it.

      I know that you have experienced something no parent could ever recover from and of course, it will take the chance to ‘let you know’ at your most vulnerable.

      I hesitate to offer you any thing other than love and care but I know the book by Megan Devine about grief, It’s OK Not To Be OK, is a good one. I have listened to it in the car.

      Denyse x

  2. Oh this reminds me that I think I have a draft post somewhere about self care and reality of it… hmm must find it.

    I’ve been finding a bathtub and a book are a great combo to get some screen free time since we moved.

  3. My self-care is all about keeping on top of my mental health. I am such an amazing place but I work at it all the time. It is not a chore, it is just something I do.

    • Yes it IS something we need to notice I so agree. We are our own barometers but sometimes my husband might note things I do not and then I go “ah ha”.

      Denyse x

  4. I like to take time out and sit down with my book or get out and move for a walk or run. There really is nothing like a breath of fresh air! I also find screen free time very refreshing!

    • Thanks Sammie, I am spending a bit of time outdoors with my bare feet walking on the grass and then sitting and observing my lovely flowers and checking out their growth.

      A sign that I am getting better in my emotional health recovery is that I can sit still enough to read a book. I did not have that at all for some years.

      Denyse x

  5. I am taking a two week break from the blog as we cruise Japan, Denyse. Whilst I’m away I will be seriously looking at my blog and my life and which direction I want to go. Self-care and taking stock are so important and should be done on a regular basis. Thank you for the reminder and sharing with us at #MLSTL. Have a beautiful week. xx

    • So that will be something to consider away from the space that is “computer-bound’. I took a break of sorts in 2013 & 2014 when the direction I thought I wanted to go was not working: education and parents and teachers.

      In 2015 and into 2016 the blog and my daily posts (yep, every.single.day.) gave me an intellectual purpose when my life had changed so much it was making me ill from anxiety and IBS.

      It was not till I realised that I could slow my pace of posts down, and then as timing was right I introduced my link up.

      I hope that your examination of what YOU (no-one else) want from blogging is helpful.

      I knew I needed: connections, conversations and to communicate. I still love that. I am at a good balance right now. It has helped me hugely through the cancer and anxiety journeys.

      My very best wishes to you… btw, did you ask me to do a post while you are away? Please message me if so. And, will your linky with Leanne be happening while you are away?

      Denyse x

  6. You’re very clever with your mandalas and I love the bookmark initiative! I would love to learn hand lettering too – only problem is trying to fit in all these things I want to do! I’m glad you knew when you needed time out and self care and also what to do. I too know when I need to take time out. It depends how I’m feeling – usually I need quiet, need a bit of digital detox time. Sometimes meeting up with a friend is what I need. Sometimes I like to crochet, or I might go for a spa pedicure, or maybe I just need a nice walk out in the fresh air! 🙂 xo

    • Thanks Min, the more I get to do creatively the more I am mindful. I see what you are doing too and that is awesome. My one foray into crocheting was a fail and I admit it. I am a lefty and no-one really could help me because when I tried crochet I could have used either or hand. Spatiallty I am not great.

      I like all the choice you have for self-care and I know my daily outing for coffee is a high priority.

      I hope you are feeling a bit better today.

      Denyse x

  7. Denyse, I hope you know you’ve inspired me to find and use my Mandala coloring book! I don’t create my own, but I have spent time coloring in quite a few. It’s soothing. And I tell myself it is not a waste of time…it is self-care! Thanks for talking about them again….and I hope it’s helped soothe the body for you.

    • I do Pat and I am stoked that my words and pics have helped you re-kindle your love for colouring mandalas again. We are so geared to “doing” for others for all of our lives that to “be and do” for ourselves makes us re-think our previous attitudes.

      My recovery is going amazingly well now and art plays a big part!

      Thank you.


  8. I need to get better on it. Something that I am working on. #MLSTL

  9. I have enjoyed some time sitting in my sunroom contemplating spring and resting my mind lately. We all need to stop sometimes and I’m glad to hear you listened to your body. It’s hard but it has to be done or we can get really messed up. Good on you Denyse, I love your open honesty. #mlstl

    • Oh yes, my time out is often outside, bare feet on the grass and letting my eyes rest in nature and stare at the plants. Your sunroom sounds splendid. A LOT has happened in your past months and sometimes I believe we need to allow them time to settle within us.

      Thanks for sharing your self-care.

      Denyse x

  10. I get headaches Denyse – the longer I sit at my computer, or hunched over a jigsaw, or bent over a book, the more likely I am to get one. I need to move more and I need to have variety in my day – or wham! on comes a headache. I’m very grateful for Nurofen and for my daith piercing, but I can be my own worst enemy (just as you were!) and we do need to be kinder to ourselves don’t we?
    #MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • You sound like the headaches are coming from your neck and spine. I know that I have particular ways I sit now at the computer. For example, ages ago I added a footrest under the desk, I have supportive cushions on my chair (back & seat) & I have a long thin soft old wheat pack where I rest my wrists as I type. I have been to far too many physio sessions and have had to learn my posture needs. I usually have breaks too although one trick is to move the eyes off the screen and let the eyes focus on something in the distance.

      Being your own worst enemy is not being kind nor self caring and I think we have for too long told ourselves those messages. I have learned in recent months to be my own ‘cheerleader’ more and it is helping. Hope you can too.

      Denyse x

  11. Self-care can be hard and knowing when to apply it is even harder. Good for you for picking up on your own needs. Right now I am at a loss as to what I need.

    • Oh that does not sound fun at all Victoria. I know when I feel ‘out of sorts’ I need to ‘pay more attention’ to what I have been doing/thinking and also what is going on around me. Sometimes it takes quite a while for the realisation to make itself know which is why I am sharing this with you. Hope things do become clearer over time and you can think about self-care and your needs.

      Denyse x

  12. One of my favorite expressions and one I need to constantly remember is we are human beings not human doings. I, too, am an over-achiever. But I do love to color. Thank you for reminding me to get out my markers and coloring books and make some pretty art just for me 🙂

    • Hi Molly, I am glad I reminded you!!

      I heard a person speak on Wednesday who made that quote his too. We are human beings…not doings but gee it is hard when we “like achievement”.

      Thanks so much for your wise words.

      Denyse x