Friday 21st January 2022

Self-Care Stories. #1. 7/51 #LifeThisWeek. 13/2020.

Self-Care Stories. #1. 7/51 #LifeThisWeek. 13/2020.


Welcome to the first in the series for 2020.

This optional prompt pops up every 7 weeks or so.

Today here’s mine!

Before kicking off: I have made two changes to my daily routine which is helping me:

One is to consider what I am grateful for each day. I tend to think about something or someone through the day and by even thinking that way I notice a change within. I blogged about it here. I am doing an instagram post each day here: @denysewhelan_blogs and no longer have my account private. I still have @denysewhelan going and no longer private...look at me taking a risk

Two is I am listening to Calm meditation app twice a day. One session, the Daily Calm, before I get up from bed and last thing at night a session of whatever I need at the moment. I have just listened to 10 or so day of “relationship with self.”. Calm is free initially and then you can decided to buy. I got a lifetime price as a bargain in 2018 and am never sick of it. Sleep stories are ace too on nights when I am less than sleep-ready.

What Have I Been Doing?

  1. remembering to follow my daily routine: get up, have breakfast, get dressed and go somewhere for a coffee….come home, blog, read, relax, cook, sleep…
  2. this was, for the most part, pretty well kept.
  3. however and it may have been something that affected others too, I became more anxious than usual when we had extremes of threats:
  • Bushfires
  • More fires
  • High temperatures
  • Continued fires
  • And then it rained.
  • Rainfall was excessive in some places and caused:
  • Flooding
  • Electricity to be cut
  • And NONE of this directly affected me.
  • Mmmmmm.
  • so I was most fortunate to have an in-house counsellor (aka my husband) but also that my previous years of learning how to self-care via means at my disposal actually helped..a great deal.
  • but being an avid follower of social media there were signs that my emotional health was being impacted when I stayed on news and updates for fires/disaster sites for long periods.
  • I realised even before I was “told” by my husband to stop. That was a good self-care measure in itself.


Why Have I Needed to Do This?

  1. I know I thrive on being informed and also caring about and for others….BUT there has to be a limit placed.
  2. I do this now by asking myself “what is it I can do that will help this person/those people etc?” If there is nothing really, I do send out a message of empathy where it’s appropriate and I might even do this.
  3. The loving kindness messages are always a way for me to feel a greater connection with others.
  4. I recalled with some hyped and stressed memories of the 5 days of the 2015 East Coast Low when we first moved to the Central Coast and I needed to talk a few of those memories through.
  5. Once I had done that I also knew I am in (and still am in) a much better headspace some 5 years later thanks to all the work I have done to achieve greater emotional health.

Loving Kindness (Metta) can be said silently for yourself, for another or for many. These words above are just one group.

How Do I Integrate This Into My Life?

  1. I continue to follow my routine as much as possible allowing for days (there were a couple!) where to go out of the house meant to be on unsafe roads in flooding rains so I stayed home
  2. I managed to fill in those particular days with little and varied projects of mine.
  3. I automatically come to my art desk when I need to zone out and concentrate on ONE thing and that worked well. In fact it has been something I have done before as well.
  4. I love the variety of activities I now have at my disposal and made use of exploring more of the media too.
  5. My husband was well-occupied with his in-house hobbies and some cabinet making in the garage so with no power lost, we really did well!


Afterwards. Onwards.

  1. Self-care is on-going and it can change in its focus for me, depending on how I am.
  2. This week (in fact today!) I am at Westmead seeing my prosthodontist for an update on my upper mouth. I used to get quite stressed about these visits “what will he see that I cannot” and last week I said “STOP”.
  3. I had been living in fear that had no justification.
  4. It was shifting the relaxed mood in our house (and relationship) to tense because I was experiencing some mouth pain (it IS always there, it just seemed worse)
  5. I changed how I approached the pain. I stopped focussing on it by not mentioning it. I also took panadol as instructed.
  6. Self-care is pretty well an on-going matter and recently on Bev Aisbett’s Facebook page (Living with “IT” Anxiety) she posted this, with permission to share:

Recently I took this selfie looking back to  Norah Head Lighthouse in the background, the huge seas reaching the shore…to remind me of how well I am, grateful for all in my life and how far I have come. More to come too, of course!

How is your self-care going?

What do you notice if you are not keeping up your self-care practices?

I look forward to catching up with the comments after I am back from Westmead!


Link Up 176.

Link Up #176. Life This Week.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week!

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

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* Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice.

* THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s weekly optional prompt is: 8/51 Unusual 23/2/2020

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter



  1. That’s a really good description of anxiety – living in fear with no justification… I think you’ve done well to self manage all that.
    The bushfires have give a lot of the population a low grade anxiety or depression. I went to a talk at the Opera House and most of the speakers were really depressing (and one broke down in tears) on the bushfire damage and climate change. I said to my friend at interval “I thought it was just me. I think as a nation we’ve really shaped the way we think as a result of the fires”. It was really interesting to experience. I’d just noticed it in my mood, every time I woke up and saw the ash grey skies….
    Good post.

    • Thanks Lydia for your understanding and sharing of similar feelings.

      It was like groundhog day that went on …far too long, and you were away for some of it.

      I agree it was, even for those of us not in the fire zones, like being there or at least ‘feeling for them all.’

      It did mean extra measures for me to stay more in balance.


  2. Hi Denyse, hope all goes well with your important today! I really valued your prompt today as it has been something on my mind for quite some time. So I sat down and wrote a post yesterday – writing helps me as it does you! Anxiety levels in my house have been on high alert for months now and I can’t seem to see an end in sight until this new baby arrives, what with the bushfires and the worries it’s hard to stay level headed at times. I have a mantra that says ‘this too shall pass’, and just have to wait it out. My bug bear at the moment is social media so I wrote about that in my post. I ended up writing a scathing message to the local ABC radio facebook page about something they aired that did nothing but raise controversies and hate all over over again. That action made me feel better. You are very well organised with your self care and I admire you and your great ideas. thanks for sharing what works for you. Thanks again for the opportunity to share my thoughts here.

    • Oh yes, it is true about writing for me as well.

      I did well today but it was quite an anxious trip -which saw me have IBS, an indicator that worry level was high.

      I said to my husband today, it’s like cancer sits inside you and lies there. I “know” there is none seen at the moment but it has been there and so it can catch me like that. The very reason I was having my 40th trip to Westmead was because of cancer.

      I sure can understand the tension levels being high at your place. And when neither of you have direct control over anything that is of concern and fear it is hard.

      Yes to mantras….and today I listened to a Calming Hypnotherapy track while the prosthodontist explored my mouth. I could still hear him if I had to but I could be distracted. When he had his hand inside my mouth and he is inspecting it I need all the distraction. I told him today how I was feeling and he let me know after cleaning each abutment how it was.

      I so hope that the emotions can take some kind of stabilising in your house for a bit but I suspect living where you do with reminders everywhere that is an impossible idea.

      Fingers crossed for good new baby news soon.


  3. Hi Denyse, It looks like you’re aware of the anxiety triggers and have ways to manage it. I think I’m good at self-care in general. I do a variety of activities to look after myself mentally and physically. The simplest tip I use to calm myself is deep breathing (inhale all the positives, exhale all the negatives). #lifethisweek

    • Thanks Natalie, yes I am aware now and can manage myself far better as a result.

      Today had some hiccups with anxiety and little IBS but I managed to do all I had to and drive myself to and from safely.

      My husband uses a similar breathing technique to yours to help manage his chronic pain.


  4. I think you nailed the anxiety thing, “living in fear with no justification” I think if you can at least acknowledge that then you are half way there. This is such a wonderful positive post, I think that self care is as you say on-going and also might look different depending on the day and the circumstance. However, it sounds like you have got everything covered with your self-care toolkit, I’m definitely going to have to check out the Calm app! Hope everything goes great in the chair today x

    • Thank you Sammie.

      I do know I have learned a lot about how to self-care because I sure was not enjoying some of the side effects of being an worrier too.

      The Calm App is brilliant. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The thing is that the sleep stories are helpful as well for those nights when it does not come easily. Not sharing a bedroom in my case helps me in that I can listen without ear buds.

      Thanks for good wishes about today.I did a facebook update.


  5. Denyse I’m in awe of how organised you are with your self care. It’s obvious you find writing down your thoughts to be helpful. I also find it helps me to get things out of my head. We are living in very anxious times at the moment causing so much anxiety. At times like this self care is more important than ever. Thanks for the opportunity to read about others experiences of self care on #lifethisweek

    • Thanks so much Jennifer.

      I have had to give myself a range of things to do and access for self-care or else I would be on social media more…and that can lead to more problems.

      I am very grateful I can blog about issues like this as each of us can feel we are not alone with our lives, worries and fears.

      I introduced the self-care series as a regular blog feature as I could see many ‘talk” about it but not too many practise it so I decided to set an example..and that keeps me honest.



  6. Self-care for me at present is about habit and scheduling. There’s so much on and the only way I can manage it is by sticking to simple routines and walking each morning – even when it was raining.

    • That is great Jo.

      My husband has a routine that I could set my watch to…but coming from a time tabled environment of schools for all those decades I resisted for years.

      Now though, I have some general time frames within each day and I am better for that too.

      Go you and the walking. Love the pics too.


  7. I like your approach. I find any routine – literally anything that I can plan and that I know is coming – helps me with my anxiety. Also helps my kids.
    Thanks for hosting the link-up.

    • Yes it does.

      Predictability is so helpful. I have also had to learn what I cannot control. Much harder.

      I am delighted to see you here and linking up.

      Thanks Em!


  8. Denyse,

    I am a big fan and believer in routine too. I am going to borrow your idea of having that place to be creative where I can focus on just that. It’s knitting for me right now. Fortunately, can be done on the sofa!


    SSG xxx

    • That’s cool to know you are knitting.

      We are fortunate to have a big house we are renting and enough furniture from our place in Sydney that is office friendly so I have this wonderful room, where I am typing now. It has a desk with the printer and a notice board.

      Right next to me is the longer desk with whatever creative pursuit is on the go. I have the luxury of all the media being in accessible containers and it means I can leave things out.

      Thanks for your kind words too.


  9. I like your approach and I did note few tips that I can easily adopt in my life. Thank you for this interesting post. Wishing you good luck!

    • Thanks so much Shigu. I am glad you found some useful tips.

      Things went well today. I was a bit anxious but my mouth is going well.


  10. Hi Denyse – you have indeed come a long way since your original diagnosis – and done so very graciously and courageously. Sometimes I think we need to be reminded of how well we’re doing or it gets lost in all the external noise. I tend to stay away from negativity IRL and online – even factual stuff that is all doom and gloom. If I can’t do anything to help a situation, then I’m better off not immersing myself in it.

    • Oh Leanne, I understand that completely.

      I was only thinking the other day how “old news” my cancer had become. And yes, I am grateful to be doing well but it remains with me as a something inside me I cannot forget.

      I never want people to feel sorry for me because that is not helpful but I do like it when someone such as yourself notes it has been quite the journey!!

      Steering away from the whingeing and negativity is something I do too. I also don’t tend to comment if it happens to be on social media because ‘those’ people do not want another’s opinion nor, usually, do they want to change!


  11. Hi Denyse, I only just remembered to link up my post today! I think you have a really good understanding of yourself and great steps in place to apply self care in a way that helps you. My anxiety has been quite bad of late – some self inflicted (sleep deprivation and worry with latest lot of foster kittens) – some external (bushfires, coronavirus etc). I continue to explore what I want to do with my life and what might fulfill me, and I learn when I push myself too far … I find where my boundaries are. I’m mostly pretty good with self care. I know what helps me when I feel stressed, down or anxious. It’s been tough lately though. Have a wonderful week! xo

    • Oh Min, I am just glad you did link up.

      How interesting too that something you thought would give you joy and pleasure can also be anxiety producing. I believe, from a saying my husband told me, is that sometimes the “idea” of doing something or going somewhere is better than the actual.

      I hope you can work on ways to integrate what you want to do really…because exploring takes some courage and giving new things a go is like that too.

      Sending my best wishes to you…and hope, that over time some changes that are welcome and positive emerge for you.


  12. I love that you are actively practicing gratitude, what a great daily activity 🙂

  13. I would probably like the Calm App too. I use the Insight Timer meditation app and really like it as well. I don’t use it every day but I would benefit by it if I would do it daily.

    I can’t imagine all the anxiety caused by the fires and floods, etc., whether or not it directly affects you. It bothers me for you all and I’m not even on your continent. 🙁 How wonderful that you have your self-care practices to keep you sane.

    • Thanks so much Lisa. I am appreciative of your understanding too. It “is” hard watching the suffering of others and not being able to directly help.

      The Calm app is my fave. I have tried quite a few and did Headspace for my first 2 years but I am finding with the variety of sessions to listen to (and benefit from!) Calm is the winner.


  14. My youngest son, who is going through a rough time right now, began listening to a meditation app too. I don’t think it is “Calm”, though.

    I have to tell myself to “STOP” in the interest of self-care sometimes too. I have a tendency to be a worrier. Glad you listened to yourself! 🙂

    Thank you for hosting, Denyse.

    • Oh it IS hard watching those we love and not being able to directly impact any effect.

      The tough years of todderhood are nothing compared to watching teen and adult children struggle.

      Yet, they do have to work things out for themselves.

      One thing I have learned from my counsellor-trained husband is to ask myself “am I trying to help this person because it will make them or me feel better?” Mmmmm.

      Hope things improve for your son over time.


  15. Hi Denyse! I really admire how aware you are of your triggers that results in you ‘shaking things up a little’ to make a difference in your life. I really like the self care ideas that Bev shared. Especially the five minute ones – sometimes it’s difficult to carve out chunks of time for self care and every little bit helps. I have five minute ‘holidays’ all the time. 😉

    Take care, Sandra. Xx