The world is in a sorry state. Violence, death and destruction bombard us whenever we switch on the television. Unkindness seems to be everywhere. Worry – about money, our health, or loved ones is rife. It’s easy to feel downhearted and it’s hard to see our clients struggling.
So it is important that we care for ourselves to ensure we do not drown in negativity. The seeds of happiness are inside us, ready to ripen into sweet fruit. Here are some top tips from the Developing Doulas Facilitators Team – enjoy!
1. Dedicate your endeavors to helping others. Don’t keep count of what you give, but do keep count of what you receive. Hooray, if you’re a birthworker, you’re already doing this! Psychologists attest to the fact that altruistic people are happier and even live longer. Remember that all of us, however strong or resilient we consider ourselves, will need to ask for help sometimes. It can be hard for givers to receive, but take your own medicine and reach out for help if you need it.
2. “Keep Fucking Going.” This is a phrase etched into the inside of a bracelet I wear. It was given to me by a doula and it’s the best bit of advice I’ve ever been given. It gets me out of bed every morning and helps me put my best foot forward, even on the darkest days. Happiness isn’t something that just lands uninvited; it takes resilience and stubborn resistance to giving up.
3. Treat yourself gently. If things aren’t turning out the way you wanted, bend with the wind. Rest, recuperate and into that space will often flow the solution or alternative direction to try. Make loving yourself a priority. You come first because you are the linchpin around which the family rotates.
4. Your brain is a computer: feed it positivity and that is what it will churn out. Give bad news less space. Delight in the success and happiness of others. Try not to bear grudges. Negative thoughts will come, that’s natural, but we do not need to allow them to multiply and circle around in our brains endlessly.
5. The world is your mirror, see your beauty everywhere. Find something to love in everyone, including yourself, however hard that might be!
6. Swap expectation for gratitude, even in the smallest things. Stop to smell the flowers.
7. Lastly, this one from Katie’s Nan: “Nothing good or bad lasts forever.” Yes, this, too, shall pass – something we say to our clients a lot, but often forget to say to ourselves. All emotions are transient, including happiness. We can’t expect to be happy all the time – and our efforts to maintain good mental health are not something we can fail at. It is just about bringing ourselves back to the simple daily rituals and ways of being that bring us back to serenity and investing time in prioritising those habits.
I want to finish by quoting the great philosopher, Winnie the Pooh.
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering”
Many thanks to Katie, Verina, Laura and Aimee (the DD facilitators team) for their help writing this post