Ko Mahi, Ko Kai

Te ao Maori is filled with whakatauki, wise sayings that encapsulate big concepts. I thought that at this difficult time it might be worth reflecting on some of these. These come from the book. Mauri Ora – wisdom from the Mãori world.

Ko mahi, ko Kai – industry is food

Ko noho, ko iri – idleness is hunger.

At this time of lockdown idleness can be very appealing. For those who have nowhere to go, no one to account to, it is tempting to simply plonk in front of a screen and wait until it is over.

I wonder abut the difference you might feel about yourself, between coming out of lockdown with a bunch of unmemorable shows you have watched, versus coming out if it fitter, with some new skills, a new hobby, to be connected with people in your life who you have lost touch with.

If you are a parent, this time is going to be hard, as kids are going to get bored. Rather than you all staring at a screen watching re-runs, maybe you can spend this time doing something together, so you might use your screen time to find interesting activities to learn. Maybe together, you can learn to identify some of the stars we see in our night sky, to learn about native plants, to learn another language, like Maori! Learn some new recipes.

This can be a time to feed your mind. The choice might be, do I feed it junk food, or do I feed it something healthy?

To binge or not to binge?

By Steve

My partner and I have been watching a truly appalling Netflix series…I’m too embarrassed to even share it’s title.  Before the crisis we watched two or three episode most evenings.  With the lockdown we’ve decided to limit it to one episode a day.  Our reasoning is this.  This lockdown is a marathon, not a sprint.  If we limit our viewing we give ourselves something to look forward to every day. If we allow ourselves to binge we are going to miss that “treat”.

I’m loving all the humour going around the internet about the virus…one of them states that the last time we had a worldwide crisis we were asked to go and fight for our way of life…this time we are just being asked to sit on the couch.

If you want to do a lot of watching, you might want to select a bunch of series you want to watch and interweave them.  Making yourself wait is a good discipline…and self discipline is very important at this time… and the anticipation makes the viewing more enjoyable when you do watch it.

Give it some thought.

Covid 19 – keep moving!

There is a well documented connection between keeping physically active and mental wellness. With this lockdown many of us can’t go to the gym or engage in our regular fitness routines and rituals.

While it might be tempting to take a break, you will be doing yourself an enormous favour by going the other way and upping your exercise.

I’ve just downloaded the ap Nike Training Club to my phone. It’s free and has a bunch of workout ideas, including yoga, for you to do. I’m sure there are others and if you come across a good one, let me know and I’ll share it up here

When our bodies are healthy – our stress levels lower and we can ride out the rough patches a lot easier. Whatever you intend to do over the lockdown include an exercise regime into your plans and come through this better.

by Steve Gore

Covid 19…do and don’t

I was out with a friend who is desperately worried about Covid 19 (and, yes, we probably shouldn’t have met).  Her concerns are entirely reasonable but it was apparent to me that her worry was changing nothing but it was compromising her health.  Stress lowers our resistance and makes us vulnerable to any sickness.

I suspect one of the reasons we worry like this is our habit of either/or thinking.  Either I take this virus serious and worry like mad, or I think it is a storm-in-a-teacup, ignore the “new rules” and laugh at those who are worrying.  Maybe we connect worrying with taking it seriously, and not worrying with not taking the pandemic seriously.

I suggest doing both – in my previous blogs I have advocated both/and thinking rather than either/or thinking.

To do this we take it seriously and we don’t worry. We follow the guidelines for keeping everyone safe, and while doing that we also we look for humour, we connect with our spiritual self by walking on the beach or in the forest where possible, surfing,  going fishing, gardening, playing our musical instruments, meditating, stretching, practicing diaphragmatic breathing and so forth.  We share the funny posts on social media.  My favourite is this one.  We use time in isolation to reconnected…call  or, better still Skype, someone you haven’t spoken to in months or years.  By doing this, and keeping ourself balanced and happy, we actually keep ourselves safer and we may come out of this thing a better version of ourself.

On that note – make the best of this very bad deal!

From Steve Gore

Why counselling?

Note – opinions expressed in this blog are those of the writer and do not represent bay Counselling and Therapy Services or the wider sector.

If you have never experienced counselling, there might be a question banging around in your head along the lines of… “what’s the point?  How can talking about something make a difference?”

My personal thoughts on this is that these words of doubt are the bullying words of the problem that is affecting us.  Depression drags people to their bedrooms to isolate them.  Anxiety can get people pretending like crazy that everything is okay, when they really feel unsafe. Relationship problems get us believing that things will improve of their own accord or the problem is petty (a word on that – a problem is a problem if it is denying you happiness – what feels petty to someone may be life stopping for someone else).  All problems discourage their “hosts” from seeking help, and often it is only sought when those around the person urge them to seek it.

Where did we ever get that notion that  that if it happens in our heads it isn’t real and isn’t repairable?  If our body is hurting or has an injury we are usually proactive in seeking help to heal it.  However, if the hurt is psychological, or in our relationships there is a lingering social notion that it isn’t real. It is!

Talking helps.  Sometimes simply being listened to and accepted is all that is needed for life to be good as gold.  Sometimes strategies to cope with things like panic attacks or anxiety are helpful. Sometimes events and hurts need to be revisited and the meanings made about them that have carried through life need to be changed:

Case study:  (this is a merging of several cases with similar aspects) A client had decided that he was a bad person because, when he was a teenager he had mistreated his best friend.  He punished himself for a long time by isolating himself, for the very good reason that he was a terrible friend.  This incident had affected his life since and he found himself struggling to say, “No” to demands put on him and was feeling like a doormat.  When we revisited the teenage story through a different lens he realised that the self imposed punishment was the thing a really good person who deeply regretted and was ashamed of his behaviour would do.  He realised he was actually a really good person who had done something bad, rather than an inherently bad person.  This preferred identity opened up all sorts of possibilities for my client to stand up for himself with respect and dignity, where before he couldn’t.

There are two things that make counselling helpful. Firstly, a counsellor is trained to work with problems, so what you bring along will be dealt with in confidence, with respect and dignity. Secondly, a counsellor is an isolated relationship, usually for a specific purpose. They aren’t networked into your life. They are a person that you can share anything with, safe in the knowledge that your story will not leave the room (with a couple of exceptions the counsellor will explain) so hurts, shame, regrets, despairs and many of the things that we simply can’t talk to friends or family about because they might think less of us can be spoken about, analysed and worked on.

Counselling can help with situational problems, such as trauma from a recent incident or things like current workplace or school bullying, enduring problems like depression, anxiety, and relationship struggles, and historical problems like past sexual or physical abuse or notions of failure or inadequacy.