Max out on loveliness

Kittens, puppies, babies of any kind (but maybe not baby birds – they look like animated testicles).

Flowers, plants, sunny days, Royal Doulton coffee cups – whatever floats your motorboat.

The thing is this: life is full of sh*tness. But it’s also full of loveliness.

For every email you get from the ATO, there’s a funny New Yorker cartoon about the IRS.

I was talking to a very dear friend about this. She said that she has consciously ‘planted a garden’. By this, she meant that she has planted and nurtured a whole range of friendships, interests and hobbies that sustain her when things go to crap, as they inevitably do from time to time.

I work with a suicide prevention not-for-profit that calls this ‘mental fitness’, meaning the stuff you do every day to stop yourself from going off the deep end.

For me, it’s walking my dog and meditating. On a really good day, it’s having a nap as well.

Walking Pepper is a never-ending source of frustration and entertainment. She is the quintessential idiot. She will drink from a puddle and then pee in it. If she can roll in something despicable, she will. But she comports herself with such glee you can’t help but feel buoyed up.

My mental fitness routine also includes taking my meds, daily complex B-vitamins in the morning and magnesium powder at night, trying to get enough sleep and avoiding university-style drinking.

I believe there’s only so much people can cope with before the wheels fall off. Once you add in the fact that some of us are born with a predisposition to mental health issues, the margin between mentally well and mentally unwell can become quite narrow.

One of the best ways to expand the demilitarised zone between the calm and sane mental territory of South Korea and the barking mad chaos of North Korea is to focus on good stuff as much as possible.

It’s terribly boring that it’s healthier to garden, make vegetable soup and call your mother rather than go on a glitter-coated cocaine bender (but your mental health with thank you for it).

COVID-19 has been tough on all of us. We’ve all been affected. We’re all still affected. But if you focus on beautiful stuff like Pinterest boards full of bird art and uplifting poems, or even the far right end of the freezer section where the Limited Edition Magnums are stored, you will feel a little bit better.

Who the hell am I to be talking about mental health stuff? I am a counsellor at Together Counselling. I specialise in perinatal loss, blended families, relationships and the everyday bulls*t of life.

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