I have a feeling it might actually be possible to do all four at the same time, which may well be my next project! But for now, I'd like to focus on the sanity bit from Philippa Perry, a psychotherapist and writer with a bob who wore a bright orange smock and Harry Potter glasses…
According to her, your level of sanity is actually defined by your lack of insanity. And - good news - if you think you're going mad, it's very unlikely that you actually are.
Following the themes of her new book, "How To Stay Sane", she talked about four particular areas that are really worth considering if you want to keep your head while all about us are losing theirs… Here's my rough (and very top level) interpretation…
Keep an eye on yourself
Start noticing what you're up to, what you're thinking or feeling, not from the eye of the storm but outside, as an interested third party. By becoming more self-aware, we win ourselves the space to decide how to act rather than lurching from moment to moment as if each one is a complete surprise and out of our control. It gives us choices.
Mindfulness, meditation and staying centred are part and parcel of the same idea. You can't go far wrong with a bit of here and now. It gives us a buffer between us and our feelings, which is handy if they're a bit tricky. Instead of saying I am sad, say I feel sad. One defines you, the other is an experience that will pass.
Create great relationships
You're after the kind that nurture and support you - the real you, not a pretend version that you put on to fit in. Trust and safety are the buzzwords here because a wonderful friendship is built on the willingness of all those involved to be vulnerable, to be honest, to be real. A great friend will keep you sane or hold your hand while you rock gently, muttering to yourself.
Get the best from stress
Contrary to popular opinion, some stress is good. It keeps us on our toes, alive and excited by life. You might have read the reports that say that those who retire without hobbies or interests shuffle off this mortal coil much quicker than those who keep a curious mind. Push a few boundaries, try new things and stay creative.
With one foot in our comfort zone and the other just outside, we keep growing. So next time you feel stressed, see it as a gift. I'd put money on the fact that it's a moment with a lot to teach you.
Edit your story
What do you believe about the person you are - the man or woman, the mother or father, the employee, the lover, the child? What's the story that you tell yourself and others? Complete the sentence: 'I'm a person who…"
I wrote about labels recently. This is more of the same. Why box yourself into one way of being when you can be everything and anything.
Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or can't…you are right.”
You write the story of your life. So get out the Tippex. Or for those more intimately connected with a keyboard, refresh and delete.