Friday, March 24, 2017

The art of being feminine






After the release of my latest book… I crashed.  I realised I’d been so focused on everything I needed to do, reading and re-reading the manuscript as I edited, that once it was all over, my body felt free to relax.  I felt like I could sleep for a week; I wasn’t motivated to do anything and I felt burnt out.

It wasn’t that I was particularly stressed before the book was released; burning the midnight oil or anything like that, but it must be a natural response to a time of intense concentration.  I’m sure students feel the same after exams are over, or a project manager after they’ve completed a big project.

In the past I might have eaten my favourite sugar-chocolate-icecream treats to feel more normal, but I don’t do that anymore.  I recognised the strange feeling for what it was and was gentle with myself.

I still had quite a few tasks to complete, so I wrote them all down and ticked off one by one over the following days.  I had normal bedtimes but it might have been better to go to bed earlier than usual.  I did relax one evening with a few episodes of The Hills on dvd, that was fun.

But apart from that, I focused on my femininity.  I recognised that the flattened feeling I was experiencing was from being in my masculine for several weeks as I concentrated on completing my book.  Before that I had a nice blend of feminine (being) and masculine (doing), but at some stage I just had to put my foot on the accelerator otherwise the book still might not be out!

But now, I am welcoming the feminine back in with:

Reading books on my Kindle – I am currently reading The Riviera Express as recommended by the lovely Margaret in Devon, England (do check out her blog, it’s delightful).

(just an aside: my husband thought it was so funny that I would be at my computer reading my manuscript back and forth all day, then come out into the living room to relax with a drink in the late afternoon and… read a book on my Kindle – like a busman’s holiday!)

Focusing on my grooming – blow-drying my hair, using lots of lovely scented moisturiser, putting on perfume, painting my toenails.

Boudoir time – which I have mentioned a million times before but when I get busy it is forgotten.  Here is a post detailing my beloved boudoir time, and another here.

Spending time with my husband – of course, writing my book is a good thing, but I do feel like a neglectful wife when I am glued to the computer.  We went out for lunch or coffee together, a few times in a week.  Plus a movie at the theatre – we saw T2 Trainspotting which I didn’t think I would enjoy as much as I did.  It was certainly a cinematic experience!

Enjoying my wardrobe – playing around with my outfits, wearing my pretty things and accessorising more with necklaces and makeup colours – which are still very neutral :)

I know it won’t be long before I am my old self again, and one day in the future I might even not upset my equilibrium so much when completing new projects.  I think that’s a good goal to have: achieve what I want to achieve without knocking myself out of kilter along the way.

Something I am very proud of though, is that I did not self-medicate or boost my energy with food.  Yay for that!  I’m so happy that all my mindset work is paying off and I am proving to myself that I really can change.

Do you do this too?  Get yourself out of balance doing too much at once?  Please tell me it’s not just me.  I’d love to hear strategies that have worked for you as well.  Thank you in advance for all the wonderful ideas you have to share!

Fiona

PS.  If you haven’t seen my latest book ‘Thirty Slim Days’, you can read a sample at Amazon (click ‘Look Inside’).  I’m keen to hear your thoughts.

33 comments:

  1. First of all, Fiona, thank you for such lovely comments about my blog, and also I hope you are enjoying the book! I have started it, but I put it aside while I couldn't resist reading the three books I'd ordered by Katharine Swartz, all of which I enjoyed, and then an Alice Peterson book (which I also enjoyed.) I am now completing a Maisie Dobbs novel (Leaving Everything Most Loved) by Jacqueline Winspear as I have three of her books (which follow Leaving Everything Most Loved) still unread! It's a case of too many books, too little time, I think!
    But you are right to relax now after all your hard work on publishing your latest book. I feel drained after I've written some of my longer pieces for magazines, especially if the subject I have chosen to write about is one new to me. I recently wrote about the History of Suburbia and hadn't quite realized when I mooted this subject to the Editor of the magazine (Discover Your Ancestors' bookazine for 2017)what a huge subject it is. I was happy with the end result, but I did feel drained afterwards, so writing your Thirty Slim Days (I love this 'Thirty Day' series!) must've left you feeling particularly drained, even though, like me, you enjoy writing.
    Regarding grooming (which always reminds me of what one does for a horse!) I wash and blow dry my hair each and every day because, it being so short, if I didn't it would just look a total mess. I always use make-up and always spritz with scent, whether going out or being at home. I have recently treated myself to some pretty coloured underwear and have also ordered the book about the Queen's bra shop, Rigby and Peller, which I think will be a fun read (Storm in a D-Cup ... what a marvellous title!)
    Enjoy your return to femininity, rest and relax before embarking on your next writing project!
    Margaret P
    www.margaretpowling.com

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    1. Yes I am enjoying The Riviera Express thank you Margaret - 1/5 of the way through so far 🤓 The queen's bra book looks interesting!

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  2. I completely agree with you regarding losing and regaining balance in life! I travel internationally a few times a year for work, and the trips usually last at least a week, if not two. I enjoy the travel so much, but when I get home, I'm a hot mess trying to process what was accomplished on the trip, follow ups, and of course, jet lag. I hit 50 this year, and seriously, the jet lag just gets harder as I get older. However, your tips for regaining balance are just what I prescribe for myself! They really help me regain a firm foundation. I would also add getting outside for a nice walk as often as possible. Natural light helps with the jet lag reset, and I feel positive about my choices!
    Congratulations on completing your wonderful book and best wishes for future inspiration!
    Elizabeth in Texas

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    1. I agree Elizabeth - walking outside is such a great unwinder. 1-2 weeks is a long time to be away! Maybe not for some but it sounds long to me 😊

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  3. Hi Fiona,
    I have a document entitled "Nurturing" and I try to refer to it when life gets out of kilter - some items:

    *I like watching makeup tutorials on YouTube, particularly Melissa55, since she is so southern and feminine;

    *make sure to surround myself with beautiful scents: flowers, perfume, candles, aromatherapy diffuser;

    *listen to classical music or the "Windham Hill" Pandora channel (reminds me of the 1990s and Victoria magazine);

    *take a sauna, followed by an icy cold shower (or a dip in Lake Superior, where we live!);

    *walk barefoot on the grass in our backyard;

    *wear my long hair in loose curls and wear big hoop earrings during a date night with my husband;

    *tend to my garden (summer) or plants in the winter (currently propagating African Violets);

    *go through my inspirational and style "to-read" books on librarything and order a few from the library;

    *get a massage, facial, mani/pedi, reflexology session, or hair blown out (or all!);

    *buy a new Tom Ford lipstick or Chanel Glossimer;

    *spend an afternoon alone at a matinee: indulge in popcorn and a diet Coke;

    *cross-stitch while watching Gilmore Girls or Cedar Cove;

    *go to the beach: sit for a few hours and watch the waves and read and think;

    *get the car washed - strangely, I feel it's very rejuvenating to my spirit to sit inside the car wash and come out with a sparkling clean car!

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    1. Amy, what a lovely idea! I have many inspiration lists, but one specifically for nurturing? You're a genius! Thank you so much for sharing it 💝

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    2. So funny as Gilmore Girls is our chicken soup during stressful times. Love the lake idea and will make that a retirement requirement.
      The clean car is so true. Just feels cleaner as you tour around town.
      Fiona thank you for your daily inspiration and kindness.
      Tracy H

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    3. My gosh, I love this list, Amy!!

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    4. Amy, I have been listening to Windham Hill music and loving it! I'm so happy to have found out about it from you. Thank you :)

      Tracy, yes, clean surroundings including the car make me feel good too. Our car is always empty and regularly cleaned (not by me though :) the bonus of having only one car). I can't stand leaving stuff in the car; it has to be taken in straight away!

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  4. Congrats on achieving the goal on not self-medicating with food. It's a tough one, indeed. For myself, I always feel better after busting out my yoga mat and do a few downward dogs, cat and cow poses, child's pose and some warrior poses. All of that stretching, strengthening and breathing, and just the act of moving my body feels very good and invigorating.

    Curling my hair on occasions as well as inhaling and sipping on some hot ginger tea are both lovely as well. :)

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    1. I have been back at my yoga class recently and it feels sooooo good. Like you've had a massage on the inside as well as the out!

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  5. Dear Fiona,I never told you how much I like your blog and your tips! Me too I often feel like I need to connect with my feminine side...many times, world around us wants from us to not listen our needs...but I loved this post!
    For feeling more feminine I coock a new recipe for dinner...
    I wear my perfume...
    I wear mascara and blush...
    I watch breakfast at Tiffany...
    I buy a new dress...
    I get a manicure...
    I gently ask a hug to my husband...
    I take care of my home...

    Thank you dear...and a lovely day to you

    Francesca

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    1. So true Francesca - sometimes you need to sneak the femininity in because it feels like the world disapproves of frivolous time-wasting 😆 I love your ideas 💗

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  6. Yesterday I had some unexpected time between a monthly offsite meeting and the time I was expected back at the office because the meeting was about 90 minutes shorter than usual. I decided this was a perfect excuse for some me time and an early lunch, so I took a magazine, your new book on my Kindle and my journal, went to the local coffee shop and sat in a comfy chair, sipping tea, and taking a little time out for me where there were no distractions of work to be done. When I was done, I had my planned lunch of salad and quiche and felt so refreshed and feminine when I went back to work.

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    1. Yay, Cindy, bravo to you. That's a real win. I hope you are enjoying my book 😊

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  7. Good for you--I know exactly what you mean about "self-medicating" with food. Bravo for holding out!

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  8. I've come to see these times as just natural ebbs and flows in life. Bursts of energy, then times of rest. Sounds like you've handled this time really well. Love to read the comments here! xo

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    1. True Deborah, it's a good thing to remember. The comments are fantastic! 💗

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  9. Fiona, what a brilliant idea to write a book about being chic in winter..I have just bought it because I've been putting a lot of thought and action into planning my winter wardrobe. Cannot WAIT to be inspired and helped by your book. Thankyou. Keep em coming! Blessings

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    1. Hi Gill, thank you; I hope you get lots of useful ideas from my book. Have fun with your winter wardrobe planning! I will be looking at mine soon. ☂️

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  10. Fiona, I love your description of feminine as being and masculine as doing. What a wonderful gauge or reminder of keeping balance. I won't forget that! For me, solitude is the thing I need most when I'm feeling off-kilter and maybe out of sorts. Even going out into the world by myself, whether shopping for a new mascara or lip gloss, or having a coffee and sweet in my favorite bakery helps me. Napping and sitting quietly to knit also help. Thank you so much. I adore your blog and IG feed (I'm pmcfreeburn) your books and book recommendations. Your latest book has come at the perfect time in my life.

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    1. Hi Pam!! Solitude is definitely something that I didn't realise I needed at these times so thank you for that 💝💖💝

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  11. Hi Fiona,

    Belated congratulations on your Anniversary! I loved that post; your experience with your inner voice? subconscious? magic? was amazing. Thanks for sharing such a personal story. You obviously have a rare bond with Paul.

    Secondly, congratulations on your latest literary milestone! I know this book will be super successful; everyone needs advice in dealing with food, even when there's no weight loss, just good health, involved. You're proof that a new mindset is possible - the fact that you didn't use food to soothe yourself after the intensity of finishing your book is just great! Good for you. I'm in a weird stressful period right now, with a big upcoming move and lots of uncertainty, and I am leaning heavily on the chocolate crutch. Bah for me. I know better, but it's the old "X begets X" thing that I read about once on some lovely wise woman's blog.... ;-)

    One more thing, I requested that my library carry your 30 Chic Days, and they purchased it right away! It's not on the shelf yet, but soon will be, and I am first in line. Now I need to request that they get your new title. I'm really happy to think that many more people will get to know you. I didn't know it was so easy; hopefully lots of your readers will ask their libraries to carry your books!

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    1. Thank you Erina!

      Don't be hard on yourself; times of change can shake us around, even when the changed is wanted. I feel a bit like that myself with our move in the coming months. Eating food grounds us, which is what we want when we feel unsettled.

      And thank you for requesting my book at your library; that's wonderful :)

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  12. Resuming my regular yoga practice (at home, in the loungeroom, with my cat for company :)), resuming meditation, cooking nourishing meals that are even better as leftovers, washing my hair in the bath, reading a novel rather than just the daily newspaper, actively avoiding the television news. I caught up with a dear friend yday who has been working long hours in a stressful job. She was saying how tired she felt and straining to see the purpose of what she's working so hard towards just at this moment. We had the same conversation - after she had downloaded and I'd listened attentively we came up with a similar list for her. So I guess I would add 'talk to a trusted friend' as sometimes we need a good moan to let it all out but know that it won't go any further or add to anyone else's troubles. Oh and we agreed to make a date for massages at our favourite spa venue asap :)))))

    I really enjoyed reading the other comments.

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    1. I love all your examples of self-care Lara, and especially about talking with a friend. That really is what we need sometimes, isn't it :)

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  13. Love all of these ideas! Do you ever make hot towels for yourself in a slow cooker (moistened towels rolled up and sprinkled with essential oil, then heated). They are so refreshing to wipe your hands with during the day.

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    1. I have never done this Glee, but it sounds like a delightfully feminine touch!

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  14. I am in need of a return to femininity right now. I think I will start tonight by reading something that is calling to my soul and going to bed earlier. Today was so frantically paced that I didn't get to enjoy it, and it's an absolutely beautiful day here just beckoning to be enjoyed. Slowing down is so important.

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    1. A soothing book and an early night are like balm to my soul too, Stephanie :)

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  15. Wonderful post as usual Fiona! This may inspire a future blog post for me as well! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Mrs Shockley. I think you are the most feminine woman I know :)

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Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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