Chris Kenworthy

Transformative coach | Improviser

20 things dragging me through this living nightmare that is midlife

  1. Treats: 70% dark choc cocoa and above, I’m told the chemistry helps low mood, so it’s medicinal AND a treat.
  2. Connection: talking to like-minded friends old and new, being challenged, relating similar experiences, but simple eye contact and smiles with strangers helps too.
  3. Movement: exercise, walking and qi kung to get the body circulating, guarding against stagnation.
  4. Voices: Richard Herring and I have spent some long dark nights together; letting people’s laughter and funny nonsense wash over me was a welcome distraction in those long dark nights of the soul. 
  5. Escapism: trashy sci-fi novels, journeying into my imagination means less space to worry and overanalyse (when I need a break from the feels).
  6. Melody: like a teenage dirtbag, lyrics have special significance, music moves me, skirting songs I daren’t hear.
  7. Meat-petting: respecting the state of my fragile nervous system, trusting its signals, proving I’m safe and present.
  8. Feeling the feels: having a good cry/rant, welcoming emotions, noticing the porosity and contradiction, being affected when capacity allows.
  9. Acceptance: going with what is, letting go, noticing things pass, all without approval.
  10. Be.Do.Have: my trusty model for cycles of behaviour/motivation, following myself rather than forcing or resisting.
  11. Improv principles: spontaneity, feeling affected, going big, presence, listening, accepting help from others – it’s a way of life.
  12. Self-love: contemplating love and giving myself that (emotional and practical), learning to date me; checking-in, appreciating, affection.
  13. Art: creating things and doing with DIY, solving problems in moderation to restore agency.
  14. Journaling: offloading what’s clogging up my focus with gratitude and morning pages.
  15. Bodily desire: noticing signals for food, rest, entertainment, chatter, in the moment, trusting this sack of meat that’s really quite good at keeping me alive.
  16. Presence: mindfully noticing and labelling things on dog walks, then not at all, just witnessing them appear without judgement helps clear the mind; dog, tree, cloud, sick.
  17. Theatre: TV drama like Ozark for people having a shitter time than I am, yet still coping, doing their best in their very human, nuanced way.
  18. Laughter: a perverse antidote to anger I’ve discovered, somewhere for the tension and energy to go, instead of cramp. Like mini-eruptions at the comic, futile ridiculousness of existence.
  19. Arranging: temporary fixtures in life, my home life-raft, social events to look forward to with friends, adventures and journeys.
  20. Relaxation: pampering, spa day warmth and womb-like withdrawal and regrouping, if only for a short while.

Disclaimer: none of these are substitutes for intervention by trained mental health practitioners. If you are struggling with your mental health, please tell someone – talk to a medical professional, a loved one or seek help from an organisation like Mind (UK) or The Samaritans.






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