I bought a new razor to live better

I bought a new razor. But isn’t this a psychology blog? Well yes, I have a point. So after Christmas 2022, I bought a new razor, but not one from the supermarket but rather one from Beard and Blade, a specialist hair and shaving site. It’s a old style safety razor, I remove the top and place a blade and put it all back together again. Why? Well for one, the cost of everything is going up and I can buy a years worth of saftey razors for less than what I can buy a month of fancy 3 blade plastic monstrosities. The other reason was that I feel that razors bought at supermarkets significantly complicate the process and I couldn’t be assed to balance number of blades against mositurising against flexibility every time that I purchased blades.

So I stopped.

Why do I feel the need to talk about it here? Because, as humans, we significantly complicate things in our lives without the need. We want to find the reasons and the answers. We want to fight negative thoughts and only have positive vibes, but that is such a toxic way to live (Check out the book Toxic Positivity for more on this).

Most people know what is going to help them, they are just too caught in the complications to get any real benefit from their self care.

In therapy I often tell clients that I am not here to teach them incredible new strategies or techniques to help them, but to help them to re-identify the things that have worked for them in the past and then actually execute those strategies. Here’s the dirty secret of therapy – most people know what is going to help them, they are just too caught up in the complications to get any benefit. That is where the psychologist/therapist/counsellor/mentor comes in, the person who is able to see through the complications and break things down to the bare bones to get you back on track.

Personally, I tried many things before I found what worked for my anxiety. Self help books, incense, herbal tea, sleeping less and pushing myself to try to ‘achieve.’ But I was avoiding that there were some things sitting right there that would help me, but that required (‘ugh’) effort. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we are inherently lazy or that we can work ourselves out of depression and anxiety but rather that the brain will hyperfocus on the things that it thinks will immediately take away the discomfort (or stay the same and avoid all that new discomfort). So the shiny new self help book, the ‘new’ method of pouring cold water down your pants, the new vitamin, they all look really appealing to a brain that just wants to remove distress immediately. The brain does not want to admit that what it really needs are strategies that are slow burning and build on each and every day, rather than a finger snap and miracle cure.

But what actually worked for me? Making sure that I exercise regularly (make sure that step count is done), reading and making sure that I am having down time (I’m a sucker for scifi novels), making sure that I have a routine and adhere to getting the things done that need to be done within the week and then stopping. That’s one of the main issues that I have seen people have, they tend to do the following:

  • Complicate their daily tasks
  • Get stuck in the weeds and not get anything done
  • Get to the weekend and still be spinning the wheels, therefore now having to work or ‘achieve’ in what should be downtime
  • Repeat.

The real trick is working out what those things are that need to be done, getting them scheduled and then leaving the rest out. If you find you have more energy or time then you can always add more, but trying to jam pack your days will constantly lead to further stress, as we aren’t very good at working under high pressure for a long period of time.

So basically, stick to the basics to get yourself back in the right lane and then add the extra stuff on top. This may take some more time than you are used to, but I can guarantee that setting a stable basis is going to have massive effects to your long term mental wellness.

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