CwL Ep81: Checking in with Mim Jenkinson

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It’s always such a joy to check in with Mim! She’s such a bright spark and breath of fresh air. She lives in Newcastle and experienced a long stretch of lockdown but has a completely different experience to many others – she enjoyed it!


She found the slower pace, the reduced amount of decision making, really nice.


But what I love about her reflections in this episode is the comparison she makes between the impact of what we have experienced with covid and lockdowns and her breast cancer journey.


Many of us here in Melbourne have thrown around the comment “we’re all dealing with PTSD” – but what does this actually mean? What will be the ramifications on us mentally?


Mim’s insights are so reassuring and heartening.


Enjoy the episode.

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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here

Lisa Corduff:

Hey, it’s Lisa Corduff. Welcome to the podcast where you can expect inspiring, raw, energising, and transformative conversations with people on the path of personal evolution. I’m here to really live my life, and if you are too, these conversations are just for you. I’m really glad you’re here. Enjoy.

Lisa Corduff:

I’m not too sure if it was going to happen any other way, Mim, than getting a message from you like, “Hey, hey, hey, it’s me. If you’re talking to friends on your podcast, what’s up, let’s do this.”

Mim:

I hope I’m on the list.

Lisa Corduff:

You aren’t actually the only one, but you were the first, and that is unsurprising to me. Should have been totally expected.

Mim:

Yes.

Lisa Corduff:

Yes. So I… Welcome to the podcast. Here you are, as requested by you.

Mim:

Thank you. I’m so excited that I’ve clearly manifested this. I’m going to call it manifestation, and not just I demand that I’m the next guest on the podcast.

Lisa Corduff:

When are you free? Let’s lock this in.

Mim:

I’m free all the time, so just let me know.

Lisa Corduff:

But I feel like I’ve spent a good chunk of time looking at your face via Zoom, because you were in the mastermind. And then there’s just been this kind of Mim gap in my life where I just watch you on social media to get a little fix. And I can’t remember when we actually… When did we actually first meet?

Mim:

I remember, because I’ve already told you the stalker story. So for anyone listening who’s been talking Lisa from afar, keep it up because it does work. Again, we’ll call it manifestation.

Lisa Corduff:

That’s creepy.

Mim:

So creepy. You don’t remember. So I told you, I think it was… I’m trying to think. I think it was 2016 at Pro Blogger.

Lisa Corduff:

It was at Pro Blogger. Yes, Pro Blogger.

Mim:

I feel like it was the 2016 Pro Blogger. And you were on the stage and you were talking all about your business at the time, Small steps. And I don’t think I’d heard of you before then, from memory. I don’t think so. But I was so impressed by the way you talked about your business, and your success in launching this membership, and how life changing and family changing and everything it had been. And I just sat in the audience, watching you with such awe, like, “I need to work with her. I want all the things that she’s done. She’s just so inspired,” and knew from then. I think I must have started following you then. And then you put out different programmes and offers and opportunities to work with you over the years. And I was just like, “Nope, not that one. Not that one. Not that one. Nope. Not that one.” And then the mastermind came up and I was like, “Yes, this one.”

Lisa Corduff:

Yes. I want all the access to Lisa.

Mim:

This is the one. Yes. It’s quite expensive, but it feels really, really right.

Lisa Corduff:

But it’s so funny. And it’s actually such a good lesson for people who are in business, is that a lot of people are follow and looking for an opportunity to work with you, or glean something from you. But it might just not be the right…

Mim:

Yeah.

Lisa Corduff:

You know, the right offer for them. And it’s such… And some people just want the VIP, they don’t want to be a part of a big group. They don’t want to be a part of something like that. They want like, “No, no, no. Roll out the red carpet, I’m coming. We’re best friends.”

Mim:

I’ll do that one. Yeah.

Lisa Corduff:

I’ll do that one. Yeah. So I just think that that’s such an interesting thing, that someone can be around you for all that time, and looking for an opportunity to do more, but not until the right thing comes along.

Mim:

It’s so true.

Lisa Corduff:

Isn’t it? It’s just fascinating.

Mim:

So true. And we’re told, aren’t we, that if people haven’t bought within a certain timeframe, delete them off your email list or… I mean, there’s definitely some truth to those things, but you’ve said this to me as well in the mastermind, maybe they’re just waiting for the right thing. And when I’ve said to you, “Oh my peeps, won’t be interested in this particular thing or offer,” and you’ve always been like, “No, actually, do you not remember that you didn’t want any of my stuff before that?”

Lisa Corduff:

Just offer it, just offer it and see what happens. Yeah.

Mim:

Yeah, totally.

Lisa Corduff:

Well, I mean, we could talk all about that sort of stuff all day, and people should probably actually know what you do, just so there’s some context around you. But really, this is a chat between friends to check in and see where you’re at, at this end of 2021. What year is it, anyway?

Mim:

I know, what is it?

Lisa Corduff:

And when you were messaging me, you just had such an interesting point of view on where a lot of people are at, without maybe knowing where they’re at. So I’m really looking forward to this conversation, but do you want to just give people a little who is Mim?

Mim:

Yes. Who is Mim? Well, I’m the one, if you follow Lisa on Instagram, who always, anytime she asks a question, the answer’s always Outlander. That’s me, [crosstalk 00:05:20].

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah. She has a very odd and exceptional Outlander obsession.

Mim:

It isn’t odd. Yes, it is exceptional. Anyway, apart from Outlander though, which is a big part of my life, I’m a mum of two. I live in Newcastle in New south Wales. I am an online business mentor, and I sell digital products to people all over the world, and coach them, and I’m an author, a blogger, a podcaster, all of the things. We’ve spoken about this before. All of the things, I’m the least busy person I know.

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah.

Mim:

And yeah, I’ve been over here in Australia for about 14 years. I love that we’re talking today. So whenever this goes out, it’s the 11th of the 11th today, which is a lovely old number, isn’t it?

Lisa Corduff:

It is a lovely old number. Well, I mean, it’s Remembrance Day, but it’s also 11/11, which is a portal to something.

Mim:

Manifestation, abundance, all of the good things.

Lisa Corduff:

Well, but I think that there’s an actual special thing, opening thing, that happens on 11/11. Don’t you follow Elizabeth Peru and just get all the updates?

Mim:

No. I’ll add her to my stalker list.

Lisa Corduff:

I think she still does one on one. She’s astrology and all that stuff. I like her. So well, Mim, how are you?

Mim:

I’m actually really good. I’m good. It’s been quite the last couple of years. So we haven’t had, in Newcastle, we haven’t had anything like the lockdown that you have had in Melbourne, for sure. In fact, I don’t even know how long we were in, but I feel like it was about three months, two to three months and-

Lisa Corduff:

Still significant.

Mim:

It’s still significant, but we didn’t have anything like the length, what was it? 200 and something days that you had.

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah, 200 and 60 something.

Mim:

And obviously being from the UK, and having friends and family in the UK, who’ve been in lockdown for what must feel like 50 years at this point, in and out. And obviously the numbers over there are significantly different. So I’ve always felt very lucky to have escaped quite lightly here. But at the same time, and I think the reason we were chatting the other day, I have just found coming out of this second lockdown very different than I expected. Because the lockdown itself, I’ll be honest, I quite enjoyed. It feels very strange to say that, but I did enjoy it. I enjoyed having the kids at home. I was grateful for the fact that I have a business at home, and I could run this around having the family and the changes.

Mim:

So I actually liked having my husband at home as well. So that was quite nice, all in all. And then sending them back off to school and work again, I found that so strange, and I actually didn’t think I would. I thought that that would be a really exciting, yay, lockdown is finished, off they go, here’s my free time and peace and quiet back. But I’m still adjusting to that. I’m not quite sure… I don’t know if I’m a fan, honestly, but I just need to caveat that with, I’m not wishing for any more lockdowns.

Lisa Corduff:

But I think it’s true, I mean, my kids, I’ve watched them go through, “We can’t wait to get back. We can’t wait to get back.” And then by the end of last week, they were kind of… Which that was a four day week. So this week, so it’s the 11th of the… So this is their first five days in a row back at school.

Mim:

Wow.

Lisa Corduff:

And my middle daughter’s sort of, “Hmm. I kind of miss home learning,” even although she was desperate to get back. Because life had a different flow. They didn’t have to be on. Yesterday I spent the day in a co-working space doing brainstorming, and Mel from the team who lives here in Melbourne joined me. So I was chatting all day, and things were on, and I was out in the real world, and I was exhausted. And I keep thinking about the kids and how there was so little extra inputs. Our brains, all we had to do, was just focus on… Our world was really small, nothing much changed, and then suddenly there’s just all this stimulation. And I’m watching them just kind of think, “Oh, was it that bad home learning? We actually, we had a good… It wasn’t terrible.”

Lisa Corduff:

And I think that’s what a lot of people who, like me, who are very privileged in terms of being able to continue earning money. And for me, I mean, I work from home anyway. Not saying it was easy, but it wasn’t terrible. We’ve got these funny feels, like when it was coming to the end, there was such a relief. It was such a relief, but then there’s just different types of things that you have to start, that start to come in again. And for me I’m-

Mim:

And very quickly.

Lisa Corduff:

And the decisions of lunch boxes and just little things like that, I just find myself feeling quite overwhelmed by those sorts of things.

Mim:

Yeah. You know what it’s a bit like? It was a little bit like when, going into lockdown and into homeschooling, you know when you’re working in a really busy, hectic, maybe stressful job, and then you leave that job and suddenly your mind is so clear. And it’s like your to-do list now only has one on it or two things. It felt like that. It just felt like that really lovely, slow pace relief. I know this won’t last because the new thing is coming, and gearing up for that, but kind of… And then when you start the new job, then you miss the slow pace that you just had, and you wish you’d made the most of that break more. It kind of felt a little bit like that to me. And I really liked the slow pace.

Mim:

I really enjoyed it. Like you say, just getting up, having very few decisions to make. The kids could stay in their pyjamas all day if they wanted to. They really just had their little bit of homeschooling. And I know that we actually didn’t have too much homeschooling to do either. My kids are six and eight as well. So again, very lucky. It’s not like they had exams or anything really stressful for us to navigate in any way. And other schools were really piling on the home learning, and I think ours did a really good job of finding the balance. I was happy with it anyway. And it was just this really nice, slow surrendering of we’ll get to what we get to, and luckily that isn’t very much. And just, it was quite a nice, lazy, almost like a holiday feel in many ways.

Lisa Corduff:

Wow. It did not feel like a holiday for me. That is for sure.

Mim:

I’m making it out to be bliss right now, and I probably should add in that it wasn’t. But it overall, it was a really nice experience, and I don’t want to repeat it. I don’t want to go back into lockdown for any reason. And I don’t know whether we will now. I’m not quite sure how they’ll deal with things. Because the kids are back now, I’m not sure what’ll happen if there’s a COVID case at school. I don’t think anyone really knows. But I enjoyed that. I enjoyed that.

Mim:

But it just, it made me realise a lot that I was choosing to make things more frantic than they needed to be back in normal life pre-lockdown. I was looking at my to-do list and the things that I wanted to do for the business while the kids and the husband was off, and thinking, “If they weren’t here now, I’d be busy filling my time with this and this and this. And actually I haven’t been doing those things, and nothing has gone wrong and there hasn’t been any issues.” So I think it’s been quite a good lesson overall, for everyone, hasn’t it, in making different choices out of lockdown, and really looking at what’s important, and what can be let go of.

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah. I think that you need… Without an extended period, I don’t think you get that ability to reflect. And it’s what I’ve started to think about is going to be our superpower for those who’ve gone through it. And especially for those of us in Melbourne who really have spent two years trying to deal with this stuff, that you can’t… You’re not the same after you’ve been through something like this. It would be crazy to expect that things… That you’re not impacted in some way, mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually. And it’s almost a missed opportunity if you didn’t ask yourself some of the bigger questions, but I think that’s just a part of the human experience, right?

Mim:

Yeah.

Lisa Corduff:

Why is this happening? What do I like about it? What don’t I like about it? What do I want to change? We kind of just go there, and the self inquiry gets more interesting the longer you have with yourself, if you’re mentally okay. Just as a caveat. There’s a lot of people who that opportunity wasn’t available to, because their mental health took a very, very steep dive.

Mim:

And even the people, the women who already had challenges with that before they even went into lockdown.

Lisa Corduff:

Ah, I can’t even tell you the level of anxiety that I am talking to you… And just literally this morning, getting a coffee, and was talking to a friend who was talking to another friend, so she’s now my friend too. And she was saying she’s literally never had anxiety in her whole life. And now has it.

Mim:

I relate to that so much.

Lisa Corduff:

So you… Yeah.

Mim:

Yeah. I mean, I was going to say, and we spoke about this on social the other day. Like I, as Lisa knows, I had breast cancer six years ago, coming up to my sixth year all clear, which is exciting. And before that would’ve never had said I was an anxious person in any way. Not that I was super confident, and super extroverted, but I would never have said I had any kind of mental health challenges at all. But then after cancer, after the diagnosis, which affects everyone in different ways, but many people come out of that with some level of fear and anxiety. And mine was fine for a long time, but after a couple of years just was progressively off the charts. And I got very, really anxious about that. And I think it’s going to be the same for many people who’ve gone through the situation with COVID and lockdown now, where it just, it kind of creeps up on you and you don’t realise how much you have been affected.

Mim:

And I think many of us won’t realise for another number of months or years, and some will never understand that they have even been affected as well. It’s just that you’ll live in this changed world forever, and not even know that you can make different choices, because it’s so all consuming when you’re in a state of your emotions, being dictated by your emotions, and thinking that that’s the way life is now, and just getting on with things in that way. So it really, really just… And I remember this at the start of the very first lockdown, probably even before the first lockdown last year, I could recognise it coming, having gone through it.

Mim:

And I was diagnosed with PTSD. Having gone through that diagnosis myself, and being able to look back in hindsight of where I was entering that phase, I guess, I could start to spot the signs with others. And it started as this grieving stage, of this mass grieving of individuals grieving for themselves and as a collective, of life will never ever be the same again. And making that mean life will never be as good as it used to be. And that just was so… I’m not going to let this happen. That was what I was telling myself, and I’m really going to try to not let this happen to me.

Mim:

And I’ve got no idea how much I’ve been able to control of those thoughts because all of our individual situations have been so different. My situation is so different to yours, to somebody else in Brisbane, to somebody else in the UK, to somebody in the US. It’s all so different, and our individual circumstances are so different as well. So we’re all translating what’s happening to us in different ways. But I just think the outcomes of what’s happened, it’s going to take years, even if everything stopped now and it went back, quote unquote, to normal, it’s going to take years to really come out how we’ve all been individually affected mentally.

Lisa Corduff:

Ah, and there, the reason why, when we started chatting about this and the PTSD thing is that people are throwing it around as a term here. Like we’re all walking around with PTSD. I’ve been saying how difficult I’ve found it to make decisions. Like this morning, we were talking about how my friend had, she went and she said, “It took me four hours, but I’ve booked all these flights. And I booked a summer holiday, and we are going to here, but I’ve got to get my mom down here then.” And she’s like, “It took all my brain power to be able to do that.” And I literally am getting paralysed in decision making. I’m avoiding it. And I am… Like, it’s causing me serious stress. A friend the other day, she works for David Jones. She’s like, “I’ve got a discount code for some homeware stuff.”

Lisa Corduff:

And I really need to get a new toaster, and it keeps sort of tripping the house, like turns off the electricity. And I really do need to, but I want this particular one. But I had the discount quote, it’s like an expensive one, but I just think you have these things and you have them on the bench all the time, might as well get a good one. But then I wanted the matching kettle-

Mim:

That would be great.

Lisa Corduff:

But then I’m like, “Oh no, this is getting a bit much.” Look, just do it because this was a 40% discount or something. Just do it. And then I went to add it to cart-

Mim:

That’s a great friend to have, by the way.

Lisa Corduff:

Oh, she’s…

Mim:

Yeah. Yeah. We all need one of those ones.

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah. But we also don’t, because sometimes you’re like, “Oh!” I don’t like buying things that I don’t need, but yes. Anyway, went to cart and it said, “Only available for click and collect.” And I was like, “Oh, I don’t… What shop? I don’t want to go to the shop.” And I abandoned cart. It felt too much. I didn’t understand. I didn’t know what to do from there. I couldn’t go back and make another decision about a different colour even of the same one, because I was all decisioned out. And I recognise that that’s not particularly normal. I don’t find, though, decision making about things like that super easy, but it’s also not to that degree.

Mim:

Yes.

Lisa Corduff:

So when we throw around things like, “We’ve all got PTSD,” or “We’re walking around with undiagnosed PTSD because of what we’ve been through,” can you tell us a little bit more about your experience of PTSD?

Mim:

Yes.

Lisa Corduff:

And because you said, you were like, “I didn’t know I had it, but when I was told about it, it’s like, oh, well that all makes sense then.”

Mim:

It did. And in fact, I’ll run through the thoughts and the feelings I had. But even when I was diagnosed with PTSD, which didn’t come with a, “You’ve got PTSD and this is what we’re going to give you or do with you to get you out of it.” It was almost like a, “You’ve you’ve got it, and…”

Lisa Corduff:

Good luck.

Mim:

There you go. I still had to proactively do things myself to pull myself. I got a lot of support, but for me it was… So when I got the diagnosis of you’ve got cancer, it was an instant into grief, into grief instantly of the life I will never have. And I remember what the… My very first thoughts were not even, “Oh my God, poor me. I’m going to die. This is terrible.” Of course, I thought some of those of things, but it was very depressing. It was like the thoughts of, “I’ll never see my kids go to school. I’ll never be at my daughter’s wedding. I’ll never…” It was the life I will never have.

Mim:

And I remember very distinctly, they were the thoughts that flashed through my mind, and the visuals and the images, for a long time. So that is how it started for me, and that really is a lot of the grief that we have now, isn’t it? People haven’t been able to see their families. When will we have our next family holiday? All of those things, whether you think it’s trivial or not, none of it is. None of it’s trivial when it comes through as grief. So it started with that, and then going through treatment and getting that out of the way, and then being told that the cancer had gone, treatment is finished, my body’s starting to slowly recover, and things went back to normal-ish.

Mim:

I just thought I’ll, like I said before, I’ll never have the life I had before. I wish I’d made the most of the life I had. And I wish I’d just spent a lot of time realising how damn lucky I was, because life was so blissful and amazing. And of course it wasn’t, but in your head, you think it was. So that was something else that I used to think all the time. And then I resigned myself to, I’m always going to have this life where I’m scared. I’m always going to be thinking, “What’s that lump? What’s that bump. What’s that feeling?” Panic before the scans, scanxiety, they call it. Panic after the scans to get your results, I call it, and I actually… Me, being a proactive person, I thought, “I’m just going to get on top of these feelings, and the way I’ll get on top of them is just accepting them. Accept that this is my situation, accept that life won’t be as good, but that’s okay. I’ll live with fear. I can do that.” And that was me thinking I’d kind of got over it?

Lisa Corduff:

Won. Well done team.

Mim:

As much as I could, like yes, I’m going to be scared to death all the time, but I’m aware of it. So it’s okay. So there was that, but then with the decision fatigue, and it was in a different way. Similar but different in that, because I had these overarching thoughts of, “You’re going to die,” I guess, like it might come back, it’s going to come back. It’s just a matter of when it will come back, that they were the fears that I had about the cancer. And I remember not being able to make a decision about anything. So I couldn’t plan for anything to the point where, and I used this example with Miles, my husband, I’d say, “There’s no point in buying that photo frame for the house that we’re decorating, because there’s no point. I won’t be able to enjoy it,” or… It was as simple as that, it was the tiniest things. I can’t book a family holiday because I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Mim:

I just couldn’t let myself look past the week. And I actually don’t now, purposefully don’t look much past the week ahead of me, because that’s really comforting for different reasons. But it was more those feelings. And then the biggest thing was literally just having the constant thought in my mind all the time, of it’s going to come back. Is that cancer? It’s going to come back. Cancer, cancer, cancer, constantly everything related to that. And being in the circle that I was in as well, I’d attracted these friends who have cancer or had gone through treatment because we all become really good friends. I love them to like so much. We all become friends and it’s the same thing, and we’re kind of echoing into each other, and reflecting to each other the joys and the fears as well.

Mim:

So it’s the whole thing. Your world becomes about that one thing, it’s almost like an obsession, and it’s the same thing now, and I’m very empathetic. And so I’m living my story and theirs at the same time, it’s all compounding on top and becoming this… I wouldn’t describe it as hell, because my life was still extremely good. And I was very, very grateful that I was getting all of these all clears and feeling great. But it was just this constant battle of my mind of what am I going to think about, and not realising that I could make a decision to choose differently with those thoughts. And I think it’s the same now with, we can turn the news off. I don’t watch the news. I don’t think you do either. I just, every now and again, I look at the numbers and I’ll make sure that I’m following the law with the restrictions. But I choose to not watch the news and not surround myself with those kinds of things.

Mim:

But at the same time, every conversation that we are having, we’re doing it right now. We’re all talking about the collective grief. We’re talking about the trauma, we’re talking about the restrictions, the lockdowns, all of the things. So it’s impossible to not think about it all if we’re going to put ourself in conversations where it’s constantly being echoed back to us anyway. So that was kind of how it played out for me. And that’s how I can, no psychologist, but I can recognise it a little bit in others as well. And at least now, because I’ve gone through this before for something totally differently, act different. I can use the tools that I used then to get myself out of that situation now. And I’ve been able to use them even before it got to this point. Even before we went into lockdown. Now, if I’d gone into lockdown for 200 and something days, would I be the same as I am now? Would I be like, yeah, it’s okay actually, I didn’t mind it. Probably not.

Lisa Corduff:

Probably not. But I think I love what you just shared then, because it really speaks to what is happening down here. And it’s interesting, because my hairdresser, when they opened up, they sent everyone an email saying no conversations around vaccines, lockdowns, anything like that, because we… Let’s talk about what you’ve got planned over summer or crappy TV shows that we all need to be on top of. Because they’re like, “We literally can’t talk about this all day to all of our clients.” That they don’t want to. I’m like bloody love that boundary.

Mim:

I love that. It’s the whole bucket thing. Do your kids have buckets at school? The analogy of putting into someone’s bucket or taking away from it.

Lisa Corduff:

They haven’t done it at their school, but I’ve heard of it, yeah.

Mim:

You know the concept. I feel like it’s the same. I don’t want to put the COVID…

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah. Don’t keep filling up the COVID-

Mim:

… bucket.

Lisa Corduff:

Yes. But this is the thing, right. But it’s the context that we’re living in, and it’s hard to escape. But that was, I shared a post on socials last week when I was like, okay, I’m kind of getting a bit Jack of myself. I recognise I’m feeling funky. I recognise my energy levels aren’t where I really want them to be. I recognise this is a strange time, and yet where are my choices? And it really, a lot of it does, what we’ve experienced, I feel like I’ve had four years of in and out. Of being okay, like normal life, not normal life with Nick being in recovery. That was like everything going well. Okay. We’re cool. Oh my gosh. Maybe we should plan something. This is feeling really good. Okay. Maybe we should… Let’s invite people, let’s…

Lisa Corduff:

Oh my God. Let’s go somewhere, do something. Because I’d really start to let myself believe this period of sobriety was going to be a lasting thing. And then relapse. So he’d head away into rehab, but it was always after a period of really intense what’s going on here? He would try, he wouldn’t work. Things would be happening. It would all be escalating. And then I’d be left, he’d go, and I’d be left to keep the kids going and keep life, keep the business rolling. Keep myself attempting to be okay. And because at the time I couldn’t really share it with that many people, it was all… It was like in those moments when I thought I didn’t have anything left, I had to give to myself.

Mim:

Like rolling with life, but reeling. Like rolling and reeling on the inside.

Lisa Corduff:

Right. And so, I mean, I got good at just really asking myself, “Okay, what do we need? What do we need today? What are we going…” And life became very present to just what’s happening right now, and how we get through this. And I think that served me in lockdown, but-

Mim:

Oh definitely.

Lisa Corduff:

Once again, it was the context of my life, but it was the years that I started to learn that we still have choice about what we think about, what we make things mean. Whether we still look for joy amongst all of the chaos, or the grief, or whatever, that you can be in different emotional states. You can hold different things over the course of a day, and you don’t have to get too attached to the context, meaning that life has to be really shit.

Lisa Corduff:

But what I found was the length of time we were in lockdown, especially this last one, it was like… And I spoke to Lisa Carpenter about this. It was like, you can have all the tools, you can be a mentally pretty strong person. And then there comes a time when either the tools just aren’t working. Because this is something you actually haven’t experienced before and you need something else. Or you’ve just got no capacity to even freaking use them. And I think I went through a stage of going, “Oh, I’ve just got to be really kind to myself right now,” that I might not be at the top of my game. And I don’t like that feeling, but-

Mim:

But it’s exhausting.

Lisa Corduff:

It’s exhausting trying to hold it.

Mim:

You can’t make a decision when you’re completely depleted and exhausted. You just can’t do that. And there were so many times when I was going through PTSD, where… And you kind of, again, it’s with privilege because I had and have a supportive husband and kids. And I had my parents who lived around the corner, so I had help. But just getting to the point in the day of, “I can’t do anymore today, I can’t think anymore.” And I would literally take myself to bed and I still do that sometimes now. We went out on Saturday for lunch. It’s our first time we’ve like had a lovely little road trip, travelled to the Hunter Valley, had lunch. It was great. Spent some time outside. It was awesome. Came home, and at six o’clock I said to Miles, “I’m really tired. I’ve nearly fallen asleep in the car. I’m actually going to go to bed.”

Mim:

And I went to bed at 6:00, and got up at 6:45 the next day, just exhausted. Exhausted. And I keep saying to him, I feel like I’m coming down with something, but it’s just exhaustion, mentally. And I recognise that now and thank, I mean, and God bless him. Thankfully I can say to him, “I’m done, I’m going to bed. I’m just going to go.” And he’s just like, “Okay,” and he takes over. I’m not too sure I’d say the same if it was him saying, “You know what, at dinner time, just before dinner, forget this, I’m off to bed.”

Lisa Corduff:

You’d be like, “Well, no, you can come back and do the dishes.”

Mim:

Yeah. Yeah. Have you cleaned up after yourself?

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah, it’s funny though. We were actually just having this conversation on a Ready For Change Q&A call that someone was saying, “What do you do with the story that if you spend time doing something for yourself, it’s just the guilt that comes in when you realise, oh, but I haven’t done this, and this and this and this, and I really, I can’t rest. Or I can’t take myself off for a lovely walk in the sun, because I’ve got to get things done for my family and all of that.” And-

Mim:

I don’t have that anymore.

Lisa Corduff:

It’s completely gone for me.

Mim:

I don’t have that. It’s a practise.

Lisa Corduff:

And that’s what, I just hope that they listen to this. So I really do think as women, we need to normalise that you get to take care of your body. That no one who’s experienced an extended period of lockdown is going to be unaffected. And to think that we can just bounce right into normal life without a few bumps is, I mean, we’re fooling ourselves. But if we’re not even coming from the place of knowing that, just as a norm, we should be able to give our beautiful bodies what they need, because we’re human beings and we’re not robots. I just feel like we need to be doubling down and-

Mim:

On the rest.

Lisa Corduff:

On the rest. I don’t want to hear any women saying they feel guilty for resting, especially right now.

Mim:

I know. I know. I don’t hear it as much anymore, but I still hear it for sure. I hear others saying that, and see the thing is, because I went through what I did, no one has ever made me feel guilty for it. So isn’t that lucky? Strange feeling.

Lisa Corduff:

But I don’t know if the guilt comes from other people. I don’t… I said to her, “No one loses when you feel great. So you feeling great is your job.”

Mim:

Well, and even better, the next day, if I get a really good night’s sleep then for days and days, I’m better for all the people who need me after then. And it just, it makes the biggest difference. And honestly, it’s a practise. It was a, if I could go back and not go through what I went through with cancer, I definitely would. But during that time of recovery and rest and recuperation, I actually built some really strong habits that will now see me through for life. And it’s like I’ve trained myself to be able to take the time to do things without feeling… I don’t feel an ounce of guilt. I really, I mean, well, no, I really don’t. In my mind, I don’t.

Mim:

And like, I’ve trained my, it sounds awful to say I’ve trained, but my kids now know that if I’m in bed, if I’m having a lie down, or if I say to them, “I need 30 minutes,” or “I’ll be back at dinnertime.” And let me just, I’m not having a good old lie down every day, but when this happens, my kids know now, we all know now that I’m entitled to rest just as much as anyone else is. And so it works, but it’s that practise of the more you do things, the more normal it becomes to everybody. So let’s just get started with it.

Lisa Corduff:

I know, enough already. And because how can you hear your body if you are just constantly going? Why people just get sick when they go on holidays or something, because they finally stop. And their body’s like, “Thank you. We’ve been waiting for a moment to just move into healing, and now we’re going to do that because you literally never stop.” So we’re always on, and we can’t do that all the time, but it’s not… I do think it comes from, there’s a lot of different places it comes from. I don’t think the people around us necessarily make us feel guilty. I think those of us who grew up with moms who never stopped, and that was our conditioning, was that martyr, “Oh, everyone else’s needs over mine.

Lisa Corduff:

It’s just what we believe motherhood is. That’s many people’s story of what a good mom is. And I think-

Mim:

That feels true.

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah. And right now so much was expected of moms being parents, but I mean, I interviewed Sam Sutherland as you know, and she did the Women at Work. She did the, how COVID is affecting working moms survey. And the result, I mean, women were taking on more of the load, and now we’re expected to just switch gears and be productive at work and get kids out the door in time, when they’ve been out of routine for a really long time. I mean it’s a fucking lot. And I just think now, really, the time for that guilt story around resting, or being unable to acknowledge what your body actually needs, and have a gentle, kind conversation with yourself about yourself. It’s over, we really need to be doing that.

Mim:

Oh, I completely agree. And rest is so different for everyone, isn’t it? For me, it’s just being still, and having silence, as you know. It’s lovely if it’s accompanied with a nap, but it isn’t always the case. And I think that if you can take that wherever you can take it, for sure. I feel for the women who don’t have the support that I did, and I don’t know what the answer is to anyone else, apart from, to build it into your day or your week in the best way that you can, however you can. But to actually build rest in, work out what rest feels like to you, and what the results of rest feels like, and how that’s going to make a change for you. And to just find a way to build it into the schedule. Plan for it.

Mim:

You know what I’m like with my planner, I plan for everything. I plan my rest time. Everything is in there because I need to honour that too. The fact that I need to do it, and the fact that it’s something that’s really, it’s a priority for me as well.

Lisa Corduff:

It’s a priority. Yes.

Mim:

Yes. But it is a practise, and the more you do it, the more you realise what the residual effects are, and the more you’ll do it afterwards, you know?

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah.

Mim:

And it could be five minutes. It doesn’t have to be a 12 hour stretch like I randomly had the other day. Oh my gosh. That’s rare.

Lisa Corduff:

That’s rare and delicious.

Mim:

Very odd. It was really odd.

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah. And so for someone like me, who doesn’t have a partner living here or anything like that, I’ve built language around it for my kids. You guys, it’s an easy dinner tonight because I’m feeling tired today. I think we’re all feeling tired. In fact, do you want to have this? Do you want us all to just snuggle up on the couch and eat this in the toy room? And they’re like, “Yay.”

Mim:

They love that. They love that.

Lisa Corduff:

They love it so much.

Mim:

That reminds me, my daughter came home the other day and said, we went out again, I think it was the day after. She said, “I’m feeling a bit tired, so I think I’m going to go and lie down for a bit.” And my first thought was, “Oh God, here we go. What have I started?” And then my second thought was, “That’s bloody awesome, good for you. Go and lie down, knock yourself out, have a sleep if you want.” Just how lovely that she just was using that language herself? She’s only eight, not quite knowing what it means, but partially, hopefully knowing that yes, she wanted to go and have a rest, and she was starting to get into that habit herself, like good.

Lisa Corduff:

Oh, we just said it on the Ready For Change call, too. Like, would you want your daughter to end up just slogging away, not knowing what matters to her, or what makes her happy, or never taking her foot off the accelerator and having a rest? You actually wouldn’t want that for her. And the only way that that’s not going to happen for her is if you model what it looks like to be a woman who incorporates rest, and whatever self care means to you, but into your life. She’s watching, and they pick up on it all.

Mim:

Oh, they really do.

Lisa Corduff:

Don’t they.

Mim:

Yeah. They really do.

Lisa Corduff:

But also, that’s the same as you, if you had allowed that fear to be driving you, and you hadn’t done all of the work that you have done on yourself to switch that up. To recognise it for what it was, allow that period of grief, recognise that your brain’s working in different ways a little bit because of what you’ve been through. But then start to actively choose to be more present, and to choose different stories for your life, and the narrative started to change. Then you would be showing your kids that you need to be scared all the time of what’s-

Mim:

Yeah. Oh, and we talk about this a lot. Because she’s starting to, she’s older, she’s the eight year old and my son is six. So she’s starting to use language more about how she’s feeling, which I’m finding really interesting. So she’ll come back from school and say, “I’m feeling sad today,” or, “I’m feeling this today.” So I’ll delve into why, and what’s happened, what’s been going on, and if I can help with things. But we’ve started to use that language of, “Well, how do you want to feel? And what are you thinking about at the moment, and what would you like to think about instead?” And just keeping it really, really simple, not telling her why, or how this is happening, or what’s working, but just even now, I find so much joy in being able to share these tools with her in such a simple, basic way.

Mim:

Because it’s the simple, basic stuff that got me out of the PTSD stage I went into. If I told you the actual thing that I did, or I’ve told people and they’re like, “Okay, that didn’t work.” The way that I used to just change my thoughts instantly, I’ll tell you, like literally just counting.

Lisa Corduff:

Oh.

Mim:

But not in an OCD way. I would literally… I don’t know about you, but my place of having those scary thoughts is often in bed at night. It’s just the mum thing, isn’t it? Even before, in bed at night is where everyone dies in my head, and life is terrible. And I would literally just lie in bed and I’ve got a plant next to me. And I would count the leaves. I would literally count the leaves until my mind had changed to think about something else, which it does, because counting leaves is really bloody boring. So I’d literally describe the plant to myself.

Mim:

I’d say, “There’s a plant. It’s green, it’s five different shades of green. It’s got one leaf, 2, 3, 4, 5. And I don’t know what I’d get to. And I changed my thoughts about something else. Probably actually this is boring, I’m hungry and I’ll go to the kitchen. So anything else and it’s literally something as basic as that would be the thing that I’d be able to use to switch my thoughts. And it works. I don’t use it now because I don’t need to, but it worked every time, to the point where I would recognise thinking something that I didn’t want to, feeling something I didn’t want to, and then just switching it to something else.

Mim:

Because when you say to someone, like when you want to change your thoughts, just think of something else. All right, that’s not actually enough. so to me that was something, you know how practical I am, I just needed something practical to be able to do differently. And that’s what I’m teaching her to do as well. Not currently, she’d probably think I was a bit of a strange mum, but something else, to switch to.

Lisa Corduff:

I think it’s a super powerful tool. I hear my middle child teach her younger sister about this in bed at night sometimes. Because I’m always, but I made a… I mean, you know when you look back and you just think that was a mom mistake, I didn’t realise I was making it at the time, but now it’s biting me on the ass. Because I would-

Mim:

All the time.

Lisa Corduff:

During lockdown, and my youngest started to, she had two panic attacks. It was awful. But anyway, nighttime has gotten a bit strange. And one of the things that I started to talk to the girls about because they were both worried at different times, and they share a room. It was like, okay, how about maybe it will be more fun to think about the shopping spree that we can have. Because they were, they miss the shops. The shops is the most fun thing for them. The shops is my worst place. But going to the shops-

Mim:

I know how much you enjoy shopping.

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah. I hate shopping, but they love it. It’s like they’re just hitting that age where it’s like… So I would say, “So once we finish lockdown, you can buy one piece of clothing.” No, I would say, “You could buy one toy, one outfit.” So that’s like a top and a bottom, and then something-

Mim:

Pick accessories.

Lisa Corduff:

Something random. And then I was like, “Something random that you like. So your job is to think about those things, and tell me in the morning, and I wonder if it’s changed since last time?” They need to be directed to the different thoughts.

Mim:

Yeah. And also they need to know that they’re consciously doing that. So that’s the bit that you’re probably adding that without realising as well. We are going to choose to change our thoughts.

Lisa Corduff:

You can choose.

Mim:

It’s not just… Yeah. It’s not just, oh, don’t think of the scary thing. Think of this instead. It’s like, no, the scary thing might still be there, but let’s choose to think about this instead. What you’ll probably find is that you don’t want to think about the scary thing anymore, or it’s not that scary when you come back to it, or…

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah.

Mim:

Isn’t it powerful though with them?

Lisa Corduff:

It’s so powerful, but it’s never to minimise what they’re worried about. It’s just like, once we’ve talked about it, and once we’ve realised that it is time to go to sleep, but sometimes those thoughts keep creeping in, we need to give our brain something else to focus on, is what I say to them.

Mim:

I [crosstalk 00:46:58] to them.

Lisa Corduff:

So what would be the most fun thing to think about right now. And so-

Mim:

But I love that they do it with each other.

Lisa Corduff:

Oh, I know. It’s very cute. I know. And yeah, but the thing is that as adults, we’ve got that choice too. So I love that you found that, but I don’t think we do. I think we take it for granted that we just have to get into bed and ruminate, and we have to worry, and we have to think about all the bad things that could happen, or berate ourselves for what we did or didn’t do, especially in those quiet times.

Mim:

But we tell ourselves it’s a mum thing or it’s a burden of motherhood. It’s a burden of getting older. It’s what we do. And like you say, it’s partially because we’ve had it modelled to us from other people and even on the TV. It’s just the way things are shown to us, that it’s a normal part of life. And yeah, for sure our worries get bigger as we get older, and there are more of them, and they get more depressing and more morbid in many ways. But at the same time, we can still choose to think differently, and we can still choose to react differently. But I’m so conscious of that as well, and feeling myself going back into those times every now and again, and knowing that I can pull myself out. And the fact that, again, it’s a practise. The more you practise changing your thoughts to something else, the more it’s easier to do it. And the more it becomes a habit that you don’t have to think about.

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah. And for me, I’m worried about going back into lockdown, and yet I can really make the most of today. Or I’m worried about something, or this could happen, but today the sun is shining.

Mim:

The whole one day at a time is just gold.

Lisa Corduff:

Yes, just bring it back to the present moment and just see what’s here right now. Because I started to realise that there is this underlying… like my heart starts to beat a little bit faster… anxiety about, because for us, if the kids are a close contact at school, then they come home and they we quarantine for 14 days. Like we literally can’t leave our house. And that thought was, is petrifying, but what am I going to do? Really, I can’t control it. So there’s nothing that I can do or can’t do, apart from keep them home so they don’t have that situation, which is…

Mim:

Yeah. In which case they’re home anyway, so you [crosstalk 00:49:24].

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah. I just got to the point where I’m like, oh, this is really keeping me quite low vibe. And so I’m just going to get back into what I can do.

Mim:

Yes. I was the same in PTSD. The whole it’s going to come back, it’s going to come back, it’s going to come back. The whole going over, over and over it all the time. And then I thought, I could sound so flippant. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow or today, but I’m not fixated on a random bus running me down, so let’s not fixate on this either. And so that was the beginning of me realising that I could change things. But the piece I was missing is, well, if I’m not going to fixate on that, what am I going to do instead?

Lisa Corduff:

Leaves.

Mim:

So that was when… Leaves. So that was when I was like, just don’t think of anything, which obviously doesn’t work. The more you try and think of nothing, the more you think of your fears. So that was the missing piece that I needed, of think of this instead, change your mind to think of something else instead that you do want. What do I want? What do I want? How do I want to feel?

Lisa Corduff:

Yeah. I’m so glad we chatted.

Mim:

Me too.

Lisa Corduff:

I’m so glad you requested this chat.

Mim:

I’ll probably request to come back on again.

Lisa Corduff:

Oh, without a doubt. Happy New Year. Now this conversation is going to be about Outlander, and why you couldn’t get past episode five Lisa or whatever it is I got through, I don’t know.

Mim:

See if you’ve got to episode seven, your life would be very different.

Lisa Corduff:

No, I went straight to episode seven because you told me that everything, like it’s the wedding-

Mim:

You made it to the romantic buildup, you-

Lisa Corduff:

I still, I just couldn’t get invested in-

Mim:

It’s a practise.

Lisa Corduff:

It’s a practise. If you cared, Lisa.

Mim:

You’re not displaying the value of commitment. This is an issue within yourself.

Lisa Corduff:

This is my story about not being a follow through-er, or a-

Mim:

What I don’t understand is all the time you had in lockdown, you didn’t try harder without Outlander. That’s what I don’t… I don’t feel like you’re helping yourself, and you need to add it to your toolkit. Because Outlander got me out of chemo upset-ness. It saved my love life and I know it saved hundreds of other women’s love life. Not that there was anything too bad, but after chemo, that was a little bit hard going for a bit. But it’s just so good. Anyway, we won’t talk about Outlander too much.

Lisa Corduff:

No, you’ll just stalk me in my socials.

Mim:

We’ll save that for the next episode.

Lisa Corduff:

Okay. All right. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

Mim:

Thank you for having me. Thank you.

Lisa Corduff:

Hey, if you’re enjoying the conversation, then it would mean the world to me if you head over to iTunes and give us a rating and review. It really makes a difference, and it’s my intention to get as many of us involved in real conversations that really change the game as possible. Thanks so much for your help, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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"I’m here to help you break free from the stories holding you back, and create change that sticks"

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