I love a family game of dominoes. As I was playing with my parents and daughter last week, I got to thinking about the strategy I use in each round. If I have a double 6, 5 or 4, I want to get rid of these as soon as possible. The same goes for a 6 and a 5. I always hang onto the double blank as long as I can, it’s a great one to have if there is a count up at the end. It got me thinking about life. What are the things, within your control, that are weighing you down and stopping you from winning (whatever winning means to you)? What are the double sixes in your life? What are the things that are taking away that peace, that happiness and that joy (these are my definition of winning)? How can we replace these and really look after our wellness and our mojo with double blanks aka bars of soap as we call them. What are the things and who are the people and the goals and the experiences that are lifting you up? What needs to go? What or who do you need space from?
Here are some potential double 6’s in your life.
The expectations of others
This is your precious life and it will never be truly yours if you live it consumed by what other people think. Ask yourself why you are doing something. Is it for the sheer joy of it? If nobody was watching, what would you really want to do? Who would you spend your time with? What would be your goals and dreams?
Understanding the way you think and why can be a game changer. Take time to observe how you feel and where that came from. For example, do you feel anxious after chatting to a person that triggers you? Do you feel you are being overly critical of others and perhaps that is to deflect from your own baggage? Are you being super critical of yourself and do you need to practise much more self compassion? Stay curious and observe the stuff that can be weighing you down. What are you doing and who are you with when your mind is at peace? What makes you feel more positive and energised?
We have all cringed at things we did or said that we later regret. We all screw up, it is a part of existing. Sometimes we need to show the weight of shame the front door. Perhaps you could shake it off literally to a great tune. Or write down the mistakes that haunt you and burn them or bury them. Get creative with it. Just let it go. Seeing our screw ups as lessons helps us to feel lighter. Also, perhaps you are blaming yourself for things in the past that were not even your fault! Were you treated badly? Or unwell with a lack of capacity? Be kind to yourself.
Have a think about any habits that are weighing you down. Doom scrolling? Working crazy hours? Skipping breakfast? Moaning and bitching? Which habits make you feel good? Mood journals are amazing for this. A few habits that make me feel lighter – time out in nature either swimming in cold water, walking or running (ok, more of a jog these days but still). I love cooking from scratch and it tastes so much better. I love reading and when I read more I spend so much less time on my phone. I enjoy sitting round the table with my family enjoying a meal or a game. I have lost my voice at the moment but I love taking time to sing, even if the song is hard and I sound awful. I love slowing down and noticing all the things I am thankful for.
Dreading going into work? Clock watching big style? Get the fear on Sundays? That is one heavy suitcase or 5 and it’s time for a change!!!!!!!
Sometimes this is easy. If someone is bringing nothing but negativity and pain in your life, then this is a double 6 deadweight and you need to save yourself.
When it comes to people you love, this can be complicated. Perhaps you are growing apart from a partner or friend, rather than together. It can be so easy to focus on our differences or pain points instead of all the things we are thankful for in a person. Sometimes the negatives outweigh the positives but sometimes it just takes a bit of work and effort on both parts.
Sometimes people are unwell and need help. Perhaps they are not their normal self. Or they are really struggling and require you to give a lot more. Love is an action word. We want to help those we love, even when it’s hard. But that doesn’t always have to lie on you. After going into hospital in 2020, I remember in recovery saying to those closest to me:
‘If that happens again please take space from me when you need it, sometimes that ill version of me can be an absolute asshole.’
Can you accept the help of another family member, friend or carer? Can you schedule some time for you? I meet lots of people who find this hard, especially the ‘keep calm and carry on’ generation. But nobody is going to give you a medal for taking on so much that you are running on empty. I love that magic 3 letter word – ASK. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to ask what support groups are available. It is ok to do something for you, even if that is sitting alone for 30 minutes. It is ok to hand over some control. You are one person with limited resources. Ask.
Be kind to yourself and lighten that load. You got this.
Jojo Fraser is an award-winning mental health researcher, author, podcaster and keynote speaker, dubbed as ‘the Queen of positivity and a kindness advocate. She is a Tedx speaker and a regular contributor on BBC radio. Jojo is known for normalising discussions around our mental, emotional and spiritual health, making it accessible and relatable to all. She has quickly grown a reputation for having a huge impact even on the most sceptical of people. She was a finalist for ‘ Scottish Inspirational influencer of the year 2022’.
Connect with her across social @jojofrasermojo
Instagram (the old account was hacked)
Listen to her Tedx talk about the power of removing our masks.
Contact – email@example.com