Sarah McGuin­ness is a cor­po­rate well­be­ing coach whose self care cards have struck a chord with busy women. She lives in Christchurch with hus­band Hay­den Bed and chil­dren Alex, 5, and Pene­lope, 3. She tells Ce­cile Meier how she makes self care a pri­or­ity o

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FASHION, KARLYA SMITH - Pho­tos: Ge­orge Heard

Ilove those mo­ments in high sum­mer when the weather gets so warm that your out­fit can con­sist of lit­tle more than a trusty sundress and san­dals.

Whether it’s over togs or underwear, I’d add a hat and lash­ings of sun­screen, too. Even with my sun-wary ad­di­tions, you could still be dressed and out of the house in mere min­utes.

I’ve cho­sen styles in sun-friendly, breath­able fab­rics such as cot­ton, rayon and linen. They’re the best choice in hot weather, though sleeve­less flow­ing styles are fairly for­giv­ing on the air flow front, re­gard­less of fab­ric choice.

These styles have enough go­ing on that you could wear them un­ac­com­pa­nied. How­ever, they’re also sim­ple enough to work as a blank can­vas if, say, you want to dress them up with bright ac­ces­sories, or a jacket for work.

What’s more, it’s so easy care for clothes like this in sum­mer. I’d wash them in a wash bag and hang to dry on a hanger. Fin­gers crossed, you can then skip the iron­ing part, and spend more time sun­ning your­self.

Miss Crabb hat, $180

for the peo­ple around you. Self care is al­most the op­po­site of be­ing self­ish.

Of­ten, self care is equated with go­ing on an ex­pen­sive de­tox or hav­ing a long bath with fancy can­dles but it can be much more sim­ple than that. Care doesn’t have to be beau­ti­ful. It doesn’t have to be In­sta­grammable. One of the women I in­ter­viewed for my so­cial me­dia cam­paign said she likes hav­ing break­fast on the deck with her cat and gets to it one day out of seven. I thought that was per­fect.

I try hard not to have any so­cial me­dia in­ter­ac­tions on a Sun­day – even no phone at all. I find hav­ing a com­plete break from the world im­por­tant. If I am out gar­den­ing, I don’t even have mu­sic on – I lis­ten to the birds and

talk to my plants, which sounds re­ally strange, I know. I am not that so­cial with friends at the week­end. I like to spend time re­con­nect­ing with my fam­ily. I’ve been train­ing our chil­dren to walk up the Port Hills with re­wards of a fluffy and muf­fin at the top.

We try to keep our week­ends sim­ple but we do go through busy pe­ri­ods. With Christ­mas com­ing, it’s an act of self care to keep your sense of hu­mour. Last week­end we went to the mall and the carpark was an ab­so­lute zoo. We turned it into a laugh, pre­tend­ing we were hunt­ing for a carpark.

It doesn’t sound like self care but we do a mas­sive weekly gro­cery shop ev­ery week­end. Ev­ery­one is in­volved in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing, which means fewer ar­gu­ments dur­ing the week about what’s be­ing cooked or served. We do the meal plan­ning first then we all go shop­ping to­gether.

I started my ca­reer in com­mu­ni­ca­tions and lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment in Aus­tralia more than 10 years ago. Most of our lead­ers were tired and stressed and needed more sup­port in terms of their men­tal health.

I tried to do a bit around that at the time but it was not very ac­cepted then to talk about men­tal health. So I went back to univer­sity to study psy­chol­ogy [at Massey Univer­sity, in Welling­ton]. I re­ally wanted to un­der­stand why peo­ple be­have the way they do.

This might be a bit un­usual, but I think my wife has be­come un­healthily in­flu­enced by pornog­ra­phy. A while ago she men­tioned to me that she found erotic images of men very arous­ing, so we agreed to have a look to­gether. I found that a bit un­com­fort­able but was OK about it. Now she wants to do it all the time and then she gets quite ag­gres­sive, which I don’t like at all. How do I en­cour­age her to go back to nor­mal?

It seems like nor­mal wasn’t work­ing well for your wife, so I wouldn’t rec­om­mend you mak­ing that your goal. Pornog­ra­phy is an is­sue that lots of cou­ples strike dif­fi­cul­ties with for many dif­fer­ent rea­sons. What was your dis­com­fort about? Were you mak­ing com­par­isons with your­self? Was it that these were images of men and not women? Or do you have some be­liefs about what is ac­cept­able be­hav­iour and this was cross­ing a bound­ary for you? Clar­i­fy­ing what made you un­com­fort­able about view­ing erotic images is the first step in be­ing able to com­mu­ni­cate well with your wife about this mat­ter. You will need to fo­cus on ex­press­ing your own feel­ings, not of­fer any judg­ments about her pref­er­ences or be­hav­iour. The task for you both will be to lis­ten well to the other’s feel­ings, un­til you both feel heard and un­der­stood. Want­ing to make porn a con­stant part of your sex life is the sec­ond is­sue to talk about. It sounds like some­times you’d just like her to want you, be turned on by you or re­spond to your ini­ti­a­tion. Many whose part­ners fre­quently view porn know that feel­ing. Maybe she has got hooked and will need some help to deal with that, maybe you will just need to ex­plain your wish that she bring her sex­ual re­spond­ing back to you. The lat­ter will in­volve up­dat­ing your mu­tual un­der­stand­ing of what arouses each of you and what is en­joy­able now, as of course these things change over time or need re­fresh­ing. Thirdly, I won­der what you de­fine as ag­gres­sive? Some­times that word is used to de­scribe rough, painful or threat­en­ing ac­tiv­ity, some­times glo­ri­ous high lev­els of un­in­hib­ited arousal. Does a very turned on wife scare you? Con­sider all these things be­fore talk­ing so you can ap­proach in a spirit of grow­ing rather than squash­ing your re­la­tion­ship.

Lost and Led Astray linen Bub­ble dress, $385

Mina Bliss dress, $375

Seed Her­itage cross back de­tail dress, $160

Twenty-seven names Ju­lia dress, $360

La Tribe Chain San­dals, $230

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