LET’S GET SUNDRESSED
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
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