April brought some challenges for me and it felt like hard work – a bit like wading through congealing treacle. In the scheme of things, and with the cool reflection of hindsight, really there was nothing that bad, but that’s not how it felt in the thick of it.
Part of the issue was I felt divided into too many pieces – too many elements of my life requiring attention at the same time. We all have many roles, and my roles as mother, daughter, friend, business woman and, well, just being me, were all calling for a little extra at the same time.
And I have a default priority list in such times – being Mum always comes first, and my own needs tend to come somewhere down the bottom with the result that I can easily end up exhausted, frustrated, resentful and VERY self critical if I don’t catch it. I know I’m not alone in this – it’s something I encounter in my clients time and time again.
So here’s a quick tip list for ways to deal with such times; I know these helped me during the last month – I’m by no means perfect (there’s a big difference between KNOWING, and DOING or being), but I am practicing!
– Make sure you pay attention to some of your own needs first – the things that nurture and sustain you (enough sleep, good food, some movement, time to re-centre).
If you go down, you’re no use to anyone! Think of it like the safety advice on planes – put your own oxygen mask on first before helping anyone else. It’s not selfish to put your own needs first, it’s selfish not to…
-Give yourself some compassion, as you would to anyone else in the same situation, and revise your expectations.
Much as we would like it otherwise, we are not super-humans. It’s never the situation that makes us feel so bad, it’s our reaction and our expectations that do so. I also find it an interesting paradox, that when I ‘back off’ in my expectations of myself, I inevitably end up achieving so much more than I could have hoped.
-Building on part one, don’t forget the basics, the most basic of which is BREATHING.
Pay attention to breathing deeply, into your stomach rather than your chest. You won’t be able to do this all the time, but even stopping and breathing deeply and slowly 2 or 3 times a day will help you feel much calmer and more in control (well, for a start you’ll be getting more oxygen, let alone the impact this has on your parasympathetic nerve system)
Keep it simple – we so often over-complicate things when we’re feeling overwhelmed.
And in the spirit of the last point, although I could go on with plenty more hints and tips which do help, I think the ones above are those that are key and I’ll leave it there for now. So, simplicity, breathing, compassion and looking after yourself (to enable you to look after others); these were the antidote to my sticky April!