My month of Self Reflection and Life Laundry

We normally save this spot for a specialist in something relevant to Mums and women, but this month I’m being bold and sharing a personal month of ups and downs with you. I’m no expert – not even in my own life as you will find out if you read on, but I have made changes which have made me much happier and thought maybe I’m not the only one to feel like modern life is taking over.

I’ve made really difficult changes that at first seemed impossible but what I have done has made me much happier, relaxed and I’m enjoying life and my family again – once I got started it wasn’t so hard really. The hardest step was realising it was necessary and making the decision I was going to do it and staying committed.

Spinning plates is a natural tendency for me

I seem to find it unavoidable to drift into taking on more and more and working harder and harder until I lose sight of my own life – I don’t know why I do it, but I do. This time I really went for it and just kept ramming more and more into my working life – I think it may have been a response to losing my eldest to university at the same time as feeling the other three children don’t really need me as much anymore. What I seem not to have noticed is that I don’t exist just for them and do actually need to stop and breathe sometimes, even if it’s just to empty the dishwasher, do the ironing or chat with the kids. I absolutely love what I do, but too much of anything isn’t good for anyone, especially if you feel there aren’t the hours in the day to do it justice.

The first step: take responsibility

There is no one else responsible for this but me – I have to take 100% responsibility for the dreadful way I was feeling. … exhausted, low, sleepy for no reason and when I started waking up day after day feeling like I just couldn’t get through it, I knew I was in trouble. I went to my GP thinking I may be experiencing the first stages of menopause, but at the same time having in the back of my mind that I might be teetering on the edge of depression. It may not surprise those of you that know me well that depressed is not a state I am used to.

Needless to say the blood test came back 100% normal, but by then I had already started to make changes. I realised I was working CONSTANTLY!! When I wasn’t teaching or training I was glued to my laptop trying to keep the whole thing afloat. I wasn’t doing anything fun for myself AT ALL and felt a permanent sense that I couldn’t do everything I needed to do – totally stressed out.

Something has to go!

After sitting at my laptop in my kitchen and weeping like a baby whilst my husband stood by my side – not at all surprised and gently said, ‘something has to go’, I realised how dreadful I was feeling and I reluctantly started to look at where I could regain some space and some simple time to think, breathe and look after myself a bit.

I closed down some classes, merged another and cancelled another – not everyone was exactly delighted but no one was devastated. I booked myself into an upholstery course – I’m quite good with my hands and frankly I need to be forced to slow down.

I lifted up my head, took a deep breath and looked at my family and wondered how I had got into the place I had been in.

Only a few weeks later I feel like myself again: happy and feeling so lucky to have what I have. It’s frankly bonkers not to enjoy the kids, my husband, my wonderful work and clients and simple things like a bit of housework without the crushing sense that I haven’t got time.

I feel released and relieved

I think some of us just have to take FUN seriously. I’ve booked it into my schedule, cut down the hours I work and still have enough of the job I love to enjoy it ……….. There’s a little less spare cash but really – the cost isn’t worth it.