It has been well over three months since I last posted on the subject of excellence being a habit and encouraging you all to join me in a thirty day project to build a new and positive habit. So, how did you get on? Were you more successful than me?
Yup, I’m afraid to admit that I bombed out on my all too easy project to re-instate a daily walking habit. I’m still trying to decide if life got in the way, or whether that’s letting myself off the hook. For life certainly proved challenging – despite careful timing and planning, a prepared-for sequence of operations took longer than expected for recovery – so closer to 4 months than 4 weeks of caring for elderley parents.
But, in all honesty, it was mostly down to my famed procrastination when it comes to exercise and only a little due to being surprised how much was required in the care. With the light at the end of the tunnel becoming visible, I realised that I’ve felt worn out throughout and initially I was frustrated and cross with myself as I know from previous experience that having a regular walking programme in place would’ve given me more energy, let alone the benefit I’d get from a period of quiet, alone time every day.
But let’s get grounded here. I have a friend who has moved across the country to fulfill her dream. She has worked incredibly hard to re-develop a beautiful town-centre building which will be both her home and her business. The work has clearly been both physically exhausting and emotionally draining, but she’s nearly there. I look at what she’s been doing for the same three months and I know that – unlike her – I am not worn out because of a tough schedule and hard work, rather I am weary. For too long now I have not been taking care of myself, not doing those things that give me a positive boost. So when I was called upon, my tank was already disturbingly low. Now it is virtually empty and I realise how badly I have neglected myself, my body and my well-being. Yes, I’ve dreamed, but I’ve just drifted aimlessly and not made myself and my dreams a priority. Instead, I’ve taken the “easier” road of trying to keep everyone happy and looked after. Easier? Easier because that’s my normal behaviour and I’ve had to expend no energy in making changes. A fine Life Coach I’ve been to myself …
But this is a common theme amongst the helping professions and amongst those who are caring for their family – be that young or old, or both. So, whenever you get that realisation, get off the treadmill and just breathe. Take time to look at your life and rather than feel overwhelmed, carve out that all important “me” time. Give your body, mind and/or soul time to heal, to shake off the ill-effect of stress and tiredness. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to disturbance, go to the library so your phone has to be switched off. If you don’t like your library, just say that’s where you’re going and find somewhere you can be at peace so you can have some undisturbed time in which to read, write, walk, paint, window shop, have your nails painted, get a facial, a massage, or just get to drink a coffee in peace and quiet.
Once you have a bit of clarity back, take more time to look at what you are already doing that gives you pleasure normally, but doesn’t seem to be working at the moment. For example, I love to read – but being interrupted, being dragged out of a book and into real life means that all I can do is read the book, I won’t have gained pleasure from becoming fully immersed in the story and breathed it in.
Then when you’ve filled up your tank, promise yourself (and keep that promise) to maintain a programme whereby you regularly take the temperature of your life. If its unbalanced, make a change immediately and don’t let it get to the stage where you are scraping the bottom of the barrel. For its a long way to come back from that … and as we will not be happy unless we are looking after and supporting those we care for and about, then we owe it to everyone to make sure we keep ourselves well enough to do all the things that make us happy.
© 2015 Caring Coaching
originally posted 17th September 2015