I think I just blinked and missed it!
Every year seems to fly by faster than the last. In fact, life now moves so quickly and is so jammed full of ‘stuff’ that it can be a struggle to remember what happened just a few days ago.
We’re surrounded by subliminal messaging that continually trains us to just keep going: to buy that thing, to attend that event, to take on more and more and more … and we’re thinking – consciously at times, but more often than not, subconsciously – that surely one of these things will be the golden nugget that sets us free from our life. The thing that will make us happy.
From a very young age we are taught to mould and shape ourselves to meet the expectations of others – instead of focusing on what we really want out of our lives.
We’re intelligent human beings, but we find ourselves running around making sure everyone else is looked after … without stopping to include ourselves and our own needs in our thoughts. Women, in particular, are schooled to be connected to community and dedicated to making sure everyone around them is OK … but that often means we lose ourselves along the way.
Before we know it, we find ourselves in a situation where we’re stressed, exhausted and our heads are spinning as we try to fit more and more into our lives. We ignore ourselves until we find ourselves in the middle of a traumatic event.
I know this because I perfected a life of giving to everyone and everything around me.
I gave and I gave until there was nothing left to give … and then I found a way to give more. I ignored myself to the extent that I suffered a breakdown that took me almost three years to recover from.
What this taught me is that the long-held belief that you have to suffer a traumatic event to make change in your life is a myth. Change is really easy when you know how, but for some reason we’re taught that it is too hard or too overwhelming.
If I had to encapsulate in one sentence my greatest learning through my recovery, I would say it is this:
‘Simplicity is the key to getting ahead; when we remove complexity and stress we significantly increase our quality of life’.
Change can seem overwhelming – because we’re conditioned that it’s hard. I always recommend starting with a few simple steps so that it’s much easier to see the path forward:
- Slow down. Trying to do everything because you think you ‘have to’ is only adding to your exhaustion. Instead, stop and think about what you want to do. Only say ‘Yes’ to those things that really attract you.
- Learn to say ‘No’. We often agree to help, even when we know we don’t have the time. We feel obligated to do things even when we’re not expected to. Understand your capacity, and don’t be afraid of saying ‘No’ if you’re feeling stretched.
- Make sure you re-energise your batteries every day. Set aside a period of time each day to relax and think happy thoughts, instead of agonising over the ‘to do’ list. This one small act each day will make sure your energy is always being recharged.
- Manage your expectations. Stop setting high expectations of what will be achieved every single day. Understanding that the ‘to-do’ list will always have things on it will allow you to adopt self-compassion in the way you complete the things on it.
- Become the “Queen of Declutter”. Clear your home and work space of anything that’s not regularly used. Avoid negative friends who make you feel unhappy when you’re around them. We have so much ‘stuff’ in our lives that holds us back … so find the things that boost your mood and make you feel great.
Having experienced a breakdown, I can tell you that it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life.
I want everyone to know that you don’t have to wait for a breakdown to have permission to change.
The choice is yours. Take small, simple steps now and I’ll bet you’ll be amazed at just how easily and quickly your life moves in another direction.
Want more info on simplifying life and reducing stress? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.
Want to chat? Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!