Well, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been the best version of myself these past few weeks. I would consider myself a positive and optimistic person, but this time around, lock-down has certainly challenged my mental resilience…
So, it is time for me to pause and reflect and make some different choices…
Life is very much a series of up and downs now, but those ‘ups’ are important to reflect upon. I always start my coaching sessions asking people what has gone well this week, and it can be helpful guide to us all.
I know the highlights of my week have been when I have connected with other people, got outside, and laughed. (yes, despite it all…there have been moments!)
And when I have spoken to family and friends, the story has been a familiar one…
For most people, the best days are those that have included exercise, people, and taking a day off home-schooling. My brother called me spontaneously in the week. He didn’t have much news (who does) but he took the initiative after a friend called him simply to say hello… and when I spoke to my mum yesterday, the conversation was very much on ‘what’s for dinner’ (well what else is there to talk about) but oh it was good to just laugh about it, and it became somewhat of a priceless phone call when my youngest shouted ‘I love you Nanna’ as we hung up! We so underestimate the importance of simply picking up the phone to let someone know how much we love them. It reminded me of that brilliant ‘How to think like a monk’ book which said, one of the common regrets people have when they are dying is that they didn’t tell people often enough how much they loved them.
Mums always knows best, and as I apologised to my Mum for being a bit ‘grumpy’ this week, she said why don’t you try and practice what you preach and do some mindfulness.
So, it is time to learn from all those best ‘moments’ of this week and make better choices going forward, and practising mindfulness is everything!
So, I’m going to start with the simple things…. slowing down and letting go, and accepting, not resisting what just ‘is’.
Easier said than done I know, but if we can let go of all expectations and judgements of ourselves, life is just so much easier… if we can slow down and let go, we will be able to respond rather than react to life and all it is throwing at us at the moment…
One of the highlights of my week over this past year has been Su Menon’s weekly yoga class. There are so many beautiful elements to her class, and she shares her wisdom throughout… She spoke about the tortoise this week. Apparently, the tortoise is thought to live up to 400 years because it breathes only 3 or 4 breaths a minute compared to humans whose average breath rate per minute at rest is 12-16 breaths
I am not one known for slowing down, and I wonder why I struggle with my sleep…! I also picked up some pizza flour from my lovely friend Jessica Mooney to try making sourdough Pizza with my son… we had planned to have it for tea despite only collecting the flour mid-afternoon….’ mmm.. sourdough doesn’t rush’ she said…… ‘that’ll be Monday’s tea then’…. Perhaps the tortoise and the sourdough were sent to send me a lesson this week; if only I’d listened to my mum years ago!!
Coaching is all about empowering people to make healthier choices and right now that is about doing whatever gets us out of the stress response…. and it is ALWAYS the simplest things that have the biggest impact. Slowing down, breathing, taking a pause, reaching out to others, walking, exercising, making time for something that brings you joy….
The mindset is not always as easy. Negative thoughts tend to dominate even at the best of times, but we can rewire the brain with a little consistent effort… Dr Chatterjee’s new brilliant book ‘Feel Great, Lose Weight’ is as ever packed with wisdom and numerous simple techniques. He explains how the language we use to describe ourselves is incredibly powerful and encourages us to say three kind things to ourselves each morning. If we can separate ourselves from the negative self-talk is much more helpful. I am not a grumpy person after all, I’m just someone who felt grumpy this week! I’m going to say kind things to myself next week and see where that gets me! I also need to keep practising switching those ‘should’s’ to ‘I choose to’ this week. Although it doesn’t feel like we have many choices now, we do have a choice in how we respond to things.
So why not take some time to reflect on your week. Make a choice to do something that nurtures your physical and mental health and try and let go and slow down…. be a bit more tortoise…. I am certainly going to try… I promise Mum.
I hope you are doing OK. Take good care, Harriet x