This is the first time that I’ve written since my youngest son passed away suddenly and unexpectedly 6 months ago. To say that the tragedy of his death changed my life forever would be an understatement! It shook me and our family to the very core and it’s taken us all a little while to “get our heads around” what happened, try to come to terms with it, and work out what to do, where to go from here and how to function. It is these things I want to talk about today….Taking Back Your Life!
Grief! It’s something that we all deal with in different ways, and when I say grief, it doesn’t have to be the result of a death – it might be the loss of a marriage or long term relationship – there is still a grieving process to go through. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and there is no instruction manual on how to do it. Sure there are lots of self help books about the subject, but to be honest – I found most of them totally useless. In fact, I found in a lot of cases they actually made me feel worse than I was already feeling! At the time, and for several weeks after that dreadful day.
I only now realise that I was getting through each day on autopilot. I look back and there are big bare patches in my memory of things that happened, people I saw and spoke with, and things I did during that time. Subconsciously I seemed to set milestones for myself. For the first couple of months it was every Monday at 2.20pm (the day and time we got the awful news). This then led to the 3 month milestone, which happened to also fall on a Monday which didn’t help make it any easier. It was a double whammy!
By this stage I was completely numb! Barely functioning and getting through the day – the pain, sadness and hopelessness of it all finally caught up with me. It was at this time that I sat there one night staring at the flame of a candle flickering and decided that I was over it! I was tired! Tired of being sad, tired of being stressed, tired of dealing with all that needed to be dealt with, tired of not being interested in my business (or anything else for that matter) and tired of pretending that I was doing OK when, truth be known, I wasn’t! I had hit rock bottom! It was 2 weeks before Christmas (another day I had to somehow get through) and I was just OVER caring about anything! It was decision time!!!!
To make a long story short, it was time to work out how to move forward. I was bitterly unhappy – not just as result of Alex’s death, but with a number of areas of my life – and some things had to change. My world had already been changed FOR me, and with that I needed to make other changes. I don’t do things by half – if I was going to be happy again and find my way forward, there needed to be some massive changes. I wasn’t moving on and leaving my son to history, but I had to move forward (and there is a difference). I started to consider the possibilities and opportunities that this kind of radical change could create – my ultimate goal? PEACE, LOVE, HARMONY & BALANCE!
Let me share with you some of the things that I did to create this massive shift in my mindset and lifestyle.
1. PRIORITIES! I consciously disconnected from the digital world, and sat down quietly to write a list of what was truly important to ME! This list came from my heart, not my head. It was my Wish List! Once I had it all down on paper, it was time to be brutally honest with myself and shake up everything that I had done and been prioritising for years. It was time to get my priorities straight and start creating the life I wanted! I then went one step further and broke down the various elements of each item on my list, eg my personal life was broken down into categories such as “self love/me time”, “relationship with husband & family”, “friends & social” etc. Each of these were also prioritised.
2. MAKE IT REAL! By writing it down (in my case, typing it up and printing it) my new “Life Plan” became real and tangent! I put it in a folder where it can easily be accessed to refresh my memory or review at any time! If I find at any stage that something is not working for me, I can easily make the appropriate changes without having to go through the whole process again.
3. TROUBLE SHOOT! This took a little time, but was SO worth it! There were a number of things on my list that were at odds with what had been in the past and would therefore require a very different approach for me to make it work. That’s where troubleshooting (lateral thinking) comes in. I explored ways to make these new priorities work FOR me, not AGAINST me. eg I decided I didn’t want to work 60-70 plus hours a week anymore. I felt that 30-40 hours p/week was more than enough. How could I make this happen? Quickest and easiest solution was to STOP WASTING TIME! Get organised, plan how my day looks, what I do and when. Reduce the number of hours I spent checking emails, social media accounts etc. I streamlined the ways that people can get in touch/communicate with me. I am no longer a slave to communications. Delegation is another area that I could reduce my hours. By giving some of the simple day to day tasks to others, my time was preserved for more important things. * This one simple action cut my work-a-holic week from 60 plus hours down to a max of 35 hours…giving me at least 25 hours a week for other, higher priority things like me, my husband and family!
4. DE-CLUTTER! Now that I had my new life down on paper, it was time to start working on my physical life – ie my surroundings….home, office, brain – you name it, I de-cluttered it! Clutter is not only bad for your health, but it’s also bad for prosperity. If you don’t have room to invite new things, new energy into your life, it will pass you by. I set my “criteria” of what stayed, what went and what got put away and then hooked in! We all accumulate lots of “stuff” over time, and some of this “stuff” may have meant something to us at the time but not necessarily anymore. This is great place to start! Take a look around your home, room by room, and be really critical…Do you use it? Does it serve you in a positive way? Does it make you happy? I also forced myself to ditch the “just in case” mentality. If I haven’t used it in 12 months or more it went. If it was broken, it went – if it held negative memories, it went. It didn’t take long to “get into the groove” and before I knew it, there was a huge pile of “stuff” outside ready to ship out! Same with my wardrobe. If I hadn’t worn it in 12 months or more, chances are I wasn’t gong to, so out it went. * I cannot tell you what a great feeling de-cluttering brings. I felt fresh, renewed and ready to invite new “stuff” into my life!
5. WRITING/JOURNALING! This is an add-on to De-Cluttering I made a promise to myself this year that I would start writing in a journal regularly. Some people use a journal as a personal diary to document their life – for me, it’s my daily “brain dump”. During the day your brain takes in massive amounts of information and when we go to sleep it needs to process all this information and file away what it needs to keep or deletes “waste of time” information. I write at the end of each day, getting any thoughts, feelings and ideas down in writing, sometimes I’ll vent my frustrations, sometimes I’ll go on a total rant – but I get it all out and always, ALWAYS finish with the things that I am grateful for. By the time I’m finished, I feel “emotionally lighter” as my mind has been “de-cluttered” and there is less “stuff” that my brain has to process during the night – allowing me to sleep more soundly and peacefully. So these are my 5 tips to get you on your way to taking back control of your life. There are lots of things you can do to lead the life of YOUR dreams and find peace, balance and harmony in every day. Keep an eye out for other interesting blog posts around this subject, and if you have any questions or comments about this article, please feel free to drop me a line in the comments box below.
Until next time ~ Get your ZEN on…
❤ Cherene xx