Recharging

Hello and a belated Happy New Year!

It has come as a surprise how much Blogging enhanced my life over these last few months, mainly because it has reignited my passion for creativity, writing and photography. The ability to connect to so many inspiring people was the biggest bonus, I didn’t realise what a fantastic community would be at my fingertips.

I’ve been really frustrated with myself as I’ve not managed to get into my stride as a blogger yet. My chronic fatigue, family commitments, and the run up to Christmas has stopped me from blogging the way I had planned.

You might have noticed that I have not written for a few weeks. I got to the point before Christmas of pure overwhelm and with so much to do I could no longer focus on blogging. Once the holidays began I decided to switch off and focus on spending quality time with my family and friends. I am so glad I did as it was a wonderful time where we really got to cherish what we had in our lives.

Now we are eight days into January and I still feel that I need to take time to PAUSE, BE, and to BREATHE. I think it is time to allow myself to fully commit to recovering my health and RECHARGE instead of rushing ahead on adrenaline and pushing myself to achieve.

In late December I began to reflect back over 2015, with the help of Susannah Conway and her Unravelling the Year Ahead workbook . The exercises helped me to reflect on the highs and lows of the past year and it gave me insights into what I want for myself in 2016.  This also helped me realise that this month I need a little more space/time away from blogging.

January will be a DETOX for my mind, body and soul. I shall be healing, journaling, nesting, decluttering, and practising yoga, mindfulness and gratitude, as well as working on my plans for the year ahead.

I look forward to returning to this space again soon where I will be blogging with more VITALITY, INSIGHT, FOCUS and WISDOM!  🙂

 

Learning to love myself enough – the journey from Chronic Fatigue

I was feeling sorry for myself over the last week. I came down with a cough virus which I’d caught from one of the children. It’s winter and kids do love to share their germs.

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Feeling very rough I managed to cope for a few days with our usual daily routine. But in the end my body felt as if I was being held hostage by the virus and it rendered me incapable of doing anything. I had to take to my bed for a few days.

I felt pure frustration at my incapacity, having to be bedridden, leaving my husband (who by the way is very kind and supportive) in charge of the kids and the home.  But with a fever and blinding headache all I could do was impatiently surrender. It was so difficult to lie there waiting to recover. Annoyingly, instead of thinking of getting myself well, all I felt was a huge pile of guilt: the piles of laundry; empty fridge and fruit bowl; the fluff and crumbs on the carpet and washing up stacked by the sink; the children’s TV channel on all afternoon; beans on toast for kids tea. It all symbolised to me my failings of not doing my job as a ‘homemaker’.

Mainly I was annoyed and disappointed that I’d got ill in the first place. This is the judgmental part of me, telling me it’s my fault, to get over it and not to moan. That mostly I deserve it, especially as I hadn’t kept up my health regime that I started as a New Year resolution in January after being very unwell around the same time last year.

Lying in bed, my mind couldn’t rest, my ‘gremlin’ inside saying:

’You didn’t look after yourself’

‘Did you take your vitamins? ‘No’ Well then what do you expect!’

‘Have you been eating those green drinks and veggie smoothies everyone raves about? ‘No’ Well then!’

‘In the evening have you had one glass of red too many? ‘Yes,’ There you go!’

I’ve had a low immune system since falling ill with M.E in 2006. I was in the process of building my coaching and training business which I had set up in 2004. It was a time I felt that there was so much potential. I was happily married and flying high with my new found career and success.

The chronic fatigue illness crept up on me; I didn’t realise how bad it would get. It started with me feeling exhausted after I’d do a corporate training session or see a coaching client. Soon I found it hard to multitask; I became overwhelmed with even the simplest of tasks. I would wake up from ten hours sleep exhausted and it felt like I was walking around with a mind fog that wouldn’t clear, my concentration was reduced, my muscles constantly ached, and my glands were swollen.

I struggled for about a year, reducing my workload and taking up studying to ease my stress, until one month I got a flu virus that I couldn’t recover from. At that point I was seriously unwell, and in the end I was mostly bed/sofa ridden for many months. My life as I knew it was taken away; I had to give up my work, my hobbies, and my social life. Everything got put on hold as I struggled day to day with even the simplest of tasks that we take for granted; from walking up the stairs, washing my hair, to getting up and making myself something to eat.

Finally I got diagnosed with M.E in 2008. With no understanding from my GP I managed through sheer determination to significantly recover from this chronic illness. With the support of private M.E specialists I tackled my body with nutrition, reflexology, yoga and other alternative treatments, and for my Mind I had therapy. In the end after using what energy I had to work on myself, I had a strong belief that I could learn from this life-changing experience and come through the other side with a greater knowledge of my life-purpose. By the middle of 2009, although I am still living with the condition, I was fortunate enough to have recovered to a point that I could start a family.

But knowing this doesn’t help. Living with the knowledge I could relapse should make me more disciplined, more careful with my nutrition, but instead I feel that when I am well I forget and I let all my rules lapse, knowing I am heading for a disaster. But also I say to myself, ‘just have fun, love life, live for now’.

These regrets are like a hangover; ‘Never again!’ I send myself into my personal ‘health rehab’, getting out my list of vitamins and supplements and reviewing my program for maintaining strong health. The idea of putting myself on this regime felt restricting and brought back a feeling of being an unwell person, someone with a disability, part of me still in denial and unwilling to change. In fact writing this has been hard, I realised I have blocked out so much of that painful time in my life.

Starting this blog is giving me insight, and my power back. It is time I stopped attacking myself and treat my body with the care and respect it deserves.

The ‘airplane procedure parent’ puts on their own oxygen mask first so that they can care for their children. I need to take this on-board. I need to look after my health as a priority; not beat myself up, but love myself enough.

I want to live wholeheartedly. To do this I have to:

  • Learn to surrender
  • Be vulnerable
  • Stop holding onto control
  • Let go of scarcity and fear
  • When I am overwhelmed I will breathe, and breathe again.

School morning marathon

IMG_3963I’ve just got home from the school/nursery run. I never questioned prior to now why it was called the ‘school run’ but today as I flopped on the sofa, with my boots still on I feel that I’ve literally run a marathon.

After Izzy’s first exhausting and stressful year at school; my vision during the summer holidays had been to do a bedside yoga session in the morning. I also thought, like my Mum used to do I could start to get everything ready, arranged, and in place the night before … including breakfast. I imagined it would be possible for us to have a calm and enjoyable morning routine this term. These intentions are great, but in reality I just need those extra few minutes to sleep! When will I be able to live this mindful / zen life that I imagined could be possible?  All I really want to do after the school run is switch off and de-stress from this intense workout by switching on the TV to some mind numbing reality show, or girly drama.

I have to change this way of being – this is only the beginning of the second school year! I still have many, many more years of this. I can’t believe am so exhausted by 9am. The rush of adrenaline starts to stream through my body from the moment my alarm wakes me at 6.45. I hear myself shouting instructions, nagging, coaxing them as I try and get my five year old Izzy and three year old Jake up, ready, fed and out of the door. I pile them both into the car, feeling guilty as we could be, should be, walking.

At nursery today Jake runs off, I catch him, take him into his class, where his teachers and I encourage him to let go of my leg. I am impatient, watching the clock, but also not wanting to leave him; he usually bounces in happily. The Nursery teacher reassures me he will be fine once I leave, so with a quick kiss I grab Izzy’s hand, head for the exit, bumping into other stressed mums on their way to work. I’m now thinking; ‘How easy I have it’, and there goes that guilt feeling again. Now Izzy and I need to make it to school before the bell. We speed walk round the corner where we battle the opposite flow of mum’s, buggies, and toddlers leaving the school from their earlier drop off.  I arrive outside Izzy’s classroom handing over her backpack and with a peck on the cheek I watch proudly as she walks in calmly with confidence to her class. Standing there sweating and out of breath, I let out a big sigh, my body relaxes with ‘job done’ as Izzy’s teacher looks at me with compassion. Yes she has seen this all before, and she will again.

I started with such good intentions this morning. I woke up feeling positive and listened to my mindfulness app Stop, Breathe & Think. The three words, resonate as a mantra to life. I’m not sure why, but my life as it is now seems to be running full steam ahead and leaving me behind exhausted.

How can it be this hard to incorporate the mindful practices that I truly need and believe in? Today, the last day of term, I vow that this has to change. There has to be a better way.