'I walked the dog looking around me on the cold crisp January morning, taking in the smell of the air, noticing the sounds of the leaves under my dogs paws. After a few weeks being ill and missing out on these daily rituals, their significance feels more apparent, more valuable and more important - the old saying 'you don't know what you've got till it's gone' springs to mind.
Work life balance in 2018 felt pretty one sided and I know I'm far from alone in feeling that way. Working for myself, building my professional reputation and following my passion can feel all encompassing, combined with a desire to create change, it is easy to lose sight of other areas of life.
My husband is incredibly supportive, as are my children, but I realise that they have all felt frustrated and hurt at times when I've responded to another email instead of stopping fully and being present, listening to their needs. At times I have let them down.'
I wrote the above words in my notebook at the very start of 2019 and whilst working through study notes and lists I stumbled across them this morning. Reading my words back it's made me realise how much more balanced I feel this year, I've created working hours for myself (and stuck to them), I've ensured I'm getting my daily steps and stretches in and I am allowing myself to feel.
I have previously written about my M.E. and the hurdles it presents, but it's given me an appreciation of the little things that perhaps I wouldn't otherwise have. I have a whole new perspective of what 'happy' is as well as the importance of those more big and difficult emotions such as overwhelmed, stress, grief, guilt and worry. I'm not saying I wouldn't swap my M.E. and other health complaints for a bill of good health, but at the same time I feel like it's given me an opportunity to explore my mental health more than ever before, and the 'whole me' feels healthier than it ever has.
I believe wholeheartedly in my work and the importance of educating children, parents, teachers and health professionals on the significance of emotional intelligence, and facilitating it's development using emotional literacy skills. More than ever we need to allow ourselves to feel and process our emotions so that we can have a better relationship with ourselves and others.
Tuning into our gut instinct of emotions helps us to put boundaries in place for ourselves and prioritise our whole health, only then can we be genuinely compassionate and empathise with others. Without boundaries guilt and resentment can easily creep in, so my boundaries are firmly in place. My work is important but now
always way down on my list, of which I am at the top of, this enables me to meet the needs of my children and husband with an honesty that I appreciate and feel good about.
For someone who from the age of eight has been crippled with anxiety at times, it is a life that I feel not just content in but happy in. I accept the more difficult emotions as part of being human and don't let myself think that this means I'm not happy - they say happiness is a way of life and not a destination; I certainly feel this is now my truth.
Allowing myself to feel the tougher stuff has allowed me to notice and feel the great stuff too. I notice the sounds underfoot, enjoy the crisp cold air and I feel grounded.
Grounded and happy.
I hope you can too.