I find that I always go a hundred miles per hour, doing one thing but thinking about my next task, what I need to do this week, problems, issues, an argument perhaps.
I always get asked how I fit everything in and what I do for fun and my response is always that I'm too busy to have a social life. One day I sat and thought about it, really thought about it and wondered how often I take a breather and focus on now, the answer was that it wasn't very often. My next thought was how was I going to do that when I find it so hard to relax? I researched and found a concept called mindfulness which I thought I would share.
I started using this technique some months back and at first found it difficult but slowly I started to find it easier and beneficial.
The concept of mindfulness comes from old Buddhist traditions and uses techniques and meditation to focus on the present and is something that has been incorporated within many counselling practices.
The concept has many aspects but I will focus on a technique that is used to achieve calmness and self awareness.
The old technique is similar to meditation without meditating.
Try this: lie on your bed, close your eyes and relax all your muscles as if you're sinking into your mattress. Relax into your breathing and focus on the senses. Listen to the noises around you and listen to your heart beat, feel the temperature of the room and feel the material of the duvet and smell the fragrance of the room. You may have intrusive thoughts pushing back in, acknowledge them and move them to the side and focus on your senses again. You are now experiencing the present, the now.
I use the technique of mindfulness when I am washing the dishes. Feeling the hot water, smell the washing up liquid, thinking about what I'm going to wash next and in which way, angling all my attention to the task at hand. I finish the dishes calm and relaxed ready for the next task.
I thought I would share a story from my past in the hope that someone who may be going through something similar can have the tiniest of comforts that there is hope.
Some years back I decided that I wanted to separate from my husband as we had been unhappy for a long time, when all of a sudden he became drastically unwell. When the doctors said that he needed a liver transplant I decided that I couldn't leave him and that I would help him get through the difficult time he was sure to face. He suffered through a year, in and out of hospital, treatment after treatment so I quit my job to care for him and spent my days and night looking after him and making sure that he was as comfortable as he could be. Through those dark times and through the stress I swallowed the angst that I felt and powered through in order to be a supportive partner and to give him strength to fight his illness. After all he was going through a transplant how could I selfishly focus on me?
After his transplant I stuck with him to aid his recovery and slowly I slipped into an unseen depth of depression. On the outside I was fierce, strong minded and supportive, on the inside I was in a pool of turmoil, unhappy and had lost all regard for myself. I turned off my emotions and told myself that this was it, no other way for it and no point in making a fuss. Month after month I kept going on autopilot and people around me were clueless to how I was feeling.
I gave him a couple of years to recover in the hope that he would change and that things would improve between us. They didn't.
I kept myself busy and worked as hard as i could and just kept moving a million miles an hour to dilute the pain that I was in but it was slowly eating me up and I couldn't even pretend to myself that I was ok.
One day I was walking to the supermarket and lost in my thoughts I tripped up a kerb, i dropped my bag to the floor and sat down heavily on the kerb and felt as if my shoulders were weighing me down. It felt like there was a tight rope around my chest and it was getting tighter and tighter. At that point I sat on the kerb and wanted to scream at the unfairness of what just happened and how it seemed that everything was going wrong and I sat and cried and cried and cried. People kept asking if I was ok but how could I tell these strangers that I felt as if everything had let me down and I couldn't take any more? That my head and heart were so tired from the strain of everything? I said nothing and after some time I got up, grabbed my bag and went home. I sat and wrote down everything that I thought was wrong in my life, everything I wanted for myself and what I was going to do to get it. And I did just that.
Five years on I am thankful that I tripped up the kerb, it jolted me out of the deep dark corner that I was in and reminded me that I am human and I own my life. I have learnt a lot about myself since that point and the biggest lesson I learnt is that I will never undervalue myself again and I will have the aim to focus on my happiness for as long as I live. I will always remember that kerb and everything that kerb represents. That kerb saved me on that day.
I hope anyone going through painful times finds some strength from somewhere and it pushes them out of the dark.
All the best
For the past 5 years I have been setting goals for myself. I write down from the very tiniest goals to the long term big goals. I sit and categorise them, make sense of them and make sure I set realistic deadlines for myself.
I work hard to accomplish what i set out to do for myself.
As I worked through my list, I realised that my enthusiasm for some of them had waned but I persevered half heartedly. Why? Stubbornness? So I didn't feel like I was failing myself?
I realised that as well as setting goals and working on them I had to review them once in a while to see if my priorities in life had changed. Life is dynamic, so should the goals you set yourself. Once you have achieved what you want set a few more, even if they are small, learning a new recipe, going to a new place etc, it means you are always working towards something new. As long as you keep true to your own heart and what you want then you won't go wrong.
Just don't forget to live in the now and enjoy the little things in life as you work towards these goals.