In the past three years not only did I go through a divorce, but I launched a new career and have worked my butt off to get to where I am. As I reached the point of near exhaustion, my body told me this: Slow down, or I will make you.
At first, I balked at the very idea. When you’ve spent months, or years even, surviving whatever situation you’re living in, it is more difficult than you think to carry on. Grief and letting go of what we know is part of the deal. And even if after a time, we find our happiness, we may not know what to do with the “happy.”
When you no longer have to live under such stressful circumstances, it takes effort to redefine your life. At first you feel lost as you get used to the freedom your new life allows you. You feel as if you should be doing something. Some of us work harder, take up projects, increase our workload—ANYTHING—in order to fill the void left behind at no longer having the negative stress in our lives.
My dilemma isn’t unique. I’ve spoken with friends who have left abusive situations, those who have lost loved ones, and some who have beaten cancer. A common thread pervades our stories—we are all in transition. We all have this sense of: What do we do now, or where do we go from here?
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Give Yourself Permission To Slow Down
It wasn’t until I went on vacation with my children that I realized I still had a LOT more work to do in order to restructure our lives so we didn’t have to “survive” anymore—we had to learn how to thrive.
I made a healthy lifestyle our number one priority. I consciously chose better foods at the grocery store. I cooked healthier meals, and baked with my children so I knew what was in the snacks we were eating. Work took a back seat so I could concentrate on me and my family. I structured my work day so my needs (and those of my children)—nutrition and exercise-wise—came first, which left me more focused and able to get more done in a shorter time frame. Daily meditation in various forms became the norm.
By slowing down, I was able to restructure my life in such a way that I would be able to maintain this once work picked up again.
Allow Opportunities Find You
As a “go-getter,” this was a very difficult thing for me to do and brought me a bit of anxiety. When I acknowledged and surrendered to this anxiety, I finally began to believe things would be all right.
New industry contacts were made, and by taking a couple of classes, I learned new skills that stimulated my mind and body.
The addition of new things in my life that were just for me, gave me an increased sense of freedom. I also realized that if ‘Mom’ was happier, the kids were too.
Allow Yourself To Dream
We all have visions of what we’d like life to be like. What we often forget is that we have the power to make our lives whatever we want them to be. I began dreaming about relationships, taking my career to the next level, letting my mind wander like I did when I was a kid. The possibilities became endless!
This isn’t to say everything will turn out the way I envision. What’s important for me is to dream and build a life I want, but to recognize that the new things in my life are all things I once did not have.
Life won’t always remain stress free. Transitions are difficult, and we go through them all the time. By slowing down now, I figured out a system that left me feeling as if I could handle anything that could be thrown my way. I hope you are able to do the same.
~Kellie Kamryn ©2013