2014 has been the most challenging year I have ever experienced, for a number of reasons. With a house move, hospital stay, the death of my elderly cat and a suddenly massive workload there have been times where I have been left feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and totally lost. However, I’ve worked incredibly hard to get back on track, things have started to settle down a little and now it seems like I have emerged on the other side. I’m a little battered and bruised, but I’m proud of everything that I have accomplished.
As with any difficulties in life, there are lessons to be learned, and I have learned a great deal of them over the last year.
1. Ask for help. A heavy workload does not go away, and the more you take on alone, the more overwhelmed you will feel. Previous experiences left me with the idea that asking for help shows signs of weakness and leaves you vulnerable and susceptible to negativity. It doesn’t. Asking for help from the right people at the right time not only allows for delegation and a reduction in workload, but it can strengthen relationships and gain you more respect from others. Two pairs of hands are always better than one.
2. Find what your passion is, and reward yourself with time to pursue it. Unless you absolutely love and live for your job (of which I know very few who do), this year has taught me that it is important to have the time to have do something that you truly enjoy. For me, that is writing, and I got into the habit of rewarding myself with time to write once I had got my work done. At times, it has been a lifesaver.
3. Stand up for yourself. I’m confident on paper, but in the real world I am easily intimidated and back down to avoid confrontation. This year, I didn’t – I stood my ground on things that I genuinely believed were worth standing up for, and as a result I was listened to and understood.
4. Move on. For years I held quite a nasty grudge against a few who have treated me badly. Recently, I decided to let it go. I haven’t forgotten and it is going to take some time, but I feel emotionally lighter now the heavy burden of anger has gone.
5. When things are down, surround yourself with the people that lift you. When things get tough I shut down and close myself in. However, recently I decided to change this rather nasty habit and started to make more of an effort with people who I enjoy spending time with. Consequently, I have had some brilliant evenings over the last year which have given me the opportunity to relax, switch off and enjoy their company.
6. Stop procrastinating. As the self- proclaimed ‘Queen of Procrastination’ I learned that this was being detrimental to my lifestyle. Instead, I learned to try and do things when they were set, rather than leaving it till the deadline. The sooner something is started, the sooner it is finished.
7. Sleep. I’ve always been a night owl – I much prefer being awake late than getting up for an early morning. Unfortunately, this also meant that I was tired during the times where the most energy was needed, so I started taking myself off to bed earlier and getting up earlier. I feel much better for it.
8. Breathe. It is ok to take time for yourself. You are allowed to relax, read a book, have a long bath, watch an uplifting film or have a massage without feeling guilty. This year I have learned to sit back, take stock of recent events and just breathe. My only regret is that I didn’t learn to do this earlier.
9. Stop worrying. I worry about anything and everything, but recently I learned to start asking myself if the issue that was causing the anxiety would still be an issue in a few days time, and what the solution would be. If something is beyond my control, I am trying to accept that it is what it is.
10. Look after your health. I allowed my pace of life to take over and avoided minor nagging physical ailments because I was ‘too busy’ to go to the doctors. I stopped taking care of myself. I ignored an easily treatable urinary tract infection, which over time developed into quite a serious kidney infection that landed me in hospital for nearly a week. This year, I have learned that my health takes priority over everything, and I take the time to ensure that I am getting everything that I need to remain so.
11. Most importantly, I have learned to be a little more appreciative of the people who have been there through it all – The Bloke who has provided constant support, love and a shoulder to cry on, the friends who have bought me a drink at the end of a tough day, who visited me in hospital, who have listened when I have needed to talk, my family, and, of course, you guys. You’ve helped me through the best and worst moments of this year, and your messages and emails have made me laugh. Thank you.
What about you guys? What have you learnt in the last twelve months?
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