Time For A Little Reflection...

I’ve never been one for making New Year’s Resolutions.  That was until I ended last year in hospital wearing disposable knickers, that it dawned on me.  This year I need to make some serious changes…

You may recall my first blog "Are We Burnt Out With Batwings?".  A quick recap on some of content in the opening paragraphs; “I’m sitting with an icepack down my yoga pants…and they say that that death and taxes are the only two guarantees in life!  I beg to differ…My latest shock is another female part gone slightly wrong, one that required surgery and an icepack! WTF?  I recall the look upon several friend’s faces when I explained to them how I had a ping pong ball size cyst type thing magically appear in my vagina, ruling out sitting, walking…” 

Yes folks, those disposable knickers were pre-op fashion for that damn cyst because it came back, one day before my birthday, two weeks before Christmas.   I ended up going to A&E on boxing day and being operated on to drain the cyst and have it marsupialized.  Now in this particular blog I won’t go into too many specifics.  I’ll save those for the upcoming book.  When I share in more detail how my partner’s mum and dad greeted me the day after I got out of hospital with information that made me feel weird, and that I had truly become a part of the family all at the same time.  They explained how they watched a similar operation to the one I had just had on YouTube the night before to see what I had had done!!

They are very curious people and really very awesome.  But I couldn’t help wondering what was the correct way to feel when your future in-laws know such graphic detail about what your vagina had been through!  I mean, at this point I was refusing to even look at my swimsuit area for fear I might vomit!! (marsupialization involves open wound healing).

Me and the disposable knickers!

Anyhooooo, back to the point which is pretty straight forward really.  One cause of the type of medical treat I experienced can be due to changes in hormone levels.  These shifts can affect your body’s ability to regulate your glands.  This in turn can lead to blockage which can lead to a cyst.   And on reflection (yes, I had a lot of time to reflect being unable to walk around for days and days and days on end!) towards the end of last year, before the cyst appeared again, my stress levels had been really high.  Which led me to question how much of this could be attributed to my state of mind?  And regardless of this, it got me to really face my stress demons.

My eight-year old daughter had been about to go on a trip overseas with her dad and step-mum, to spend six days in Rome and then Christmas in Ireland.  A total of 24 days.  I was genuinely excited for her.  The chance to learn about Roman History in Rome instead of in front of a computer or TV screen? Or even in a book (which is great but vs the chance to be there??!).  And to get to spend time with family who live at the other side of the world.  It was awesome for her dad to see his family too and for her step-mum to meet them.

But part of me was dreading it.  I didn’t know how I would cope without seeing her for so long.  Not only that, she was going to the other side of the world.  And then I was getting anxious about her Selective Mutism condition.  How would that be managed? And flying.  I hate flying.  She was going on so many planes for so long.  (When she left, I downloaded a flight tracker app so I could monitor her flights when she was airborne, but even watching the take-offs and landings stressed me out!).

I really hit the ground running with my business last year, working more hours than were available.  Towards the end of the year, I had been skipping meals, not drinking enough water, and all those things we do when we forget to put ourselves first! 

And worries were quite often bubbling under the surface, such as getting the support for my daughter’s condition right, reaching my career goals, ongoing challenges of blended family life and trying not to succumb to the consequences of some rather negative actions from people who have to be involved in our lives, whether we like it or not. 

Oh yes, I am well educated in managing stress, taking on only what is yours and giving the rest back to whomever it belongs, coping strategies and all the rest of it.  Ask any of my friends, clients or workshop attendees.  But sometimes even the well educated in these life areas can also become overwhelmed.  Isn’t it so true the old adage that it’s easier to help someone else rather than yourself?!

Well it’s not all doom and gloom you will be pleased to hear!  I got to sun myself in a rather luxurious outdoor area at Rob’s sister’s over Christmas and into the New Year after the operation, where is his whole family really took care of me.  And I got to face myself and tell myself some truths.  To really examine what could have contributed to how ill I got.  And stress was a big factor!  And so not worth getting ill for. 

So, I did a little exercise which I want to share with you.  I know that a lot of you will have made New Years Resolutions to join the gym, take up a hobby etc.  but that a lot of the resolutions will be broken after a few weeks/months.  In fact you may be reading this now thinking of some resolutions you have already broken!. Here are few, tips/life hacks…call them what you will.  These are some things I incorporated into my New Years Resolutions to make long lasting life changes. Things you probably already know, but it never hurts to be reminded of:

1. You cannot pour from an empty cup.  Do less of the shit you hate and more of the stuff you love.  And here is handy tool for some reflection

a) write down a list of the things you do in your life, such as work, parent, exercise, domestic chores etc. 

b) Now allocate an estimated percentage of your time that you spend doing that task in a week.

c) Next, draw a big circle.  Imagine it is a pie.  Split the pie into slices that represent the tasks you do based on percentage.  For example, if you spend 25% of your week doing domestic chores (yeah more like 70% eh!) then mark a slice that is a quarter of the pie and label it “domestic chores”.

d) Once you have finished, revisit the list and write down your ideal percentage you would be dedicating to that task if there was nothing else getting in the way.  You might even add some new things or get rid of some tasks entirely.

e) Draw another big circle, split the pie per your new percentages.

f) Study the difference.

g) What changes do you need to make?

2. Stress is quite literarily a killer and quite often unnecessary.  If your reaction to certain situations is resulting in a feeling of stress all the time, brainstorm.  Identify what is going on.  For each stress inducing situation, ask yourself the following questions:

a) What is the behaviour you are exhibiting that you don’t like (crying, shouting etc.)?

b) What behaviour would you prefer to exhibit?

c) What thoughts and beliefs are you experiencing that you don’t like (this always happens to me, I can’t stand this anymore etc.)?

d) What thoughts and beliefs would you prefer to have?

e) What emotions are you feeling that you don’t like (overwhelmed, exhausted etc.)?

f) What feelings would you prefer to have?

g) Is there anything from your past experience that is causing you to react in a negative way?  How can you challenge your belief based on this past experience?

h) Does the situation go against your core beliefs and values?

i) Do you need to change your core belief or value around this situation or do you need to find a way to change your response? 

3. Fads don’t work, long-term does.  When you are working on improving yourself, whether physically or emotionally, or even both, avoid the latest fad.  Change is hard.  Change takes time.  Change involves holding up a mirror to yourself.  Know yourself, know your limits, know your greatness.  Be flexible and willing to compromise.  Be prepared to put in the hard yards.  Remember no-one owes you happiness or self-fulfillment so take full responsibility for your change.  That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help.  Just don’t expect anyone to do the work for you!  Be kind to yourself.  Don’t jump on the societal “instant gratification” bandwagon.  Instead give yourself permission to take the time necessary to get to where you want to be.   It’s not a race.

4. Do more of what you love.  Stop taking life so seriously.  Because in the end, we all die!!!

I could go on and on with this list…but I’ll stop there for now!  It should be enough of warning!  Protect your vagina…make good New Years Resolutions!! xxx

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