6 years ago tragedy - yet learning the importance of finding what you need

I heard some really tough news from a good friend of mine this week, something I so wish he didn’t have to go through and it’s taken me back to 6 years ago almost to the day - like it was yesterday.

You need to look after you first…

You need to look after you first…

Less than a week before my 40th birthday, a routine cancer checkup for my mother turned our world upside down.  It was to be the toughest 5 months imaginable as I watched her gradually loose her fight, never really speaking about the unthinkable or seeking out support personally, even though it was all around me.

I’ve always been so practical, coping with everything and looking after everyone no matter what life threw at me.  And this was no exception with work, home, friends and family all my priority...keeping busy and doing what needed to be done.

BUT, and it’s a big ‘but’, even in small ways some of my biggest learning and growth personally has come out of going through difficulty and tragedy.  I am blessed in so many ways with a wonderful family, amazing friends and some great colleagues - but in the work that I do, I’ve learnt how important it is to make time for myself, do things I enjoy and that make me smile.

The number of times recently I’ve experienced others wanting to find solutions, tackle things head on or simply survive - especially when they cannot affect change in, or for others.  So finding a moment of kindness for yourself is vital for your resilience!

The bad stuff doesn’t go away, it’s definitely still there, and it’s not about needing to get into deep reflection to examine why I’m feeling or reacting badly - but an escape for a few hours, a distraction and doing something fun or different really can be just what you need.

For me it’s taking myself off somewhere, even if surrounded by people but not with people.  Or doing something for me that is a bit out of the ordinary, trying something new but not telling anyone until afterwards, if I want to share.

6 years ago I went physical and branded myself, literally.  A Gecko loses his tail to survive a predator, to live another day, but grows it back again and therefore is a symbol of regeneration. So this weekend I did just that, took myself off and refueled, spent a lot of time outside.

Now I’m ready to take part, to bring it for the coming week - what will give you a personal lift and energy for the coming week no matter what you are facing?