Just over a week ago I spent a completely life changing day listening to Dr Brian Weiss speak in London.
As far as the Western world is concerned Dr Weiss is pretty much the guru when it comes to all things past life regression, and since the subject of past lives is one of the things I’m most geekily excited about (check out the Aurora site for more on that), he’s totally one of my heroes. So when it came to listening to him speak I was ridiculously excited… although I had no idea how much the day would change my outlook on life in general.
Running through and over every exercise we did the theme that kept coming up for me was stress; the idea that I needed to find a way to slow down and cut down on my adrenaline levels. Then come lunchtime I went to browse the crazy busy book stall, only to find a space suddenly open up directly in front of a book called Rushing Women’s Syndrome (more on that when I’m finished reading it). OK Universe, I AM LISTENING!!!
And I get it… I started this business on the back of over a decade of working in the corporate world; half of which was spent running another business too, and the majority of which was spent as the only person in my house, running a house on my own alongside everything else.
Not only that, but as the oldest child of two oldest children (a recipe for taking on responsibilities!) and the daughter of a man who’s often said that his greatest fear is being called lazy, well it’s fair to say I spent many years seriously struggling to relax unless I had a drink in my hand or had booked in specific fun time.
Honestly though that was something I thought I’d cracked; as I’ve written before I’m loads better now at taking time out to just focus on the wonder of the now, and years of focus on loving myself means I make more time than ever for doing the things that I love, and things that are just for me.
But as I sat in this beautiful room working through healing exercise after healing exercise and feeling the effects on my body I realised that my stress was still very much there, and there was still a lot for me to work on…
Part of that, I think, is a physical thing coming down to adrenal fatigue. It’s something I’m still figuring out and working on for myself so I’m not going to go into too much detail about that right now, but the basics are that I’ve spent so long demanding my body go at 100,000 miles an hour, my body’s now struggling to switch that extra flow off.
The other part for me though was boundaries. And I am damned well certain I’m not alone in that.
Tell me, when was the last time had an evening in the house without doing any work at all - even just replying to emails?
When did you set yourself a bedtime and stick to it, religiously, everytime you were in the house?
And when did you last go out with the girls and not stress for one second about what was going on at home or what you’d face in the office tomorrow?
I’m not asking these questions to make you feel bad, or to criticise in any way because I totally and utterly get it. I am that woman too.
I’ve lost track of the number of times over the years that I’ve taken a work call on a day off, cut into the quiet hour of me time I’d promised myself because someone had messaged me with a drama, wobbled my way through a morning yoga session because my mind was focused on the rest of the day’s to do list or stayed up way later than intended because there was so much I wanted to do.
And you know, each and every one of those things will happen from time to time, that’s life. The problem is when they go from being occasional to suddenly become constant.
Which is exactly where I’d gotten to. It was draining, it was stressful, and it was neither productive nor relaxing!
So what have I done about this? And how am I suggesting you change if you’re in a similar position.
I know, I know. You’re too busy to set boundaries; other people don’t respect your boundaries; sometimes things just come up and you can’t have boundaries. Believe me, I know all the excuses because I’ve given them too! And again, I know there will always be times when the boundaries we set in our lives just don’t work.
But the only person who can make those boundaries work sometimes? You.
That’s right. You start the process by setting boundaries for yourself and by respecting those boundaries – and you – enough to implement them.
For me I’ve started off small; I’m not allowing myself to work from the sofa anymore (I get distracted so often I’m not even productive. But then because I’m comfy I also sit with the laptop in front of me until long after bedtime, meaning that I’m not relaxing either – the worst of both worlds!) and I’m refusing to work after 7.30pm any more than two nights a week. Not only that but I’m forcing myself to have at least one hour a day where my phone stays in the other room. If there’s an emergency I’ll hear it ring, or there’s always the landline.
Initially these boundaries seemed a bit scary, a bit like I was punishing myself for years of working too hard. But here’s the thing; the more I’ve come to implement them the more I’ve realised that absolutely everything in my life is benefiting – I’m sleeping better and feeling more relaxed, I’m more present in my relationships and enjoying time with the people I love more, and I’m a damn sight more productive in the work that I’ve done.
So often we think of boundaries as being restrictive, but in my case it’s as though drawing those lines and sticking to them has actually freed me up not just to relax more but to feel better in every part of my life.
So I challenge you to draw and implement at least one boundary in your own life this week, be it about timings, locations, you time or switching off. And I’d love to hear how you find it….