Do you know how to be ill and when to stop? As with most editions of Inspire this has come out of my own experiences and that of a few people close to me over the last few weeks.
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Do you know how to be ill and when to stop?
Do you find it difficult to stop and be ill? Like many editions of Inspire this one comes from my direct experiences and recently observing friends and colleagues around me. Like most people I wanted to start the New Year with a bang; I was relaunching my business as Inspire Transformation, and looking forward to launching new products and services for clients.
One of the things I wanted to transform in my life was to rid myself of allergies that I had experienced for the last 12 years, having tried all traditional and most complementary remedies. So I was lined up to have a small op on my nose in mid January to reduce the allergic symptoms. I had, of course, planned my work around it, with a week following on with no client facing work.
To cut a long story short I ended up feeling unwell for 10 days before the op but of course soldiered on until my voice gave up the ghost following a workshop that I ran. It was certainly one way for my body to get me to stop, just shut me up!
A few days of rest later my voice returned but the body still wasn't great going into the op. I was OK after the op but then had a reaction to the antibiotics afterwards which meant more days spent on my sofa in my PJs. I realised that I really needed to reflect on myself, my life and how to make further changes to live more healthily. Hence this edition of Inspire!
‘Affliction comes to us, not to make us sad but sober; not to make us sorry but wise.'
Henry Ward Beecher
Men and women who do too much I have two small books of quotes, one for men and one for women who do too much. But how much is too much? My guess is that when we get ill it is a sign that it is too much! And probably when we get over tired and cranky that is also too much!!! But it is a hard balancing act. I love my life, my work, my voluntary work, the fun times with friends and family, and I have become much better at taking time out for myself, and caring for myself. BUT I still seem to go through this cycle every six to twelve months where I have to re-evaluate quite how much I do, what I am doing and how I do it. Does this sound familiar to you?
‘Life is so short, we should all move more slowly.'
Thich Nhat Hanh
Are there times when you do too much? How much is too much for you? What are the early warning signals that you are doing too much?
The modern day view of health and sickness In the 21st century we are sold on the idea that if we take X, Y and Z vitamins, eat healthily, exercise (all things I do) that we can prevent illness and if we take A, B and C we can get over it quickly. However, I think there is a more profound aspect of looking after ourselves. Perhaps ill health is nature's way of making us stop and ponder how we are living our lives, that is, if we take the opportunity to do so. I was reading recently that most people who have a life threatening illness and recover vow to live their lives differently, however, research shows that most have gone back to their old way of living after two years. So maybe we need regular wake up calls! Of course most people get ill, recover and move on, it is up to you as to whether you use it as an ideal opportunity to ponder how you are living your life.
‘One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have is to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick.'
Rabbi Harold Kushner
How do you feel right now? One of the reasons that we can get really ill is that we fail to listen to the warning signals and take quick action. So stop a moment and consider the following questions:
- How do you feel physically right now? Are there any aches and pains or other physical changes that you have been ignoring? Do you physically feel OK?
- How do you feel mentally and emotionally? Are you in the here and now or constantly either worrying about the future or the past?
- How are your spirits? Do you feel upbeat or full of doom and gloom about the year ahead?
If you are not feeling 100% what might you need to do to take care of yourself? Is it to get a good night's sleep, take some time out, visit the doctor, speak to a coach or counsellor, eat more healthily or change your mindset?
‘Health is not valued ‘til sickness comes.'
Dr. Thomas Fuller
Your needs versus others' needs? From what I know about many Inspire readers, from those I have met on courses that I run or through networking, they are often dedicated people either running their own business or dedicated to their professions and jobs. The downside of dedication can be that we put the needs of others, our clients, our businesses, or even our family before our own. We don't want to let others down, or even feel like we are letting ourselves down if we ‘give into' illness. But we are often making matters worse by not taking some time to look after ourselves. I am always reminded by the safety messages on planes that if the oxygen masks need using put your own on first before helping someone else with theirs. If we don't look after our own health we can't provide long term support to our families, team members and clients.
Hypochondriac or wimp versus wisdom Obviously we might want to avoid hypochondria but there is a middle way between thinking that you are ill at the slightest sneeze and believing that you can take X pills, soldier on or even as one of my colleagues has been known to try and do: ‘sweat it out' through some kind of exercise!
It is useful to listen to the conversations that go on within ourselves when we feel ill. Here are some examples:
- Your inner critic might say things like ‘Don't be a wimp, pull yourself together', ‘Look at X they keep on going regardless' or ‘It is your own fault for getting yourself into this state'. Ah, how the inner critic likes to kick us when we are down!
- Perhaps your fearful child says: ‘But I will be letting people down', ‘What will happen to X project?', ‘What will people think of me?', ‘Who will look after the children?' etc.
If you listen really carefully (or use some of the exercises from my Master Your Inner Critic book or online programme) you can start to hear what your wise self is saying. Here are a few things that my wise self has been saying to me over the last week:
- You need to rest completely in order to get completely well and do all the things that you want to do.
- Have a PJ day to help yourself to stay in and stay quiet.
- Yes, it is very frustrating, but pushing back the launch of the Inspire VIP Group will enable you to make sure that a) you are completely well and b) that it goes off with a bang and is fully ready for the launch when it happens.
What does your inner critic and fearful child say to you when you are ill? What does your inner wisdom say if you would only listen to it?
‘The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.'
Patience and perseverance The likelihood is that, if like me, you have had to take some time out due to ill health that your best laid plans might have gone awry. You can either angst and rage against this, which is likely to set back your recovery or accept it and turn this into an opportunity. I am determined to create a new realistic plan to launch my new Inspire VIP Group which will create a great product for you and be supportive of my own, and my PA and my web designer (who will be involved in putting it together), health and happiness!! So rather than get caught up in the frustration of the delays, I will focus on a positive outcome and plan ahead accordingly.
I have a small book called‘The Power of Patience' by M J Ryan which I would recommend to anyone who lacks patience and gets stressed when life does not go to plan. I am about to knock off now for tea (it is 3.30pm) and some R&R as this is my first day back and dip back into the book for some inspiration.
‘Waiting sharpens desire. In fact it helps us recognise where our real desires lie. It separates our passing enthusiasms from our true longings.'
For more information about Inspire Transformation visit our website: www.inspiretransformation.co.uk or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Survey of your needs
Thank you again to those people who completed our first online survey to ascertain the needs of our Inspire readers. It is clear looking at the results and reading the comments that many individuals are facing an uncertain and challenging year ahead. I hope that I can provide some support and inspiration over the coming months to assist you in rising to those challenges and as Buddhists say, turning ‘poison into medicine' within your lives.
I hope those who responded to the survey enjoy and find useful the free e-booklet that they received as a thank you. This survey is now closed, but keep an eye out for future surveys and freebies associated with them.
Watch for future editions of Inspire with for more information about new products and services that you can use to support yourself through challenging times. In the meantime take a look at some of the free articles on Managing Your Mood Through Challenging Times and Supporting Others Through Challenging times. Click here for details
Very positive response to our new Master Your Inner Critic Online Learning Programme
Here's feedback from readers who have already used the programme:
‘I like the way that the video and e-book supplement each other. I found that watching the video gave me impetus to actually draw my inner critic - I thought that would be difficult, but actually, because I had been thinking about it for a short period, it was really easy. Doctoring this picture was also pretty easy to do. I'm really visual so I intend to create a picture of my cheerleaders complete with pom poms, fireworks etc. I'm going to do that today.
You come across really well in the video - it's as if you're actually in the room with me (well actually you are, aren't you!). The video was the perfect length and covered just enough material. Any more and I think there would have been the temptation to put it aside and work on it later, rather than get going straight away.' Helen Chapman, Coach.
‘I am enjoying it more and more and looking forward to the next video - I have particularly related to the tyranny of perfectionism and found letting go of that, very satisfying'. Annabel Girelli-Kent
Click here to watch a short introductory video on my website. And you could start the programme today and begin to master your inner critic and release your inner wisdom.
The programme is a series of e-books and video clips (yes, you will get to see me in action!) based on the book.
For more details about the work that Inspire Transformation carries out in organisations visit www.inspiretransformation.co.uk.
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