Finding your way back when everything has changed
It’s been over month since my last blog (thank you to those who have asked if you’re still on my list – it’s nice to know I’ve been missed and you enjoy reading my blogs!) So, it’s time to dust myself off and share where I’m at.
First, let me say a huge, heart-felt thank you. The outpouring of love from my last post was unbelievable!
It was hard to share how I was feeling but I realized so many people are dealing with similar challenges. Being honest about what’s going on for us and supporting each other is even more important now, as I realize how many people are silently struggling.
Overall, life is good. I have good days, I have bad days but the good days are lasting longer and longer.
On the bad days, I drive to the cemetery and have a big cry (no one questions a crying person there).
One afternoon, I sat there with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and realized that I had stopped taking care of me. All of the habits and routines I created to make sure I was at my best had fallen to the wayside, forgotten.
Why do we stop doing the things that make us feel better when we so desperately need to feel better?
So, I’ve gone back to the basics of extreme self-care and here’s what’s worked for me:
Talk about it.
I’ve reached out to my fellow Remote Year travellers and realized I’m not alone.
Sharing our stories, remembering our adventures, wondering about our next steps, reminded me that we’re in this together. We understand each other and are here to lift and support in every way.
I’ve also talked with family and friends – deep conversations over wine, around a campfire, with a mug of tea, strolling along the water.
The questions I’m asking are similar to what they’re asking – is this it?
Is this what I want to do with my one, wild and crazy life? And if not, what steps can I take today to move closer to what I really want?
When I returned to my job, I felt claustrophobic. My office has four walls and door but no windows or natural light.
The feeling of being trapped caused my heart to race and I realized that I had spent every single day outside for the past year. Of course I’d feel anxious staying indoors for eight hours each day!
Although I hoped working from home would help ease the transition, my company wasn’t supportive and I continued to fall into a depression at the office.
I realized I was isolating myself and that only made things worse so I decided to find something good about working in an office. And the answer was right there – the people.
I reached out to my colleagues and made a conscious effort to strike up conversations, linger in the lunch room and get involved. Slowly, the days began to feel more bearable.
For the past five years, I’ve faithful maintained a gratitude practice. It was something I learned at a retreat in Bali and it changed my life. (Thanks Carmen – www.carmenmarshallretreats.com)
Every morning, before I open my eyes and dive into the day, I take a few moments to lie there and plan out my day.
I visualize all the details – people I will meet, things I will say, how I want to feel, where I will enjoy lunch, even how smoothly traffic will flow. Then I say “thank you” as my feet touch the ground and my day begins.
Every night before I fall asleep, I review the day and rewrite anything that didn’t go how I wanted it to (our mind can’t tell the difference between “reality” and “imagination” so why not fall asleep remembering things how you wanted them to be?!)
Then I hold up my hands and count down ten things I’m grateful for that day.
Sometimes I don’t get to ten before I fall asleep and other nights I list 20 things. Either way, I fall asleep in a state of gratitude.
Keep it fresh.
After the thrill of exploring a new city or country every month, coming home can feel a little boring. But I’ve been trying to find new ways to appreciate my town.
I drive a different route every time I go somewhere, checking out new neighborhoods and businesses along the way.
I keep a beach blanket in the car and stop in random parks to enjoy the view, read a book or just soak up some sunshine.
And I’m learning to be open to new opportunities, no matter how strange they seem at first.
(I’ve started dating but that’s a completely different blog topic – “10 true first date stories that will make you appreciate your significant other”!)
I’m going to new events, talking to strangers and spending time outside. All of these things keep my mind fresh and help me from slipping back into routine.
The key is to keep your brain guessing about what’s happening next!
I’ve listed my condo for sale and I’m so excited for the next phase!
I love my condo, it’s beautiful and was exactly what I was looking for before I left on Remote Year. But now I’m back and I’ve changed – it simply doesn’t fit me anymore.
Selling my home allows me to pay off debts, establish a nest egg, and be flexible to embrace opportunities as they arise.
I see myself house-sitting a lovely home on the lake over the fall/winter and then who knows what the spring will bring.
As I’ve always believed, life is a daring adventure or nothing at all!
What about you – are you taking care of yourself?
I’ve shared my list of things that are helping me right now – is there anything that works for you that I should try? I’d love to hear from you!