I hope you’ve all been managing to stay safe in the storms, floods and endless rain. It seems to have been a somewhat biblical February.
I’ve been a bit quiet recently on the blog and social media front. In some ways I suppose I’ve been hiding.
I wanted to share a bit about this as I know that for all of us, our energy, focus, mood and motivation will always come and go in waves and this is completely normal.
What’s interesting is that when a low mood or negative feeling hits us, those emotions release particular neurotransmitters and we emit differing levels of electromagnetic energy depending on what emotions we are feeling. These emotions then have a refractory period that we can either inadvertently prolong by our ongoing thought patterns and behaviours, or we can shorten if we know how.
For clarity, it’s not about not ever having dips or about trying to not have the negative emotion either – it’s about how quickly you move through and bounce back up.
Step One is Recognition.
When you are feeling lower what do you notice happening in your body, thoughts and behaviours? For me it shows up as feeling overwhelmed, tired all the time and finding it harder to connect and communicate with people – I tend to retreat inside myself.
What happens for you in this situation? Take a few moments now to reflect on this.
Step Two is Analyse.
This is about doing a bit of investigative analysis, preferably by writing stuff down, to see if you can identify what it is you’re feeling and what the reasons or triggers might be.
a) Put your Judgement Pants away here and get out your self-compassion mindset/toolkit. This isn’t about beating yourself up, or blaming others or feeling like a victim. Be kind to yourself and stick to the facts only at this stage.
b) Remember to turn off the analytical thinking switch once you’ve got a couple of reasons. Excessive ongoing rumination or overthinking is not helpful here and it’s easy to fall into when as vets, we are critical thinking and analysing experts! It’s why using a journal to answer these questions in can help you to stop and move to the next stage.
In my case it’s been easy for me to pinpoint the triggers.
Since September I’ve been really pushing myself in my business and having a wonderful enjoyable growth period. That’s involved new speaking roles at Vets Now conference, London Vet Show and Wellvet Weekend. It’s also involved enrolling on a super-intensive group coaching program with 30 other amazing entrepreneurial women leading to the design, set up and launch of my own veterinary group coaching program last month.
Taking those next steps in my business while supporting my 4yr old through her first term at school took a lot of focus, dedication and hard work.
As a part time working mum, I have 25hrs a week during school hours to run the business, meaning I had been working late into most evenings as well.
I was able to maintain that pace and focus because I was being held and encouraged by my amazing coaching group, plus I’m lucky to have a very supportive husband and brilliant team at Vet Harmony.
I wasn’t taking my normal downtime.
I wasn’t making time for my husband.
I stopped exercising
My ability to fire out regular newsletters, content and posts for my community decreased
Then suddenly at the end of January the coaching program came to an end and the support-tap was turned off. Kyle and I were feeling more like colleagues who run a childcare centre together than husband and wife. My body and mind were feeling the effects of me not taking time to rest, recharge and replenish.
So, what next??? What do you do when you’ve identified you’re running on empty and you’ve figured out the causes?
Step Three is TAKE ACTION
This is about examining the choices you are currently making (for example me working late into the night every night), owning them with self-compassion rather than judgement and having the courage to empower yourself to make different choices instead.
I’d fallen back into the common trap of believing you can be either a highly successful professional OR a relaxed, engaged and chilled out parent and person, but not both.
One of the biggest ‘aha’ moments from my recent coaching conference trip was my coach challenging us to look at how we can get curious about making the ‘OR’ into ‘AND’ wherever possible.
How can I look for ways to be a highly successful professional AND a great parent/wife and have time for myself too?
For me that’s meant a realisation that I probably need to get more childcare help and up my daytime hours a bit, so that I feel I can spare 20mins for a HIIT workout during the day or collapse onto the sofa with my knitting in the evening (rock’n’roll people! )
It might mean choosing to NOT have any more major pushes in the business for a couple of months while I’m focusing on delivering the group course and regaining my life balance again.
That means choosing to be ok with slowing the rate of my progression and staying firmly out of comparisonitis mode.
This is where if you’ve done the personal development exercise of choosing a Word of the Year it can really help.
I was greedy this year and have two words, which are CREATE and CONNECT. So I’ve spent some time looking at how I’ve been feeling a bit disconnected and where I could look to get myself back in flow by creating and connecting more – hence writing this newsletter today!
That means pushing myself through any feelings of vulnerability or wanting to hide and choosing to reach out and connect as I know this will shorten the refractory period.
It meant ignoring the VAT return I could have been doing last night and grabbing my knitting instead.
So if you’re feeling a bit low at the moment, or if you have a dip in the coming weeks then look at where you might be in ‘EITHER/OR’ mode and see if you can find creative ways to shift to ‘AND’.
What beliefs, behaviours or fears might you need to release or let go of to create those shifts?
Where can you be kinder to yourself in order to speed up your return to feeling happy and in flow again?
If you’re really stuck on how or where you could be making changes, get some help.
Coaching is fantastic for this and I have a few one-to-one slots available this spring so…
That’s it from me this week, I hope this has resonated with you and given you some useful food for thought – hit reply and let me know if you have any questions/thoughts/comments.
Enjoy your weekend,