Life coaching Top Tips
When Jo suggested I write about anchoring for this month’s blog, I was delighted to oblige: it’s so topical! Since then, I’ve found myself in the midst of grief. My gorgeous cat Estelle was put to sleep last Monday. She had been both my ward and my guardian for 16 years, so my feelings of bereavement are very strong.
I’ve tried to consider how I can avoid making this piece grief-centric, but in doing so my mind has just gone blank. Having thought about it all a bit more, I’ve realised that actually we’ve probably all felt grief over the last 12 months - whether it’s bereavement in the conventional sense or feelings of loss around the inability to go about our normal lives - so perhaps what I write will be relatable and not too miserable after all. I just hope it doesn’t come across as being terribly self-indulgent.
Here they are then, my deeply personal tips on staying anchored in turbulent times:
1). Remember what activities bring you joy
Knowing what you love doing is so important. YOU ARE IMPORTANT. And it’s important that you allow yourself space and time to look after yourself. It isn’t always easy to remember what brings us joy, and if that’s the case for you then I recommend asking someone who knows you well to remind you. There was a time many years ago when I was feeling so low that I forgot what my values were - I was asked that question in a coaching session and I just couldn’t answer it. I spoke with a friend about this afterwards and she said ‘You have the strongest values of most people I know!’ I just hadn’t been able to see it, which goes to show that sometimes we need someone close to us to hold up that mirror. Ask multiple people and / or make a list if that helps.
2). Do those things
It isn’t a betrayal to anyone if you laugh and feel joy whilst in the thick of it. In fact, I actively encourage it. Just after Estelle was put to sleep and before we took her body to the crematorium, my boyfriend and I went for an hour's walk. To have a change of scenery was so uplifting. This week we’ve watched nice films and funny TV programmes. We’ve played Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble. I’ve read my book. I’ve done an online drum and bass workout. I’ve chatted with a friend. I've resumed my yoga practice. Other than last Monday and the weekend, I’ve worked each day - getting things done and having normal conversations has been so grounding. That’s not to say I haven’t been sobbing in between work calls or feeling utterly wretched! But if we’re kind and compassionate to ourselves and allow joy and normality in as often as we can, then the more clearly we can think and recognise how best to honour the situation in which we find ourselves, and know that we CAN carry on.
3). 'Talk' about the situation / how you’re feeling
We’re all unique, which of course means that we have different ways of dealing with things. I know that talking candidly about emotions isn’t for everyone, but the power of connection is not to be underestimated. Going it alone means causing ourselves unnecessary pain. When I received the news that the end was imminent for Estelle, I knew I would need the love and support of my nearest and dearest. I emailed my family to let them know. I texted my closest friends to update them. I asked for them to send love to Estelle to help her on her journey. It would have been too hard to have those conversations over the phone, but to send the text messages and emails and receive so much back from them was priceless.
4). Move your body
I usually have an hour’s walk each day, but after last Monday I could only summon the energy to get out of the house for 20 minutes for the next 2 days. It was better than nothing though. On both Thursday and Friday I spent an hour out of the house, walking, observing my surroundings. This renewed and refreshed me. It was important to see other humans getting on with things. Life goes on. It has to.
5). Recognise and appreciate what is
I must admit that my mindfulness and meditation practices have been somewhat elusive lately, but just allowing myself to ‘be’ is so rewarding. Sitting in my kitchen and watching the birds doing their thing in the garden can soothe my mind and soul. Lying in bed before I get up in the morning and listening to their song often does the same. Appreciating my surroundings and being able to recognise that whilst there is now a massive hole in my life, there are many other things which are positive, has been a real crutch for me.
It isn't always that easy of course. When we're feeling pure despair, it can seem impossible to appreciate anything. But try to remember that this too shall pass. Each moment is another opportunity to start again. To re-set. And always remember to honour whatever feelings come up.