2017 held some important lessons for me and I am proud of what I have achieved (more self-love and praise being one!). The year started with night-sweats, heart palpitations, nausea, butterflies in my stomach, and a general struggle to get through each day. I was unwell and determined to do what I needed to do to get better. “I am an anxious person” was not to be my mantra for 2017 but instead, “I am suffering with anxiety and can get better.” My church supported me in finding a counsellor who was excellent and gave me the space to explore the sources of my anxiety and certain life experiences that I hadn’t processed fully. She also equipped me with the tools I needed to notice negative thought-patterns and introduce more self-care. I set aside 2017 as a year for my emotional and mental health that would have a lasting impact. In my post from January 2017 I set out the following objectives:
FOR ME, THIS YEAR IS A YEAR FOR SELF-REFLECTION.
FOR PRAYER AND MEDITATION.
FOR DOING LESS, STRIVING LESS.
FOR FACING UP TO MY PROBLEMS AND THE CAUSES OF THEM THAT RUN DEEP.
FOR DISCERNING THE HABITUAL THOUGHT-PATTERNS THAT STEAL JOY AND PERPETUATE FEAR.
FOR INVESTING IN IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS AND CONNECTING IN MEANINGFUL AND PERSONAL WAYS.
FOR EMBRACING AND FINDING PURPOSE IN MY MAIN JOB IN THIS SEASON, AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLES I WILL EVER HAVE; THAT OF A MOTHER.
All summed up by this phrase, which is my main objective for 2017:
To live a fuller, emptier life.
It is powerful to look back at that list and see the impact it has had. In bullet form, here is what I did this year:
- Had five months of counselling
- Rested more
- Prioritised self-soothing rather than achievement
- Reflected on negative thought-patterns and practised dealing with them
- Utilised mindfulness techniques
- Learnt about my personality type
- Quit facebook and instagram
- Read my bible more
- Practised gratitude
- Tried to end each day listing some good things I did (I forgot this a lot)
- Walked my dog for exercise
During the final third of 2017, this was all put to the test when we moved to London Borough of Bromley in August. The pace of life has picked up considerably, plus the fact that moving is one of life’s greatest stressors. Despite the stress and busyness of juggling a job and motherhood, the loneliness, less support, and despite my husband getting appendicitis and needing emergency surgery (!), I can honestly say that it has been a positive time and much easier than anticipated. I am still learning lessons about how to prioritise rest when working from home and the need for strict boundaries but I think these lessons are being learned quicker as I notice the impact earlier than previously and have a greater sense of the importance of rest for not just my physical health but mental as well.
Moving has highlighted the truth of the Brené Brown quote I used in the January 2017 blog post. You can’t hot-wire connection and it seemed all the more obvious to me that social media gave the appearance of connection and could easily make me complacent about trying to make friends (real-life ones). Knowing I needed someone to connect with, I put myself out there and asked a lady at church if I could meet up with her for coffee. By this point the only thing stopping me from deleting facebook was this here blog. I wanted people to still connect with it, to see the posts pop up in their newsfeed. After all, Facebook was my biggest source of views. But then I was challenged by thinking that if I’d rather live without it than perhaps I shouldn’t want others to consume it for my benefit either. So bye-bye facebook and instagram came off my phone too. I’ve been meaning to acknowledge this for a while now and say please subscribe to my blog to keep up with my posts. I love connecting with my readers and hope you will comment on my posts.
So, 2018? What now?
To all my readers and subscribers – I hope you had a good holiday season and…
Best wishes for 2018!