Stop and take a breath or your body will force you to!

A Path to Positive Thinking
April 4, 2018
Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce and Lotus People
April 6, 2018
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Stop and take a breath or your body will force you to!

I don’t know if this was the case for everyone this year – based on a lot of conversations I’ve had with other agencies and with clients, it seems that way – but the start to the year at Lotus was BUSY!

We have just had our highest ever quarter after two and a half years in business – which we will be toasting from a hot air balloon in the Hunter Valley later this month! We are at our largest team size, are working with over 150 incredible clients and consistently receiving positive feedback through our candidate and client surveys.

This is all fantastic, positive and good news, as long as it doesn’t come at a cost!

I consider myself lucky (only now after a number of years of resistance) to be extremely tuned into my body and my health. As someone who suffers from anxiety, has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and has had to take months at a time out of work to manage severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I have spent many years ignoring warning signs, expecting to be able to just crack on and get it all done. Bear in mind, I am 29, have no children, no family here, no mortgage and other than a very real and time consuming Lotus People baby, no real commitments or responsibility – sure I pay rent and mostly manage to get bills paid on time but that’s as far as it extends at this point! Hats off to everyone who has a busy career but also managing aforementioned responsibilities – I am in awe of you and impressed daily!

Luckily, despite my attempts at ignoring my body’s warning signals, I do find that I am slowly but surely learning the lessons it is trying to bestow upon me.

So, queue Easter weekend and a very bad dose of the common cold! Like most bouts of sickness that I endure, there is a pattern. The pattern goes like this;

1. Denial – no I am not getting sick, I won’t allow it, I’m too busy, I refuse. Nope.
2. Self Pity – why me, why does no one else get as sick as me, why does my immune system hate me, why isn’t overdosing on vitamin C changing anything etc
3. Stubbornness – FINE, fine, I’ll rest, I’ll give in but I am definitely going to be better tomorrow because I’ve decided that it’s been long enough
4. Rest – okay, I give in, ooh how lovely this bed is, wow, I was really tired. Best just close my eyes for a minute…
5. Reflection – actually, I have been very busy, why have I been so stressed out, have I been making enough space for yoga and meditation, why have I been running around like a crazy hectic person who isn’t demonstrating the ability to handle stress very well
6. AND… wait for it… the learning… ah this was a good reminder to check back in
So my body knew exactly what it was up to. On the back of a busy, successful yet slightly manic quarter, it decided to give me a FORCED (very forced, see step 1 – 3 above) break away from the office where, once I was finished resting – step 4 is still very difficult for me to maintain, there’s SO MUCH TO DO!, I managed to spend a couple of days with my laptop curled up on the couch reflecting, planning and prioritising.

I have a plan! I have a plan of action to filter down to my team to ensure that we are providing superior service to everyone we work with, to ensure we are also happy, balanced and most of all working smarter and not harder. Whilst I have always had a solid strategic plan in place for Lotus, given we are a growing start up, it is essential that this is constantly tweaked, refined, worked on with everyone’s best interests in mind; my managers, my team, our clients and our candidates.

This (forced) time off gave me a pause to reflect and make those necessary tweaks. I have opened my 8 week meditation course book and committed to a daily meditation practice – highly recommend this book, Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World I have signed up to a 4 week yoga intensive course, I have stockpiled my cupboards with amazing healthy ingredients along with researching new recipe ideas for yummy home cooked meals AND I have ordered a bike pump online so I can stop feeling guilty every time I look at my flat, abandoned bike as I leave the house and start actually taking her out!

So whilst the above steps 1 – 6 for me have resulted in a solid strategy, a renewed focus on balance and a bit of a kick up the bum in the direction of wellness, I would strongly recommend creating space for self care on an ongoing basis and not letting yourself get to the point of burnout or illness. We have far too much to get done to allow a silly cold to get in the way!!