Its spring time. The weather is changing, the flowers are beginning to bloom and lots of people like to give advice!
Health and wellness experts will tell you this is a time of renewal. Organizational and de-cluttering professionals will tell you this is the time of spring cleaning, clearing out the cobwebs, and reorganizing your life/house. Life and business coaches will tell you this is the time to reassess your business plan and start new projects…… the Springtime To Do lists are endless – renewal, rebirth, refresh, restart.
And all of this is may be true. BUT for working mothers, or women whose lives are already full with the daily grind, the juggle, the crazy and the stress, spring doesn’t necessarily bring anything new, just more of the same, with no time or head-space to reassess where you are or what you are doing. In fact, the start of spring and April specifically, may actually bring MORE craziness – with religious festivals, vacation from school, more family time, warm weather so more demands to take the kids outdoors- all adding to the expectation of the “Newness of Spring”!
As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, it is the gap between expectations of what SHOULD be verse the reality of what IS, that creates the stress triggers in our lives. So when we look at what springtime is meant to mean in our lives verse what is happening in real-life, the resulting gap creates more stress, anxiety, shame and disappointment that we are not living up to the hype!
I would like to offer a different perspective to this narrative. Something that may help us create a bit more calm, and allow us to embrace the joys of springtime rather than the laundry list of things we should be reassessing.
It is true that springtime is a time of renewal. This is the natural flow of the ecosystem, of nature, of energy. There is no getting around it. The challenge is HOW TO APPROACH this unique time. Do you fight against the new energy, the warmer weather, the new colours and flowers, or do you take a moment to breathe deep and observe it – without getting stressed about it.
For me, springtime is a natural reminder to focus on three simple steps – STOP, LOOK, LISTEN (a familiar sounds-bite for those of us growing up in 1970-80s Britain!).
STOP – Find a moment of the day to create a little space for yourself. This space creates a distance between yourself and everything else around you and gives you a moment of calm. It can be a couple of minutes, it does not have to be an hour Yoga session! This natural pause in your daily and weekly cycle gives you some much needed time to breathe and collect yourself, and naturally assess what is going on around you. Without it, I honestly believe, you loose sense of your own self, and you get swallowed up by the craziness of life! Three-five minutes to stop and breathe can significantly calm and relax you.
LOOK – Look around and see what is really going on – in your personal life, in your professional life, in your important relationships. The natural energy of winter is that things gets bundled up and ignored, they hibernate and go to sleep. When the springtime comes we are forced to reassess and face those things that we have ignored for the last few months. Without this time to breathe deep, to stop for a moment and look around, we can miss vital signs about our physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
LISTEN – Once you have stopped and looked, next comes the listening stage. Sitting quietly for a few moments and listening, creates a deep connection within ourselves, and between us and others. This is often the hardest thing for busy women to do. Even if you are able to find a quiet moment in your day or week, there is so much noise in your head that listening to what your body is telling you is often impossible. Sometimes you aren’t able to listen to the messages being sent to you, and many times you are so overwhelmed just staying afloat that nothing else is getting through.
So why is this stage so crucial? The listening and connecting phase allows you to create space between the expectations verse reality equation and therefore reduce the stress triggers. It enables you to gain perspective which is missing when stress and anxiety are the dominant forces in your body. It allows you to connect to your body and your self, crucial for maintaining your self-identity and self-worth throughout the intensely crazy years of creating, growing and supporting your family.
Now this is real-life and I have been there. “Three little steps” sounds simple, but in the craziness of life it is really hard to find the time and space to do this. But I promise you that if you are open and understand the importance finding some space to do some deep breathing and connecting to yourself, eventually you will find a way to do it. Even if it is in the five minutes before you fall asleep at night.
Springtime naturally calls you to reassess and reexamine. But that doesn’t have to mean a stressful overhaul of your life, following some detailed plan by a life coach or de-cluttering expert! It doesn’t have to involve a long To Do list to recreate a new YOU. By enabling yourself to STOP (space), LOOK (breathe) and LISTEN (connect), you can find small pockets of time in your daily and weekly schedule to significantly improve your overall health and well-being and create more calm. Then you really can enjoy the springtime for all its glory!